1. Business Ideas
  2. Business Plans
  3. Startup Basics
  4. Startup Funding
  5. Franchising
  6. Success Stories
  7. Entrepreneurs
  1. Sales & Marketing
  2. Finances
  3. Your Team
  4. Technology
  5. Social Media
  6. Security
  1. Get the Job
  2. Get Ahead
  3. Office Life
  4. Work-Life Balance
  5. Home Office
  1. Leadership
  2. Women in Business
  3. Managing
  4. Strategy
  5. Personal Growth
  1. HR Solutions
  2. Financial Solutions
  3. Marketing Solutions
  4. Security Solutions
  5. Retail Solutions
  6. SMB Solutions
Product and service reviews are conducted independently by our editorial team, but we sometimes make money when you click on links. Learn more.
Grow Your Business Technology

Lenovo Ideapad 300s Laptop: Is It Good for Business?

Lenovo Ideapad 300s Laptop: Is It Good for Business? The Ideapad 300s earns 3.5 out of 5 stars. / Credit: Jeremy Lips

A solid, portable work notebook at a fair price: that's what you get with Lenovo's IdeaPad 300s. Starting at $529, the machine has plenty of offer business users, including a sharp 14-inch display, a great keyboard, and a sturdy, lightweight design that commuters will love. Its short battery life will irk frequent travelers, though, and its grainy webcam is less than ideal for videoconferencing.

[For more information on how we test mobile devices, visit our testing methodology page.]

Don't worry if the flashy red notebook pictured in this photo isn't really your style; the IdeaPad 300s also comes in black and silver, either of which might look more at home in your office. I still think the red paint job on my review unit looks striking, particularly when it catches the light.

Despite its plastic construction, the IdeaPad 300s feels really solid and well-built. The notebook's lid is sturdy, and I didn't notice any flex in the keyboard deck, which gives it a leg up over many mainstream laptops in this price range.

Commuters will appreciate the fact that the IdeaPad 300s is lighter than its rivals. At 3.6 lbs., it feels noticeably lighter than the Acer Aspire R 14 (4 lbs.) and the Toshiba Satellite Radius 14 (4.5 lbs.). That will make a big difference for anyone who needs to lug their laptop between home and the office.

You get a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels, which is plenty sharp for a screen this size. Text was crisp and readable, and images were clear. And the screen has a nice matte finish, which helps ward off annoying glare from overhead office lights. Our tests showed that the IdeaPad 300s doesn't produce the most accurate colors, though. The IdeaPad 300s' 14-inch display is the perfect size for work; 13 inch notebooks are a bit small for split-screen multitasking, while 15-inchers are too clunky to carry on your commute.

The IdeaPad 300s boasts one of the better keyboards you'll find on a sub-$600 laptop, with above-average key travel and a good amount of feedback on each keystroke. I also like the scallop-shape keys, which makes the keyboard easier to navigate by touch. Overall, typing on the IdeaPad 300s feels very satisfying.

The roomy, 4.2 x 2.9-inch touchpad feels great, too, with a nice smooth finish that lets my finger glide easily. I don’t mind the lack of dedicated left and right click buttons, especially since clicking down the pad itself feels responsive and isn't too noisy.

The IdeaPad 300s is pretty speedy compared with other notebooks in its price range. Our review unit came equipped with a 2.3-GHz Intel Core i5-6200U processor with 8GB of RAM. Apps opened and closed quickly, and moderate multitasking was smooth while I edited a large spreadsheet with an HD video streaming in the background.

The machine racked up a score of 5,753 on the Geekbench 3 test, which measures overall performance. That beats out the Dell Inspiron 15 5000 (4,432) and the Toshiba Satellite Radius 14 (4,671), even if it does fall slightly short of the laptop category average of 6,224. And the Acer Aspire R 14 beat out its rivals with a score of 6,266. 

On the other hand, the IdeaPad 300s topped all challengers on our spreadsheet test, matching 20,000 names to their addresses in 4 minutes and 31 seconds. The Aspire R 14 was slower (4:41), and all other rival systems took more than 6 minutes to finish.

For all its high points, mediocre battery life might be a deal-breaker for some workers. The IdeaPad 300s ran for just 6 hours and 25 minutes on our battery test, which involves continuous Web browsing over Wi-Fi. While it did outlast the Toshiba Satellite Radius 14's time of 6 hours and 22 minutes, it falls far short of the thin-and-light laptop category average of 8:24. Acer's Aspire R 14 laptop is the battery life champ in this price range, running for a solid 8 hours and 37 minutes. 

Workers should really appreciate the inclusion of an Ethernet jack on the IdeaPad 300s, since it is a port you rarely see on mainstream consumer laptops. The port will come in handy for connecting to wired Internet and secure office networks.

Otherwise, the selection of ports here is pretty standard, including two USB 3.0 ports, one USB 2.0 port, an HDMI port and an SD card reader for expanding the notebook's internal storage.

Laptop webcams aren't known for capturing high-quality images, but the IdeaPad 300s' front-facing shooter offered particularly grainy images. The quality is fine for basic video chatting, but workers who frequently meet remotely with clients or colleagues might be disappointed. 

Lenovo sells the IdeaPad 300s in a couple of different hardware configurations. Our test unit came equipped with an Intel Core i5-6200U processor with 8GB of RAM, a 14-inch 1080p display and 500GB of HDD storage for $529.99. For $679, you can double your RAM for a total of 8GB. The fully loaded model doubles your storage with a 1TB HDD for $699.99.

With its sturdy, lightweight design, the IdeaPad 300s is a great choice for budget-minded commuters. Workers will also appreciate its excellent keyboard and zippy performance. Unfortunately, lackluster battery life makes it less than ideal for frequent travelers, or anyone who wants to work away from a wall outlet for long.

Acer's Aspire R 14 ($699) is a good alternative for workers, with even faster performance, longer battery life and a 2-in-1 design with a folding hinge that lets you use the machine like a tablet when you want. On the other hand, it's pricier than the Lenovo, and its keyboard isn't as snappy. That's a big part of what makes the IdeaPad 300s one of the best business companions in its price range.

[For more information on how we test mobile devices, visit our testing methodology page.]

Brett Nuckles

Brett Nuckles has been a working journalist since 2009. He got his start in local newspapers covering community news, local government, education and more before he joined the Business News Daily staff in 2013. He graduated from Ohio University, where he studied Journalism and English. Follow him on Twitter @BrettNuckles.