AMD’s Ryzen 7000 processors for mobile were recently announced this year, and Lenovo is one company that has included them in its line of laptops. The Lenovo IdeaPad 1 is within the budget category for laptops, but the company says the machine boasts enticing value for its capabilities.
The machine’s starting price of just over S$500 definitely brings that “Wow” factor, but the Lenovo IdeaPad 1 also has a few particular quirks that may dissuade some people.
Design and Build
Lenovo has kept the design of the IdeaPad 1 very simple, which shouldn’t be a surprise given that it is an entry-level laptop. It is a completely solid grey machine, with just a small Lenovo insignia on one corner of the lid. There are no frills or fuss about the look, which is all it should be anyway.
For a budget laptop though, I am pleasantly surprised about the build quality. Yes, there is some amount of flex with the chassis, but nothing alarming. Overall, it is a generally solid build that feels like many other mid-range laptops available, which is something to praise in itself given its price.
The Lenovo IdeaPad 1 is a small machine as a whole, perfectly capable of fitting into a small bag which helps in terms of its portability. It is not the lightest laptop though. It weighs about the same as a 13-inch MacBook Pro (1.38kg), which for me, toes the line in terms of being lightweight.
One feature you won’t see in most budget laptops is its ability to pivot the screen flat. Having the hinge able to swivel nearly 180 degrees gives that extra bit of flexibility in using the laptop — I’ve liked using it while laying on my couch. However, you sacrifice the ability to open the device with one hand. The hinge is much too strong to lift the lid in that manner.
Another feature you would appreciate is the privacy shutter on the webcam, again something you likely will not find in similarly priced laptops. However, it is also a physical shutter, which should put minds at ease.
Let’s talk about the keyboard, though there isn’t that much to say about it. The keys feel a little mushy when typing, but it is something you should eventually get used to. Unfortunately, there isn’t any backlight for the keyboard if that is something that you require.
In terms of ports, the Lenovo IdeaPad 1 is well-featured on that front. It has two USB-A ports on either side (with one being a USB 3.2 Gen 1 port), along with an HDMI connector, a full-size SD Card reader, a headphone jack, and a USB-C port. The USB-C port, however, does not support power delivery.
Admittedly, that is a little disappointing to hear in terms of convenience. But even with that caveat, that is a decent variety of ports for a budget laptop.
The Lenovo IdeaPad 1 comes with a 14-inch screen and runs with a Full HD resolution — that may sound good on paper, but the display’s performance is less than stellar.
The display uses a TN panel, which is understandable given the constraints needed to keep the price attractive, but it ultimately does not give a great experience. Viewing angles are limited for the screen due to how the technology works. While sharpness seems alright, colours appear washed out, especially if you aren’t looking at the screen at a good angle; this isn’t a screen for visual work.
Brightness on the screen is also dim, which exacerbates the limitations above — to have a decent enough experience, you’d have to up the brightness close to, or at max brightness. I’m just not a fan of the overall implementation here.
Powering the Lenovo IdeaPad 1 is the AMD Ryzen 3 7320U CPU. AMD claims performance from this processor bests that of the Intel Core i3-1115G4 (28W), with an expected score of 4560 in Cinebench Multi-threaded performance and 4417 in PCMark 10.
For everyday work programs and web browsing, the Ryzen 3 7320U performs perfectly well. Productivity applications like Microsoft Word and Excel open quickly and exhibit no noticeable lag. At the same time, general web browsing on tab-filled Chrome windows similarly does not showcase slowdowns. The 8GB of memory seems to handle itself fine for these types of use, but I’ll be cautious using the laptop for more intensive work.
Gaming should be strictly kept to casual games. The integrated graphics that comes with the laptop can barely handle running Persona 4 Golden at 30 fps, which isn’t the most graphically demanding game.
In general, with some tweaking in the settings, casual games on the Lenovo IdeaPad 1 are playable. On the other hand, titles that are more visually intensive will almost certainly fail to run well.
The battery life on the Lenovo IdeaPad 1 is pretty good. Running it through a video loop test, the laptop lasted about 9 hours at around 80% brightness.
In terms of real-world use (productivity tasks and web browsing), the laptop can easily get through a day. The only issue, though a minor one, is if you need to charge the device, you have to rely on the bulky barrel plug charger that comes with it.
The Lenovo IdeaPad 1’s outrageous price makes it an enticing option for those looking to get a starter laptop. Performance on the machine is good for its value, and it can function throughout the day with its decent battery life.
However, I think that as an everyday laptop, the experience of using it isn’t that great. The screen is sub-par, and viewing anything on it doesn’t look good. So, if the intention is to use the laptop as a general web-browsing/video-watching machine, I’d rather splash a little more cash to get a better display.
Nonetheless, if you want to purchase the Lenovo IdeaPad 1, it is directly available on Lenovo’s Official Website.
Photos by Russell Loh of the DANAMIC Team.