Lenovo N22 Touch Chromebook review: Built tough for education, but works wherever you need it

Hardware Reviews / Reviews

If you’re looking for a rugged, spill-resistant Chromebook with good battery life and a touchscreen, you shouldn’t have to look too much further.

As Chromebooks become more and more prevalent in both school and home use, you’re bound to see more and more Chromebooks out in the wild. Companies have realized that Chromebooks are an attractive option for a lot of uses, and have adjusted their catalogs accordingly. The Lenovo N22 Touch Chromebook is one of the newest on the block. Does this device bring anything new and exciting to the table? Keep reading this full review to find out.

Specifications

The Lenovo N22 Touch Chromebook as tested includes the following features and specifications:

  • Processor: Intel Celeron N3060
  • Graphics: HD Graphics 400
  • Memory: 4 GB Memory
  • Display: 11.6″ HD IPS Touch Display
  • Storage: 16GB EMMC
  • WLAN & Bluetooth: WIFI 2X2 AC, BT4.1
  • Ports: 2x USB 3.0 Type-A, 1x HDMI, 1x Card Reader 2-in-1, 1x Headphone Jack
  • Camera: 720p 1.0M HD Camera (rotates)
  • Keyboard: English (US)
  • Audio: Speakers (x 2)
  • Operating System: Chrome OS
  • Battery: 3 Cell 45 WH Battery (Rated 10 Hrs.)
  • Dimensions/ Weight: 17.20 x 12.00 x 3.10 Inches / 2.8 lbs.
  • Case Materials/Color: Plastic / Black

What’s in the Box

  • Lenovo N22 Chromebook Touch
  • AC Adapter
  • Quick setup guide and Warranty Info

Design

At first glance, the Lenovo N22 Touch Chromebook just kind of looks like any other semi-rugged laptop/Chromebook. The outer case is a black lightly textured plastic that provides pretty good grip when holding the Chromebook. The lid has the Lenovo name mark in one corner with the ChromeOS logo and name mark in the opposite corner. The lid is just very slightly smaller than the base of the Chromebook. This, combined with the reinforced corners and overall solid construction provide additional protection for this Chromebook from the occasional bump or drop.

The left side of the base includes the power input, HDMI output, one USB port, a 2-in-1 card reader, and the headphone jack. The right side has one more USB port as well as a Kensington lock port. Each side also includes one small speaker grill near the front of the device. The bottom has four large rubber feet that keep the base up off of the table/floor and also provide a bit more protection.

You might think that would be enough for the outside of the Chromebook, but we’re not done yet! The lid also includes a small seam where the included 720p webcam is located. The camera rotates 180° to work as a webcam or a back camera. I’ll discuss that in greater detail in later sections. This is a Chromebook that is geared more towards education, and small hands may not be as comfortable carrying a laptop. Lenovo has included a handle along the back of the case that sits flush with the rest of the case when not in use. Even for big kids like me, it’s a nice way to easily carry your laptop from one place to another.

The handle is an unexpected, but nice way to carry your Chromebook around.

Opening the lid, you’ll find the 11.6” touchscreen on top, along with the rotating webcam and several rubberized reinforcements to once again help in the event of a bump or fall. The Lenovo name mark is on the lower left just below the screen while the N22 Touch model is in the lower right corner directly under the screen. The bottom, of course, includes the keyboard and touchpad. The keyboard is water-resistant, and the touchpad is sealed to further protect from moisture and spills. Otherwise, you’ll find a pretty standard Chromebook keyboard.

Display

The 11.6” touch display on the N22 Touch Chromebook is bright and easy to read with its 1366 x 768 resolution. We can always pine for higher resolutions but for this machine, its included resolution is more than enough. Too much higher resolution on a smaller screen like this and words and icons will be harder to read and see. Higher resolution also equals higher price, so there’s a definite line to walk in that regard. The good news is, the display here looks very good. Text is crisp and easy to read, movies and YouTube videos look good. Typed text is clear and easy to work with. There is a relatively large bezel around the outside of the display, though this is another feature meant to help ruggedize this Chromebook.

