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Review: Lenovo N20p Chromebook with touchscreen for consumers

Lenovo has entered the Chromebook consumer space with a touchscreen model.
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1 of 7 James Kendrick/ZDNet

Lenovo N20p Chromebook with touchscreen

Laptop giant Lenovo entered the Chromebook market earlier this year with a model for the education sector. Its latest model is for the general consumer market, the N20p Chromebook.

The N20p is a reasonably priced laptop with an 11.6-inch touchscreen. That display has two modes of operation, much like several of the company's Windows laptops. When the screen is pushed back, the unit can be set down with the keyboard on the table for use as a stand for the display. According to Lenovo, this is for watching videos, or using with just the touchscreen. The keyboard is turned off when in this mode to prevent accidental key presses.

Hardware specs as reviewed:

CPU Intel Celeron N2830 (Haswell)
Display 11.6” (1,366 x 768) display with 10-point multi-touch
Memory 2GB
Storage 16GB
Webcam 720p
Ports USB 3.0, USB 2.0, audio combo Jack, mini-HDMI, 2-in- 1 card reader
Communications Bluetooth 4.0, 802.11 a/c wi-fi
Battery 8 hours, (34.8 Wh)
Dimensions 11.6" x 8.34" x 0.70"
Weight 2.8 lbs

The N20p Chromebook is as thin as most laptops available. The light weight (2.8 lbs) makes it highly portable and a good size for carrying around.

The Celeron processor with Haswell technology is much like that found on other Chromebooks. This processor does a good job powering the lightweight Chrome OS.

The 2GB of memory is OK, but experience shows that 4GB is better with Chromebooks. The review unit has 16GB of storage, which is plenty given the integration of Chrome OS with Google Drive.

The keyboard on the Lenovo N20p Chromebook is very good, which is typical for the company's laptops. Keys feel just right, and the travel gives good tactile feedback.

The trackpad is a nice size and works fine, with caveats. It is a bit less sensitive than those found on other Chromebooks. I had to turn the "trackpad speed" to the fastest in Chrome settings to get normal operation. I find it regularly misses taps on the trackpad as mouse clicks. Pushing down on the trackpad performs a click so it's not a deal breaker, but it happens frequently enough to be annoying.

It is common to have lags in operation of the N20p that is unusual for Chromebooks. These lags combined with slight delays in reacting to tapping controls are frustrating at times. Lags are noticeable when scrolling web pages, too. Other Chromebooks do not exhibit these delays, even with similar hardware.

Lenovo claims eight hours of battery life; field testing shows this to be accurate.

Touchscreen operation of the N20p is about what you'd expect from Chrome OS. It works OK and is supported directly by the current version of the OS. Chrome OS is not fully optimized for touch operation so the benefits of having it on the N20p are not great. It's good for tapping controls on the screen, but that's about it.

The Lenovo N20p Chromebook is a reasonable value for the price, but the performance is not as good as that of similarly equipped models currently available. The author's Acer C720 Chromebook does not exhibit the laggy performance experienced at times with the Lenovo.

Pros:

  • Good price
  • Nice keyboard
  • Touch screen
  • Stand mode

Cons:

  • Trackpad not as sensitive as it should be
  • Laggy performance

Reviewer's rating: 7 out of 10

The Lenovo N20p Chromebook is available from Lenovo for $329 as reviewed. It is also available from Amazon for $300.

Additional Chromebook coverage: 

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