Lenovo has followed the recent release of student-only rugged 11e laptops running Google's Chrome OS with its first pair aimed squarely at consumers. Both the N20 and N20p sport an 11.6-in HD display, but only the latter boasts a hinge that allows its keyboard to be swiveled so far back that it becomes the base of a touch-enabled screen angled for movie viewing comfort.
Leading the new N-Series charge is the N20p Chromebook, which has an 11.6-in, 1366 x 768 resolution touchscreen display that supports 10 simultaneous touch points, and boasts the dual mode functionality of the company's Flex 2 laptop (but doesn't quite go all the way like the Yoga line). The flexible hinge means the full-sized AccuType keyboard and cool-touch palmrest with trackpad can be bent back 300 degrees to lay flat on the table for operation in Stand mode, a good fit for those times when you just need to sit back and enjoy what's on the screen (movies or presentations, for example) or to flick through pages of content using touch.
The 11.6 x 8.34 x 0.7 in (295 x 212 x 17.9 mm), 3.1 lb (1.4 kg) N20p is powered by an Intel Celeron processor with integrated graphics, with support from 4 GB of DDR3L RAM and 16 GB of eMMC storage. Users will also be treated to up to 100 GB of included free cloud storage courtesy of Google Drive. Wireless connectivity comes in the shape of 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0.2, and there's a 1 megapixel webcam for HD video chats.
With Google's Chrome OS running the show, boot-up is reported to take just 3 seconds. There's supervised user profiles to help keep a watchful eye on what the kids get up to online, and a Guest Mode which allows others to use the laptop without messing up preferred settings or accidentally deleting offline files.
Rounding out the given specs are two USB ports, HDMI-out, a 2-in1 media card reader, the promise of up to 8 hours of battery life for all day working.
The Lenovo Chromebook N20p will be available from August, prices start at US$329.
The stablemate N20 is essentially the same clamshell laptop, minus the touchscreen and the multimode hinge. It comes in slightly lighter at 2.8 lb, and will be available a little earlier. You'll be able to get your hands on this model in July for $279.