A year after we’ve reviewed the Ideapad 100 from Lenovo, we get to play around with the refreshed Ideapad 110 lineup, which hasn’t changed much in most aspects but receives a slightly re-designed chassis, a new updated processor and a lot better maintenance procedure that doesn’t require the keyboard to come off.
With the Ideapad 100 and Ideapad 110 being almost identical with little changes under the hood, it will be interesting to see how this has reflected on the user experience as a whole. Does the updated CPU maintain lower or at least the same temperatures as before due to the fan-less cooling design, does the display still have PWM and does it improve the overall picture quality and is there any battery improvements? We find out in the detailed review below.
You can find some of the available configurations here: http://amzn.to/2eM7Z2u
The retail package is modest containing only the user manuals, AC cord, and adapter along with the notebook itself, of course.
Design and construction
From a design standpoint, you can’t really expect a high-end chassis without compromises in the build quality but the Ideapad 110’s case seems to be pretty decent. It’s also been updated with an interesting pattern over the surface, which wasn’t present in the previous Ideapad 100. Unfortunately, it’s still a huge fingerprint magnet so frequent cleaning is required.
The lid feels pretty nice, smooth and “grippy” so it’s easy to carry it around. But as we mentioned, the fingerprints are quite prominent. The surface bends under pressure and causes ripples on the LCD screen but not as much as we expected, to be honest. By opening the lid you will feel that the hinges are a bit overly tightened towards the end and middle of the travel but turn loose in the beginning. So opening the lid requires both hands but one hand is enough just to lift it up. The good thing is that the bottom piece features the same finish without contrasting to the whole design signature. Something we see quite often on even higher-end laptops. There you will see only one big opening for extra airflow for the CPU.
The sides integrate the bare minimum of ports with the left one adopting the HDMI, LAN, USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 connectors, 3.5 mm audio jack and the DC charging port, which is placed on an utterly awkward position – in the center. So the cable might get in the way sometimes. This is probably due to design limitations, as the motherboard is located near the bottom left of the base so the DC charging port,has to be somewhere nearby. As for the right side, it has only the optical drive in place. And as far as portability is concerned, the notebook hasn’t gone any slimmer than last year’s model – 22.9 mm at its thickest point vs the 22.6 mm height on the Ideapad 100.
With a slightly different finish, the interior of the Ideapad 110 resembles faux leather to touch but it’s easy to see that it’s plastic. And despite the different finish, the plastic surface still attracts a lot of fingerprints. But what about the input devices? Well, the keyboard is decent for the price range but two things didn’t make a good impression. The short key travel is understandable but the feedback when pressing the keys should have been a little bit better. Also, the whole keyboard tray is a bit spongy and even the lightest press of a button causes the keyboard to sink. On the contrary, the wrist rest area is solid and rigid. The same goes for the trackpad area, which uses two stiff mouse buttons instead of a whole touchpad plate and we strongly prefer this design on a low-end machine for sure. Usually, the entry-level notebooks have flimsy touchpad design so the one on the Ideapad 110 will suit most users pretty well.
Disassembly, maintenance and upgrade options
Unlike its predecessor, the Ideapad 100, the new Ideapad 110 offers a more simplified upgrade procedure that doesn’t require the keyboard to be removed in order to access the internals. You just need to take care of the optical drive…
…and then proceed with the bottom piece.
Storage upgrade options – 2.5-inch HDD slot
Quite expectedly, the Ideapad 110 houses one 2.5-inch drive slot usually taken by a 500GB or 1TB HDD depending on the configuration you will buy. If this isn’t enough, you can always swap the 2.5-inch HDD for an SSD and stick the HDD into a caddy replacing the otpical drive.
|2.5-inch HDD/SSD||1TB HDD (5400 rpm) WD Blue||Upgrade options|
The RAM can’t be upgraded as it comes soldered to the motherboard. Make sure you choose the appropriate amount of RAM since it cannot be changed.
The Wi-Fi module is located right above the covering plate of the CPU. Its model number is SW10A11648.
The battery is rated at just 24Wh and it’s located right between the screen hinges.
