Thursday, November 19, 2015

Lenovo 100S Chromebook Review


I have a Lenovo 100S Chromebook (2GB model) that I have been trying out for a few weeks. How does it stand up to other Chromebook models that are currently popular in schools?


Specs:

-  Intel N2840 (Bay Trail) processor
-  An 11.6" anti-glare TN Panel with a 1366x768 resolution
-  2GB or 4GB of RAM
-  16GB or 32GB SSD
-  1x HDMI, 1x USB 3.0, 1x USB 2.0, 4-in-1 combo card reader
-  1MP HD front camera with dual digital microphone
-  Dual-channel High-Definition integrated audio
-  Wireless 802.11ac and Bluetooth 4.0
-  Height: .78" x Width: 11.81" x Depth: 8.23" and weighs 2.6lbs
-  2-cell Battery (34 Wh) for 8 hours of use


Overall Build Quality:

The lid and bottom of the Lenovo 100S are encased in a black plastic that has a slight weave texture to it.  The bezel around the screen and casing around the keyboard is a flat matte black plastic with a very fine texture to it.  The casing around the trackpad is metal, which gives the Lenovo 100S a nice feel when you rest your palms on it to type.  For being a budget Chromebook, the overall design of the Lenovo 100S does have a nice professional look and feel to it.



The Lenovo 100S is not as rugged as some recent Chromebooks, but it does have reinforced ports, hinges and corners to help provide some durability to it. The hinges only go back 135 degrees, which could still allow for damage to occur to them if the lid is pushed too far back.  There are also dual speakers on the bottom of the Lenovo 100S that are not as good as some other Chromebooks I have reviewed, but are acceptable for the price range of this device.  

Processor/Speed:

The Lenovo 100S uses an Intel N2840, which is the same processor in the Lenovo N21 and other Intel-based Chromebooks that were released throughout last fall and spring of this year.  Lenovo obviously stayed with this processor to help keep the budget pricing they were aiming for with this Chromebook.  It is part of the Bay Trail line of processors, which are not as fast as Intel's newer Celeron options.  The Intel N2840 still works well in a Chromebook for classroom use.  The Bay Trail processor also allows for a longer battery life and fanless design, which is great in a school setting.  For those who like to see Octane scores, the Lenovo 100S Chromebook with 2GB of RAM scored an 8673 when I ran it.


Screen:

The screen is a typical 11.6" matte TN panel with a 1366x768 resolution that you find in most Chromebooks in this price range.  The quality is acceptable for student use, but they do not have great viewing angles.  In an education setting, it is nice to have these screens in student devices though as they are usually cheaper to replace if broken.


Keyboard/Trackpad:

The keyboard on the Lenovo 100S is not a water-resistant one.  Typing on it felt good and I had no issues using it.  The trackpad on the Lenovo 100S is also a nice size to work with.  However, I did find the trackpad a little stiff when pressing down for a click unless you were in the bottom area of it.




Power Adapter:

The power adapter for the Lenovo 100S is a more compact design that is really nice for carry cases. It could be an issue though if you plan to put the Chromebooks in a cart.  The connector that plugs into the Chromebook still uses a thinner connector that could possibly bend or break easier under student use. 




Battery Life:

The Lenovo 100S has a 2-cell Battery (34 WHr), that is supposed to give 8 hours of battery life.  In my Nyan Cat test to gauge the battery under a heavier use situation, I found the Lenovo 100S to actually get around 9 hours on a full charge with the screen at a 75% brightness.  From this test, and my own usage experience, you should have no problems getting more than 8 hours of standard classroom use with the screen being dimmed.


Conclusion:

The Lenovo 100S is a nice device for being designed and promoted as a budget Chromebook.  If you were considering a budget Chromebook for any staff members in your district, then this is one to take a look at.  It has a more professional look and feel to it than some other Chromebooks in this price point that I think staff will like.  It's not a terrible device for student use, but I would still personally prefer the Lenovo N21 for them due to some more protective features on it.  Especially when the Lenovo N21 is available for a similar price point at the moment.

The Lenovo 100S Chromebook starts at $179 for the 2GB model.  Additional model pricing is as follows:
- Lenovo 100S /w 32GB SDD and 2GB RAM for $199
- Lenovo 100S /w 32GB SDD and 4GB RAM for $229