On Wednesday Lenovo introduced its upcoming ThinkPad 11e series of laptops (opens in new tab). There will be four in all, two of which will be Windows-based units and two that will be Chromebooks. The new series will be made available this Spring with a starting price of $349.
According to the company, these laptops were designed with students in mind, featuring rubber bumpers, reinforced ports, and stronger hinges to protect the hardware innards from accidental bumps, drops and adolescent roughhousing. All four will be powered by Intel processors, promising fast boot times and performance.
For starters we have the Windows-based ThinkPad Yoga 11e and the ThinkPad 11e. As with other Yoga devices, the hybrid will provide four unique positions: laptop, tablet, tent and stand. Yoga Modes in Lenovo Settings will recognize when the user switches modes and allow apps to adapt for the best experience. As for the ThinkPad 11e, it will be a standard notebook.
The next two units will be Chromebooks, meaning they will use Google's Chrome OS instead of Windows. Chromebooks are becoming popular in the educational system, possibly because they're so darn cheap, but rely heavily on the Internet. You can use them offline, but only during specific tasks like listening to music, writing emails, taking notes and more.
"The ThinkPad Yoga 11e Chromebook and the ThinkPad 11e Chromebook make it possible for any school district with an Internet connection to deploy a 1:1 computing program. These laptops are fast, simple, secure, always up-to-date and offer more than eight hours of battery life – ideal for the classroom. They are also easy to manage – ideal for administrators," reads Lenovo's press release.
As with the first two, the ThinkPad Yoga 11e Chromebook provides four modes, while the ThinkPad 11e Chromebook is a traditional laptop.
As for additional features, the details are currently slim. All four will have screens measuring 11.6 inches, but the two YOGA models will have touch-based IPS screens with wide viewing angles. All four also promise a battery life that will last the entire school day.
"I'm very excited that Lenovo is able to offer a device that's not only rugged enough for the classroom but also flexible enough to adapt to the many ways technology can be incorporated into the overall learning experience," said Jerry Paradise, executive director of product marketing, ThinkPad Product Group, Lenovo.
Keep in mind that these four ThinkPad units would be good solutions in a home environment as well, even more so for homeschoolers. The company describes them as rugged, made for kids who will drop their laptop or may toss their backpack on the floor with the laptop inside. Parents looking for a laptop that will hold up to that kind of treatment may find one of these laptops to be ideal.
The ThinkPad 11e series of devices will be available this spring. The ThinkPad Yoga 11e and ThinkPad 11e models start at $449, whereas the ThinkPad Yoga 11e Chromebook and ThinkPad 11e Chromebook models start at $349. Stay tuned for the actual specs.