The Lenovo 100E Chromebook (81QB000AUS) is an attractive if you’re faithful to the original Chromebook concept of a simple, affordable, laptop for college or basic home entertainment.
- Low price
- Sleek design
- Solid performance
- Excellent battery life
- No touch screen
- Narrow viewing angles
- Poor-quality webcam
Chromebook prices seem to be competing with mainstream notebooks these days, but we have some that are hitting an all-time low. Case in point: The Lenovo 100E Chromebook (81QB000AUS) lists for a very affordable price and features an 11.6-inch display, Intel Mediatek power, a decent array of ports and performance. It’s rugged for the thumps and bumps of schoolroom duty like the Dell Chromebook 11, it doesn’t have a touchscreen like the Asus Chromebook Flip (C100PA-DB02), but it’s priced well below those competing machines. The 100E is an appealing pick for Chromebook buyers on a budget.
Measuring 0.75 by 11.8 by 8.2 inches (HWD) and weighing 2.64 pounds, the 100E is noticeably sleeker and lighter than the 2.6-inch, and 4.2-pound Lenovo 300e Chromebook. It’s built of sturdy plastic, with a finely textured lid with a Chrome logo and a thin chrome Lenovo logo to the right of the touchpad in the keyboard palm rest.
On the Lenovo 100E, you’re not getting a ThinkPad keyboard, not possible at this price, instead you have the square, chiclet-style keys with snappy, albeit shallow, typing fee. The key layout follows the Chromebook standard, marked by a search key that replaces Caps Lock and a top-placed row of system functions. The touchpad glides smoothly, although it requires a rather firm tap.
Above the keyboard is an 11.6-inch, 1,366-by-768 display that’s both clear and bright once you stick to the top three or four backlight settings, and if viewing it directly, you’ll surely see crisp detail and lively colors. If you’re expecting an in-Plane Switching (IPS) panel like what you have on the Asus Chromebook Flip or the Toshiba Chromebook 2, you’ll be disappointed as any viewer positioned to one side will see a washed out, unreadable screen.
Connectivity comes via a USB-C port (used for charging as well), a USB 3.0 port, a mic/headphone combo, and an HDMI port alongside an SD card reader. Wireless connectivity comes via dual-band Wi-Fi 802.11AC and Bluetooth 4.2. A 720p webcam and microphone above the display suffice for video chats and Skype calls. Sound is a little tiny, but adequate for multimedia apps like video streaming, with ample volume.
Being a Chromebook dedicated for college students, Lenovo bundles it with a G-Suite for education that offers free productivity tools that allows students to share and sync documents seamlessly and securely. Here, you can access the popular Google classroom suite and other education apps that make sharing of digital educational material enjoyable and manageable.
The 100E features a 2.1GHz Intel MediaTek MT8173C, a dual-core CPU with Intel HD integrated graphics 4GB of memory and 16GB eMMC flash storage. It takes a leisurely 12 seconds to boot to the Chrome OS sign-in screen (which is, say, like the power button, rarely used as Chromebook owners commonly close the lid to suspend operations.) After sign in, it feels perky enough even with 8 browser tabs, a couple of Android apps and a YouTube video open.
The Chromebook 100E’s performance stacks up well with other Cortex-based Chromebooks we’ve reviewed before, while predictably falling short of more potent models like the ASUS Chromebook C425 (Intel Core M3), Acer Chromebook Spin 13 (Intel Core i5) and Samsung Chromebook Plus V2 and the significantly pricier Google Pixelbook Go. Pandora music and YouTube 720p video tabs play smoothly, even when streamed simultaneously with five other tabs.
The 100E Chromebook’s 42Whr sealed battery lasts a respectable 9 hours 12 minutes; showing more stamina than the Lenovo ThinkPad 11e Chromebook (7:35), but less than the Google Pixelbook Go (12:15) and the Asus Chromebook Flip (11:15).
The Lenovo 100E Chromebook is an attractive if you’re faithful to the original Chromebook concept of a simple, affordable, laptop for college or basic home entertainment. We wish it had an IPS display, but that would raise its rock-bottom price. Our Editors’ Choice Chromebook remains the Asus Chromebook Flip (C100PA-DB02); its screen is smaller at 10.1 inches, but its IPS panel offers great viewing quality, in addition to a touch and convertible tablet-style capability.
Assuming your commuting needs are light, probably college use, and you don’t mind the smallish, modest-resolution screen, you’ll find the Lenovo 100E Chromebook (81QB000AUS) a bargain among bargains.
Lenovo 100E Chromebook 2ND Gen Laptop, 11.6" HD (1366 X 768) Display, MediaTek MT8173C Processor, 4GB LPDDR3 RAM, 16GB eMMC TLC SSD, Powervr GX6250, Chrome OS, 81QB000AUS, Black
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