Lenovo IdeaPad 1 14 Evaluate


Expectations are sometimes low within the extreme-budget zone of the marketplace for Home windows laptops. The Lenovo IdeaPad 1 14 ($299 as examined) defies them: It packs in a full HD show, a snug keyboard, and reassuring construct high quality—options you possibly can’t typically discover in a $300 Win 10 machine. Plus, this 14-inch pocket book is light-weight and comes with a speedy SSD for fast app-loading instances. You’ll in all probability miss having a contemporary USB-C port or two (the chassis has none), and also you may thoughts the comparatively dim display backlight, however in any other case this laptop computer is one the higher picks amongst laptops for the very tightest budgets. 


When Naked-Bones Is Simply Sufficient

Lenovo’s IdeaPad model is a competitor to Dell’s Inspiron and HP’s Pavilion lineups. All three of those laptop computer households supply fashions with a number of display sizes and kind components. You could find 2-in-1 convertible IdeaPad 5 laptops priced above $1,000 in kitted-out configs. Or, you can begin from the underside with the IdeaPad 1, in the event you’re on the lookout for a bare-bones computing expertise that can nonetheless allow you to reply emails and browse the net in consolation. 

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Lenovo IdeaPad 1 14 laptop with orange background


(Photograph: Molly Flores)

Transferring from the $500 restrict that we sometimes use to outline the budget-laptop class right down to the $300 stage does include some compromises, nonetheless. The IdeaPad 1 14 reviewed right here contains a dual-core AMD Athlon SIlver 3050e processor and simply 4GB of reminiscence. That’s sufficient to browse the net with a single browser tab open or edit a Microsoft Phrase doc with none main lag or sluggishness, however solely simply. Something extra complicated than all these duties will doubtless trigger the IdeaPad 1 14 to balk.

Lenovo IdeaPad 1 14 laptop with orange background


(Photograph: Molly Flores)

To see why, contemplate {that a} $500 laptop computer will sometimes have 8GB of reminiscence and use a much more succesful AMD Ryzen or Intel Core processor. Our present prime choose, the MSI Fashionable 14, checks each of those containers. Nonetheless, what separates this IdeaPad 1 14 from the bargain-laptop sub-basement (inhabited by the likes of the $200 HP Stream 11) is a speedy SSD. Most of the least expensive Home windows laptops and Chromebooks use eMMC flash storage for his or her boot drives, which is a less-capable storage medium and may contribute to hangs and sluggishness.


Grey or Ice Blue Colour Choices

The IdeaPad 1 14 is reasonably bland-looking in contrast with the MSI Fashionable 14, and it’s a bit greater too, regardless of having the same-size display. The IdeaPad measures 0.78 by 12.9 by 9.25 inches (HWD) and weighs 3.1 kilos, in contrast with 0.7 by 12.6 by 8.6 inches and a couple of.8 kilos for the MSI. The scale distinction is particularly noticeable within the show bezels. They’re chunky strips of black plastic on the IdeaPad 1 14, whereas the Fashionable 14’s slimmer bezels assist match its aesthetic to its identify. 

However whereas the IdeaPad 1 14 won’t be as modern-looking as a few of its rivals, neither is it ugly. Our evaluation unit is grey, which is vaguely smooth with out being boring. This isn’t a svelte premium ultraportable just like the Dell XPS 13, neither is it a corporate-chic laptop computer just like the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon. However after utilizing it intermittently for just a few days round the home, I discovered that it actually appears prefer it belongs in your espresso desk or kitchen, and possibly would just do as nicely in a fluorescent-lit classroom. 

Lenovo IdeaPad 1 14 laptop with orange background


(Photograph: Molly Flores)

Should you don’t like grey, you can too discover the IdeaPad 1 14 within the various Ice Blue end from some retailers, together with Newegg, though inventory modifications ceaselessly. At publication time, Newegg was promoting the Ice Blue model at a $20 low cost, for a complete value of $279. Each colours have the identical part specs. 


