Tuesday, September 28, 2021
LaptopsWindows laptops

Lenovo 300e (2nd Gen) review – another affordable school-related machine


Right of the bat, this device is intended for students. Its small and portable design, 360° hinges, and robust structure should make for the ultimate classroom companion. Well, if it wasn’t for the competition. A couple of days ago, we visited the Dell Latitude 11 3190 (2-in-1). While it wasn’t anything spectacular in terms of performance or visual appeal, it was a breeze to use, and it also featured rubber edges for better protection.

A quick word about the specs would basically start and finish with the Celeron/Pentium processor choice. However, there are other things we want to mention. First, the device comes with an IPS panel. Albeit its low resolution, it boasts wide viewing angles, and a good contrast ratio – something unachievable by a TN display.

However, the tricky moment here comes with the storage options. You either get a 64/128GB eMMC drive, or a 128/256GB M.2 SSD. According to Lenovo, you get one of the two options, but you can’t get both. This means if you order the laptop with 64 or 128GB of eMMC storage, you won’t be able to take advantage of the M.2 port. Purely for school needs, this won’t be an issue, but if you are getting the laptop for yourself, you might want to invest in the SSD version (or a different notebook whatsoever). Nevertheless, let’s take a look at this device’s design and structure, and see what it is made of (literally).

You can check the prices and configurations in our Specs System: https://laptopmedia.com/series/lenovo-300e-2nd-gen/

Contents

Specs Sheet

Lenovo 300e (2nd Gen) – Specs

Battery

42Wh, 45Wh, 3-cell

Dimensions

290 x 204 x 20.9 mm (11.42″ x 8.03″ x 0.82″)

Body material

Plastic / Polycarbonate

Ports and connectivity

  • 1x USB Type-C 3.2 Gen 1 (5 Gbps), Power Delivery (PD)
  • 1x USB Type-A 3.2 Gen 1 (5 Gbps), Sleep and Charge
  • 1x USB Type-A 3.2 Gen 1 (5 Gbps)
  • HDMI
  • Card reader microSD
  • Wi-Fi 802.11ac
  • Bluetooth 5.0
  • Audio jack combo audio / microphone jack

Features

  • Fingerprint reader
  • Web camera HD
  • Backlit keyboard
  • Microphone
  • Speakers 2x 2W
  • Optical drive
  • Security Lock slot

Keyboard / Dock(Convertible)

What’s in the box?

Inside the package, you will find the mandatory paperwork, a 45W USB Type-C charger, and the laptop itself.

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Design and construction

Considering its form factor, this laptop can’t really be dubbed as a thin and light device. It has a profile of 20.9mm and weighs 1.31 kg. The entire body is made out of plastic, while the edges are protected by rubber – both on the lid, and the base.

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Speaking of the lid, as expected, you won’t be able to open it with a single hand. Unfortunately, the touchscreen panel has no protection, and the bezels around it are as big as they can get. Although this makes it feel like it’s from another century, we kind of like the sharp corners in comparison to the bumper car feel of the Latitude 11 3190 (2-in-1). Thankfully, there is an HD camera above the display, and some units will feature a 5MP rear-facing camera.

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Moving to the base, we are met by a pretty good keyboard with decent key travel and clicky feedback. Its surface seems to be made out of cheap plastic, which will most probably wear over time. Also, this unit lacks a backlight.

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Then, there is the touchpad. It is nothing special, honestly, but it does the job. Usually, when you get a touchscreen laptop, you are expecting stylus support. And stylus support you get. But that’s not all, as the 2nd Gen Lenovo 300e comes with a dedicated Pen. You don’t need to look for it inside the box, as it is located just on the front right side, inside its own housing.

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Ultimately, the bottom panel now is only home to the speaker cutouts. Due to the silent nature of the machine, you don’t get any vents.

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Ports

On the left side of the laptop, there is a USB Type-C 3.2 (Gen. 1) port, a USB Type-A 3.2 (Gen. 1) port, an HDMI 1.4b connector, and an audio jack. Then, on the right, you will find a Kensington lock slot, a MicroSD card slot, a USB Type-A 3.2 (Gen. 1) port, the Power button, and the volume rocker. That’s not all, though, because this device has a housing full of a dedicated stylus.

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Disassembly, upgrade options and maintenance

To access this device’s internals, you need to undo 9 Phillips-head screws. Then, pry the bottom panel with a plastic tool.

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Here, we find a 42Wh battery pack.

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Unfortunately, the memory is soldered to the motherboard, and the only options you get are with 4 or 8GB of RAM. As for the storage, you have two options. Our unit comes with eMMC storage, while others are equipped with an M.2 SSD.

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For a completely silent setup, there is no fan, but only a large heat spreader on the CPU. In order to see the cooling solution, however, you need to remove the motherboard. Thankfully, the process is super easy and requires only the removal of a couple of screws and connectors.

