CES 2016 Chromebook Roundup: Acer CB3-131, Lenovo ThinkPad 13, Samsung Chromebook 3, ASUS C202

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CES 2016 brought announcements of four new Chromebooks from Acer, ASUS, Lenovo, and Samsung. We have scoured every source for the most complete information.

Acer updated its best-selling Chromebook 11 with an IPS screen for the new Acer Chromebook 11 CB3-131. Its expected release date is February 2016.

ASUS added an interesting option for the education sector with its C202, which features a rugged case and a modular keyboard and DC jack. These are two of the most common failure points on any type of notebook, so making them user-replaceable will help keep units from excessive downtime due to repairs. It is the first Chromebook to feature the just-released Intel Braswell N3060 CPU which has a base clock of 1.6GHz. It will be available with either 802.11n or 802.11ac Wi-Fi options, 2GB or 4GB of RAM, and 16GB or 32GB of storage. It is also expected to be released in February.

Samsung is updating its line with the Chromebook 3, which features a Braswell CPU and a 180-degree screen hinge, but no touchscreen option was mentioned. Release information is less specific with “early 2016” as the official line and we assume that means Q1 2016.

Lastly, but not least-interestingly, Lenovo has added to its lineup at CES 2016 with the ThinkPad 13 Chromebook. The model demoed at CES 2016 was a pre-production model and features not just one but two USB 3.0 Type-C ports. One Type-C port is used for charging and the other is for peripherals. The ThinkPad 13 Chromebook also features two USB 3.0 type A ports. Interestingly it does not seem to feature an HDMI port. CPU options were non-specific, but Intel Celeron and Skylake i5 CPUs are supposed to be offered. Some confusion does exist as this same machine will also be offered in a Windows flavor featuring different ports and options (and a different keyboard with TrackPoint which will not be on the Chromebook). Nonetheless, a 1080p screen will be offered on the Chromebook version, but it is unknown whether a wide viewing angle IPS screen will make it to the Chromebook. The base model will feature a 1366×768 TN screen, 4GB of RAM and 16GB of storage. 8GB RAM and 32GB of storage will be optional upgrades. Unfortunately the model on display did not feature a backlit keyboard or a touchscreen; we do not know if those will be available options. There is plenty of time to speculate though, because the ThinkPad Chromebook 13 won’t be released until June of 2016.

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