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Lenovo Ideapad 110s review: A chic and cheap laptop with a killer keyboard

The Lenovo Ideapad 110s is a simple budget laptop with an all-white design and impressive keyboard.

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Xiomara Blanco
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Xiomara Blanco

Associate Editor / Reviews - Tablets and monitors

Xiomara Blanco is an associate editor for CNET Reviews. She's a Bay Area native with a knack for tech that makes life easier and more enjoyable. So, don't expect her to review printers anytime soon.

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Considering the color white typically symbolizes simplicity, Lenovo couldn't have picked a better color for the Lenovo Ideapad 110S.

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7.0

Lenovo Ideapad 110s

The Good

The affordable Lenovo Ideapad 110S has a comfortable keyboard, perfectly portable design and enough performance for working on documents and browsing the internet.

The Bad

Performance slows down when multitasking. Its screen and speakers are underwhelming for watching HD video. The touchpad can be slow to respond to taps and scrolling.

The Bottom Line

The Lenovo Ideapad 110S is a simple but capable budget laptop for those with basic needs and who don't want to make the Chromebook leap.

The 11.6-inch 110S is a minimalist, all-white laptop with basic functionality and an appropriately affordable price. Thanks to its classy color choice, compact size and comfortable keyboard, it stands out among your typically drab budget laptop choices.

Lenovo Ideapad 110S is a minimalist budget laptop with a stylish flair

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It runs Windows 10, making it more capable than a Chromebook, but it's not a high-powered machine. This budget laptop is perfect for light use like checking as well as responding to emails, word processing and surfing the web (as long as you don't have too many browser tabs or windows open). Anything more and its performance limitations become readily apparent.

The Lenovo Ideapad 110S, which also comes in a 15.6-inch model, retails for $200 (£230 or directly converts to AU$262) though it's currently on sale at Best Buy in the US for $170. For that price, it should satisfy anyone interested in a basic laptop for simple use.

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It manages to pull off the all-white design very well.

Josh Miller/CNET

White hot design

While it's a cheap laptop, the Lenovo Ideapad 110S doesn't look like one. Yes, the plastic construction gives away its budget status, but at the same time its smooth, matte all-white clamshell gives it a chic charm.

White is a bold choice. Aside from the discontinued white MacBook, I can't remember the last time I've seen a stylish white laptop. I appreciate the flair it gives to an otherwise meek budget laptop.

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It has a 180-degree hinge.

Josh Miller/CNET

Similar to white clothing items, keeping it looking pristine takes some effort. It acquired some nicks and marks during my time with it, but those were easily removed with a wet cloth.

In addition to its pleasant aesthetic, it's also a delight to carry around. It's petite size makes it extremely portable and it barely makes a dent in your bag.

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So compact you can fit it and a small dog on your lap at the same time.

Josh Miller/CNET

Cozy keyboard

The Lenovo Ideapad 110S has a surprisingly awesome keyboard. Small laptops usually have cramped keyboards, but the Lenovo manages to feel comfortably spacious. The keys don't feel cheap or dingy and they're snappy to respond.

To be fair, Lenovo has a great reputation for outfitting their business laptops with some of the best keyboards around, and it included one in its predecessor, the Ideapad 100. Even so, it's still a bit shocking to find one so solid in a budget model.

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Damn Lenovo, back at it again with the comfy keyboard.

Josh Miller/CNET

Additionally, unlike the previous model, the Lenovo Ideapad 110S has a touchpad with full functionality. (The old model wasn't capable of scrolling.) Unfortunately, it still falls short. It's consistently slow to respond to scrolling and lags if too many tabs or apps are open.

Skip the streaming

If you want a laptop to double as your TV, skip the Lenovo Ideapad 110s. Its screen quality is fine for text documents and web pages, but dramatically falls flat for video. Color range, saturation and sharpness when watching HD video leaves a lot to be desired.

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If you want a laptop for watching TV, keep looking.

Josh Miller/CNET

Its speakers are also underwhelming. Located on the bottom, they sound like they're muffled under a mountain of pillows and aren't very loud at maximum volume. You're definitely going to need a pair of headphones to listen to anything on this laptop.

Maybe this is because I'm fresh off of reviewing the Samsung Galaxy Tab S3, which has a spectacular Super OLED screen and four speakers, but really, even in comparison to an old iPhone the Lenovo's screen is pretty dull. It does have an HDMI port, however, so there's the option of directly connecting to your HDTV instead.

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As you can tell in this photo, turning the screen even a little causes glare that detrimentally affects your viewing experience.

Josh Miller/CNET

The Lenovo Ideapad 110S also has pathetic viewing angles. Move the screen a few inches forward or backward and it becomes difficult to see. The screen's 180-degree hinge is its saving grace, though, allowing it to be adjusted for a decent viewing angle in any position you're sitting in or standing.

