Lenovo has expanded its lineup of Chromebooks with the introduction of the Flex 11, a 2-in-1 laptop that may have a slightly higher price tag than competing models, but brings plenty of extras to justify the added cost.
As with other Flex convertibles, this Chromebook version features a 360-degree hinged design that allows the 11.6-inch touchscreen display to switch easily from laptop mode to tent mode, watch mode, and tablet mode. The last mode makes the Flex 11 a natural to be the latest Chromebook to support the Google Play Store for Android apps.
Like a growing number of Chromebooks, which often wind up in the hands of schoolchildren, the Flex 11 has been given some rugged features to deal with the potential abuse from youthful users. Lenovo says it can handle drops of up to 2.4 feet and roughly a cup of water can be spilled on it without damaging the keyboard. The keypad is sealed as an additional precaution to potential spills.
The extras run out when it comes to other components, however. The Flex 11 runs on a 2.1GHz quad-core ARM processor rather than an Intel CPU and includes 4GB of RAM and 32GB of built-in storage. It does include a USB Type-C port and built-in 802.11 a/g/n/ac Wi-Fi among its connectivity options.
With its hybrid design and extra durability, the Flex 11 can't join the sub-$200 Chromebooks at the bottom end of the market. However, its $279 price tag is still lower than most budget Windows laptops cost, especially convertibles. Lenovo says the Flex 11 Chromebook will be available this month, but it still shows as "coming soon" on the company's website.