Earlier this month, Lenovo unveiled their new Chromebook geared towards the enterprise in the ThinkPad C13 Yoga Chromebook. It is – as the name implies – a convertible laptop in the ThinkPad family that comes equipped with some standout, unique features for the Chrome OS ecosystem. Just as we saw the first Snapdragon-powered Chromebook in October, HP and Lenovo have taken wraps off the first two high-end AMD-powered Chromebooks in this ThinkPad Yoga C13 and the new HP Pro C645 Chromebook.
We also already pointed out the unique keyboard, trackpad and pointer stick layout on the ThinkPad and why that is a big deal for Chromebooks, but there’s another new thing that Lenovo is bringing to the table in this latest Chromebook, and its an easy one to miss if you aren’t looking closely.
Don’t miss the garaged, recharging USI pen
While we’ve had USI pens before that have the ability to be recharged (the HP USI pen is an example of this), we’ve yet to see a USI pen that is able to be stored inside a Chromebook and also charge while doing so. I’d honestly been under the impression that USI pens and their batteries would always be too large to fit inside a Chromebook, but as Pete Mueller pointed out in our conversation with him on The Chrome Cast, USI pens are more than capable of being small enough to live inside a Chromebook.
More impressive is the fact that we’re not only seeing a first in the stowable nature of this USI pen, but also a mechanism that will charge the pen while it is put away. We found hints of this coming, so we knew it was likely to happen down the road, but knowing it is already in production in a device we’ll have in our hands soon is very, very exciting.
For me, this solves all the issues with pens for Chromebooks in one move. I love USI as a standard moving forward and I like all the possibilities a battery-powered stylus can offer, but I also want a secure place to store and charge my pen and I think many others would, too. For me, a stylus that is stored inside my device is the way to go every time. I know some people don’t love these often-smaller writing utensils, but if the garaged, included stylus you get with your device isn’t up to your standards for comfort, you can always bring your own USI pen along and use it when you like. I ascribe to the thought that the best pen is the one you have with you, and a stowed stylus is always there when you need it most.
Secondly, rechargeable pens are great since you don’t have to concern yourself with hunting down a AAAA battery, but you and I both know we’ll forget to charge that thing more often than not. Again, this new pen solution from Lenovo (and others that follow suit) solves this issue, too. Every time you put the pen away, it is topping itselft up and never leaving you with a dead, unresponsive stylus. It’s the best of both worlds.
As far as I’m concerned, this is the way pens need to ship with mid-to-high-end Chromebooks from now on. Might I be disappointed in the whole thing once a review unit arrives and we get to try it out? Possibly, but I still think this is the proper way to implement an included stylus for Chromebooks in every way possible, and I can’t wait to try it out in the coming weeks.