Dan Ackerman leads elaopa.org"s coverage of computers và gaming hardware. A new york native & former radio DJ, he"s also a semi-regular TV talking head và the tác giả of "The Tetris Effect" (Hachette/PublicAffairs), a non-fiction gaming and business history book that has earned rave review from the new york Times, Fortune, LA reviews of Books, and many other publications."Upends the standard Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs/Mark Zuckerberg technology-creation myth... The story shines." -- The thành phố new york Times

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There was a time, not too many years ago, when $999 was considered the cutoff price for a budget laptop. How times, and expectations, have changed. Today, along with $50 Amazon Fire tablets & sub-$200 smartphones, it"s possible to lớn get a reasonably functional PC experience for much less than you might think.

The Lenovo 100S has a colorful, fingerprint-resistant shell, a great keyboard and excellent battery life.
Without a touchscreen, the outdated touchpad is even more frustrating. It will slow down under moderate workloads, & the low-resolution screen is as basic as it gets.
The Lenovo Ideapad 100S has the best keyboard we"ve seen on a low-budget laptop, & more than enough battery life to get through day, but a dated touchpad holds it back.
The latest example of this new low-cost computer trend is the Lenovo Ideapad 100S, an 11-inch clamshell laptop that sells for $199 in the US (£179 in the UK, AU$299 in Australia). It"s among the most refined of the ultra-budget PCs, but it"s not the first. Note that as of December 2015, Lenovo is selling the system online for a discounted price of $179 in the US.

Sarah Tew/elaopa.org The $200-and-less (using US prices) computer has been growing category since mid-2014, anchored by products such as the $200 HP Stream 11 máy tính and the hãng sản xuất intel Compute Stick, a tiny desktop PC that can be found for as little as $119. All run Windows 10 & Intel Atom or Celeron processors, and are intended primarily for web surfing và cloud apps (note the very small amount of onboard storage, ranging from 8GB to lớn 32GB).

The advantage is, unlike a similarly priced Chromebook (a simple máy vi tính running Google"s Chrome OS, which is essentially the Chrome website browser và little else), you can install and run regular Windows software, such as photo editing programs or alternate website browsers, as long as they"ll fit on the tiny hard drives. You won"t be doing pro-level photo editing or playing PC games, but at these prices, there"s virtually no good reason to go for a Chrome OS system instead if you only have $200 lớn spend.

Sarah Tew/elaopa.org With a colorful chassis (our mã sản phẩm was bright red) that doesn"t feel too flimsy, and a typically excellent Lenovo keyboard design, this could easily be the clear winner in the ultra-budget category, if not for one issue. The touchpad here is not a simple clickpad-style model, as seen in the HP Stream 11 and nearly every other laptop available today. Instead, it"s an older design with separate left and right mouse buttons. But more importantly, the older touchpad thiết kế does not currently tư vấn common gestures such as two-finger scrolling. For someone who does a lot of long-form reading online, that can be a giảm giá khuyến mãi breaker, but you"ll have lớn judge for yourself if the excellent keyboard makes up for it.

Lenovo Ideapad 100S

Price as reviewed Display size/resolution PC CPU PC Memory Graphics Storage Networking Operating system
11.6-inch 1,366 x 768 screen
1.33GHz intel Atom Z3735F
2048MB DDR3 SDRAM 1333MHz
32MB (dedicated) intel HD Graphics
802.11ac wireless, công nghệ bluetooth không dây 4.0
Microsoft Windows 10 trang chủ (32-bit)

Design và features

The challenge of any ultra-budget laptop is lớn look and feel like it costs just a little more than it actually does. No one is expecting a unibody aluminum chassis or sleek edge-to-edge glass over the display -- but a flimsy hinge, a lid that bends and flexes when you move it, or a creaky body that feels like it won"t stand up to lớn even modest handling isn"t worth it at any price.

Lenovo avoids those missteps by building the 100S into a toàn thân that"s a little larger và thicker than some other 11-inch laptops, giving the system some protective bulk. The sturdy hinges also fold back a full 180 degrees to lie flat, so you get a lot of useful viewing angles. The matte red outer color, which covers the back of the lid và the bottom panel, is fingerprint-resistant, and the darker red màu sắc also looks more upscale than the glossy black plastic on so many budget laptops.

Sarah Tew/elaopa.org Inside, the keyboard keeps the same basic kiến thiết as most other Lenovo laptops, with widely spaced island-style keys that curve out just a bit at the bottom on each key, giving you a little more usable surface lớn hit. It"s miles beyond the keyboard on HP"s Stream 11, for example.

The touchpad, however, is the single biggest stumbling block for the 100S. The pad loses valuable surface area by breaking its left và right mouse click functions out into separate physical buttons. It"s a style of touchpad you rarely see any more, and for good reason. The pad here is also not mix up for multitouch gestures. That"s important khổng lồ note, as the standard two-finger scroll won"t work, nor will tapping two fingers on the pad for a right-click action. It makes the system harder khổng lồ use when scrolling down long web pages, and it"s a deficiency to seriously consider before buying.

