Countless Chromebooks exists. There are different varieties, that suit anything from basic word documents and web-surfing, to the powerful processor iterations, like the business class Dell Chromebook 13 7310, and classroom-ready companions, such as the 500e Chromebook by Lenovo. Starting at around $300, this 2-in-1 Chromebook, as stated on Lenovo’s featured page, aims to “blend technology with the premium classroom experience”. The 500e, an MIL-STD-tested machine, is prepared for probable rough treatment, features powerful processing, and a “helping hand” for work- an electromagnetic resonance, or EMR, pen.
The 11.6-inch 500e has an HD multi-touch display, with rugged Corning Gorilla Glass 3 + Native Damage Resistance technology. Its 360 display folds into stand, tent, and laptop modes for personal, sharing, or presentation configurations. At 2.97 pounds, the 500e Chromebook, especially in tablet mode, is a bit hefty. On the other hand, it’s dimensions, 0.8in x 11.4in x 8.0in, make it lighter and smaller than another contender, the Acer Chromebook Spin. The stylus pen, a nice aid for students who want to take notes or sketch, is stored in a dedicated slot to keep it safe.
Although its plastic design makes it less elegant looking, this isn’t what the Lenovo 500e Chromebook is about. Durability increases as you continue to check out this 2-in-1. Its keyboard and trackpad are ready to survive a water spill, and the PC can withstand multiple falls from a desk to the floor, thanks to its rubberized bumpers. Speaking of its keyboard, it maintains an island style, with handy Chromebook function buttons for online navigation. There are two webcams, one above the display, and one above the keyboard- positioned for taking world view photos or videos while in tablet mode.
Two configurations exist, with the entry-level model, offered at $309.99, featuring an Intel Celeron N3450 CPU processor (2.4GHz Turbo), Intel HD 520 graphics, 4GB of RAM, and 32GB of eMMC storage. The other option, not yet available in the U.S., has the same specs, except for upgraded RAM to 8GB, and 64GB of eMMC. Ports are plentiful, with 2 USB-C ports, 2 USB 3.0 ports, and a 3.5mm headphone jack. There is also 2x2 AC Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.1, and a MicroSD card reader, making room for any added connectivity.
Although students, undoubtedly, will have a nice time working or browsing this little Chromebook, others could find a few issues with it. Since it is a bit thick, tablet mode could be especially uncomfortable for smaller hands, especially with the 500e Chromebook weighing almost 3 pounds. As far a display, the thick LCD bezels only make the screen appear smaller. There isn’t much room when it comes to any video or audio editing here. However, the Intel Celeron chip will do just fine for web browsing, simple puzzle games, documentation, and utilizing the suite of Google productivity apps. Battery life sums up to about 10 hours, which is especially great when thinking of all the open tabs or HD video streaming students may be pushing on this Chromebook.
Beyond the bevy of ports, integrating the stylus was a nice move on Lenovo’s end, as more portable PCs are adding the peripheral for creativity purposes. Fitted with that 360-degree hinge, Lenovo claims students “will make the best use of its multi-touch technology to interact with educational apps and tools”. In fact, students may never want to type again, after experiencing the smooth, “real pen” feeling when taking notes on their new Lenovo 500e Chromebook. Using the webcam to take photos of the lesson plan, or teacher’s notes, will be incredibly helpful for students. Overall, this is a likeable Lenovo 2-in-1. For an inexpensive Chromebook, it can withstand the vigor of a classroom, maintains full laptop functionality, all the while doubling as a tablet.