A Comfy Typing Expertise

Lenovo, maker of the ThinkPad enterprise laptops and their supremely comfy keyboards, is aware of what goes into an honest typing expertise. The IdeaPad 1 14’s keyboard isn’t fairly as comfy as what you’ll discover on a ThinkPad, struggling a bit from wobbly key switches and the shortage of a backlight. However the keys are well-spaced, the label font is straightforward to learn, and there’s little or no flex within the keyboard deck while you sort forcefully.

The laptop computer’s energy button is a part of the highest row of perform keys, which additionally features a nifty button to disable the webcam. The digital camera lacks face recognition, and there’s no fingerprint reader, which implies the IdeaPad 1 14 doesn’t help Home windows Good day password-less logins. However at this value, we don’t count on it to. The IdeaPad 1 14’s touchpad is comfy, with a generously sized clickable floor that could be a bit stiff within the higher portion however tracks moderately nicely.

Enter and output ports on a funds laptop computer are ceaselessly a seize bag—you by no means know fairly what you’re going to get, because the quantity and sort of ports are constrained by whichever cheap motherboard design the laptop computer maker has sourced or concocted. For the IdeaPad 1 14, Lenovo has positioned all however one of many ports on the left fringe of the laptop computer. They embody the connector for the barrel-style energy adapter, two USB 3.1 Gen 1 Sort-A ports, a full-size HDMI video output, and a microSD card slot.

Lenovo IdeaPad 1 14 laptop ports with orange background


(Photograph: Molly Flores)

Lenovo IdeaPad 1 14 laptop ports with orange background


(Photograph: Molly Flores)

The inclusion of the cardboard reader and the video output isn’t essentially distinctive within the funds class. The Fashionable 14 and the Stream 11 additionally embody them. However many costlier laptops don’t, they usually’re helpful if you wish to hook up with an exterior show at residence otherwise you want a fast and low cost technique to increase the laptop computer’s exterior storage. The one regarding omission among the many ports is the shortage of any oval-shaped USB-C connectors. The only port on the right-hand facet is a 3.5mm audio combo jack. 


A Crisp Full HD Show

The complete HD show is without doubt one of the highlights of the IdeaPad 1 14, serving to it stand out from the ocean of lower-quality screens on laptops one rung down the value ladder. The display measures 14 inches on the diagonal, which is a bit bigger than the 13.3 inches frequent on different ultraportable laptops. Colours are well-defined, and textual content is crisp, thanks largely to the 1,920-by-1,080-pixel native decision. Many funds laptops are restricted to HD decision, which normally works out to pixel dimensions of 1,366 by 768, and may make textual content look fuzzy on a 14-inch or 13-inch display. 

Our solely grievance with the IdeaPad 1 14’s show is that the backlight is reasonably dim, rated for simply 220 nits of most brightness. Set at max, the brightness is enough for many indoor viewing situations, though viewability rapidly decreased as soon as I moved the brightness slider down just a few notches. The matte-finish display has no contact help, but it surely does a superb job of decreasing glare from ambient gentle. 

Lenovo IdeaPad 1 14 laptop with orange background


(Photograph: Molly Flores)

Wi-fi connectivity on the IdeaPad 1 14 is restricted to the older Bluetooth 4.2 and 802.11ac Wi-Fi requirements, which is regular for this value class. Additionally regular is loads of undesirable preinstalled software program referred to as bloatware, which may usher in added income for producers and helps preserve asking costs low. On the IdeaPad 1 14, you’ll discover a smattering of free trials for apps like McAfee and Mirkat, which purports to let you recognize in case your electronic mail handle has been compromised in a knowledge breach. 


Testing the IdeaPad 1 14: Simply Getting Work Carried out

After a number of days of testing, I seen no hangs or crashes when putting in apps or looking the net with a single browser tab open on the IdeaPad 1 14. There’s occasional sluggishness, particularly when resizing or maximizing app home windows, however total the person expertise that this laptop computer gives is remarkably easy. You will want to change out of Home windows 10 S Mode to put in some apps, since S Mode limits the laptop computer to apps downloaded from the Microsoft Retailer, however switching to the complete model of Home windows 10 Dwelling is straightforward and free. 

To see how its efficiency stacks up in opposition to just a few key rivals, I in contrast the IdeaPad 1 14’s benchmark outcomes with these of the Fashionable 14 and three different laptops. (See extra about how we check laptops.)