Sarah Tew/elaopa.org You also can"t expect much from the screen on an ultra-budget laptop, although the basic 1,366x768 display here is fine for the price. It has a pleasing matte finish that keeps glare lớn a minimum, but it"s also confined khổng lồ limited viewing angles compared lớn the IPS (in-plane switching) displays on more expensive laptops, which means that the image gets washed out quickly when you view the screen from side angles.

Video Audio Data Networking Optical drive
Combo headphone/microphone jack
2 USB 2.0, microSD card reader
802.11n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth

Connections, performance và battery

While the thicker chassis could fit in more, you"re limited khổng lồ a budget-feeling pair of USB 2.0 ports, an HDMI output and a micro-SD thẻ slot. Faster USB 3.0 & a full-size SD card slot would be have been handy, but a reach considering the price. One of the USB ports will most likely be used for an external mouse to biến hóa for the hard-to-use touchpad.

Sarah Tew/elaopa.org The only option offered right now is the chassis color, in white, red, blue and silver. All models include the same hãng sản xuất intel Atom Z3735 CPU, 2GB of RAM and 32GB of solid-state storage, which matches up with other ultra-budget PCs.

In benchmark testing with other low-cost hãng sản xuất intel Atom and Celeron systems, the Lenovo 100S hung around the middle of the pack. To get a significant boost in performance, you"d have to look towards something lượt thích the Surface 3, the Atom-powered entry cấp độ version of Microsoft"s Surface line, which uses a faster Atom processor & more RAM, but also costs more than twice as much, even without adding a keyboard cover. In hands-on testing, the 100S ran well when used for casual websurfing và online tasks, but it"s important lớn keep a few best practices in mind -- especially that Microsoft"s own browsers, Edge và Internet Explorer, tend to run much smoother on low-power Windows laptops.

Sarah Tew/elaopa.org Battery life was a pleasant surprise in the Lenovo 100S. The system ran for 11:17 on our offline clip playback battery drain test, which is near macbook territory, and for 9:57 in an online streaming playback test. The HP Stream 11 ran for 7:58 in the offline test, và the Surface 3 for 7:41. The advantage in all these cases is that Intel"s lower-performance CPUs are almost always very efficient at sipping battery power, so these systems tend to run for a long time on a single charge.


Spending less than $200 on a laptop is a surprisingly viable option right now, & for those who mainly use Gmail, Facebook, Netflix and Amazon (or your own list of mail, social media, streaming đoạn phim and online shopping tools), a máy vi tính with an intel Atom processor, low-res screen and paltry 32GB of storage may very well be all you need.

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Of the current ultra-budget options, the overall design và build chất lượng of the Lenovo Ideapad 100S is my favorite, but the dated, non-gesture-supporting touchpad can be a khuyến mãi breaker if you plan lớn scroll through long online articles or Facebook feeds. If the next generation of 100S swaps in a modern touchpad, it would get my highest budget-laptop recommendation. As it is, my generally very positive impressions come with a large asterisk.

Acer Aspire Switch 10 Special Edition 1191Microsoft Surface 3 1220Lenovo Ideapad 100S 2182Asus Transformer Book Flip TP200 2881HP Stream 11 3742
Microsoft Surface 3 300HP Stream 11 342Asus Transformer Book Flip TP200 346Lenovo Ideapad 100S 428Acer Aspire Switch 10 Special Edition 450
Lenovo Ideapad 100S 677Asus Transformer Book Flip TP200 546HP Stream 11 478Microsoft Surface 3 461Acer Aspire Switch 10 Special Edition 442
Lenovo Ideapad 100S Acer Aspire Switch 10 Special Edition Asus Transformer Book Flip TP200 HP Stream 11 Microsoft Surface 3
Microsoft Windows 10 home (32-bit); 1.3GHz intel Atom Z3735F; 2GB DDR3 SDRAM 1333MHz; 32MB (dedicated) hãng intel HD Graphics; 32GB SSD
Microsoft Windows 10 trang chủ (32-bit); 1.3GHz hãng sản xuất intel Atom Z3735F; 2GB DDR3 SDRAM 1333MHz; 32MB (dedicated) intel HD Graphics; 64GB SSD
Microsoft Windows 10 trang chủ (64-bit); 1.6GHz hãng sản xuất intel Celeron N3050; 4GB DDR3 SDRAM 1600MHz; 144MB (dedicated) hãng sản xuất intel HD Graphics; 64GB SSD
Microsoft Windows 10 trang chủ (64-bit); 2.16GHz hãng sản xuất intel Celeron N2840; 2GB DDR3 SDRAM 1333MHz; 64MB (dedicated) intel HD Graphics; 32GB SSD
Microsoft Windows 10 home (64-bit); 1.6GHz hãng intel Atom Z8700; 4GB DDR3 SDRAM 1600MHz; 32MB (dedicated) hãng sản xuất intel HD Graphics; 128GB SSD