Need a new work laptop for cheap? Lenovo's latest budget notebook is a decent option. The IdeaPad 100 offers surprisingly strong performance for just $400. Other highlights include a snappy keyboard and a pretty good selection of ports compared to other budget-priced machines. On the other hand, the IdeaPad 100's battery life is really disappointing.
The 14-inch machine sports a plastic casing and weighs about 3.2 lbs., making it lighter than competing budget notebooks like the 3.4-lb. HP Stream 13. That's good news if you need a laptop that won't weigh you down on your next business trip.
On the IdeaPad 100's left edge, you'll find a decent array of ports including one USB 2.0 port, one USB 3.0 port, an HDMI port for connecting a monitor or project, and an Ethernet port for connecting to wired Internet or work networks. Most budget notebooks don't include Ethernet connectivity, which helps give the IdeaPad 100 a leg up as a work machine.
The notebook's keyboard is also pretty good, with large, well-spaced keys that offer a good amount of feedback. Individual keys aren't as deep or snappy as what you'll find on Lenovo's $580 ThinkPad E450, for example, but they still provide a satisfying typing experience compared to other budget laptops.
Despite those good qualities, the IdeaPad 100 suffers from one major trade-off: dismal battery life. It ran for just 4 hours and 45 minutes on our battery test. That's nearly 2 hours shorter than the $209 HP Stream 13 and 3 hours less than the $279 Toshiba Chromebook 2. You won't want to leave the office with the IdeaPad 100 unless you grab your charger first.
Check back for a full review of the IdeaPad 100 very soon, or check out our full list of the best work laptops currently on the market.