Do you really get what you pay for? Review of the Lenovo IdeaPad 110 Budget Laptop


Lenovo IdeaPad 110-15ISK

Lenovo IdeaPad 110-15ISK

Usability Leyboard/Touchpad









          • Lightweight
          • Wireless 802.11b/g/n/ac
          • Decent Performance vs Cost


          • Clunky Touchpad / Keyboard
          • No Anti-Glare Display
          • Short Battery Life
          • No Gigabit Ethernet
          • Poor Webcam/ Microphone Quality

          The Lenovo IdeaPad 110 is an entry level laptop geared toward consumers who have a tight budget. It’s a tempting solution for parents who are buying a first laptop for a high school or college student, or people who just want to perform basic computing tasks on the go.

          I recently picked one up at my local Micro Center on sale for $279.99. The non-sale price is $349.99. The Lenovo IdeaPad 110 comes in a few different configurations. The model I purchased is equipped with a 2.3 GHz Intel Core i3 6100U processor and 6 GB of memory. You can read the full specifications below.

          Before testing, I wanted to define a typical computer user. What are the tasks that a user would want to perform?

          A typical computer user wants to:

          • Surf the web
          • Check email
          • Use productivity software, such as Microsoft Office
          • Listen to music
          • Stream video content
          • Possibly do some light gaming

          With this in mind, I performed a barrage of tests to see if the laptop would satisfy these requirements. The four main categories that I tested were:

          • Input/Usability
          • Performance
          • Features
          • Design

          I ranked usability before performance because, if I can’t use the the keyboard or touchpad comfortably and efficiently, then performance is a moot point.

          Usability:                 FAIL

          The keyboard is a standard US layout, with a numeric keypad. I used the online one-minute typing test at to calculate my words per minute. When tested against three other laptops, I scored the lowest on the Lenovo. I am not a blazing fast typist, but on the three other laptops, my average was around 50 WPM. On the Lenovo my WPM was 38. I attribute this score directly to the half-size right shift key. I found myself looking down to make sure that I was hitting the correct key.

          Half-size shift key
          The half-size right Shift Key was like a speed bump during my typing speed test.

          The touchpad is equally as important as the keyboard. A really good touchpad can prevent the need to carry an external mouse around, a common practice for laptop owners. Unfortunately the touchpad didn’t fair much better. The buttons are very stiff and hard to press down. This made drag-and-drop movements very difficult. The buttons are also extremely loud. My Wife actually complained about the clicking noise from the next room. It’s safe to say that you will be lugging around an external mouse.

          Performance:                PASS

           The overall performance is not bad. Out of the box the Lenovo comes with quite a bit of unnecessary software installed (bloatware). I ran benchmark tests before and after removing the bloatware, and increased the overall performance by over 30%! The 2.3 GHz processor seemed to handle anything I threw at it with ease. The Lenovo also comes equipped with 6 GB of memory, which is not bad compared to other budget laptop models, many of which come with 4 GB.

          I also did some light gaming. I decided to use a game called DiRT3  because it comes with a built-in benchmark test. The Lenovo didn’t fair too well here. When played at a display resolution of 1366 x 768 the frames per second (FPS) rate was inconsistent. The average FPS was 69.38, but it dropped to as low as 13.93 FPS, making it unplayable at times. The game was completely playable at a resolution of 800 x 600.

          The biggest bottleneck in performance is the hard drive. Not unlike most budget laptop models, the Lenovo comes with a 5400 RPM spindle-type hard drive. Windows is extremely busy detecting viruses, indexing files, updating, etc.. The hard drive tends to get bogged down at times. I noticed that the disk was often pegged at 100% utilization.

          Features:                FAIL

          I am just going to list the reasons that I am giving the Lenovo a failing grade in this category.

          • There are only 2 USB ports, one USB 2.0 and one USB 3.0
          • Although it does have an 802.11b/g/n/ac wireless adapter, it is lacking gigabit ethernet.
          • There is only one memory slot, and it’s only upgradeable to 8 GB.
          • The display is not anti-glare, and it’s very noticeable.
          • The battery life was the shortest out of the four budget laptops that I tested together.
          • The webcam is grainy and has a max resolution of 480P.
          • The microphone sounds muffled.
          • The speaker sound quality is tinny and headache inducing.
          • There is no VGA output, which is useful when connecting to older overhead projectors
          • The battery is not removable
          The Lenovo is on the right. You can see how the anti-glare display on the left makes a huge difference.

          Design:                NEUTRAL 

          I found that the lid of the Lenovo was very difficult to open. There is nothing to grab onto, and my fingers often slipped when attempting to open it. The hard drive and memory slot are not easily accessible, making it difficult to upgrade.

          I will give it points for being very lightweight, weighing in at only 4.6 lbs, with the AC adapter.

          The Verdict:                FAIL

          Look. For $279 my expectations were not particularly high. Unfortunately my expectations were confirmed by an appalling lack of features, an annoying keyboard, a clunky touchpad and a sub-par battery. There are other budget laptops that have definitely exceeded my expectations. The Lenovo IdeaPad 110 is not one of them.

          If you are looking for a solid budget laptop, may I suggest reading my review of the Acer Aspire E5-575-33BM here.

          Full Specifications:

          CPUIntel Core i3 (6th Gen) 6100U / 2.3 GHzDual-Core3 MB CacheTPM 2.0
          RAM6 GBDDR4 SDRAM2133 MHz1 Slot
          Storage1 TB 5400 RPM HDD, Serial ATA-600Optical DVD-Writer
          Display1366 x 768 Max15.6" Diagonal16:9 Aspect RatioNo Anti-glare
          Audio & VideoIntel HD Graphics 520Integrated webcamSpeakerMicrophone
          CommunicationsWireless 802.11a/b/g/n/ac10/100 EthernetBluetooth 4.0
          Card ReaderSD Memory Card4 in 1
          ConnectionsUSB 3.0, USB 2.0HDMILANHeadphone/Microphone combo jack
          Dimensions and Weight14.8" x 10.4" x 0.9"4.594 lbs (with AC adapter)4.228 lbs (without AC adapter)

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