Designed to be a secondary PC for adults or a first computer for kids, Lenovo's $199 Ideapad 110S packs a modest Intel Celeron CPU, an accurate touchpad and a responsive keyboard into its lightweight plastic chassis. The company also throws in a one-year subscription to Office 365 Personal, a $70 value.
Despite shortcomings such as below-average battery life and last-gen Wi-Fi, the 110S is a good value for the money. However, as long as it's still for sale, Lenovo's older Ideapad 100s is a stronger choice for those who want longer battery life with a little less performance.
The Ideapad 110S is a white, plastic block. Design-wise, machines don't come much plainer than this. At best, the Ideapad 110S is inoffensive, though I think the all-white design is reminiscent of a 10-year-old MacBook. Lenovo's emblem is stamped on the top-left corner of the lid, but it's otherwise completely blank. After opening the notebook, you'll be greeted by an 11.6-inch, 1366 x 768 display surrounded by a thick bezel, an island-style keyboard and a metallic power button, which catches the eye and helps break up the otherwise bland design.
At 2.4 pounds and 11.5 x 8 x 0.7 inches, the 110S is exactly the size we expect from an 11-inch notebook at this price. Both the Acer Aspire One Cloudbook 11 and the Lenovo Ideapad 100S have identical footprints, but the latter is 0.2 pounds (3.2 ounces) lighter. The 2.4-pound Dell Inspiron 11 3000 is slightly smaller, at 11.5 x 7.7 x 0.7 inches.
A few ports line each side of the Ideapad 110S to make it compatible with your favorite peripherals. On the left side of the notebook is a single USB 3.0 port, HDMI output and a microSD card slot. (I would have preferred a full-size SD card slot.) On the right, you'll find a pair of USB 2.0 ports and the headphone jack.
MORE: Best Lenovo Laptops
The 110S' display is a bit dim and not terribly vivid. When I watched the trailer for Spider-Man: Homecoming, the robbers' light-purple lasers appeared white, and the titular hero's red-and-blue suit was slightly muted.
The 110S' display covers 70 percent of the sRGB color gamut, falling far short of the 97-percent ultraportable average. The Inspiron 11 3000 (65 percent), 100S (62 percent) and Cloudbook 11 (59 percent) were even less vivid.
At 213 nits of brightness, the 110S' screen is noticeably dim and far below the 303-nit ultraportable average. Both the Cloudbook (250 nits) and the 100S (243 nits) were brighter, while the Inspiron 11 3000 measured a faint 193 nits.
Keyboard and Touchpad
The Ideapad 110S' keyboard is a mixed bag. It offers snappy feedback but flexes under pressure. Even though the keys have a solid 1.5 millimeters of travel, I felt myself bottoming out a bit as the base buckled below my strokes. On the 10fastfingers.com typing test, I hit 103 words per minute, falling just below my average of 107 wpm, but my error rate remained at my usual 2 percent.
The 3.3 x 1.7-inch touchpad is just big enough to let you navigate Windows 10 and use gestures such as tapping three fingers to summon Cortana, pinching to zoom and scrolling with two fingers. I would have preferred a little more room, but it's a marked improvement over its predecessor, the 100s, which didn't support gestures at all.
The speakers on the 110S are quiet and imbalanced. When I listened to blink-182's "Neighborhoods," the bass was nonexistent, and the vocals and guitars weren't balanced. The audio wasn't loud, either; when I turned up the volume all the way, it barely filled up a midsize conference room.
With its 1.6-GHz Intel Celeron N3060 CPU, 2GB of RAM and 32GB of eMMC storage, the Ideapad 110S is a one-task-at-a-time type of laptop. When I streamed a 1080p episode of The Daily Show with Trevor Noah from YouTube and had three tabs open in Chrome, scrolling slowed to a crawl. With no video, I noticed lag when switching among six open tabs.
On the Geekbench 3 overall performance test, the 110S notched a score of 1,830. That fell short of the ultraportable category average (5,520) but was stronger than the Inspiron (Celeron N3050; 1,683) and the Cloudbook (Celeron N3050; 1,285). In this group, only the 100S (Atom Z3735F) did better, with a score of 2,195.
It took the 110S 1 minute and 9 seconds to transfer 4.97GB of mixed media files; that's a rate of 73.8 megabytes per second. Although it didn't meet the ultraportable average (173.4 MBps), it blazed past the Cloudbook (34.6 MBps), the 100S (31 MBps) and the Inspiron (27.9 MBps).
The 110S completed our OpenOffice Spreadsheet Macro Test in 13 minutes and 23 seconds, pairing 20,000 names and addresses faster than the Cloudbook (14:54), the Inspiron (14:59) and the Ideapad 100S (22:05). The ultraportable average is much quicker, though, at just 6:34.
Don't expect to do intense photo editing or play any video games on the 110S. It scored just 19,265 on the 3DMark Ice Storm Unlimited benchmark, falling well below the 51,695 category average. Competing notebooks did even worse: The Cloudbook (18,314), Inspiron (18,181) and 100S (15,081) all had lower scores.
You won't get the fastest Wi-Fi speeds with the 110S. Rather than using the latest 802.11ac Wi-Fi band, it works only with B/G/N bands.
The 110S lasts almost a whole day on a charge but falls well behind its competitors. Lenovo's laptop managed 7 hours and 11 minutes on the Laptop Mag Battery Test, which involves continuous surfing over Wi-Fi. The ultraportable average is 8 hours. The Cloudbook endured for 8:04, the Inspiron survived for 8:53 and the old 100S ran for a whopping 9 hours and 48 minutes.
I didn't know they still made webcams this bad. The 110S has a 640 x 360 camera that takes blurry photos with little color and few details. In a photo I took with the camera, my blue eyes were black, and my boss, walking behind me, appeared to have no facial features. The image is extremely pixelated and looks like it was taken on a flip phone.
The 110S stayed nice and cool while we put it through its paces. After we streamed 15 minutes of HD video from YouTube, the notebook measured 95 degrees Fahrenheit on the bottom, matching our 95-degree comfort threshold. The center of the keyboard hit 89 degrees, and the touchpad reached 81 degrees.
Software and Warranty
Lenovo's software on the 110S is useful, but the software also comes with its fair share of bloatware. The Settings app lets you take a deep dive into display, camera and power options, while the Companion app makes it easy to run system scans. The Account Utility is far less helpful, as it only creates an account for Lenovo's website and forums.
The bloatware includes Facebook, Twitter, Netflix, Paradise Bay (a game from the makers of Candy Crush) and Minecraft: Windows 10 Edition Beta.
Rather than including just a one-month trial of Microsoft Office, the 110S comes with a one-year subscription to Office 365 Personal, including Word, PowerPoint and Excel.
Lenovo offers a one-year warranty on the Ideapad 110S. See how the company performed on our Tech Support Showdown and Best and Worst Brands ranking.
A strong choice for budget-conscious consumers who need a secondary device or children's laptop, the Ideapad 110S offers respectable single-task performance, a responsive but flexy keyboard, and a free year of Office 365. Its battery life is below average but long enough for most home or school users.If you prefer longevity to performance, you're best off buying the older $200 Lenovo Ideapad 100S. It's still for sale, and it ran for an epic 9 hours and 48 minutes on our battery test. You'll lose the ability to do gestures, but you'll still have a solid keyboard.
Eventually, the Ideapad 11Ss will completely replace the 100S, but for now, you have two solid options in the budget category from Lenovo.