Lenovo C340 & S340 Chromebooks Reinforce Budget Tier Before IFA 2019

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Lenovo is looking to break out no fewer than three new budget-friendly Chromebooks ahead of IFA 2019, including two new models under the C340 branding and one under the S340 branding.

Based on the naming conventions used and size of each model, the devices are follow-ups to last year's "C" and "S" series Chrome OS gadgets, launched around the same time last year. As with those other devices, there are plenty of similarities between the laptops. There are also a significant number of variances between them and plenty of improvements over the above-mentioned C330 or S330 family of gadgets.

Those advances go well beyond the internals too, starting with a newly refined design used in each of these devices. The general shape has been kept the same but with slimmed back bezels and casing compared to the previous series entries, as well as a smoother and more modern, squared-off aesthetic.

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Taken in combination, Lenovo could easily have another design win on its hands with this year's releases.

The similarities between the new devices — dubbed the Lenovo Chromebook C340-11, C340-15, and S340-14 –stretch across more than just design language though.

Split between the left and right edges of the frame are two USB 3.1 Type-C Gen 1 ports. Those are included on each of the new Chromebooks, as is the 3.5mm audio combo jack and microSD card reader. Each of the Lenovo-branded gadgets, with the exception of the C340-15, features two more USB 3.1 ports for Type-A USB plugs.

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On the bottom of each gadget's standard full-size Chrome OS keyboard, two 2W stereo speakers are included and the final consistent external feature between the three is a 720p webcam.

Lenovo Chromebook C340 converts and comes in two sizes

The first of Lenovo's new device series is its C340. That comes as either a Lenovo Chromebook C340-11 or C340-15. The biggest similarities between these two gadgets are going to be in terms of external design language. In terms of pure aesthetics, both are effectively identical in appearance with only minor differences.

In fact, the most obvious differentiator is going to be the size. As suggested by branding, the Lenovo Chromebook C340-11 is an 11.6-inch gadget while the Chromebook C340-15 is a 15-inch device. The former also only comes with up to an HD display panel.

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Both are built on a hinged design and fit squarely in the 2-in-1 category. That means that they can be used in a tent, stand, tablet, or clamshell configuration as needed.

There are significant differences on the outside that may go unnoticed at first glance, however. While the similarities don't end with design, these are two very different devices.

The most notable variance is that the Lenovo Chromebook C340-11 measures in at 290 x 207.8mm by just over 0.7-inches thick. It weighs 2.6 lbs. That's decidedly smaller than the 14-inch Lenovo Chromebook C340-14. Lenovo has also launched the smaller of its two convertibles in two eye-catching colors to set the gadgets apart too. Those are Platinum Gray and Sand Pink.

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On the inside, the Lenovo Chromebook C340-11 is powered by up to an Intel Celeron N4000 processor backed by up to a whopping 8GB LPDDR4 RAM. Storage is the standard eMMC type but is available with a capacity up to 65GB. The battery driving that hardware, in all three new Chromebook series, is rated at up to 10-hours between charges.

Lenovo's C340-15 isn't actually that similar to its 11-inch friend

Lenovo Chromebook C340-15

The larger of the Lenovo Chromebook C340 laptops, the new Chromebook C340-15 is also the most powerful of the OEMs new budget Chromebooks appearing ahead of IFA 2019. Available in a Mineral Grey coloration, it also bears the least resemblance to the trio of new budget Lenovo Chromebooks.

Front and center on the C340-15 is its 15.6-inch touchscreen display available with up to an FHD resolution. That's packed into a frame measuring 361.5 x 248.85mm and just under three-quarters of an inch thick. The primary differentiator on the outside, aside from size, is that this device only features a single standard USB Type-A port.

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That may be something of a caveat but what's on the inside is a different story entirely. Lenovo is selling its Chromebook C340-15 with up to an eighth-gen Intel Core i3-8130U Processor. That's a chip featuring 4M Cache and clocked at up to 3.40 GHz. Backing up that powerhouse is 4GB DDR4 RAM and up to 128GB storage.

That all makes this a real contender in the world of Chromebooks on both the productivity and entertainment fronts.

The one aspect of the new device that could hold it back, aside from its relatively large size, is its weight. The Lenovo Chromebook C340-15 tips the scales at a fairly high 4.37 lbs.

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Chromebook S340-14 is a clamshell laptop with style to spare

The Lenovo Chromebook S340-14 shares most of its characteristics with the Chromebook C340-11. It features the same number of ports, the same processor, and is identical in terms of available storage and memory. It's also a clamshell-style device built on a lay-flat hinge.

Dimensions for the Chromebook S340-14 fall more in line with the Lenovo Chromebook C340-15, however. The gadget weighs in at 3.09 lbs and measures 328.9 x 234.3mm with a thickness of just 0.74-inches. The display panel is closer to that found on its larger counterpart too, measuring 14-inches and with up to an FHD resolution available.

While it may not be the most powerful of the trio of new Lenovo budget laptops to launch ahead of IFA 2019, it is arguably going to be the most stylish. That's because Lenovo is launching the Chromebook S340-14 in both a more reserved Onyx Black and a stunning burgundy color it calls Dark Orchid.

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Staggering launches at respectable price points

Following on last year's trend with Lenovo's budget-friendly Chromebooks, the non-convertible S340-14 will be the most affordable of the new models. In fact, at a suggested retail of just under $250, it's priced exactly as its predecessor was. The clamshell-style device will also be among the first of the new Lenovo Chromebooks to land on the market. Lenovo expects to begin selling its Chromebook S340-14 in September.

Conversely, the 11-inch Lenovo Chromebook C340 has gone up by $10 compared to the previous model, landing at just under $290. That will become available for purchase in September too, although the OEM hasn't specified when that will be. So Lenovo could plan to launch the new budget Chromebooks during or after IFA 2019.

Lenovo is launching the last of the three Chromebooks, the Chromebook C340-15, a bit later. Sales on the 15-inch model are expected to kick off in October. That will also be priced to match its more capable mid-range internals at $429.99 to start.