CES 2020 saw the debut of four new Chromebooks that are all exciting for their own, unique reasons but these weren’t the only devices announced this week. While not there as an official exhibitor, Oregon-based CTL revealed an entirely new lineup of rugged EDU devices that feature an industry-first for any Chromebook on the market.
The all-new NL71 line of Chromebooks from CTL may look like common fare at first glance but what’s on the inside make them some of the best machines on the market for not only educational institutions but the savvy consumer looking for a rugged laptop that won’t break the bank. CTL is already known for making some of the most durable Chromebooks available and now, they’ve enhanced their laptops with the refreshed Gemini Lake-R line of processors from Intel.
The Gemini Lake-R is very similar to the chipsets found in the current generation of entry-level Chromebooks but they should enjoy a slight performance boost thanks to a higher burst frequency. This should result in an increase of as much as 40% in performance when compared to the older Apollo Lake processors that we are all trying to forget exists. The update may not be earthshattering but it’s exciting to see a company like CTL advancing the platform and leading the charge with hardware that’s comparable to non-Chrome OS laptops. The new chips include the dual-core N4020 and quad-core N4120 from Intel.
CTL NL71 Lineup
CTL’s new line includes an impressive five models that range from $269 to $399 in price and offer a traditional clamshell with an optional touch screen as well as 2-in-1 convertibles with optional EMR stylus. All five models are available for pre-order at CTL and will begin shipping sometime in mid-February. If you order now, you can even enjoy a significant discount. For example, the convertible NL71TW with 8GB of RAM, 64GB of storage and an included EMR pen is priced at a very competitive $369 at the moment.
Each of these devices features 11.6″ displays with Corning Gorilla Glass for extra durability. CTL diligently tests these devices for ruggedness and the new line is no exception. You’ll get reinforced ports and hinges, spill-resistant keyboards, shock-absorbent frames and peel-resistant keys. These models also come bearing Bluetooth 5.0 and up-to gigabit wireless speeds thanks to an Intel 9560 wireless card.
The convertible variants offer up two webcams. The traditional shooter on the display is a standard 1MP 720P with the second, world-facing lens offering a FullHD 5MP camera. The clamshell models are equipped with a single USB-C, 1 x HDMI and two USB 3.0 ports while the convertibles feature 2 x USB-C, 2 x USB 3.0 and all five devices come with a standard MicroSD card slot and 3.5mm audio jack.
We’ll be getting our hands on a couple of these in the near future and look forward to putting them through the wringer. If they’re anything like CTL’s normal quality, they should be great devices for the classroom as well as around the house. You can find the full specs for all five of these by heading over to CTL and you can check back soon for a breakdown of this entire lineup.