Wednesday, October 6, 2021

Lenovo Ideapad 3 Slim 3 - Newest member

On a whim, last week I purchased this laptop from Lenovo Store. It's retail price was 52000/- INR, and I used a coupon for 2500/- off, and there was an offer running for upto 5000/- INR cashback on payment from HDFC bank credit/debit card.

It's a 14" laptop, and the detailed configuration is as below:
  • Processor

    AMD Ryzen™ 5 5500U Processor (6 Cores / 12 Threads, 2.10 GHz, up to 4.00 GHz with Max Boost, 3 MB Cache L2 / 8 MB Cache L3)

  • Operating System

    Windows 10 Home 64

  • Display Type

    35.56cms (14.0) FHD (1920x1080) IPS 300nits Anti-glare, 45% NTSC

  • Memory

    4 GB Soldered DDR4 3200MHz + 4 GB SO-DIMM DDR4 3200MHz

  • Hard Drive

    512 GB M.2 2280 SSD

  • Optical Drive

    None

  • Warranty

    2 Years Onsite

  • Speaker

    Stereo, Dolby® Audio™

  • AC Adapter

    65W Round Tip

  • Touch Screen

    No

  • Graphics

    Integrated AMD Radeon™ Graphics

  • Ports

    1xUSB 3.2 Gen 1, 1xUSB-C 3.2 Gen 1, 1xUSB 2.0, Headphone / microphone combo jack (3.5mm)

  • Weight

    1.4 Kgs

  • Battery

    3 cell, 45Wh, Upto 9 hours

  • Camera

    720p HD with PrivacyShutter

  • Pen

    No

  • Fingerprint Reader

    Yes

  • Keyboard

    Backlit, English

  • Pointing Device

    ClickPad

  • Wireless

    Realtek 8822CE 11AC (2x2) & Bluetooth® 5.0


  • For the price, it's good configuration.
    The device came up with brushed metallic finish in gray. The overall build feels solid. The display hinge feels fine.
    I looked up a few videos on youtube regarding how to open it up and what are the innards like free ports etc. And I'm a bit disappointed, in that the 8GB RAM is max with current configuration. There seems to be some place for a HDD as well. Now I don't know the 500GB SSD that have is a NVME drive or a SATA. Not going to open till warranty runs out.

    Anyway next part is first impression on few hours of usage. So battery is a bit smaller at 45WHr, screen is quite dim at 200nits max brightness, few ports are not perfectly aligned. The USB-C port especially looks like it will get damaged if somebody is to use it like it is right now. Screen angles are good, though below 50% brightness, it's unusable. The webcam quality is decent, and it has a mechanical privacy shutter which I'll ensure to use.

    Touchpad is fine for touch, but the buttons are just meh. Charging brick directly has the pins like a mobile charger and so might cause some problems in some places where the electric board is crowded. It's a 65W brick and quite compact though. One biggest issue besides the non-availability of free RAM slot is, the exhaust of fan is routed to backside at the hinge towards right bottom of the display, so if you are doing something heavy, that area and your lap will get warm. It's not blistering hot, bit still something to keep in mind if it makes you uncomfortable.

    The keypad's key travel is nothing to write about. It's decent, but not very good. Of course in such a compact setup, that's something which is sacrificed first - even though it makes no sense. I also hate that they have merged the up-down arrow keys, and no separate page-up/down keys.

    Anyway since I wanted a compact 14Incher, I guess I have to put up with these.
    Thankfully mostly this will live on a table with me typing using an external keyboard whenever I have to do a lot of work. So not too many problems there.
    One more thing to remember is out of 8GB RAM, we get about 6GB RAM since other 2GB is reserved for graphics, and so if you want to run something heavier on memory, you will run into limits. For me though, this is not an issue - at least not for next few years. Maybe if it does become an issue, I'll be forced to replace the 4GB DIMM with a 8GB one. But that's far into the future.

    So that's it for this review.. Lets see how well this one fares as years go by.
    And yes now I'm going to sell the Lenovo G580 metallic blue now. Expecting 4k for that since it's so old.
    Ciao!!

    Making home wifi safer

    I saw a warning popup on my windows laptop regarding "security issue with wifi network". I clicked on the popup and it took me to a page where it informed me that the home wifi is using TKIP cypher for security and it's obsolete. I should use AES.
    I opened my router's configuration page and checked in wireless settings. Found out that by default the router supports both WPA1 and WPA2. And as with WPA1 TKIP cypher is used.
    This is not good. So I set it to explicitly use AES with WPA2 support. Now the warning is gone.
    But my wifi router is dual band - so I have 2 SSID's with one for 2.4GHz and other for 5GHz. This change I have made is to 5GHz band. Now all other older devices connect to the 2.4GHz band. So I have a big exercise there to see if I can shift to AES/WPA2 on 2.4GHz band too.
    I don't think that will be possible with all these 3-4 year old other laptops and phones. But lets see. The more secure things are the better things are!!

    On other hand, I also looked at WPA Enterprise, which is even better than WPA Personal. BTW these WPA1/2 I was talking about belong to WPA Personal. With WPA Enterprise though I need a RADIUS server, which could store all the user records, then these users credentials shall be authenticated with the help of this RADIUS server, and it will be much more difficult to hack. Not really sure if it will be or not but surely should be more difficult, than a single common password.
    Though this looks a bit complex to setup and maintain. And with not a lot of time available at hand, I decided to not do it. Current settings are enough, till someone comes and burns down the house.
    Cheers!!

    Monday, September 13, 2021

    Having tools and using them helps!

    I like giving at least one try to fix broken things on my own and only when things are a bit too complex to simply fix it, I forward them to respective technicians.
    Sometimes there are simple things like a washer that's gone, or little bit of soldering that's needed. Sometimes there are wires that are broken. I like to fix these things are avoid a (possibly costly) visit to the tech people.
    Recently my wireless keyboard was acting up. It was quite random and I previously thought it was some noise from all the electronic stuff crammed on my desk, but it was a failing AAA cell.
    Used the multimeter to confirm that that cell's voltage was down to 1.1v instead of 1.4v and that was causing the issue. Replaced it and all's well. Usually we end up a non-working keyboard and the cell probably leaked it's guts all over the place. So catastrophe avoided!
    Cheers!!