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April 19, 2017

Lenovo has a new 2-in-1 Chromebook packing drop protection, a 360-degree hinge

by John_A

Why it matters to you

Lenovo’s new Chromebook provides rugged 2-in-1 design at an affordable price point, and will support Android apps.

Lenovo has announced an addition to its Chromebook arsenal: The Flex 11. The device measures just 0.83 inches thin and has a starting weight of three pounds. It comes packed with a 360-degree hinge enabling users to take advantage of the Flex 11’s 2-in-1 form factor. They can easily switch between four dynamic modes: Laptop, tablet, tent, and watch/theater.

The big selling point of the Flex 11 is its durability. According to the company, the Chromebook features a drop-resistant design supporting falls of up to 2.4 feet. The 2-in-1’s keyboard is also water-resistant to a certain level, able to withstand up to one cup of water dumped into the keyboard area. However, do not expect a working PC if it is tossed in a bathtub or swimming pool.

“Its ports are reinforced, its touchpad is sealed to protect against accidental spills, and its non-slip texture assures a secure grip when you are on the go,” the company says. “What is more, its water-resistant keyboard uses innovative internal channels beneath the keyboard to divert liquid away from sensitive electrical components.”

As for the actual hardware specs, here are the basic goods:

Screen size:
11.6 inches with 10-point touch input
Screen type:
IPS
Screen resolution:
1,366 x 768
Maximum brightness:
250 nits
Processor:
ARM-based quad-core processor @ 2.1GHz
Graphics:
Unknown
Memory:
4GB LPDDR3
Storage:
32GB eMMC
Battery:
Up to 10 hours
Connectivity:
Wireless AC
Built-in camera:
720p HD
Ports:
1x USB 3.1 Gen1 Type-A
1x USB 3.1 Gen2 Type-C
1x HDMI
1x SD card reader
1x Microphone/headphone jack
Dimensions:
11.65 x 8.11 x 0.83 inches
Weight (starting):
3 pounds
Starting price:
$279
Availability:
April

As the hardware list shows, Lenovo was rather vague about the Chromebook’s processor ahead of launch. We also don’t know the details regarding the graphics component either, but the use of an IPS panel means the Chromebook’s screen sports vivid colors and wide viewing angles. The 10-point touch input is a great feature too, especially when the Chromebook is folded back into a tablet form factor.

Yet while Lenovo did not cough up the processor details at the time this article went live, the company says the chip is very capable of handling mobile games such as Gameloft’s Asphalt 8. The Flex 11, while based on Google’s open-source Chrome OS platform, will officially receive support for Google Play and Android apps later this year. Flex 11 owners will still have access to the Chrome Web Store too.

We presume that the Type-C port installed on Lenovo’s new Chromebook is USB 3.1 Gen2 due to the company stating that the port in question “can charge your laptop or your peripherals, and provides video and data I/O.” This tech provides speeds of up to 10Gbps versus USB 3.1 Gen 1 (previously known as USB 3.0) only managing 5Gbps. The Gen2 version supports DisplayPort digital video output technology, which Lenovo may be eluding to on the product page.

Given that the Flex 11 is a Lenovo product, do not expect custom configurations. Instead, the company will likely produce several models with varying hardware configurations with a starting price of $279. Look for it to be available by the end of April.

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