back to article Vulture trails claw across Lenovo's touchy N20p Chromebook

A friend recently introduced me to a North West fast-food tradition called half-and-half. That’s chips, rice and curry sauce to those of us born and raised in the more enlightened parts of the realm. It’s not a combination I’d considered before, but truth be told it’s a pleasant repast. Especially after a beer or three. Lenovo …

  1. sabroni Silver badge

    Yeah but...

    ...can I wipe it and put PROPER Windows on there?

    1. Captain Scarlet Silver badge

      Re: Yeah but...

      With 16GB of storage it'll need to be put on a diet to fit in it.

      1. sabroni Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: With 16GB of storage it'll need to be put on a diet to fit in it.

        Right, 95 it is then!!

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    But isn't the whole USP for a Chromebook

    that you store EVERYTHING in the Cloud where Google can peruse it a will?

    With that premise, 16Gb is more than enough for everyone isn't it?

    Then there is the Glossy Screen. Well a matte screen cover will deal with that but the ancient 1366x768 screen is really taking the piss these days. sure the device is cheap at less than £300 but in this day an age you really need to make this device standout from the herd otherwise this is more of the 'Meh' bits of kit.

    Come on Lenovo, improve the screen res and add a few quid to the price. I'm sure that it will sell more that others with similar specs.

    1. jason 7

      Re: But isn't the whole USP for a Chromebook

      Actually that res on a 11" screen isn't that bad. I do not abide it on anything larger however.

      1600x900 should be the minimum on any laptop screen nowadays IMO.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: But isn't the whole USP for a Chromebook

      The point is, Chromebooks encourage users to store stuff in the cloud, as most users are plebs that don't understand the importance of backups until it's too late.

      The SD card is a reminder it's REMOVABLE storage.

  3. Charlie Clark Silver badge

    North West slur

    I do hope that Alun Taylor will take you outside and enlighten you some more.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    SD card

    Micro SD card with half height adaptor works perfectly on my Samsung. Adafruit supply adaptors.

    1. Stuart 22

      Re: SD card

      "Micro SD card with half height adaptor works perfectly on my Samsung. Adafruit supply adaptors."

      Thanks for that. Will get one.

      Currently I use 64Gb Sandisk nano USBs. They are so tiny and rounded that they only project 5mm or so and can stay in when I pack it away in its sleeve.

      Touchscreen has to be a good thing. Doesn't matter how many time I tell SWMBO she still screen touches my Samsung Chromebook. Makes it a right mess for no gain.

  5. Voland's right hand Silver badge

    The SD card design is deliberate

    The SD design is mandated by the Chocolate Factory, so that you do not use this as a permanent storage expansion and keep all of your goodies in the cloud for monetization. This is on purpose, same as crippling the kernel and exterminating with extreme prejudice all of traces of network filesystems. Though shalt consume and by consuming though shalt be monetized.

    Otherwise it looks like a good choice for a travel laptop once the default firmware has been wiped and replaced by Ubuntu. It probably will not require the level of surgery I had to do on the Samsung arm chromebook (I even had to write my own power manager to suspend it correctly on lid close, none of the stock ones work on that abomination).

    If I was not quite happy with the HP TouchSmart which has an identical spec, replaceable drive (replaced with 500G hybird already), replaceable RAM (8G in) and better GPU (radeon), runs under Debian (or Winhoze) with no objections, I would have considered it for a Christmas stocking filler.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: The SD card design is deliberate

      "I had to do on the Samsung arm chromebook (I even had to write my own power manager to suspend it correctly on lid close, none of the stock ones work on that abomination)."

      Surely the issue is the lack of correctly functioning drivers for the hardware, not the hardware itself?

      1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

        Re: The SD card design is deliberate

        Surely the issue is the lack of correctly functioning drivers for the hardware, not the hardware itself?

        Hardware design is "interesting". Instead of a normal unified power management controller the LID is on a separate IRQ which is not something which is handled by the normal IO. However, lid open/lid close is still presented on the input subsystem so the power manager detects a lid close from there, suspends the beast only to be immediately awaken by the lid IRQ which is in the list of IRQs allowed to wake it up.

        So a "driver" is not enough. The drivers function correctly and the events are correct. The problem is the underlying design which supplies more than one event source in a manner which nobody else understands and is inherently susceptible to race conditions. As this is an arm soc which has the "design feature" of a dedicated lid IRQ (it is not even a GPIO pin), getting that folded into the normal input driver is actually non-trivial.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The SD card design is deliberate

      I would believe that if it wasn't for the fact that the slot is exactly the same size on the Macbook Air and the Macbook pro retina. The less paranoid explanation is that SD cards are now quite unnecessarily large, micro SD cards are a bit fragile, and perhaps both Apple and Google expect the market to provide. Which it has done.

