It’s raining Broadwell upgrades, and Lenovo’s ThinkPad 11e forgot its umbrella

Lenovo has already shown tremendous support for Intel’s fifth-generation Broadwell processors at CES by cramming them inside a bunch of refreshed laptops and convertibles, but apparently that was just the beginning.

Another classic in the market leader’s PC roster is today getting a Broadwell rejuvenation, going up against Acer’s just-announced education-targeted Chromebooks. The 2015 ThinkPad 11e even shares a footprint with the C740, and is similarly constructed “with the rigors of daily classroom activity in mind.”

Lenovo has pushed the durability of the ThinkPad 11e beyond what’s needed in most (peaceful) academic establishments, making the 11.6-incher muscular enough to handle drops, bumps and spills, as well as extreme temperatures, humidity, and “increased” sandy and dusty conditions.

The best thing about the ThinkPad 11e’s design is it doesn’t look overly aggressive or chunky. In fact, it’s exactly as thin and light as its predecessor, at under an inch and 3.3 pounds respectively.

Like last year, you’ll be able to choose between traditional laptop and multi-mode convertible Yoga configurations. One option Lenovo isn’t offering anymore, though, is a model with Chrome OS running the show, which is odd, given the blossoming popularity of Chromebooks in the education sector.

Powered by Windows 8.1 and only Windows, the ThinkPad 11e and Yoga 11e promise to deliver twice as much raw speed as their Celeron-packing ancestors, courtesy of Intel Broadwell chips. But if it’s affordability you’re primarily looking for, AMD models will also be sold, presumably based on 28 nm Kaveri APUs.

For the most part, the rest of the specifications are kept under wraps, although HD (768, not 1080p) screen resolution is likely, and so is extra protection of Yoga 11e’s touch-enabled display with Corning Gorilla Glass 3.

Due out in April, the ThinkPad 11e is priced at $549 and up, while the bendy Yoga 11e shall start at $699. Considerably north of what Acer plans to charge for the C740 Chromebook 11, but hey, Lenovo is offering a full Windows machine.

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