Lenovo Aims New Rugged ThinkPad 11e Laptops at Students

On Wednesday Lenovo introduced its upcoming ThinkPad 11e series of laptops. 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.

  • yozz
    Doesn't Lenovo know students want laptops that look stylish instead of... rugged? It's like the fashionable cloths, iPhones, etc.
  • gamergeek
    Doesn't Lenovo know students want laptops that look stylish instead of... rugged? It's like the fashionable cloths, iPhones, etc.
    Thats true, but schools that provide laptops for their students might not.
  • jaguarskx
    Yeah, these laptops are likely aimed at elementary, junior high and high schools where the school themselves purchases the laptops and loan them out to the students. Better to be rugged than stylish since people (especially kids) are not particularly careful of property that does not actually belong to them.
  • gggplaya
    Most schools are loaning out ipads now and if your kids breaks it, guess what? You have to pay for it, in full $500. They offer insurance on it, but still if it breaks, you have to pay the $150 deductible. Any way you look at it, parents want to most rugged unit available if schools are loaning them to kids.
  • jardows
    No mention of storage options. If they use mechanical storage, I don't think they will be as "rugged" as they are being advertised.Also, no mention in the article or on Lenovo's site of the processor, other than made by Intel. Will these be a good value, with true Pentium processors, or will they be Atom/Celeron processors.Not sure if the $100 savings for a Chromebook would be doing the students any service, as the programs available for a true Windows computer are much more suited for an educational environment.
  • Nightsilver
    I love how they market Chromebooks as the miracle solution for 1:1 deployments. I work for a school district and more than half the websites they use for math, science and physics don't work on Chrome OS due to a lack of required plugins. It took our admin days just to get into the management console because it required a PIN that wasn't provided and there was NO ONE he could call at Google to help him out. He ended up having to use one of his contacts with a city administration that uses Google Apps for Business who managed to get in touch with their Google support and got them to call us. What a nightmare.1:1 isn't going to be easy for school IT no matter how you slice it, but I would never put my faith in something you have absolutely no control over.