Lenovo Chromebook 100s Review
Chromebooks seem to be gaining traction lately, and we are now seeing newer units with better processing power, sleek designs and portability to match. Case in point: the Lenovo 100s Chromebook (80QN0009US) boosts an 11.6-inch display, Intel Celeron processor, a good collection of I/O ports and decent performance as well as solid battery life.
It may not be most powerful Chromebook we’ve seen thus year, it may not be have the rugged design for schoolroom duty like the Lenovo ThinkPad 11e Chromebook or the non-touch Dell Chromebook 11, and it may not support touch function like the Samsung Chromebook, but it’s well positioned for those on a budget but want to access to web-based apps.
The 100S Chromebook is based on Chrome OS, which affords users access to browser-based apps, so it should not be confused with the 11-inch Lenovo IdeaPad 100S laptop, which is set on Windows 10 operating system. It measures 0.75 by 11.8 by 8.2 inches (HWD) and weighs in at 2.64 pounds, making it slim and portable for daily commute, and to a larger extent sleeker than the 0.87-inch Lenovo 11e Chromebook which weighs 3.1 pounds. It is clad in a black plastic, with a finely textured lid adorned with both Lenovo and Chrome logos with a thin chrome strip around the touch pad in the keyboard palm rest.
The Lenovo 100’s 11.6-inch screen is clear and bright, with a 1,366-by-768, though you’ll have to stick to the top three or four backlight settings if you need vibrant colors. Still, when seated directly in front of the system, you’ll enjoy some crisp eye candy in terms of crisp detail and lively colors.
However, being a non-IPS (In-Plane Switching) panel like that in the Asus Chromebook Flip or the Toshiba Chromebook 2, viewing angles are quite distracted and viewers on the sides may see a washed-out, unreadable screen.
We didn’t expect a ThinkPad-like keyboard here, so you’ll have to do with a square, chiclet-style keys that have a snappy, albeit shallow, typing feel. The keys subscribe to the same Chromebook layout, whereby the search key is place in place of Caps Lock and a top row of system functions. The touchpad is smooth, though you’ll need a firm tap.
Connectivity is good. Here you have two USB ports (one USB 2.0 and one USB 3.0), an HDMI port to hook your system to bigger display such as HDTV, alongside a security-lock slot. As well as an audio jack, and an SD/MMC memory card slot to bolster the 16GB of built-in eMMC flash storage. For wireless connectivity, there’s dual-band 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0 on board. If you’re into Google+ Hangouts (which is Chrome OS’s answer to Skype) a small webcam and microphone above the display come in handy, although the quality and clarity aren’t that good.
The 100S Chromebook is fuelled by a 2.16GHz Intel Celeron N2840, dual-core CPU of the “Bay Trail” family, combined with Intel HD integrated graphics and 2GB RAM. This features won’t give you fast boot times, but they are at par with other Celeron and ARM- powered Chromebooks we’ve tested and reviewed previously. In fact, it falls behind more potent Chromebooks like the Dell Chromebook 11, and even the Google Chromebook Pixel.
In our tests, we threw some Pandora music and a few YouTube 720p trailers and the output was quite smooth, and we even managed to stream videos of the same quality in ten other tabs. Here you get 16GB of flash storage and the usual freebie of 100GB Google Drive cloud storage valid for two years. For Chromebook power users, they can opt for Lenovo’s offering of the 100S with 4GB of memory and 32GB of storage, which appears to be at par with the competition.
It comes with a two-cell battery, and in our tests it lasted a respectable 8 hours 7 minutes, which is better than the Lenovo ThinkPad 11e Chromebook (7:35), but slightly behind the Asus Chromebook Flip (C100PA-DB02) (11:15) and even the Google Chromebook Pixel (12:00).
As we see more potent and sleeker Chromebooks trickle into the market, the Asus Chromebook Flip (C100PA-DB02) remains as our Editors Choice, thanks to its IPS panel that offers great viewing quality in addition to touch and convertible-style design. However, if you’re faithful to the native Chromebook concept of a simplified, affordable laptop, then the Lenovo 100S Chromebook deserves a top spot in your list. But we wish it had an IPS display; that would be a bonus to Chrome OS evangelists on a budget.
The Lenovo 100S (80QN0009US) Chromebook boosts an 11.6-inch display, Intel Celeron processor, a good collection of I/O ports and decent performance as well as solid battery life.
- Sleek design
- Solid performance and battery life
- No touch screen
- Narrow viewing angles
- Poor-quality webcam