Chromebooks built specifically for education often get a pass on harsher criticisms but the fact of the matter is, more and more children are getting their first PC experience of some form of ruggedized, low-powered EDU device. For that reason, I feel strongly that manufacturers need to step up their game when it comes to producing quality, cost-effective devices for our schools. I understand that creating a rugged Chromebook that holds up to the abuse of a classroom requires cutting some corners when it comes to things such as storage and display but skimping on performance these days is simply unforgivable.
In the rare instance that you see an EDU Chromebook that’s built well and offers all of the bells and whistles you could want, you find that it’s priced in the $400 range and that puts most schools far out of their annual budget. That trend reached its pinnable around the time Intel’s Apollo Lake processors hit the market. It wasn’t unusual to find a convertible Chromebook with a dual-core processor for around $450. Problem was, many of these devices were absolute garbage. Horrid screens, flimsy chassis and the Apollo Lake chip that ended up being an absolute dud. I honestly wouldn’t recommend any of these devices to a buyer looking to outfit a classroom.
Thankfully, Intel’s Gemini Lake processors swooped in to save the day. The comparable dual-core CPU from the Gemini Lake family saw performance gains of more than 40% on Octane scores putting it in the range of more powerful Pentium devices. Now, we have Chromebooks that can actually function well in the classroom and that’s a great thing. You can find devices such as Lenovo’s Chromebook 500e that offers a 2-in-1 form-factor and even a garaged stylus at a respectable price-point. Yet, at nearly $400, a lot of schools are left looking for a more-affordable Chromebook that isn’t absolute junk.
Enter CTL. The Oregon-based EDU tech company has been producing a variety of products geared towards education and enterprise for more than 30 years and they know Chromebooks. CTL specializes in the deployment of rugged and versatile Chrome devices and as of late, has offered a wide variety of Chromebooks to fit just about any price range or budget. Their latest entry into the EDU space offers powerful performance at a price point that’s nearly unheard of when it comes to rugged devices.
The CTL Chromebook VX11 and VX11X feature the refreshed Gemini Lake-R N4020 dual-core processor that pumps out an impressive Octane score of nearly 17,000. For reference, that’s comparable to the 3855U Skylake processor that powered the entry-level Acer Chromebook 14 for Work and that device was no slouch. Like all of CTL’s Chromebooks, the VX11is built with the classroom in mind. Reinforced ports and hinges, peel and spill-resistant keyboard, drop-tested and an optional X-Panel that will withstand up to 365 pounds of downward pressure means this device can take a beating.
The VX11 opens up to 180-degrees which allows the device to be placed flat on a table for multiple students to view. Around the outside, the VX11 features 2 x USB-C, 2 X USB 3.0 and an SD card reader. It’s powered by the Gemini Lake-R N4020 processor and paired with 4GB of RAM and 32GB of storage. This Chromebook also brings some new features that you won’t find on many devices, EDU or otherwise. The VX11 comes with BT 5.0 which should make pairing peripherals much more dependable. It also features Intel’s N9560 Wifi adapter that boasts wireless speeds of up to 1.7GHz.
On paper, the Chromebook VX11 may not dazzle but here’s where this device stands to make a huge impact in the classroom. Apart from its rugged design and very capable processor, CTL is has set the pre-order price on the VX11 at the ridiculously low price of $209. For a school district shopping for an entirely new fleet of devices, this Chromebook could save them hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Included in the price is CTL’s fast-track 2-way RMA shipping for qualifying accounts and 1-year parts and labor warranty. This model has an AUE date of June 2026 which is a great life-span for a $210 Chromebook. The Chromebook VX11 is available for purchase today and shipping will start in Q2 which will give schools ample time to get these set up and deployed for the 2020/2021 school year. You can place your order by heading to CTL at the link below. If you need support for bulk or customized purchase, you can request a quote here.