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Acer and Lenovo unveiled several new notebooks and Chromebooks for students at the Florida Educational Technology Conference (FETC) Thursday, January 22.  The models are expected to become available by spring of this year, right on time for deployment in the fall.  Let’s take a look at the new crop of laptops for students.

Two New Acer Chromebooks—the C740 and C910

With its 11.6-inch display, the Acer C740 is the smaller of the two new Chromebooks. Its compact build makes it ideal for carrying around in a school bag. Additionally it features metal hinges that secure the display to the keyboard, meant to withstand the recklessness in which many students treat their equipment—whether that’s grabbing the Chomebook by the display, or stuffing it between heavy textbooks in a backpack.

The hardware specifications offer a few upgrades to last year’s popular Acer C720 Chromebook, namely a leveled-up Broadwell-U processor, either the Intel Core i3-5005U or the Celeron 3205U. The 740 comes with 2 GB or 4 GB of system memory, and 16 GB of internal storage.

Both the Acer C740, and its big brother, the 15.6-inch Acer C910, have reinforced chassis tested to withstand an eighth grader sitting on it (130 pounds of force), with the corners standing up to a 17-inch drop. The Acer C910 comes with 4 GB of system memory and either 16 GB or 32 GB of internal storage, and otherwise has the same specs as the smaller model.

Both are expected to become available in February at a price point around $300.

Lenovo announces ruggedized update to the Yoga 11e

Lenovo announced school-focused updates to its ThinkPad Yoga 11e notebook line, with its noted four-mode (laptop, stand, tent, tablet) style of operation. The new ThinkPad underwent rigorous MilSpec (the same deployed by the US Armed Forces) durability testing for weathering sand, temperature variations, humidity, and mechanical shock.

The specifications remain essentially the same (11.6-inch monitor, lightweight at 3.3 pounds) save the upgraded processor, which is now also a Broadwell-U Intel Core i3. Other variations of the ThinkPad 11e will feature AMD APUs, possibly something on par with a lower-grade AMD Kaveri, though that has yet to be official.

Higher-end models will be available with the ActivePen stylus that is said to more accurately mimic note-taking with a pen and paper. ThinkPads come installed with Windows 8.1, which make them popular in schools operating in a Windows IT environment.

The updated ThinkPad Yoga11e is expected to become available in April at retail price of around $600

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Let us know—what features make the best laptops for students?

Photos from Acer and Lenovo
Laptops for Students: Acer and Lenovo Add Durability Features, Processor Upgrades
Article Name
Laptops for Students: Acer and Lenovo Add Durability Features, Processor Upgrades
The newest crop of laptops for students feature rugged durability features and processor upgrades--let's take a look at new models from Acer and Lenovo.
Adam Lovinus

Author Adam Lovinus

A tech writer and Raspberry Pi enthusiast from Orange County, California.

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