Most of Lenovo’s ThinkPad laptops come with Intel chips. While that remains the case, a new ThinkPad 11e model is also being offered with an optional Advanced Micro Devices chip.
The new ThinkPad Yoga 11e can be a laptop or tablet, while the ThinkPad 11e laptops can resist liquid spills and absorb shock if dropped to the ground. The laptops are targeted at students, teachers and schools, but any consumer will be able to buy them from Lenovo’s website.
Laptop makers are paying more attention to the education market, which is slowly being gobbled up by low-cost Chromebooks. Lenovo’s new laptops run on the Windows 8.1 operating system, though the company in the past has shipped ThinkPad 11e models with Chrome OS.
Due to popular demand, Lenovo has offered mainly Intel chips in laptops and put AMD processors in only a handful of laptops, like the Z50. The low-cost ThinkPad X131e and Edge laptops, which had AMD chips, sold well years ago, but have been discontinued.
The new ThinkPad laptops can be bought with Intel’s fifth-generation Core i processors, while the ThinkPad 11e is also available with processors from AMD.
AMD this week reported a decline in PC chip revenue, and is now looking to rebound as the PC market returns to stability. AMD said it needs more PC design wins to perk up chip revenue, and Lenovo’s use of its chips in the ThinkPad 11e may help.
The Yoga 11e is a laptop first, but can also be a tablet if the screen is flipped around 360 degrees. The model, which starts at US$699, has a touchscreen based on Corning’s Gorilla Glass 3, which protects the display from scratches and cracks. The hybrid has adapted a design from other Yoga models, which are also used for entertainment.
The ThinkPad 11e is more a conventional laptop built for bumps and bruises. It comes with a set of cloud and education applications, and is designed for use in classrooms. The laptop weighs 1.5 kilograms, and is pretty thick at just under 25.4 millimeters.
The laptops will ship in April.
Lenovo earlier rolled out a series of laptops at International CES, highlighted by the ThinkPad X1 Carbon and X250. All of the new laptops had Intel’s new Core chips based on the Broadwell microarchitecture.