Lenovo IdeaPad S540 15-Inch Review: A Misleading 15-Inch
The IdeaPad S540 is the latest in a new ’40’ line of IdeaPad S laptops that Lenovo launched earlier this year to replace its 2018 models. Available in a 14-inch and 15.6-inch incarnation, the premium mid-range IdeaPad S540 is obviously just above the mid-range IdeaPad S340 and above the entry-level IdeaPad S145. You can find our review of the two models here and here, respectively.
It is difficult to say exactly which model the new IdeaPad S540 will replace. Internationally, it looks like it will replace the IdeaPad S530. But in India, we only had the IdeaPad 530S in the same premium mid-range market last year. So we can safely assume that the IdeaPad S540 is here to replace the next one. You can read our review of IdeaPad 530S here. The market placement of the new IdeaPad has been sorted out, let’s start its functionality in our test lab.
Performance and gaming
All versions of the IdeaPad S540 with separate graphics on Lenovo’s official website. They come with a minimum of 8GB RAM and a proper solid-state drive. Our review unit was powered by an Intel 8th Gen Core i5 CPU with 8GB RAM. Storage was powered by a 128GB PCIe NVMe solid-state drive and a WDC 1TB hard drive spinning at 5,400rpm. Isolated graphics come in the form of Nvidia GeForce MX250 graphics card with 2GB GDDR5 video RAM.
Core i5 + MX250
The review unit performed decently on our CPU and GPU benchmark tests. In PCMark 8’s Accelerated Creative Test, the IdeaPad S540 scored 3584 points, slightly higher than the IdeaPad S340’s 3464 and slightly lower than the Asus VivoBook 14 X412’s 3758. Review of 3DMark and Cloud’s G30 unit and a little less than Cloud S340’s 3464. 13494 points respectively. These figures are almost three times better than the scores obtained by the IdeaPad S340 and about thirty percent better than the scores obtained by the Asus VivoBook 14 X412, which has an Nvidia GeForce MX230 GPU.
The daily performance of our review unit was good but not great; Let me explain why. With Windows sitting on a solid-state drive, I was able to cold-boot the desktop in twenty-three seconds. Common applications like Chrome, File Explorer, Word and OneNote do not take more than two or three seconds to launch for the first time after booting. But it takes some time to switch between open applications and read files stored on the hard drive. The one or two extra seconds that the laptop takes to switch between Windows and multitasking can be a little annoying. Save for the small but noticeable gaps caused by the bundled hard drive, the functionality of the IdeaPad S540 is acceptable for its price. Although a complete solid-state-drive storage setup is more desirable.
Thanks to the board-dedicated Nvidia GeForce MX250 graphics card, the review unit lends itself to graphics-based work more easily than other Intel UHD graphics-powered models. While not a groundbreaking contribution to the genre, It was a great way to get word out. Doom runs at an average frame rate of 30 frames per second in full HD resolution in medium graphics settings. Metro: Last Light, however, runs at an average frame rate of 77 frames per second in the same settings. Despite having a 60+ frame clock, Metro: Last Light, even at the lowest setting, had some stuttering while playing.
During the gameplay, the WASD keys in the review unit warmed up a bit but not enough to cause any discomfort. The CPU package recorded temperatures above 50 degrees Celsius and the Nvidia graphics card is around 43 degrees Celsius. Surprisingly, there was not too much fan noise even when the laptop was placed inside a quiet bedroom. Overall, the IdeaPad S540 isn’t cut to play games. But if your coworker at work says that there is a new platform that you can only play, then IdeaPad S540 will not disappoint you. The same goes for basic image and video editing.
Lenovo IdeaPad S540 is powered by a 52.5Wh three-cell non-removable lithium-ion battery. In our standard battery benchmark test, the review unit conducted 3 hours, 54 minutes. The slightly cheaper IdeaPad S340, on the other hand, lasts 4 hours, 39 minutes. But to be fair, I should keep in mind that it was a 14-inch variant with integrated graphics. In contrast, the Asus VivoBook X403 tops this category with a chart-beating score of 6 hours, 16 minutes.
In our daily tests, where the screen is set to 70 percent brightness and Wi-Fi + Bluetooth is enabled, the review unit has lost half its full charge in about three hours. During the test, the laptop was tasked with heavy browsing in Chrome and playing music in the background, and fifteen minutes of video playback on Netflix. In short, expect uninterrupted use of the IdeaPad S540 for up to six hours.