The Ideapad 110 uses a passive cooling system because the Intel Pentium N3710 allows it. You won’t find any fans – just a big heat sink and a thermal paste applied to it for heat dispersion.
As a low-end machine, the Ideapad 110 uses a budget 15-inch WXGA TN panel with 1366 x 768 HD resolution. It’s manufactured by LG with model number LP156WHU-TPG1 and has pixel density of just 100 ppi and 0.253 x 0.253 mm pixel pitch. It can be considered as “Retina” when viewed from a distance equal or greater than 86 cm.
There’s noticeable color shift from a 45-degree incline due to the TN panel as you can see in the photo below.
We were able to record a maximum brightness of 210 cd/m2 in the center of the screen and 219 cd/m2 as average with a bit higher than usual maximum deviation – 21%. The color temperature is 7370K in the center and an average of 7310K so colors will appear a bit colder than they should. The contrast ratio is low – 470:1
As of color deviation, we’ve measured dE2000 of 4.2 in the lower left corner of the screen. Keep in mind that values above 4.0 are unwanted.
To make sure we are on the same page, we would like to give you a little introduction of the sRGB color gamut and the Adobe RGB. Starting with the CIE 1976 Uniform Chromaticity Diagram that represents the visible specter of colors by the human eye giving you a better perception of the color gamut coverage and the color accuracy. Inside the black triangle, you will see the standard color gamut (sRGB) that has been used by millions of people in HDTV and on the web. As for the Adobe RGB, this is used by professional cameras, monitors and etc. for printing. Basically, colors inside the black triangle are used by everyone and this is the essential part of the color quality and color accuracy of a mainstream notebook. Still, we’ve included other color spaces like the famous DCI-P3 standard used by movie studios and the digital UHD Rec.2020 standard. Rec.2020, however, is still a thing of the future and it’s hard to be covered by today’s displays. We’ve also included the so-called Michael Pointer gamut, or Pointer’s gamut, which represents the colors that naturally occur around us every day.
But as far as sRGB coverage is concerned, the display goes as far as 51% as shown in the image below.
Below you will see practically the same image but with color circles representing the reference colors and white circles being the result. You can see main and additional colors with 25%, 50%, 75% and 100% saturation inside the sRGB gamut before and after calibration.
We’ve created the profile at 140 cd/m2, optimal white point (D65, 6500K) and sRGB gamma mode.
Below you can see the results from the accuracy color checker with 24 commonly used colors like light and dark human skin, blue sky, green grass, orange etc. The results are before and after calibration.
We’ve also measured how well the display is able to reproduce really dark parts of an image. It’s essential when watching movies or playing games. The left side of the image represents the display with stock settings while the right one with our custom profile for gaming and multimedia. On the horizontal axis, you will find the grayscale and on the vertical axis the luminance of the display. The display offers good visibility in dark areas of an image but it’s further improved by installing our profile.
We illustrate the first five levels of the gray (1%-5% white), right after black level, using the five boxes on the image below. Keep in mind that whether you can distinguish them or not strongly depends on the settings of your current display, the calibration, the viewing angle and the surrounding light conditions.
Gaming capabilities (Response time)
We test the reaction time of the pixels with the usual “black-to-white” and “white-to-black” method from 10% to 90% and reverse.
We recorded Fall Time + Rise Time = 16 ms.
PWM (Screen flickering)
Our equipment was able to detect pulsations across all brightness levels but at extremely high frequency (40 kHz). This means that the display may have an impact on users with extra sensitive eyes, although it’s quite unlikely. We can consider it as user-friendly and safe to use for longer periods of time. However, if you happen to experience some eye soreness or a headache after prolonged use, you can always turn up the brightness to 100% where the flickering stops.
Blue light emissions
With our Health-Guard profile installed, you can benefit from reduced blue light emissions. You can see the levels of emitted blue light on the spectral power distribution (SDP).
The notebook’s TN panel isn’t the best one for multimedia purposes but it’s sufficient for the usual office work and web browsing. It has normal maximum brightness, sRGB coverage, contrast ratio and color accuracy for a machine at this price range. However, a big plus is the high-frequency PWM, which the screen produces. Although present, it should not affect users even with sensitive eyes during long hours of work.
