Lenovo's new Chromebook is a flexible business device with a touch screen. The new Lenovo N20p is an affordable 11.6-inch notebook with a special hinge that allows the display to fold back for easier access to the touch screen. It's not quite as flexible as notebooks in Lenovo's Yoga line, which can fold back a full 360 degrees so they can be used like tablets, but the functionality does give business users more options.
Like other Chromebook devices, the Lenovo N20p runs on Chrome OS. Unlike Windows or Mac OS, Chrome OS does not run regular desktop applications. Instead, the platform is based around a souped-up version of Google's Chrome Web browser, so it relies on Web-based applications. If you need to run a particular piece of Windows or Mac software, the platform might not suit your needs. But if you need a notebook exclusively for basic business tasks like email, Web browsing and document editing, the $329 N20p is a good alternative to pricier Windows laptops. Here are three features that make it good for work.
The N20p's special hinge allows you to fold back the display by about 300 degrees, which puts the device into stand mode. It's not as flexible as true laptop-tablet hybrids, which let you fold back the display until it's flush with the base, but the functionality could still prove handy for business users. For starters, it gives you easier access to the notebook's touch screen, since you don't have to reach over the keyboard to use touch-optimized Web applications. As a bonus, stand mode lets you use the machine like a display kiosk for presentations, video chat and more.
The Lenovo N20p packs good hardware for the price. The centerpiece of the machine is its sharp 1366 x 768-pixel touch-screen display. The notebook's Celeron processor should prove zippy enough for everyday tasks on the lightweight Chrome OS operating system. Other hardware highlights include 4GB of RAM and 16GB of onboard storage, plus about 8 hours of battery life, so you can stay productive through the end of the workday.
In addition to the standard $329 model, Lenovo launched another more affordable version of the N20p Chromebook. The cheaper $279 model matches its more premium sibling in most respects, with a few key differences: It lacks both a touch screen and a flexible hinge. Still, it could be a good option for budget-minded business users with basic computing needs.