Screen specs

  • 1,366 by 768-pixel resolution
  • LED screen
  • No touchscreen
  • 180-degree hinge

Additionally, its maximum brightness isn't very bright, but it's still visible enough to comfortably work on a text doc in a luminous room with lots of natural light. I wouldn't recommend using it outside on a sunny day.

You get what you pay for

For under $200, the Lenovo IdeapadS 110 is a perfectly capable laptop for anyone who needs a portable machine for writing on the go. If you're not a Chromebook fan, the Lenovo is a good option. Chromebooks have come a long way recently, but they're still useless without Wi-Fi access.

Specs

  • 2GB RAM
  • 32GB eMMC
  • MicroSD expansion slot
  • Three full-size USB ports (One USB 3.0; two USB 2.0)
  • Headphone jack
  • HDMI port

During my time with the Lenovo Ideapad 110S, I learned that it's best to take it one task at a time. Using Google Docs and streaming music on Spotify was fine, but if I opened two to three more tabs and tried to stream a video, things dramatically slowed down. If you're a multitasker, or someone who likes to have a multitude of open tabs, this is not the machine for you.

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A microSD card is necessary if you want to download big apps or games.

Josh Miller/CNET

If I was trying to pay as little as possible for a laptop for, I wouldn't hesitate to buy the Lenovo Ideapad 110S. It's charming, compact design and comfortable keyboard make it worth copping for writing assignments or simple web surfing.

In comparison to other budget laptops, the Ideapad 110S lacks in battery life and 3D performance. When gaming, it performed pretty poorly. Pelican Bay, a preloaded game, crashed upon launch every time I tried to open it. Without a touchscreen, many games felt unintuitive to play. And in offering only 32GB of internal storage, an additional microSD card is necessary for big apps or games.

Lenovo Ideapad 110S specs

Price as reviewed $200, £230 (roughly converting to AU$260)
Display size/resolution 11-inch 1,366x768 display
PC CPU 1.6GHz Intel Celeron N3060
PC Memory 2GB DDR3 SDRAM 1,600MHz
Graphics 128MB Intel HD Graphics 400
Storage 32GB eMMC storage
Networking 802.11ac, Bluetooth 4.0 
Operating system Window 10 Home (64-bit)

System Configurations

Lenovo Ideapad 110S Microsoft Windows 10 Home (64-bit); 1.6GHz Intel Celeron N3060; 2GB DDR3 SDRAM 1,600MHz; 128MB dedicated Intel HD Graphics 400; 32GB eMMC
HP Stream 14 Microsoft Windows 10 Home (64-bit); 1.6GHz Intel Celeron N3060; 4GB DDR3 SDRAM 1,600MHz; Intel HD Graphics 400; 32GB eMMC storage
HP Stream 11 Microsoft Windows 10 Home (64-bit); 1.6GHz Intel Celeron N3050; 2GB DDR3 SDRAM 1,600MHz; 144MB (dedicated) Intel HD Graphics; 32GB SSD
Lenovo ThinkPad 13 Microsoft Windows 10 Home (64-bit); 2.3GHz Intel Core i3-6100U; 4GB DDR4 SDRAM 1,600MHz; 128MB (dedicated) Intel HD Graphics 520; 128GB SSD
Microsoft Surface 3 Microsoft Windows 10 Home (64-bit); 1.6GHz Intel Atom Z8700; 4GB DDR3 SDRAM 1,600MHz; 32MB (dedicated) Intel HD Graphics; 128GB SSD

Multitasking Multimedia Test 3.0 (in seconds)

Lenovo ThinkPad 13 666Microsoft Surface 3 1585Lenovo Ideapad 110S 2780HP Stream 14 3134HP Stream 11 4756
Note: Longer bars indicate better performance

Geekbench 3 Multi-Core

Lenovo ThinkPad 13 5192Microsoft Surface 3 3432HP Stream 14 1833Lenovo Ideapad 110S 1829HP Stream 11 1610
Note: Longer bars indicate better performance

Online Streaming Battery Drain test (in minutes)

HP Stream 14 476HP Stream 11 403Microsoft Surface 3 402Lenovo ThinkPad 13 388Lenovo Ideapad 110S 373
Note: Longer bars indicate better performance

The Ideapad 110S is the type of gadget that needs to be charged daily if it's used everyday. During my time with it, battery life was sufficient for a day's worth of basic word processing, light web surfing and music-streaming, but it was always almost dead by the end of the day. It lasted 6.2 hours in our streaming video battery testing. That's a bit below average and almost two hours less than the comparable HP Stream 11.

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A simple and stylish laptop for an impressively low price.

Josh Miller/CNET

Good value for light use

This entry-level laptop won't impress anyone with its performance, yet it's a sharp-looking, economical choice for light users. Its reasonable functionality for a minimal investment is a good deal, but only if you can curb your expectations of what the machine can actually do. For light use of programs like Microsoft Word or catching up on Facebook posts, the Lenovo Ideapad 110S is a perfectly capable (and cute) budget laptop.

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7.0

Lenovo Ideapad 110s

Score Breakdown

Design 8Features 7Performance 7Battery 6