While I was doing some digging for another article, I happened across something on Lenovo’s little-known product reference site that caught my eye.
Lenovo’s most recent EDU lineup include the 100e, 300e and very popular 500e. With the exception of the MediaTek-powered 300e, the other models are powered by the now-aging Apollo Lake chipsets that consist of the dual-core N3350 and quad-core N3450.
All-in-all, they are all three great devices in their own right and I’m sure many schools are still looking at them for upcoming purchases as they make their 2019-2020 budgets.
I almost overlooked my discovery on Lenovo’s site until I circled back one last time and noticed all three models were listed alongside “2nd Gen” variants.
A quick glance at the specs (and images) didn’t reveal any specific upgrades or changes sans one. All three E-series Chromebooks are now equipped with the latest Intel Gemini Lake processors. These are the same chips that are powering some of the new EDU models from the likes of Acer and HP that were announced between CES and BETT London.
While this doesn’t come as much of a surprise, there are a couple of things that stand out in the listings.
First, the Lenovo Chromebook 300e is essentially a variation of the C330 which is just a newer version of the Flex11/N23. Apart from some storage options, the devices are nearly identical and I was a bit surprised that Lenovo opted to move to an Intel chip instead of upgrading to the octa-core MT8183 that is currently being used in Chrome OS development.
Second, none of these devices are currently listed as being available in the U.S. market. I’m sure that will change when the devices are officially announced but at the moment, there are model numbers specific to a number of EMEA and a few outlying countries.
I found a handful of “out of stock” listings for the devices and it looks as though they should come in around the same price-point as their 1st gen predecessors which is a big deal. The specs may not have changed but the upgrade to Gemini Lake could bring significant performance boosts to the rugged Chromebook.
I’ve reached out to my contacts at Lenovo for any official news on the 2nd Generation Chromebooks and will update as soon as we hear anything.
Update: Upon further investigation, it looks as though the 2nd Gen 300e Chromebook will actually come in two varations. The original MediaTek processor from the Flex 11 and the Gemini Lake N4000 chipsets are both listed on Google’s Auto Update Policy Page.