ThinkPad 13 Chromebook

CES 2016

Lenovo is working to diversify and improve its Chrome OS lineup with the new ThinkPad 13 Chromebook, which is a step above the standard Chromebook and ThinkPad for education models previously available. The new ThinkPad 13 Chromebook is actually a single model available in both Windows and Chrome OS versions, though the Windows model is launching earlier and will have more spec options.

But on the Chromebook side of things, it's still pretty impressive. We're looking at typical ThinkPad build quality, meaning it's hardened and able to take a beating, with a hard plastic exterior and reinforced frame that you come to expect with this branding. You also get a standard ThinkPad keyboard plus a large multitouch trackpad. Around the edges you'll see two USB 3.0 ports, a USB-C port (which is also used for charging) and HDMI out.

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Just as we saw with the Dell Chromebook 13, Lenovo is actually offering some solid spec options on the ThinkPad 13 Chromebook. There are available Core i3 and i5 processors (the default is a Celeron), as well as up to 8GB of RAM and 32GB of storage. You'll get a 1080p TN screen in the base model but an optional IPS panel is supposed to be available as well, which you'll want to consider depending on the eventual pricing.

Lenovo is claiming 10 hours of battery life out of the 42Wh battery, but naturally that'll change some based on the processor choice and what you do with it. The big battery means this 13-inch laptop weighs about 3.17 pounds, which is a bit on the high side but in our short time with it seemed like it was distributed well.

Though the Windows model will be available starting in April we'll have to wait until June for the Chromebook, and when it finally hits the market it'll start at $399 — a bit high for a Chromebook, but with solid build and spec options the ThinkPad 13 should be worth a look later this year.