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Lenovo – Laptops that can take a pounding (and pencil marks)

Last updated:
23rd January 2020

The ThinkPad laptop brand was previously owned by IBM, and attached to models that became popular among business and industry users for their ruggedness and durability. Under current owners Lenovo, the ThinkPad name has now been assigned to a series of laptops aimed squarely at educational users.

As Graham Thomas, senior technologist at Lenovo explained to us, the product line adopts a number of features found on Lenovo devices that meet the US Department of Defence’s military specification (albeit stopping short of devices certified for use in explosive environments). What does that mean in practice? Each model in the line-up is subjected to 75cm drop tests, can withstand 35kg of pressure on both the chassis and screen, and even 15kg of pressure within its ports, so as to prevent them from coming to harm during cavalier USB device use. The keys are also harder to prise off.

The specs vary, but are designed to accommodate the kind of graphics-heavy, rich media applications that have become a fixture in many classroom environments. Some of the devices use Intel Gemini Lake processors, while one model, the 11E, can be specified with an enterprise-grade i5 processor and 8GB of RAM. The form factors include the relatively straightforward 11-inch clamshell 100E, as well as a laptop/tablet convertible. Further up the scale, the 300E and 11E models can be used with digitiser pens that can be docked in the device itself – but that’s not all.

Staff concerned at the thought of said digitiser pens going missing during those art and design lessons can rest easy, since the 300E and 11E’s screens are engineered to allow for digipen-style touchscreen interactions with the aid of standard graphite pencils, without marking the screen. You can find further details at Lenovo’s Education Services pages.