Pros: Dual-core Intel Celeron CPU, 2 GB of RAM, 32 GB SSD, very low price (check availability here).
Cons: 32 GB of internal storage.
A few years ago, Google took the laptop market by surprise with the super cheap, super fast Chromebooks. They became the go-to for students with low budgets and have reigned the low-end market ever since. The problem is, that Chrome OS is a very, very basic operating system with an extremely low amount of official apps, so many of us still had to save more money to buy a Windows machine.
That changed recently, though, when Microsoft decided to compete against the Chromebooks with their own super cheap Windows laptops. The ultra cheap Lenovo S21e is one of them and it’s pretty much as powerful as any Chromebook with the same price, but with the huge advantage of a way more complete operating system; Windows 10. Care to know more?
Then join us for this complete review of the Lenovo S21E where we'll evaluate it's pros and cons and tell you if it's worth your money or not even worth your time.
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In depth review of the Lenovo S21e
Screen & First impressions
Despite being smaller than most mid-range laptops, the Lenovo S21e still rocks an HD (1366x768p) resolution. The screen has a diagonal size of 11.6 inches and you can use the micro-HDMI port if you need to connect the laptop to a bigger display.
The Lenovo S21e is also very thin and lightweight (one of the reasons it has a micro-HDMI port instead of a regular one) and the two-tone color scheme (silver and black) is very easy on the eyes.
Another advantage of the design is the “matte” finish of the screen, which does not reflect as much light as a regular display, allowing for comfortable viewing of your content even with direct sunlight.
CPU, RAM & Graphics
The thing about cheap laptops is that they have to sacrifice most of their processing power to actually be way cheaper. With that being said, we live in an era where even the cheapest, most basic processors are capable of handling most tasks and programs, so the Lenovo S21e should be more than enough for the average user. Especially if said user is planning on using it to surf the web, watch movies and do some office work.
But I know that you came here for the specifics, so let’s get on with it. The Lenovo S21e comes with a dual core, Intel Celeron N2840 CPU that runs at 2.16 GHz (2.58 with Intel’s “Burst” technology). This CPU also comes with 2 threads and 1 MB of cache, as well as a 64-bit architecture.
The integrated Intel HD graphics are not that powerful, but you should still be able to play not-so graphically demanding videogames such as League of Legends, Starcraft 2, The Sims 4, etc; as long as you don’t mind lowering the resolution and visual quality.
The same goes for video editing, as you’ll be able to run software like Adobe Premiere or After Effects, but you’ll have to be a little bit patient when it comes to rendering.
The Lenovo S21e also comes with 2 GB of DDR3 RAM, which is enough for basic multitasking, but make sure that you don’t open more than 10 tabs in the browser at the same time (especially if you’re using Chrome, A.K.A the RAM devourer).
Storage & Battery life
Moving on in our review of the Lenovo S21e. The good news is that it comes with an SSD, which means that it will be way faster than a regular hard drive in pretty much every aspect. The bad news is that the SSDs are not known for having huge amounts of storage, so you’ll have to settle with 32 GB of internal storage.
Most of our current storage is in the cloud anyway, but you’ll still have one USB 3.0 port and one SD card slot if you want to connect your external storage drives.
Not being that powerful has an advantage, though, because the energy requirements are lower and so the battery life of the device is greater. The 23.2 watts-hour battery of the Lenovo S21e is capable of handling up to 5 hours of mid-to-heavy use, so you shouldn’t have any problems in that category.
Connectivity & Extras
When it comes to connectivity, the Lenovo S21e is pretty standard, but this is something very common even with most high-end laptops. We’re talking about 802.11 b/g/n WiFi connectivity and Bluetooth 4.0 for your wireless gadgets and smartphones.
The Lenovo S21e comes with Windows 8.1 out of the box, but you can easily update it to the latest and greatest version of Windows 10 as soon as you receive it. Windows 10 has been very well received among professional and average users, and it’s going to be free until mid-2016, so our recommendation is that you update the laptop as soon as you get it.
In regards of the physical ports, the Lenovo S21e comes with one USB 3.0 port, one USB 2.0 port, one micro-HDMI port, one headphone/microphone jack and one SD card slot.
The laptop also comes with an integrated webcam and microphone combo, so you’ll be able to video-call your friends without any external devices.
Veredict: 9/10 Great price-spec relationship
Like I said in the introduction of this review, Microsoft is trying its best to compete against Google in the low-end laptop market, and the Lenovo S21e is the best example. It’s fast, it’s pretty, it’s cheap and most important; it has Windows.
This is just one of the many super cheap Windows laptops that Microsoft is planning to release in the market, but it doesn’t get any better than this (at least not in the next 6-9 months), so you might as well save yourself some time (and money) and buy the Lenovo S21e if this is the kind of laptop you’re interested in.