Software/Ecosystem

The good news here is that ChromeOS is ChromeOS across any device that runs it. Yes, there are the occasional models that will also run Android apps, but the software experience is otherwise pretty consistent across the board. If you can run it in a Chrome browser tab, you can run it in ChromeOS. You’ll also have the ability to download Chrome apps and improve your Chromebook experience even further. ChromeOS has been stable practically forever, and it continues to be stable on the N22 Touch. OS updates will still download automatically and are applied when you’re ready with a simple reboot.

ChromeOS is still a fantastic way to interact with your Google apps, and you’ll even be able to download your Google Play Movies and TV shows for offline viewing. Chromebooks are great machines for those that really just need a web browser and get along great with Google services.

Performance

The great news with Chromebooks is that you’ll get pretty solid performance even on relatively low-end hardware. Thankfully that’s not a problem here at all. The Intel Celeron processor partnered with 4GB of RAM provide solid performance for the types of things that Chromebooks are capable of.

The touchscreen is accurate and responsive. While the Chromebook does not fold flat into a tablet configuration, the touchscreen will be helpful if the Google Play store and Android app support are added in the future (which they should be).

The keyboard is comfortable to type on, and the trackpad is fast and accurate. You won’t have any issues keeping up even with multiple tabs open.

Speakers/Sound

The side-firing speakers do have some benefits over the bottom-mounted speakers that most laptops use. Specifically, they’re better if you’re using the N22 on your actual lap, where bottom-firing speakers usually struggle. You’re still not going to get the best sound experience from the internal speakers here, but that’s probably not on the top of the list of use cases for this machine. The occasional YouTube video will sound OK, but for any extended video watching, movie streaming, or other audio-intensive applications, you’re probably going to want a pair of headphones or external speaker.

Camera

More often than not, the camera on a Chromebook isn’t going to be much to write home about. They’re serviceable, but not too flashy. The N22 takes that in a slightly different direction with its rotating webcam. I’m still not one to condone taking photos with a laptop/Chromebook, but this is a feature that might be helpful for students, allowing them to snap a quick photograph of a teacher’s lecture notes, a group project outline, or other such activities.

The camera in its default position

The 720P webcam itself works as a webcam should, taking a relatively clear photo or video for video chatting.

The camera rotated 180°

Battery Life

I’ve had pretty spectacular battery life with nearly every Chromebook I’ve ever used, and that streak definitely continues here. Lenovo expects you’ll see up to 10 hours of battery life per charge on the touch-enabled version of the N22, and you should be able to get pretty close under normal use. You may need to knock the screen brightness down slightly to achieve best results, but even at around 50% brightness, I could easily get 10-12 hours per charge, exceeding Lenovo’s estimates.

Watching movies, either streamed or downloaded and stored on the N22, will knock that overall total down a bit, as will streaming music and other multimedia sorts of activities. General browsing, typing, and the occasional YouTube video, however, should definitely give you at least a full day of use.

Price/Value

The MSRP for the Lenovo N22 Touch Chromebook is $230, which really isn’t a bad price for what you’re getting. A rugged, spill-resistant Chromebook with good battery life at that price point isn’t bad at all. You can, however, get an even better deal right now at Amazon, where the 16GB version this Chromebook (as tested) is available for $179.99. At that price, this device is a steal.

Wrap Up

You’ve got options when it comes to your next Chromebook. They come in all kinds of sizes, shapes, and with all variety of different options. If you’re looking for a rugged, spill-resistant Chromebook with good battery life and a touchscreen, you shouldn’t have to look too much further.

Lenovo N22 Touch Chromebook Review
4.5 Out of 5
Nailed it
The rugged construction and spill-resistant keyboard are nice touches. The handle is an unexpected but nice inclusion for carrying this Chromebook around.
Needs Work
The rotating camera can be a bit tough to rotate, occasionally feels like it isn't the strongest connection.
Bottom Line
This is definitely a solid Chromebook with a lot going for it. You really can't beat the current sale prize on Amazon either.
Design4.75
Display4.50
Software/Ecosystem5.00
Performance4.50
Speakers/Sound4.00
Camera(s)4.00
Battery Life4.50
Price/Value4.75
*We were sent a review unit of The Lenovo N22 Touch Chromebook for the purposes of this review.
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