Lenovo Ideapad 120s review: Low price and as expected Celeron performance

Hardware Reviews / Reviews
Lenovo Ideapad 120s

The Lenovo Ideapad 120s can do anything that a more expensive laptop will do, just a bit slower.

The Lenovo Ideapad 120s is an entry-level laptop starting at $199.99USD. The model we reviewed had an 11.6″ screen and weighed in at a mere 2.53 lbs. This all sounds great on the surface since almost everyone would love to have a lightweight, portable laptop. And at that price point, you could buy one for each member of your family as well. Happy times, everyone connected and being productive on their laptops without breaking the bank. But wait, what sacrifices had to be made to keep the price point so low? Will the sacrifices made make a difference in performance? Does build quality suffer? Read on for the full review of the Lenovo Ideapad 120s laptop.

Specifications

  • CPU: Intel Celeron N3350
  • GPU: Intel Integrated Graphics
  • OS: Window 10 Home
  • RAM: 2GB LPDDR4
  • Display: 11.6″ (1366 x 768) Antiglare
  • Storage: 64GB eMMC
  • Speakers: 2 x 1 watt
  • Battery: up to 8 hours
  • Colors: Denim blue or Mineral grey
  • Wi-Fi/BT: 802.11ac/Bluetooth 4.0
  • Dimensions: 11.33 x 7.87 x .69 (W x D x H)
  • Weight: 2.53 lbs

What’s In The Box

  • Ideapad 120s
  • Power Adapter

Design

The Lenovo Ideapad 120s that I reviewed came in Mineral grey; it is also available in Denim blue. Despite being a rectangular shaped laptop, Lenovo has managed to add some interest to the shape of the Ideapad 120s with nicely beveled edges and a nice matte finish. The Lenovo logo is stamped on the top in the same color but with a gloss finish. This lends more interest to the look of the laptop without going overboard with bright colors or chrome. The keyboard and screen are just your standard fare, nothing new to report there.

Along the left side of the Lenovo Ideapad 120s, there is a USB-C, HDMI, USB 3.0 and the charging port. The right side houses a reset button, Micro SD card reader, headphone jack and another USB-C port. The speakers are located on the bottom of the unit. The sound the speakers produce leaves a lot to be desired. Use them only when necessary.

The body is made of rather thin plastic, and the top flexes a bit when being handled. It may look nice, but it does feel rather cheap. That is to be expected at this price point though.

Lenovo Ideapad 120s

Lenovo Ideapad 120s

Display

The Lenovo Ideapad 120s has a screen resolution of 1366 x 768, and the screen is 11.6″ on the diagonal. The screen size is fine for a laptop that will be used on the go, and the text looks clear and smooth. Even while sitting with my back to a bright window, the glare was kept to a minimum by the anti-glare screen. You can adjust brightness from very dark to very bright depending on lighting conditions.

One problem that I see with the screen though is that it is very washed out. I’m not sure if this has to do with an antiglare coating or if the screen is another casualty of the low price point. Either way, colors are very muted, and everything seems to be a bit muddy. The screen is definitely useable, just don’t expect a breathtaking visual experience with the Lenovo Ideapad 120s.

Software/Ecosystem

The Lenovo Ideapad 120s that we reviewed came with Windows 10 Home 64-bit. This immediately presents a problem with the 120s’ performance. Two of the minimum requirements for running Windows 10 are only just barely met right out of the box. Processor speed should be a minimum of 1GHz, and RAM should be 2GB for the 64-bit version of Windows 10. The 120s has a processor speed of 1.1 GHz and 2GB of RAM. I’m no tech guru, but even I can see this is going to be a bumpy ride.

Bloatware seems par for the course these days and the 120s is no exception.  Having Kaspersky continually pester me to sign up with pop-ups doesn’t help the performance of the machine either.

Performance

I can only describe the performance of the Lenovo Ideapad 120s as sluggish. The RAM and the processor and speed are part of the reason for this. A restart cost me one minute and 17 seconds from clicking restart to the machine responding to input again. Opening up the settings menu took 4 seconds. Microsoft Edge took 10 seconds to display the homepage, and Bubble Witch 3 took 20 seconds to open. All times to open programs increased if more than one program was open at the time. Wait times were almost unbearable when three or more programs were open at once. Speed is definitely not a strength of the Lenovo Ideapad 120s, but that is a sacrifice you will more than likely have to make with any budget machine. Budget machines save you money but cost you in performance.

The TrackPad works fine, and the keyboard is comfortable. There are plenty of ports for all your needs, along with one USB 3.0 with always-on charging.

Camera

The forward facing camera is best used for video chatting and times when you don’t have another device. In general laptop, cameras aren’t the best but given the low price of the 120s, this camera is even a few steps below the standard.

Speakers/Sound

The speakers are loud, considering they are under the unit, but they lack bass response. Most laptop speakers are lackluster with the exception of a few high-end models. Use headphones if you want to enjoy the sound coming from the 120s.

Battery Life

The Lenovo Ideapad 120s has a claimed battery life of 8 hours. During mixed usage over two days, I was able to get almost 9 hours out of the battery. I had the screen brightness set at 75% for the duration of the time I was testing the 120s. Your results may vary depending on usage.

Price/Value

The Lenovo Ideapad 120s has a starting price of $199.99USD. This is a great price for a laptop, just remember that performance is on the slower side, given that it is using a Celeron processor and lower grade Intel integrated graphics.

Wrap Up

The Lenovo Ideapad 120s is a low budget, entry-level laptop for the price conscious. The 120s can do almost anything that a more expensive laptop will do to be sure. Just be aware that it will take more time to do it and not look near as good doing it as its higher-priced siblings. If you are in the market for a budget laptop and don’t mind sacrificing speed and a beautiful screen to get a lower price, the Lenovo Ideapad 120s may be a good choice.

We received a review unit of the Lenovo Ideapad 120s for the purposes of this review.

Lenovo Ideapad 120s

$199.99USD
Lenovo Ideapad 120s
7.3

Design

7.0/10

Display

7.0/10

Software/Ecosystem

8.0/10

Performance

7.0/10

Camera

6.0/10

Speakers

6.0/10

Battery Life

9.5/10

Price/Value

8.0/10

Nailed it

  • Low Price
  • Nice looking design
  • Battery life as advertised

Needs work

  • Slow performance
  • Typical laptop speakers
  • Celeron processor isn't the best
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