Lenovo IdeaPad 1i Review: A Budget Laptop that will Work in a Pinch

Lenovo IdeaPad 1i review

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This Lenovo IdeaPad 1i review finds out if a super-affordable laptop can be dependable in the long term. 

You can think of the IdeaPad 1i as a no-frills notebook that will get you through basic, everyday tasks. The laptop should be able to hold up under the weight of several modern applications running at the same time. Let’s get into the specifics of what this 14-inch Intel Celeron laptop can handle.

Lenovo IdeaPad 1i review: What the notebook is working with (internal hardware)

Laptops like the IdeaPad 1i are affordable because of their equally affordable internal hardware. In the case of this review, we’re looking at:

  • A quad-core Intel Celeron processor with a maximum clock speed of 2.8GHz
  • An integrated Intel graphics card that can handle video with a maximum resolution of 1080p
  • 4GB RAM (DDR4) that’s soldered in place
  • 64GB mechanical hard drive that’s also soldered in place
  • 64GB flash memory
  • A 720p TN panel

The decision to solder the RAM and hard drive in place pretty much prevents you from upgrading the IdeaPad 1i. Maybe there’s a reason that Lenovo makes this design choice for the IdeaPad 1i. Maybe the laptop is unable to handle the demands of more memory or more storage.

Lenovo IdeaPad 1i review

Lenovo IdeaPad 1i review: What the laptop can handle 

A quad-core processor can run everyday applications like spreadsheets, accounting software, and word processors. The notebook can also manage lightweight programming and graphics tools.

Lenovo IdeaPad 1i review: What it’s like to use the IdeaPad 1i

For starters, the notebook is light enough, compact enough, and sturdy enough for travel. The laptop is also comfortable as you type, with a fun keyboard and a reliable touchpad. You can also expect a fairly cool device that won’t overwhelm you with heat.

A browser with 15 open tabs can run in the background as you stream a live podcast while working on a large spreadsheet. This is a moderate workload that the notebook can manage without freezing.

The laptop will also handle a lightweight video game that makes moderate demands on the internals of the Lenovo 1i. Games with low resolution and low frame rates render decent graphics and fairly smooth motion.

Running a browser with vast numbers of open tabs will cause the notebook to become sluggish. Adding extra applications to this workload will cause the Lenovo 1i to heat up. 

Putting even more demands on the laptop with a video game may cause outright freezing. This drawback doesn’t stop the Lenovo 1i from offering other forms of value, starting with build quality.

[Read what others are saying about this laptop]

Lenovo IdeaPad 1i review: Build, longevity and usability

Lenovo has a reputation for durable products that deliver years of reliable service. The 14-inch IdeaPad 1i is just as well-built as other Lenovo PCs, with solid plastic that encases the screen and internal hardware.

The sturdy chassis protects the laptop from moderate bumps and knocks. However, the hinges may be a little too stiff for some people’s liking. They will force you to open the laptop with both hands.

A quick look at the deck

Opening the laptop reveals a deck with a user-friendly keyboard and a small touchpad. The keys are flexible, with enough bounce to make for enjoyable typing. Better still, the touchpad is predictable and you won’t have to deal with a random, jumping cursor.

It bears mentioning that nothing on the deck has a backlight. This is less of an oversight and more of an omission that matches the notebook’s price range. A small selection of ports sit at the sides of the laptop deck.

Lenovo IdeaPad 1i review: Connectivity

The Lenovo 1i notebook has enough ports for the user with simple needs. Two USB 3.2 ports support connections to all kinds of peripherals and storage devices. An HDMI port lets you link the laptop with compatible screens, media players, and sound equipment.

WiFi and Bluetooth provide flexible, wireless connections that allow you to be more mobile.

Screen

TN displays are quickly becoming relics of the past, so the IdeaPad 1i has an antique element to its overall feel. Unfortunately, this is where the charm of the notebook’s 14-inch, 720p TN panel ends

A slight tinge of blue and middling motion handling make the laptop unsuitable for graphics work. This drawback is almost a moot point because the notebook can’t run demanding photo-editing software anyway.

The good news is that the screen is perfectly fine for most basic, everyday tasks.

Lenovo IdeaPad 1i review: Cooling solution

A passive cooling solution keeps a laptop from overheating without a fan. Instead, the laptop’s processor will slow down to prevent high temperatures. Clever positioning of vents and internal heat conductors keep the laptop comfortable and functional. 

This is the kind of setup that manages the temperature of the 14-inch IdeaPad 1i. The setup works well, and the laptop should only reach maximum temperatures of 45 degrees C (113 degrees F).

Battery

Moderate usage will drain the Lenovo 1i notebook in eight hours, give or take. To put it another way, the laptop’s 32Wh Lithium battery can handle eight straight hours of your favorite show.

Pros

  • Solid build that should allow the laptop to last for many years
  • Lightweight and portable
  • User-friendly keyboard and reliable, predictable touchpad
  • Effortless handling of everyday software and the workload that comes with it
  • The laptop can handle a little light gaming

Cons

  • You cannot easily swap or upgrade the notebook’s RAM or storage
  • Relatively low specs mean that the IdeaPad 1i is unable to handle demanding games or video editing software
  • The picture quality of the TN display could be better

Lenovo IdeaPad 1i review: A laptop that covers the basics on a shoestring budget

This Lenovo IdeaPad 1i review reveals an affordable laptop that’s a good fit for the prospective buyer with simple needs. However, if you need a PC to run larger, more demanding software, invest in a notebook with higher specifications. Click here to learn more about this laptop.

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