The Lenovo N20P is a multi mode laptop/tablet hybrid running Google’s own Chrome OS. The OS is relatively lightweight, giving the system an impressively short boot time of around 3 seconds. For someone that needs a versatile machine to do basic operations and word processing, it is perfect. However for anything more advanced, the laptop does offer some features, but not enough to put it in the same league as it’s Mac or Windows cousins. The user interface is surprisingly minimalistic, as is their related Chrome web browser.
The laptop boasts integrated apps for Google’s various web offerings, including Gmail, Google Docs, YouTube and more.
Specs and features
The pleasingly sleek and elegant design packs in some hardware that is neither impressive nor terrible. The Chromebook boasts a 16GB eMMC storage device, 2GB DDR3L RAM, an estimated 8 hour battery life out of the box, dependent on usage, stereo speakers and Intel’s HD graphics. This would be vastly unimpressive on a Windows machine, but for an OS as tiny and lightweight as Chrome, it is perfect. Weighing in at little over 1Kg, it is as light as it’s OS is.
The screen is a crystal clear 11.6inch HD screen, but the fun does not stop there. It is a multi mode laptop and with a flip of the keyboard, as well as some help from the 10-point Multi-Touch feature, you have a tablet that can stand up perfectly.
Living with the Chromebook
On first impressions, the Chromebook is a refreshing and elegant piece of computing machinery. So when the laptop boots up, I was met with a basic interface with a transparent taskbar. On pressing what I thought was a ‘start’ button, a button I was familiar with being an avid Windows user, I was given a pop up box with a list of a few apps that were installed, like a file manager, app store and Chrome browser. I actively dislike the Chrome browser, and the app store stocks mainly extensions to the browser.
The overall usability of the computer is questionable. The word processor is Google Docs, which is online. Google Drive streamlines the file storage and sharing process, however if you even thought about using the Chromebook offline, then think again. It relies on the internet for 90% of its actions, which is the main drawback to the system. The advantage, however, to Google Docs is that it saves your work automatically at regular intervals, which is good if anything happens and you should happen to close your browser.
The app store stocks a variety of apps and extensions to the browser to suit a range of purposes.
The Chromebook is a fantastic laptop for word processing, productivity and general browsing. It is fast, lightweight and flexible with a whole host of features and applications. It integrates seamlessly with most of Google’s vast array of services.
For all it’s faults, the Chromebook and Chrome OS is truly a revelation in lightweight but functional operating systems. However to do anything but the basic tasks and browsing, you are probably better off with the Chromebook’s Mac or Windows flavoured cousins.