Lenovo S21e Review – Shockingly Good For A Low Price

School is right around the corner and for some that means it’s time to pick up a new laptop. It’s hard to get by without one in school these days, and finding a decent one for the right price tag is just as difficult. Recently Lenovo revealed their back-to-school lineup of laptops and I’ve been playing with one of them, the S21e. This 11.6″ laptop brings an impressive option to a budget price tag, and honestly, it’s a great option for school.

Specs

  • Intel N2840 Celeron Processor – 2.16GHz
  • 2GB RAM
  • 32/64GB eMMC Storage
  • 11.6″ 720p LED Display – Anti-Glare

Hardware

In terms of the hardware the S21e isn’t really anything too impressive. It’s a plastic build is a bit creaky and not very pretty, but it’s thin, light, and practical for on the go use. Using this machine on the go was a pleasure since I could easily toss it in a bag and be on my way. I wouldn’t count on this being the most durable machine out there, but for the price it’s definitely a pretty solid build.

The Lenovo S21e is quite thin which assists in portability.

The Lenovo S21e is quite thin which assists in portability.

Performance

Out of the box the Lenovo S21e runs Windows 8.1, but you can easily upgrade that to Windows 10 free of charge. I upgraded the OS and I used this machine mostly on Windows 10. Since Windows 10 is still in it’s early days, I’ll attribute a bit of the performance issues on this machine to that. Overall however this is a very useable machine for it’s price tag. Simple tasks like writing up a document or streaming a video went by without a hitch. However one thing I did notice was that the S21e tended to fall behind a bit when you’re typing if you are pretty quick.



One tip I definitely do have is that I would not recommend installing a browser such as Google Chome on this machine. It’s a bit to memory intensive. I quickly uninstalled it and switched back to Microsoft Edge which runs OK. Although I recommend downloading Firefox since it’s not as RAM intensive. That seemed to run fairly well on the S21e.

Display

The 11.6″ 720p display on the Lenovo S21e is pretty decent. It gets bright enough for my usage, but unfortunately the viewing angles are very poor. Only at just the right angle will you get the best experience. However if you get that angle right, there’s little to complain about on this laptop. After all, this is a budget machine, it’s going to have downsides.

Under normal lighting conditions, the display on the S21e is adequate, but the viewing angles aren't great.

Under normal lighting conditions, the display on the S21e is adequate, but the viewing angles aren’t great.

Keyboard & Trackpad

The highlight of this computer for me was  the keyboard. I generally type on 15″ laptops and 13″ laptops so switching to an 11″ machine felt strange at first. After typing for just a few minutes, I felt at home. This keyboard is very easy to get used to and it’s a pleasure to type on. It’s not the best out there, not even close, but it’s certainly not a bad one, especially considering the price. One of the main flaws is that it tends to flex in the center when you press a key which can be a bit distracting. I also give massive commendation to Lenovo for finally releasing a computer with the CTRL and FN keys in the correct place! This has been a gripe for me on their keyboards for the past few months and I was ecstatic to see this on the S21e.

Considering the price, the keyboard on the S21e is nothing short of impressive.

Considering the price, the keyboard on the S21e is nothing short of impressive.

I wish I could say the same nice things about the trackpad on the Lenovo S21e, but I can’t. It’s a bit too small and wide for me and I always seemed to press the right click button when I didn’t want to. I have no doubt that over extended periods of use you’ll get used to this trackpad, but personally it was a downside for me.

Battery Life

Battery life of the Lenovo S21e is actually pretty impressive. I could easily pull a couple of hours worth of writing out articles on this machine and barely make a dent in battery life. Multiple days of usage was possible based on my usage without any problem. I wasn’t able to test out a full battery drain test during my time with the S21e, but I was satisfied with the battery life during my usage.

Speakers

On a quick note, the speakers on the S21e are pretty decent. They are mounted on the bottom so the sound is usually a bit muffled, but I really didn’t expect much from this laptop, so I wasn’t disappointed at all.

Final Thoughts

For a starting price of under $200, the Lenovo S21e has a lot going for it. It’s got a great spec package, solid performance, and an excellent keyboard. If you’re looking for a good back to school laptop, this is definitely a model I can recommend checking out.

The look and feel of the S21e is simply, but nice.

The look and feel of the S21e is simply, but nice.

  • Marcus Stanley

    Is there any type of storage upgrade or connectable storage accessory that I can use? I currently have this laptop, and I am in desperate need of storage space. It’s so bad to the point that I had to delete my basic applications such as the weather, calendar, windows store, etc. Any help would be appreciated.