Thinkpad Chromebook

The X100 series failed, in my view, as $500 "high end" netbooks: hot-running, clunky, and generally not up to Thinkpad snuff. Replacing Windows with Chrome OS and tailoring the system to its needs could be just the thing: the Lenovo X131e has a solid state drive, USB 3 and an ARM CPU. $430 for a machine with only 16GB of storage, though, is really pushing it.

Lenovo Thinkpad X131e Chromebook [google]


    1. Depending on how much of that purchase price is ‘real’ and how much either evaporates the second the HR procurement dude inquires about quantities of 1000 or turns out to be a nice bundled warranty/support/your-problems-are-our-problems contract, they may actually understand fairly well.

      The ‘Chromebook’ pitch is really two-pronged: 

      1. is the ‘Just enough PC for $CASUALUSER, and boy is it cheaper than a Mac and less of a hassle than a PC!’ pitch. Linux geeks and general tinkerers are allowed in here as well, if they feel like it. Lenovo’s pricing(and the reports that suggest that they aren’t even planning on selling except in volume) suggests that they aren’t even trying here.

      2. is the ‘Combine Google Apps and Chromebooks to get a centrally-managed, single-sign-on, all-data-automatically-backed-up, if-one-dies-just-pull-out-a-new-one-and-log-in, experience just like you’d need a zillion dollars in Microsoft enterprise software and a full scale IT department to get, except much cheaper and so easy that your screwdriver peons can do it!’ pitch. Given Lenovo/IBM’s historical success in selling expensive laptops to corporate and institutional customers, I have no reason to suspect that they are atypically doomed in this side.

      What is less clear, of course, is how well ‘Chromebooks’ as a category are doing on each of these two prongs. If the whole market is moribund, Lenovo isn’t going to save it.

  1. just a correction: the x131e runs a celeron chip, not an ARM. I don’t get why nobody but samsung has made an ARM chromebook, but there we are…

      1. But so does everybody else. I mean everybody. How else could they have served over 8,000,000,000 last year?

        1. The higher up the food chain you go, the fewer people make ARM chips in any serious way.

          For stuff like ARM7, ARM9 or Cortex-M series cores, which are just above your classic microcontroller in terms of price and performance you have lots of options, and lots of more complex products with a weedy little ARM core silently shovelling bits in the background somewhere.

          Cortex A8 and A9 are still pretty common, with lower end implementations(like our ubiquitous friend the AllWinner A10) quite cheap.

          A15, though(which the ARM Chromebook is built around, and which is the only one so far to seriously threaten Atom on pure performance) is basically just a Toshiba game for the moment. Toshiba has a part you can actually buy, Nvidia, TI, ST-Ericcsen and maybe a few others have them on the plan; but nothing before Q2 or Q3 of this year.

          Cortex A57 and 53 are similarly planned-but-not-actually-purchase-able-from-anybody-who-actually-makes-chips at present.

  2. I recently got the ASUS Vivobook for just over 500 and I really enjoy it. It’s a Windows 8 laptop, but has a touchscreen so I actually enjoy using metro. No SSD (bummer), but a 3rd gen i3 and 4gb ram. Pretty snappy (and even faster when I decide to pony up for a SSD).

    1. I have a Chromebook ACER C7 for less than 200 and I really enjoy it. I added 2GB ram and now it is pretty fast. I can open more than 50 tabs with more than 30 extensions. I can  simultaneously work on a Google Docs with large document of 120 pages, use gmail, watch video, Google Hangout, and use other Google services  without any slowdown. For the price of an ASUS Vivobook , I can get an ACER C7 and a Nexus 4. With these devices, I can access to hundred thousands of applications.
      This aid, although ChromeOS is 32 bits OS, the 2GB addition RAM is used for caching and Linux is pretty efficient ( chrome://system memusage and meminfo)

  3. They are not pushing it. Have you seen what pupils can do with notebooks? If this Chromebook really is as tough as the original article claims than the price is justified.
    Lenovo can build pretty rugged enterprise class notebooks that can survive years of tough use on the road. For a classroom you need that level of ruggedness.

  4. It should be nice and rugged, if it’s a thinkpad and designed for the educational market. The size of that bezel, though, shames the thinkpad name. 

    My T42 had a proper just-enough-bezel-for-structural-purposes 8 years ago. And it was(outwardly) pretty much identical to the T20 that was four years older than that, which was, in turn, pretty much outwardly identical to the 570(in the screen area, the 570 omitted the optical drive for a little extra thin-n-light) which had a very similar bezel size to the classic 600, which was released in early 1998 FFS. 

    A bezel that chunky, and frankly cheap looking, in this era of inexpensive LCDs is both a flashback to 15 years ago and an insult.

    1. Take a look on and you’ll see scores if not hundreds of baby laptops, tablets, phablets, wotsitsand doodads under that price.

    1. Um, general purpose computing hasn’t had a future for over a decade… The war is long since over.

  5. I picked up a dual core Intel  X130e on Woot for $299, dropped a cheap SSD in it and bumped the RAM up to 8 gigabytes and for around $430 I have a tough little Win7 Pro machine that deserves the ThinkPad name.

    The bezel isn’t pretty, but the rubber bumper makes the X130 extra tough.

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