Hands On: Lenovo’s New Chromebooks

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Lenovo’s newest laptops come with Chrome OS and your choice of touch or non-touch displays.
Lenovo Chromebooks

Chromebooks are bigger than ever, and today, Lenovo announced two consumer Chromebooks of its own, the Lenovo N20 and Lenovo N20p. Made for students and budget shoppers, the new laptops offer several options, all for under $400.

The two systems are quite similar, with Intel Celeron processors, 2GB of RAM standard, with the option of upgrading to 4GB, and the same 16GB of storage offered on most competing Chromebooks. Lenovo estimates battery life of up to eight hours. Both systems have a portable design, measuring just 0.7 inches thick and weighing under 3 pounds, but they don’t sacrifice comfort, thanks to a full-size keyboard and wide touchpad.

The largest difference between the two, aside from some cosmetic differences, is the N20p’s touch screen and 300-degree hinge. The non-touch N20 utilizes a standard clamshell design, with regular hinge and no touch capability. The option of a Chromebook with touch screen is still unusual in the growing category, but as more websites and apps are optimized for tablets and touch screens, Chrome users may find more utility than expected from the feature.

The touch-enabled N20p is built with a 300-degree hinge, which allows the display to be folded around into a display mode, which may be useful when watching video or sharing a presentation. It doesn’t come around far enough to offer a tablet mode, but for touch-centric uses, it should be more than adequate.

The N20 and N20p are available with your choice of either Google’s Chrome OS, or Windows 8.1. With only a Celeron processor, this may be one instance where Chrome provides a better experience, as the low powered processor tends be noticeably slow in Windows, but relatively nimble in the Web-centric Chrome.

Pricing for the new Chromebooks starts at $279 for the non-touch N20 laptop, and $329 for the N20p with touch and the 300-degree hinge. Windows 8.1-equipped configurations will also be available, but pricing will be higher. Both Chrome and Windows options will be available for order through Lenovo and retail partners in late July and early August.

Brian Westover

Brian Westover is an Analyst for the Hardware Team, reviewing laptops, desktops, and storage devices. As a child, Brian was frequently asked “What do you want to be when you grow up?” His answer alternated between Superman and Batman. This was cute when he was five, but worrisome at seventeen. Naturally, he is now a journalist, writing about technology and gadgets. Brian has been writing professionally since 2007, and his work has appeared in business newsletters, websites, textbooks, and magazines.

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