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Display quality

Lenovo 300e (2nd Gen) has a panel with a model number AUO B116XAN06.1 (AUO615C). Its diagonal is 11.6″ (29.5 cm), and the resolution – 1366 x 768 pixels. The screen ratio is 16:9, and we are looking at a pixel density of – 135 ppi, and a pitch of 0.19 х 0.19 mm. The screen turns into Retina when viewed at distance equal to or greater than 64cm (from this distance one’s eye stops differentiating the separate pixels).

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Viewing angles are excellent. We offer images at 45° to evaluate image quality.

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Also, a video with locked focus and exposure.

We measured a maximum brightness of 255 nits in the middle of the screen and 249 nits as an average for the whole area, with a maximum deviation of only 5%. The Correlated Color Temperature on a white screen is 6980K – slightly colder than the optimal for the sRGB standard of 6500K.
In the illustration below you can see how the display performs from a uniformity perspective. In other words, the leakage of light from the light source.

Values of dE2000 over 4.0 should not occur, and this parameter is one of the first you should check if you intend to use the laptop for color-sensitive work. The contrast ratio is good – 1340:1.

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To make sure we are on the same page, we would like to give you a little introduction to the sRGB color gamut and the Adobe RGB. To start, there’s the CIE 1976 Uniform Chromaticity Diagram that represents the visible specter of colors by the human eye, giving you a better perception of the color gamut coverage and the color accuracy.

Inside the black triangle, you will see the standard color gamut (sRGB) that is being used by millions of people on HDTV and on the web. As for the Adobe RGB, this is used in professional cameras, monitors, etc for printing. Basically, colors inside the black triangle are used by everyone and this is the essential part of the color quality and color accuracy of a mainstream notebook.

Still, we’ve included other color spaces like the famous DCI-P3 standard used by movie studios, as well as the digital UHD Rec.2020 standard. Rec.2020, however, is still a thing of the future and it’s difficult for today’s displays to cover that well. We’ve also included the so-called Michael Pointer gamut, or Pointer’s gamut, which represents the colors that naturally occur around us every day.

The yellow dotted line shows Lenovo 300e (2nd Gen)’s color gamut coverage.

Its display covers 57% of the sRGB/ITU-R BT.709 (web/HDTV standard) in CIE1976.

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Our “Design and Gaming” profile delivers optimal color temperature (6500K) at 140 cd/m2 luminance and sRGB gamma mode.

We tested the accuracy of the display with 24 commonly used colors like light and dark human skin, blue sky, green grass, orange, etc. You can check out the results at factory condition and also, with the “Design and Gaming” profile.

Below you can compare the scores of Lenovo 300e (2nd Gen) with the default settings (left), and with the “Gaming and Web design” profile (right).

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The next figure shows how well the display is able to reproduce really dark parts of an image, which is essential when watching movies or playing games in low ambient light.

The left side of the image represents the display with stock settings, while the right one is with the “Gaming and Web Design” profile activated. On the horizontal axis, you will find the grayscale, and on the vertical axis – the luminance of the display. On the two graphs below you can easily check for yourself how your display handles the darkest nuances but keep in mind that this also depends on the settings of your current display, the calibration, the viewing angle, and the surrounding light conditions.

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Response time (Gaming capabilities)

We test the reaction time of the pixels with the usual “black-to-white” and “white-to-black” method from 10% to 90% and vice versa.

We recorded Fall Time + Rise Time = 23 ms.

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After that, we test the reaction time of the pixels with the usual “Gray-to-Gray” method from 50% White to 80% White and vice versa between 10% and 90% of the amplitude.

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PWM (Screen flickering)

Pulse-width modulation (PWM) is an easy way to control monitor brightness. When you lower the brightness, the light intensity of the backlight is not lowered, but instead turned off and on by the electronics with a frequency indistinguishable to the human eye. In these light impulses, the light/no-light time ratio varies, while brightness remains unchanged, which is harmful to your eyes. You can read more about that in our dedicated article on PWM.

Lenovo 300e (2nd Gen)’s display backlight doesn’t use PWM at any brightness level. This makes the device comfortable for long periods of use and safe in this aspect.

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Blue light emissions

Installing our Health-Guard profile not only eliminates PWM but also reduces the harmful Blue Light emissions while keeping the colors of the screen perceptually accurate. If you’re not familiar with the Blue light, the TL;DR version is – emissions that negatively affect your eyes, skin, and your whole body. You can find more information about that in our dedicated article on Blue Light.

Buy our profiles

Since our profiles are tailored for each individual display model, this article and its respective profile package are meant for Lenovo 300e (2nd Gen) configurations with 11.6″ WXGA IPS AUO B116XAN06.1 (AUO615C).

*Should you have problems with downloading the purchased file, try using a different browser to open the link you’ll receive via e-mail. If the download target is a .php file instead of an archive, change the file extension to .zip or contact us at [email protected]

Read more about the profiles HERE.

In addition to receiving efficient and health-friendly profiles, by buying LaptopMedia’s products you also support the development of our labs, where we test devices in order to produce the most objective reviews possible.

