A few months ago some new code was spotted in the Chromium repository, indicating that the multi-function light bar seen on devices like the Chromebook Pixel and the Pixel C would be making a return. It looks like the first device we're seeing with that functionality is Lenovo's newest Chromebook. The IdeaPad 5i, announced before an all-digital Mobile World Congress, features a light bar on the front of the laptop to display battery charge without needing to open it.
To be clear, Lenovo isn't claiming that this light bar is using that specific feature, and I suppose it's technically possible that the tool could be built in almost pure hardware. But the multi-color battery indicator works in the same way that it did on those older designs, shifting colors from red to green to indicate how much battery remains.
This is a mid-range Chromebook design that maxes out with the latest Core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM, and up to 512GB of storage, though its 14-inch IPS screen is only offered in 1080p resolution. The laptop will come in grey or sand (sort of a dull yellow) color choices, with dual USB-C ports, an optional backlit keyboard, and Wi-Fi 6.
The Ideapad 5i will cost €399 (about $475) when it launches next month.
Lenovo is also announcing a new convertible Chromebook model, the IdeaPad Flex 5i. This 13.3-inch model has a 1080p screen that folds back on itself, but alas, there is no color-changing battery bar. Internal specs are approximately same, including the 10-hour battery, but the Flex 5i will have an optional OLED upgrade. That's rarely seen on Chromebooks.
The IdeaPad Flex 5i will also start at €399, available later this month in at least some territories.
In accessory news, Lenovo is showing off the L15 mobile monitor, a bigger 15.6-inch version of the excellent M14 USB-C-powered screen. With an integrated kickstand base, USB-C ports on both sides, and pass-through capability for charging your laptop via an adapter, the 1080p IPS display will even work with phones and tablets that include DisplayPort over USB capability. The L15 will go on sale in September for €229 ($275).