Buy our display profiles
Since our profiles are tailored for each individual display model, this article and its respective profile package is meant for Lenovo Ideapad 110 configurations with 15.6″ LG LP156WHU-TPG1 (HD, 1366 x 768) TN, which can be found on Amazon: http://amzn.to/2eDurs0
*Should you have problems with downloading the purchased file, try using a different browser to open the link you’ll receive via e-mail. If the download target is a .php file instead of an archive, change the file extension to .zip or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Read more about the profiles HERE.
In addition to receiving efficient and health-friendly profiles, by buying LaptopMedia's products you also support the development of our labs, where we test devices in order to produce the most objective reviews possible.
Office work / Web design
If your field is office work or web design, or you just want your monitor's color set to be as accurate as possible for the Internet color space, this profile will prove to be useful.
Gaming or Movie nights
We developed this profile especially for occasions on which you spend a lot of time in front of your monitor with some games or watching movies – it will be easier for you to discern fine nuances in the dark.
This profile reduces the negative impact of pulsation and the blue spectrum, securing your eyes and body. You still get a pitch-perfect color image, albeit slightly warmer.
We didn’t notice any major distortions at low, mid and high frequencies but the maximum volume isn’t high enough.
|CPU||Intel Pentium N3710 (4-core, 1.60 – 2.56 GHz, 2MB cache)|
|RAM||4GB (1x 4096MB) – DDR3, 1600MHz|
|GPU||Intel HD Graphics 405 (Braswell)|
|HDD/SSD||500GB HDD (5400 rpm)|
|Display||15.6-inch HD (1366×768) TN panel, glossy|
|Optical Drive||DVD burner|
|Connectivity||LAN 10/100/1000 Mbps, Wi-Fi 802.11ac, Bluetooth 4.0|
|Thickness||22.9 mm (0.90″)|
|Weight||2.2 kg (4.85 lbs)|
We used a freshly installed Windows 10 (64-bit) for the writing of this review. If you wish to do a clean install yourself as well, we suggest downloading the latest drivers from Lenovo’s official support page.
We have mixed feelings about the battery life of this notebook because it’s one of the most affordable solutions out there so it’s hard to have any complaints. However, when we reviewed last year’s model with Intel’s Celeron N2840, we got slightly better readings – around 13 to 15% better to be exact. It must be the fact that the Celeron draws slightly less power than the Pentium. Battery capacity has remained the same, though – 24Wh.
All tests were performed with the usual settings – Wi-Fi turned on, Windows battery saving feature turned on and screen brightness set to 120 cd/m2.
In order to simulate real-life conditions, we used our own script for automatic web browsing through over 70 websites.
The notebook scored merely 204 minutes (3 hours and 24 minutes) on the web browsing test, which was kind of expected.
For every test like this, we use the same video in HD.
We got even lower result on the video playback test – 195 minutes (3 hours and 15 minutes).
For accurate simulation, we used the Metro Last Light benchmark running on loop with graphic settings set to minimum.
This test got the most of the battery since it’s the most demanding one – 62 (1 hour and 2 minutes).
CPU – Intel Pentium N3710
Intel’s Pentium N3710 is an entry-level SoC usually found in affordable notebooks. It features a quad-core design based on the 14nm manufacturing process with tri-gate transistors. This improves the overall energy efficiency and performance compared to the older Bay Trail platform.
All four cores are based on the Airmont architecture and it’s pretty close to the previous Silvermont architecture so performance per clock isn’t improved as much but the new 14nm manufacturing process allows better utilization of the Burst frequency leading to better overall performance. Compared to the old Intel Pentium N3700, the N3710 successor reaches a maximum of 2.56 GHz and works at base 1.60 GHz frequency.
The whole SoC – including the integrated Intel HD Graphics (Braswell) and the DDR3L memory controller – is rated at 6W TDP while the SDP is 4W. Keep in mind that since the chip uses a passive cooling design, its performance strongly depends on the implementation of each OEM.
The chip should be sufficient for general work, browsing and in some cases even multimedia but will struggle with more demanding tasks and applications.