Display, audio and IoT
The IdeaPad S540 is available in both 14-inch and 15.6-inch versions. Our review unit comes with a larger 15.6-inch full HD IPS LCD panel, which was bright and colorful for everyday tasks like browsing and video playback. The colors of the panel look natural without any signs of saturation or light bleeding. A maximum of 300 net brightness of the panel was sufficient for a bedroom with bright indirect sunlight. When working indoors I often find myself pushing the brightness level below 70 percent. Also, the panel’s anti-glare finish makes the text easy to read.
The display is bright and colorful
IdeaPad S540’s two down-firing speakers can make the sound louder but with more clarity. Even with the pre-installed Dolby Audio app for music running, there is a significant amount of distortion when playing bass-heavy songs like The Weekend’s. Starboy And this is Kamoj Here comes the hotsteper. Although it is made up of YouTube videos with high and medium tones, the lower ones are flat. In short, this pair is louder than the cheaper IdeaPad S340 but not clearer.
IdeaPad S540 does not have good Dolby audio
The IdeaPad S540 has all the necessary ports but more can be offered for its size. On the left side of its body, we see a round pin power port for charging, a full-size HDMI port, a USB-C 3.1 port, and a 3.5mm audio jack for the headset. On the right, we see two USB-A 3.0 ports and an SD card reader slot. All you will miss is the LAN port and a Kensington security slot.
Port on the left …
Port on the right …
Fortunately, there’s a fingerprint scanner just below the keyboard, which works quickly with Windows Hello for screen unlock and app authentication. Like the IdeaPad S340 and many other modern ThinkPad models, the IdeaPad S540 is equipped with a physical sliding shutter for webcams. This eliminates the need for the user to stick a small piece of hard tape across the webcam in their search for complete privacy.
Fingerprint scanner works well with Windows Hello
Body shutter nifty for webcam
Keyboard and touchpad
The IdeaPad S540’s keyboard is probably more uncomfortable than the cheaper IdeaPad S340’s unit, and that’s bad news for those who type a lot. The convex key, which gets two-stage backlighting, lacks travel and feedback. As a result, you’re typing quite a bit wrong. What’s more, the positional changes caused by the inclusion of a Nampad make for an awkward typing experience overall. On the plus side, you’ll find dedicated keys for media playback, which you’ll also find on the much cheaper IdeaPad S145. In short, the IdeaPad S540’s keyboard is a bit of a disappointment.
What is uncomfortable
The IdeaPad S540’s touchpad is, of course, much better than its keyboard. Being a precision precision unit, the touchpad accepts multiple finger taps and swipes. All settings can be changed from Windows settings without installing third party drivers or utilities. The matte surface of the touchpad is smooth and fairly easy to press. All in all, the IdeaPad S540’s touchpad is great for everyday tasks such as browsing and photo-cropping.
Construction and design
Because it is the best-of-the-line model, the IdeaPad S540 enjoys an all-metal construction. The top cover and base panel are made of aluminum with “diamond cut” around the edges, and this gives the laptop a clean, premium look. Thanks to the matte finish on both sides, the laptop is fairly grippy to hold. IdeaPad S540 16.95mm thin but weighs 1.95kg. In other words, it is quite thin but nowhere near light weight. If you are looking for something compact and light then this is not the case.
The inside of the IdeaPad S540 looks as clean as the outside. Opening the lid reveals a 15.6-inch matte screen with a fairly thin bezel on three sides. The lid goes back 180 degrees, which is good news for anyone who works much harder than their bed. All things considered, the IdeaPad S540 is a well-engineered device. The only problem with this is that, despite its best efforts, it weighs almost as much as the other 15-inches, with isolated graphics like the HP 15.
The lid goes all the way back
The last row
In my opinion, the 14-inch version of the IdeaPad S540, even the recently launched Asus VivoBook S431, makes a lot of sense for those who want something slimmer and lighter. On the other hand, Lenovo’s new Legion Y540 and Asus’ TUF gaming series make a lot of sense for those who want mid-range PC gaming. Priced at Rs 66,990, the IdeaPad S540 is not here or there. This is a large 15.6-inch mainstream laptop that is trying hard to fit into the thinner and lighter sections. This is a confusing device, of course.
If you can live with its misidentification, the 15.6-inch Lenovo IdeaPad S540 is a fine laptop, such as web browsing, online video playback, spreadsheet editing, programming, light image and video editing and even less. – Graphics gaming. Speakers and keyboards disappointed but up to the display and touchpad mark. This is a difficult Lenovo to recommend. But it’s not a bad buy by any means.