The Asus VivoBook 15 and Lenovo IdeaPad 3 15 are one rung up the value and dimension ladder, with extra succesful Ryzen and Core processors and bigger 15-inch screens. The Asus Laptop computer L410 is extra of a direct competitor to the IdeaPad 1 14, with a comparable Intel Celeron processor and a $265 asking value. Right here’s a look on the key specs…

Lenovo IdeaPad 1 14 configuration chart

On the PCMark 10 check, none of those fashions reached the 4,000 mark, which we sometimes regard as indicating glorious efficiency on day-after-day duties like phrase processing, internet looking, and videoconferencing. The IdeaPad 1 is distinctly behind the VivoBook 15 and IdeaPad 3 15, although solidly forward of the Asus Laptop computer L410 on this check. 

Lenovo IdeaPad 1 14 performance chart

PCMark 8, in the meantime, has a Storage subtest that we use to evaluate the velocity of the laptop computer’s boot drive. This rating can also be a proprietary numeric rating; once more, larger numbers are higher. The entire methods with SSDs carry out fairly nicely on this check; the Asus Laptop computer L410 has a slower eMMC drive that couldn’t even full the PCMark 8 check. 

Our subsequent trials are CPU-intensive multimedia workflows, which aren’t the form of duties in any respect suited to a funds laptop computer. Nonetheless, it’s good to see that the IdeaPad 1 14 isn’t far behind the Core i3-equipped Fashionable 14 in terms of rendering a 3D picture in Cinebench and changing a 4K video to 1080p in Handbrake. One plus I famous throughout all of those exams: The laptop computer’s cooling fan was barely audible, suggesting that the machine expertly handles the warmth its parts generate below heavy hundreds. 

Lenovo IdeaPad 1 14 performance chart

Lenovo IdeaPad 1 14 performance chart

With solely 4GB of reminiscence, the IdeaPad 1 14 can’t run Adobe Photoshop, so we had been unable to run our picture enhancing benchmark. However the laptop computer might hack the 3DMark and Superposition gaming benchmarks, which resulted in predictably lackluster scores. The IdeaPad 1 14 isn’t a gaming laptop computer, attaining a mean of simply 10 frames per second on the forgiving 720p Low Superposition check. However you shouldn’t count on to play 3D video games on a laptop computer this cheap, anyway. (Learn extra concerning the limits of gaming on laptop computer built-in graphics.)

Lenovo IdeaPad 1 14 performance chart

Lenovo IdeaPad 1 14 performance chart

You need to count on affordable battery life, although, and right here the IdeaPad 1 14 received’t allow you to down. It lasted for 12 hours away from the facility outlet on our video rundown check, which entails enjoying a 720p video file at 50% display brightness with Wi-Fi turned off.

Lenovo IdeaPad 1 14 performance chart

Our check is one thing of a best-case battery state of affairs, but it surely’s good to know that even in the event you’re planning to make use of the IdeaPad 1 14 for extra demanding duties, you received’t endure from battery anxiousness. 


A Easy, Stable Excessive-Funds Laptop computer

The IdeaPad 1 14 is an easy machine, but it surely’s well-designed and has almost every little thing you’d count on from a no-nonsense laptop computer that permits you to examine emails and get schoolwork or different gentle duties performed with relative ease. A “true” 128GB SSD (versus an eMMC drive) and a roomy 14-inch full HD show are arguably the star points of interest, with the comfy keyboard and fairly trendy styling enjoying essential backup roles.

Lenovo IdeaPad 1 14


(Photograph: Molly Flores)

The one issues probably lacking from this nice funds laptop computer are USB-C ports and a extra succesful Ryzen or Core processor. For the latter, you’ll have to step as much as the MSI Fashionable 14, which is at present our prime choose within the budget-laptop class. But when that you must shed one other $100 or $150 out of your spend versus the Fashionable 14, this is without doubt one of the finest picks in its value zone.

The Backside Line

Lenovo’s IdeaPad 1 14 proves which you can have an honest, and even pleasing, Home windows 10 expertise on an under-$300 laptop computer, so long as you do not want USB-C ports and may make do with a fundamental processor.

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