Over the years in IT I’ve experienced most brands in both laptop and PC form and the difference between brands can at times be quite substantial – Even in the same price range build quality can be excellent or very poor.
Because of this when it came to home PCs, I always opted to build my own, it saved some money and allowed me to pick and choose parts – but then prices came right down and it made more sense to buy pre-built systems.
My last system was an Intel NUC – It wasn’t a fully built system as you needed to add a HDD, some memory and a software licence but for £89 it was absolute bargain. Add the bits above and for under £300 I had a very compact system suitable for occasional use.
However things change, I started writing reviews and doing more and more on that little NUC – It’s Celeron chip was being worked hard and it didn’t like it. So I bought a Microsoft Surface 3 (Not Pro) and used this for a year to do all the our wedding planning on, it allowed me to do all the photos, website, invites, table layouts etc but it needed the purchase of a keyboard and pen – It also lacked space with only having a 128GB SSD.
So I was on the lookout for a new system to replace the NUC and maybe sell the Surface too.
Xmas came and an amazing deal was had on a Lenovo G50-80 (i3, 8GB, 1TBHDD) and I mean it was a damn good deal! The NUC was stripped down, data transferred and the G50 became my main home system, yes it’s not the most powerful system out there but I didn’t buy it for gaming – I bought it to be an everyday use PC, my main system.
For a £250 Laptop its brilliant, at the full price of £350 it would have also been very good – Well built, very quick, decent speakers, clear screen and so far hasn’t missed a beat. Yes I’d like to add more memory to give it a boost but it’s not critical.
The only downside for me is its size – It’s in the size category of a 17″ laptop rather than a 15.6″ – but this gives the advantage of a full size keyboard which is really nice to type on.
Which leads me to a small issue – Whilst portable (it’s a laptop after all) it’s not as portable as I’d like, and I needed something to write reviews on whilst on the move and at work.
The iPad, small, light, portable and with the WordPress app it does a good job – Well yes and no, it allows me to write a review or blog post but I can’t finalise it as I’d like – It’s not easy to add and manipulate images and typing is not as quick as when I’m on a laptop – no matter the keyboard used.
So I went looking for a smaller portable laptop for review writing and blogging, but it needed to be cheap, very portable and with a small screen (around 11″) but also well-built. There aren’t a huge number of devices that fit into this category.
You can get small, portable and well-built but at a huge cost. You can get small, portable and cheap but with questionable build quality or an unknown brand. And then a small subset of small, portable, well built and cheap in which I found a Lenovo Ideapad 110S-11IBR.
The 110S has an 11″ screen, 2GB RAM, 32GB eMMC and is very well-built – in fact it’s better built than most laptops that cost 3 times the price or more.
Perfect for review writing and blogging, however I wanted a bit more space for basic photo editing and syncing to OneDrive so I added a 128GB SSD and rebuilt the system. (Guide here)
Yep, I got my cheap, portable and well-built laptop meaning I can write reviews and blogs wherever I am, which for me opens up a huge range of possibilities.
I would highly recommend looking at the Lenovo range of laptops next time you are thinking about buying one. Of course being a techy geek, I always want the latest and best that they have to offer, but my bank account disagrees, but then this leads me to discover the little gems I have and that’s even better.