May 07, 2014, 9:56 AM — Chromebooks are about to power up, with a host of manufacturers announcing a slew of new Chromebook models based on Intel chips to be available in the next few months. Which one might be best for you?
Yesterday, Intel held a press event to showcase many new Chromebooks that would be built around its mobile "Bay Trail" Atom chip, the Bay Trail-M. The chip will be labeled a Celeron, which is generally used in lower-cost PCs. It's a sign of how serious Intel is about moving beyond Windows machines and into Chromebooks. Some new Chromebooks will use the more powerful Intel Core i3 chip. Up until now, Chromebooks have been powered by ARM processors, which are less powerful than Intel's new Bay Trail-M or the Core i3.
This means that the next generation of Chromebooks will be more powerful than the first one. And that's good news for anyone looking to buy a Chromebook, including people who already have a first-generation Chromebook and are looking for a more powerful model.
The flood of new Intel-powered machines include those from Lenovo, Dell, Acer, Asus, and Toshiba. So which might be best for you? Details are still sketchy for many of these devices, so there's no way to get a definitive answer. But based on the available information, there are a few devices that look as if they could be standouts.
Lenovo's upcoming N20p Chromebook looks particularly impressive. It's got got a touchscreen and a hinged, convertible design so that it can fold backwards a full 300 degrees. It'll weigh less than 3 pounds, and have an 11.6-in. display with 1366 x 768-pixel resolution. It goes on sale in August and will sell for $329.
Also intriguing is the ThinkPad Yoga 11e, which will be available in June for $429. It's a touch-screen convertible that can do double-duty as tablet or laptop.
Those interested in power should look for the new, updated Dell Chromebook 11 and the updated Acer C720 Chromebook. Both will be powered by Intel’s Core i3 processor, so they should have more oomph than many competing Chromebooks. No pricing is available for the Dell yet, but the Acer is expected to sell for $350.
Those who want screens larger than what has become the standard 11.6-inch Chromebook size will want to consider Asus's 13-inch C300, which should ship some time this summer.
There will be plenty of other Intel-powered Chromebooks, of course. As details become available, I'll clue you in.