Lenovo introduced its first Chromebook, a laptop the company says is designed primarily for use in schools. But while the Lenovo ThinkPad X131e Chromebook is priced at an so-called affordable US$430, it’s more expensive than the Chromebooks offer by Acer($200) and Samsung($250). So, what’s with the high price tag ? Lenovo said that their ThinkPad Chromebook is more sturdy — the corners, hinges and hinge brackets have all been reinforced. There is a rubberized bumper coating the back of the laptop’s monitor, rather than the plastic construction on the other Chrome OS devices. You also get a high-definition, 11.6-inch, 1366×768 LED display, a 6.5-hour battery, and an Intel Celeron processor inside. And of course, you have to pay a little bit more for its signature red trackpad nub …
Other specs include 16GB of on-board storage, an HDMI port, two USB 3.0 ports and one USB 2.0 port. For a while, Google’s Chromebook was a single device to show off what its cloud-based OS could do. Now Lenovo marks the third manufacturer, after Acer and Samsung, to make inexpensive laptops running Google’s software. Like its competitors, ThinkPad Chromebook comes with Google Apps for Education and all the management features common to Chrome OS, such as seamless updating and ability to move a student from one machine to another simply by logging in. An expensive Microsoft Office license isn’t required here. The X131e will be available February 26th, for US$430. For the price, we wonder if most schools should consider a iPad mini instead. Touch is the future, and Lenovo’s Chromebook has none of it.
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