      The battle is lost to preserve the correct meaning of monetisation (which originally meant to use something as a currency; it isn't a fancy way of writing "to make money") but perhaps it's worth pointing out that non-cloud storage also has a cost - all those sd cards, usb sticks and spinning discs add up. If you can live with cloud storage it is incredibly convenient. If you want a small laptop that behaves as if it has a fast CPU and is very cheap (Chromebook), then there will be tradeoffs. As my Samsung cost a quarter as much as my daughter's Macbook Air, does more or less the same job and shows no signs of slowdown or running out of storage (and has survived the same number of hard drops undamaged), and has a significantly better touchpad, I'm prepared to live with those tradeoffs.

      1. sabroni Silver badge

        Re: The battle is lost to preserve the correct meaning of monetisation

        and "curate's egg". Apparently another phrase for "a bit shit" is more valuable than a specific one for "they say bits are ok but it actually has no redeeming features"...

      2. Francis Boyle Silver badge


        Since "monetisation" as it's now used doesn't mean "to make money" but to "find a way of making money from something" you could argue that i's just a metaphorical use of your preferred meaning. Short of setting up a government department to enforce poetic licences you can't stop people using metaphor.

  6. This post has been deleted by its author

  7. Paul Crawford Silver badge

    Biggest gripe

    My biggest gripe with Chromebooks is actually the keyboard, more specifically the lack of Ins/Del/Home/End keys. Even with a web page, having to scroll all the way to top or bottom rather than using the Home/End is a major irritation.

    Having said that, for a few folk I know they are ideal: cheap, simple, and virtually nothing to do to keep them running infestation-free, and not having a dozen or so updaters running in the background (of which they can't even explain what half of the stuff was installed for).

    Accepting that Google's slurping is an infestation of sorts, of course...

  8. Caff

    half and half

    Here in Ireland that'd be a 3in1, for the extra post pub kick though go for a 4in1 by adding a portion of chicken ( or other meat ) balls to it.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: half and half

      Have to give that a try tomorrow evening.

    2. Shrimpling

      Re: half and half

      In my world the half and half part just refers to a half portion of Chips with a half portion of Rice... the curry sauce to go with them can be replaced by pretty much any Asian take away food.

    3. The Jon

      Re: half and half

      Possibly the most northern thing I ever overheard:

      - Chips and gravy please.

      - Sorry, we don't do gravy.

      - What!? Has tha nowt moist?

  9. gptgpt

    They Stole My RAM?

    4GB of RAM for Blighty but only 2GB for us Yanks. Pass...

  10. gptgpt

    Where's The RAM?

    4GB of RAM for Blighty but only 2GB for us Yanks? Pass...

    1. cosymart

      Re: Where's The RAM?

      In the field with the sheep, probably doing what rams do best...

  11. Notional Semidestructor

    Not that impressed with the Lenovo....

    The CPU is the Intel N2833 - our recently-purchased bargain price Acer C720s have the 2955U - which (according to the benchmark sites) seems to offer some 50% more welly. Not that speedy, unless I'm missing something. Fanless is good, though.

    Certainly the Acer is very snappy indeed, so maybe the 2833 is just good enough.

    Paid around £100 less than this beast (at Morgan), so we're less than impressed with the Lenovo cpu spec, especially since dual-booting Linux is part of the plan for our Chromebooks.

    Tried the Acer C720P touch screen version in a shop - didn't find the touch panel added that much for our use case, although I'd enjoy playing with it as a zero-cost option. Probably not for long, though - I hate a smeary screen.

    Linux desktops can work well with touch screen machines - we have an ancient IX250 laptop-with-touchscreen (P3 CPU @ 350MHz, 256MB RAM) working just fine, as well as a similarly-powered (and similarly ancient) Research Machines Tablet which came with XP Tablet Edition, now dual booting Linux.

    You can't open 26 browser tabs at once wth 256 MB RAM, but otherwise they're surprisingly usable.

    'Bodhi Linux' has a special build for the Acer 720 so we plan to try dual-booting it, and then add more storage if it works as well as it seems to on other peoples machines.

  12. dave 93

    I am impressed too

    I was finally tempted to see what all this Chromebook malarkey was like in the real world, and this Lenovo n20p has been a very pleasant surprise. Boots from cold in three seconds (as a 30 year computer user this is still awesome to experience!) and it is perfectly fast enough for you never to notice.

    As the reviewer says, the sensitivity and accuracy of the touchscreen and trackpad is very good, and you do actually use the folded, touch only mode a lot, especially as it goes all iPad on you with auto screen rotation, and instant on-screen keyboard. Can't wait for more Android apps to get ported. I am sure Apple has the same plan for Safari and iOS apps - they would be silly not to.

    Seems pretty robust so far, and it looks fairly classy. I might check out the low profile micro SD card, but to be honest, it is just a window into your Google account where all the files can live happily and it hasn't been an issue, especially with the free 200GB. The limited viewing angle is a bit primitive, but is was only 230 quid.

    Get one, if you want a touchscreen chromebook, that is.... :-)

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