Review: Lenovo Ideapad 100S

I bought this machine for my upcoming trip. I don’t fancy traipsing through hostels and tourist areas with a top end MacBook Pro or a Surface Pro and this looked like a good solution. It was very cheap– less than £170 for the basic version and just over £200 for the 64 Gb version which is what I bought. It’s light and it comes with Windows 10. It’s basically the modern equivalent of the netbook.

What I did not expect was that I would like the machine so much. It looks great. It’s well built and it has an excellent keyboard. It’s just about the perfect size for a travel computer– 11.6 inch screen with a footprint slightly larger than an 11.6 inch MacBook Air. It weighs a smidgeon less and has a couple of hours longer battery life.

Mind you, those are the only areas where the 100S beats the MBA. It is nowhere near comparable in terms of power. It uses an Intel Atom processor and has a mere 2 GB of RAM. Even with an SSD it launches most programs slowly. You can count to five while it launches MS Word or Scrivener. If you’re used to the instant starts that you get with a MacBook or a Surface, you’ll notice it. It’s not twiddle- your-thumbs slow but you’ll feel the pain.

The thing is that, once you’ve launched the programs, you won’t notice any difference in performance between running them on the 100S and on a much more powerful computer.

I would not want to use this machine for photo editing but for the sort of stuff I am likely to be doing– browsing, email and writing books, it’s way more than good enough.

On top of that, the keyboard is superb. It flexes a bit as you hit the keys but that in no way detracts from the typing experience. It’s way better than any netbook I have ever used and right up there with my Mac. Seriously.

You’ll find some other criticisms of the 100S on the Net. One of the main ones is that it does not support trackpad gestures like two finger scrolling and it uses two hard-wired trackpad buttons instead of keyboard tapping.

For me this is a feature not a bug. My experience with trackpad gestures on cheap computers has left a lot to be desired. I dislike having the cursor jumping all over the place and that does not happen on the 100S unlike on most netbooks I have owned.

The other criticism is that the screen has narrow viewing angles and is a bit dull. Those are both true but I don’t care. I am just looking to type on this thing. There’s also no touchscreen but I can live without that too.

My own big criticism is that it uses a non-standard power adapter. I would have preferred the sort of generic USB ones that you get with most modern netbooks. It makes it easier to carry only one charger for your phone and computer.

The Lenovo 100S reminds me of a good computer from last decade. It does not have many modern fripperies but it gets the job done. At least if the job is word processing and email. It’s very easy to carry round and is a pleasure to type on. It even looks pretty good when you whip it out in the coffee shop. What more need I say?


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Comments

  1. Luke Edelhoff says:

    I’m guessing you use computers primarily to write books? I’d also venture to guess it’s preferable over the arthritis-inducing struggle to handwrite a story in a notebook. But, I’ve used a Lenovo before. Reliable computers, indeed. Yes, the screen is not exactly good, but I got accustomed to it. I hope you enjoy your trip!

    • Thanks Luke. This is the first Lenovo I have ever owned and I am impressed. I bought a Thinkpad in 1998 back when the company was still part of IBM. That computer still runs, despite having had a 120 Kg man stand on it a couple of times.

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