One of the biggest complaints about Chromebooks is that they run Chrome OS, which doesn’t allow users to install third-party programs. Recently, Google’s gone about fixing that by bringing the hybrid movement to Chromebooks. Some newer Chromebooks have 360-degree hinges and, more importantly, can run Android apps downloaded from Google Play — a feature that will soon be standard on Chromebooks. The latest such device is the Lenovo Flex 11 Chromebook, and it’ll be available before the end of the month.
The Chromebook takes after Lenovo’s Flex line of more affordable 2-in-1 convertibles with 360-degree hinges. The Flex 11 Chromebook has an 11.6″ touch display, making it a viable tablet and laptop — something that wouldn’t have made sense unless Google opened up Chrome OS to Android apps. Now that they have, it’s possible to make use of loads more productivity apps, educational apps, and games, instead of just the preloaded suite of Chrome web apps. It’s especially good news for anyone looking for a more convenient way to use messaging services like WhatsApp, Line, and Viber on Chromebooks.
Inside, the Flex 11 has a 2.1 GHz quad-core ARM processor, 4 GB of RAM, and a battery that should last as long as 10 hours. They’re low-tier laptop specs, as per usual for the low-cost Chromebooks, but there are some nice additions here, including a 720p webcam and speedier 802.11ac Wi-Fi. The display will still be relatively low-res at 1366 x 768, although it is an IPS display. Around the edges, there’s a USB Type-C port, a USB 3.0 port, an HDMI port, a combo mic and audio jack, an SD card reader, and a Kensington lock slot.
The small size, coupled with a weight of just three pounds, means that the Flex 11 Chromebook should be backpack-friendly — maybe not as much so as more expensive machines, but not bad for something under $300. Specifically, it’ll be available for $280 when it hits stores later this month.