If you are looking to buy a new Chromebook, there are plenty of options on the market. But even the models in our selection of the best ones don’t evoke a “wow!” from anyone, especially for their appearance. Someone at CTL had the grand idea of making a Chromebook a conversation starter in the easiest way possible — giving it a see-through plastic shell. We are writing this, so clearly, the strategy is working.
People have been fascinated by transparent technology since the 90s, and it is partly the reason Dbrand’s Teardown skins, the Nothing Ear 2, and Apple’s iMac G3 were instant hits. CTL knows exactly what it is doing with the Chromebook PX11E Secure Edition. The company’s CEO Erik Stromquist says the translucent see-through bottom panel of the notebook can serve as a valuable teaching tool and conversation starter.
Disappointingly, the back cover of the display isn't clear, so the transparency isn't noticeable when you're using the laptop. But the backside of a display isn't much to look at — usually just a boring metal rectangle — so we're not really missing out.
The clear bottom doesn’t have a performance benefit, but makes it easy to visually inspect the machine in case of troubles, and to ensure it wasn’t tampered with. The bottom is held in place with six secure screws sealed with Loctite thread locker, so it is quite tamper resistant, unless you have special tools. Nonetheless, the panel shows off some key components like the battery, CPU heat pipe, So-DIMM memory, USB connectors, motherboard, and storage drives.
The CTL Chromebook PX11E Secure Edition looks quite nice on the spec sheet as well. It comes with an Intel N4500 dual-core processor capped at 2.8GHz, 4GB of DDR4 RAM, and 32GB of eMMC storage. For connectivity, you have Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.0, two USB-C ports, and one USB-A port operating at USB 3.1 speeds. The Chromebook has an 11.6-inch display with 1366 x 768 pixel resolution, and Google will support the model until June 2030. The notebook also has other modern amenities like a webcam, a 180-degree lay-flat hinge, and MIL-STD 810H certification for durability in demanding environments. All these factors make it a solid purchase even if you negate the coolness of the translucent design.
CTL is accepting pre-orders for this funky Chromebook priced at $319, but it is currently discounted to $255. We expect deliveries to begin in the approaching summer.