Just yesterday I was lamenting a bit about the current state of affairs in the Chromebook world: specifically, the lack of device inventory across the board likely caused by the movement of so many workers performing their jobs at home in combination with students participating in remote learning. Right now, more than ever, it is hard to find good deals on Chromebooks both new and old. Just browsing around a bit this morning, I’ve found the situation to be maybe a bit more restrictive than I even considered yesterday, and that’s not great news.
Thankfully, we are actually starting to see some of the new, non-flagship devices getting listed here and there. Some are not available yet and some are tagged as ‘coming soon’, but there is one Chromebook in particular that we found just yesterday that is now available and shipping from a variety of retailers and we thought there are many of you out there that would be very interested in it.
Enter The Lenovo 10e Tablet
While many of us are eagerly awaiting Lenovo’s upcoming Chromebook Duet, the rugged, rough-and-ready brother of this tablet – The Lenovo Chromebook 10e – has quietly shown up and multiple retailers ready for purchase. Truth be told, I found it yesterday afternoon at a Walmart reseller and ordered one immediately, but I wanted to see it actually shipping before I recommended it. That order was cancelled and the listing was subsequently marked as ‘out of stock’, but another showed up in its place and caused me to widen my search a bit. In doing so, I came across a ton of reputable sellers showing the device as in-stock and ready to ship.
Of course, I ordered one and the order is processing as we speak. The prices are varied, but hover around $250, and I’d argue this is a great price for a relatively-slender tablet with solid performance and a great screen. Really, the only difference between this tablet and its thinner sibling is the slightly larger bezels and slightly thicker body.
Comparing the Chromebook 10e with the Chromebook Duet, the 10e comes in at 249.5mm x 164.5mm x 9.45mm and weighs 500 grams. The Duet trims all those measurements down to 239.80mm x 159.80mm x 7.35mm at 450 grams. While the Duet will clearly be a bit thinner and lighter, the 10e won’t exactly be chunky or heavy. For comparison, the reasonably-sized Acer Chromebook Tab 10 measures in at 238.3mm x 172.2mm x 9.9mm and weighs in at 544 grams. In every way that tablet is larger and heavier than the 10e, and it honestly wasn’t unwieldy or uncomfortable to hold at all when we had one around. All told, I’d imagine the 10e will feel quite nice in the hand.
Additionally, the Chromebook 10e is ruggedized and really meant for classroom wear and tear. For the segment of users looking for a durable Chromebook for the kids both for the remainder of the school year and beyond (this device will receive updates until June 2028), this 10.1-inch tablet could be just the device you are looking for. We can’t find the official keyboard anywhere, but the exceptional Logitech K580 and M355 mouse/keyboard combo would work perfectly with this little tablet so long as you have a stand of some sort to prop it up on.
While we’d recommend the Duet tablet for most users over this education-focused model, much of what we love about the Duet is present in the 10e: a brilliant 400-nit IPS display, a great size/weight combo, a very solid processor that should be easy on the battery, and USI pen support. It is unclear at this point how much the 1st-party keyboard will go for when it does become widely available, but in the meantime while Chromebooks at decent prices are scarce, a 3rd party keyboard and mouse will do just fine.
After all, the combination of this tablet’s features, size, and Chrome OS’ maturation in the tablet space should combine to make this and the Duet the first Chrome OS devices that are actually good at being a tablet first and a Chromebook replacement second. We’ll hopefully have ours in the office in the next couple days so I can tell you if that is indeed the case, but we wanted to share some places you can get your hands on this device right now in the event that you are getting a bit desperate looking for a legit, compelling Chromebook in a reality where they are getting harder and harder to find.