Results are from the Cinebench 11 test (higher the score, the better)
|Lenovo Ideapad 110 Intel Pentium N3710 (4-cores, 1.6 - 2.56 GHz)||1.40|
|Dell Inspiron 3552 Intel Pentium N3700 (4-cores, 1.6 - 2.4 GHz)||1.72||+22.86%|
|Acer Aspire E15 (E5-573) Intel Pentium 3825U (2-cores, 1.9 - 1.9 GHz)||2.14||+52.86%|
Results are from the NovaBench CPU test (higher the score, the better)
|Lenovo Ideapad 110 Intel Pentium N3710 (4-cores, 1.6 - 2.56 GHz)||286|
|Dell Inspiron 3552 Intel Pentium N3700 (4-cores, 1.6 - 2.4 GHz)||275||-3.85%|
|Acer Aspire E15 (E5-573) Intel Pentium 3825U (2-cores, 1.9 - 1.9 GHz)||316||+10.49%|
Results are from the Photoshop test (lower the score, the better)
|Lenovo Ideapad 110 Intel Pentium N3710 (4-cores, 1.6 - 2.56 GHz)||37.27|
|Dell Inspiron 3552 Intel Pentium N3700 (4-cores, 1.6 - 2.4 GHz)||43.26||+16.07%|
|Acer Aspire E15 (E5-573) Intel Pentium 3825U (2-cores, 1.9 - 1.9 GHz)||29.80||-20.04%|
Fritz is a chess benchmark that tests the computing capabilities of the CPU with various chess moves. The Intel Pentium N3170 scored 4.462 million moves per second. In comparison, one of the most powerful chess computers, Deep(er) Blue, was able to squeeze out 200 million moves per second. In 1997 Deep(er) Blue even beat the famous Garry Kasparov with 3.5 to 2.5.
GPU – Intel HD Graphics (Braswell)
An integrated GPU used in all CPUs part of the Braswell generation. The GPUs frequency can vary a lot – from around 300MHz to up to 700MHz, depending on the model of the processor. It has 16 EUs (Execution Units) and its architecture is almost the same as the one on the Core M CPUs (while the Core M’s graphics integrate 24 EUs).
The GPU can support up to 3 displays with a maximum resolution of 4K, but internally can handle only 2560 x 1440 (QHD) via eDP. The external displays can be connected via HDMI or Display Port. Other major features include the support of DirectX 12 and Open GL 4.2.
You can browse through our top GPUs ranking: http://laptopmedia.com/top-laptop-graphics-ranking/
Here you will find other useful information and every notebook with this GPU that we’ve tested: http://laptopmedia.com/video-card/intel-hd-graphics-braswell/
As we stated earlier, the notebook’s chassis has its strong sides and its flaws but we are mostly happy with the presented build quality, of course, considering the price point. The only thing that concerns us is the spongy keyboard and the lack of feedback of the keys. We also can’t miss mentioning the super easy disassembly of the notebook that now doesn’t require the keyboard tray to be removed. The previous Ideapad 100 was a pain to maintain.
As far as the hardware is concerned, the Pentium and Celeron configuration will do just fine for education purposes and normal everyday tasks along with browsing. Just make sure you don’t spend too much time away from the charger as the 24Wh battery will only get you less than a few hours of work.
The display is also suitable given the situation and will not be suitable for any kind of multimedia activities. However, it will keep your eyes safe due to the high-frequency PWM, which should affect only users with extremely sensitive eyes.
So at the end of the day, if you are on a hunt for an ultra-affordable laptop, the Ideapad 110 should be considered if you are ready to make the logical sacrifices that come with the ridiculously low price. But don’t forget to include the Dell Inspiron 3552 and the Acer Aspire E 15 (E5-573), which carry their own perks and drawbacks as well but are still in the same ballpark.
You can find some of the available configurations here: http://amzn.to/2eM7Z2u
- The build quality isn’t necessarily bad
- Easy maintenance
- The display uses high-frequency (mostly harmless) PWM at 40 kHz from 0 to 99% brightness
- The surface is a big fingerprint magnet
- Spongy keyboard
- Below average battery life