Office Work - screen profile

Office Work

Office Work should be used mostly by users who spend most of the time looking at pieces of text, tables or just surfing. This profile aims to deliver better distinctness and clarity by keeping a flat gamma curve (2.20), native color temperature and perceptually accurate colors.

Design and Gaming - screen profile

Design and Gaming

This profile is aimed at designers who work with colors professionally, and for games and movies as well. Design and Gaming takes display panels to their limits, making them as accurate as possible in the sRGB IEC61966-2-1 standard for Web and HDTV, at white point D65.

Health-Guard - screen profile

Health-Guard

Health-Guard eliminates the harmful Pulse-Width Modulation (PWM) and reduces the negative Blue Light which affects our eyes and body. Since it’s custom tailored for every panel, it manages to keep the colors perceptually accurate. Health-Guard simulates paper so the pressure on the eyes is greatly reduced.

All

Sound

Lenovo 300e (2nd Gen)’ stereo speakers produce a sound with not bad quality and low maximum volume. Furthermore, its low, mid, and high tones all have some deviations from clarity.

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Drivers

All of the drivers and utilities for this notebook can be found here: https://pcsupport.lenovo.com/us/en/products/laptops-and-netbooks/300-series/300e-windows-2nd-gen/downloads/driver-list

Battery

Now, we conduct the battery tests with Windows Better performance setting turned on, screen brightness adjusted to 120 nits, and all other programs turned off except for the one we are testing the notebook with. This device’s 42Wh battery delivers 16 hours and 11 minutes of Web browsing, and 14 hours and 17 minutes of video playback.

CPU options

Here, the processor choices include Celeron N4100, Celeron N4120, Pentium Silver N5000, and Pentium Silver N5030.

Lenovo 300e (2nd Gen) CPU variants

Here you can see an approximate comparison between the CPUs that can be found in the Lenovo 300e (2nd Gen) models on the market. This way you can decide for yourself which Lenovo 300e (2nd Gen) model is the best bang for your buck.

Note: The chart shows the cheapest different CPU configurations so you should check what the other specifications of these laptops are by clicking on the laptop’s name / CPU.

GPU options

Respectively, the graphics options are the integrated UHD Graphics 600 for the Celerons and UHD Graphics 605 for the Pentiums.

Temperatures and comfort

Max CPU load

In this test we use 100% on the CPU cores, monitoring their frequencies and chip temperature. The first column shows a computer’s reaction to a short load (2-10 seconds), the second column simulates a serious task (between 15 and 30 seconds), and the third column is a good indicator of how good the laptop is for long loads such as video rendering.

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Average core frequency (base frequency + X); CPU temp.

Intel Celeron N4120 (6W TDP) 0:02 – 0:10 sec 0:15 – 0:30 sec 10:00 – 15:00 min
Lenovo 300e (2nd Gen) 2.49 GHz (B+126%) @ 68°C 2.35 GHz (B+114%) @ 69°C 1.87 GHz (B+70%) @ 69°C

Conveniently, Lenovo has put the temperature threshold of this notebook at 69°C. Due to the lack of a fan, the only possible way to control the temperature is by throttling the processor. However, the frequency never reached a value lower than 1.63 GHz.

Comfort during full load

Apart from a very minor coil whine, the laptop is completely silent even under an extreme workload.

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Verdict

blank So, if we have to take this review, as a comparison between the Lenovo 300e (2nd Gen), and the Dell Latitude 11 3190 (2-in-1), there will be a couple of checkpoints – value, performance, upgradability, display, and battery life.

Let’s start with the first one. Generally, the Lenovo tends to be a bit more affordable than its counterpart. However, if you have to choose between the two, and one of them comes with an eMMC drive, while the other is outfitted with an M.2 SSD, pick the latter.

The performance of both units is equally horrendous. Don’t expect them to do more than your daily tasks at school (or at home). Moving to upgradability, they are again – identical – one M.2 slot. As with the Latitude, the 300e has its memory soldered to the motherboard.

Lenovo 300e (2nd Gen)’s touchscreen IPS panel has comfortable viewing angles, a good contrast ratio, and a non-flickering backlight. Unfortunately, it covers barely half of the colors of the sRGB gamut, and has a rather low resolution, compared to what we are used to seeing in 2021.

Last, but definitely not least, the battery life – this section goes to the Lenovo, as its 42Wh battery pack lasts for more than 16 hours of Web browsing, and more than 14 hours of video playback.

Ultimately, we feel like the Lenovo 300e (2nd Gen) is the better choice thanks to the lack of PWM in brightness adjustment, more consistent luminance of the display, and not on the last place – the addition of a stylus inside of the laptop’s chassis. It’s also worth mentioning that either of the laptops comes with Windows 10 Pro preinstalled (at least in our region).

You can check the prices and configurations in our Specs System: https://laptopmedia.com/series/lenovo-300e-2nd-gen/

Pros

  • Rubber protection on the edges
  • Does what it’s intended for
  • Great viewing angles and contrast ratio
  • Great battery life
  • Included Pen

Cons

  • Covers only 57% of sRGB
  • Soldered memory
  • Dated design





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