- Good performance
- Comfortable keyboard
- Colorful display
- Weak battery life
- Limited viewing angles
- Subpar speakers
Good performance, a durable slim design and a comfortable keyboard makes the Lenovo Ideapad 100 a worthwhile budget device. However, if you need a laptop for travel, you may want to consider something else given the device’s weak battery life.
The Lenovo Ideapad 100 is an ideal choice for those that need a Windows PC, but aren’t looking to spend a fortune. This 14-inch budget laptop offers a slim and portable design with enough power from its Intel Celeron CPU to complete simple computing tasks with efficiency and ease. Let’s not forget the high-quality keyboard makes using this device far more comfortable than most budget laptops. However, the Ideapad 100’s impressive value is marred by the laptop’s weak battery life and subpar speakers.
Does the Ideapad’s performance and overall quality outweigh its weak battery life? Read the full review to find out.
Build and Design
As expected of budget device, the Lenovo Ideapad 100 doesn’t look all that flashy. The laptop sports a black plastic matte chassis design. The lid is rounded at the corners and braised at the top with silver “lenovo” lettering resting at the top-left hand corner. While the textured design does offer excellent grip, the lid easily attracts fingerprints, creating unseemly visible streak marks.
Measuring 13.4 x 9.3 x 0.8 inches the IdeaPad 100 offers decent portability. At 0.8-inches it’s not incredibly thin, but it’s easy enough to carry and should fit in most laptop bags, carrying cases. However, at 3.2 pounds the laptop is a bit heavier than some of its counterparts, such as the Acer Chromebook 15, which at 2.95 pounds is considerably lighter despite the larger display.
Ports and Connectivity
One of the noticeable weak points for the Ideapad 100 is its limited port selection. The laptop is devoid of ports on the right side of the device, while the left side is packed with an HDMI connector, an Ethernet jack, a USB 3.0 port and a USB 2.0 port. Those ports are all congested and competing for space; it would have been nice to see them spread over both sides of the notebook. Still, the inclusion of an Ethernet port is a nice addition considering that more and more budget laptops are losing the wired connection to the Internet.
Screen and Speakers
The Ideapad 100 features a 14.1-inch HD (1366 x 768) display. The lower resolution is a bit of a let down, but ultimately expected given the laptop’s price point. The glossy finish is prone to reflections but creates a bright and vivid picture that’s perfect for working or surfing the web. Notebook Review staff members were impressed by this budget laptop’s ability to accurately depict the various tones of grey and brown in the opening sequence of the new Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailer. A lot of budget notebooks have faded, dull colors but the colors from the Lenovo Ideapad 100’s glossy panel are saturated and vibrant.
Of course there are other issues with the glossy screen, namely its limited viewing angles. With a brightness of 260 nits the Lenovo Ideapad 100 holds up alright under typical indoor lighting conditions and shouldn’t produce too much of glare when viewed from a head-on angle. However, outdoors or in direct light the colors quickly become dim and the screen produces overpowering reflections. As with most TN-type display panels, images hold up only to about 40 or 50 degrees off of center before colors begin to appear washed out or inverted. The image quality is frankly quite terrible past 90 degrees.
While we understand the need for a low-cost display panel on a budget laptop, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to put up with poor viewing angles on laptops when even some cheap tablets have IPS touchscreen displays with wider viewing angles.
The laptop’s speakers are located on the deck just above the device’s keyboard. Unfortunately, the device offers minimal volume output even with those top facing speakers. The Ideapad 100 should be sufficient for personal use, but will struggle to fill a room with sound. In addition to providing minimal amplification of audio, the speakers inside the Ideapad 100 consistently suffered from distortion and struggled to depict an orchestral soundtrack.
Keyboard and Touchpad
The Lenovo Ideapad 100 houses a chiclet-style keyboard. The black squared keys are rounded at the edges and textured at the top for added grip. The keyboard affords excellent spacing with generously sized keys and each key has generous travel for a budget device. While the feedback isn’t exactly forceful it is consistent and allows users to comfortably fall into a typing pattern. All of this comes together to offer a pleasurable typing experience, not often found on budget laptops.
The touchpad on the other hand proves to be more of a mixed bag. Located directly below the keyboard’s space bar, the touchpad utilizes the same rough material found on the rest of the deck. The plastic surface is both hard and coarse, yet surprisingly affords decent travel making it easy enough to swipe and click. Multi-finger gestures prove to be more problematic as the two-finger scrolling often stutters on web-pages and the pinch-zoom command will frequently fail to read. Just below the touchpad is a single plastic bar, that offers both right and left mouse click buttons. The bar dividing left and right clicks is dead in the center, making it easy enough for users to gauge where they need click.