So the other day I decided I wanted to actually fully write my blogs when out and not wait until I was home to finish them off. The iPad is good but image editing isn’t that easy and adding images to WordPress is much easier on a fully functional laptop.
Not having a huge budget meant looking around for something small, functional and cheap – I found the Lenovo IdeaPad 110S-11IBR at Argos for £169.99.
Pretty good spec for the price –
- Intel Celeron N3160
- 2GB RAM
- 32GB eMMc Storage
- 11.6″ HD Screen
- 3 USB Ports (2×2.0, 1x 3.0)
- MicroSD Card Slot
- Full Size HDMI
But the storage space isn’t great, as you can see it’s only 32GB, but when you take into account drive size rounding, system and recovery drives it drops to 27GB usable space, add Windows and pre-installed apps and you have around 10GB left which is OK for basic things as browsing, streaming and blogging.
I didn’t have any problems until I wanted to update Windows 10 (Home Edition) to the latest Creators Edition, the download was fine but it really ate up the disk space so you need to spend time tidying up things afterwards.
With this in mind, I went searching to see if anything could be upgraded – Running 2GB RAM is good, but more is always better! And the storage could do with boosting.
Bad News – The RAM is on the mainboard and can’t be removed/upgraded. The 32GB eMMC storage is also on the mainboard and can’t be removed.
Good News – There is an empty M.2 slot on the mainboard which takes a 2280 SATA SSD, yep its upgrade time!
First of all pick your SSD, I opted for a 128GB ADATA Premier Pro from Amazon for under £60. Other drives were available for around the same price (all 128GB) but the delivery was 1 – 4 weeks!
M.2 supported Drives – this unit only supports M.2 SATA drives not PCIe. For more information on the differences, please visit Kingston SSD M.2 FAQ
A lack of teardown instructions exist for this laptop, probably because not many people buy and upgrade them!
Simple to install though.
What you’ll need –
- The IdeaPad (obviously)
- A suitable M.2 2280 SSD – this unit does not support M.2 PCIe, it only supports M.2 SATA.
- Small Philips Screwdriver
- Plastic prise tool
- 1 x M2 2.5mm Philips screw (not supplied)
Flip the laptop over and remove ALL the screws on the underside, no hidden ones to worry about and they are all the same size too.
Gently prise the back cover off with the prise tool.
The empty M.2 slot is highlighted in yellow above.
Inset the M.2 SSD and install the screw (yellow circle), I didn’t have the screw so used the screw from the battery corner (red circle) and dabbed a bit of superglue in its place.
Specifics for my SSD. Note this is an M.2 SATA, an M.2 PCIe drive is not compatible.
Once this is done, clip the back of the case on and re-insert all the screws – Check you have no spares!
Now the fun starts……
Power on the laptop and Windows will see the new drive, you’ll need to go into Disk Management to format, assign a drive letter and label it – You now have 128GB of extra storage.
You can use your favourite cloning software to clone the current install to the new drive, boot up and then use the 32GB drive as extra storage.
Do a complete fresh install – I opted for this method as it killed 3 birds with one stone, install on the new SSD, removed value added applications that I don’t use and upgrade to creators edition.
Now I have a very fast, light, portable laptop with plenty of storage for just over £200 and my blogging can commence! In fact this blog was written entirely on said laptop.
For those who would like it, here is the full Ideapad 110s Teardown Manual as supplied by Lenovo.
Lenovo 110S-11IBR from Argos – http://www.argos.co.uk/product/7509425
ADATA Premier Pro M.2 SSD from Amazon – http://amzn.to/2fUnKXO
Other storage is also available from –