Lenovo IdeaPad S340 15” Specs & Price – The Lenovo IdeaPad S340 15” is a cheaper laptop that can often be picked up for under $500. So let’s find out just what we’re getting for the price in this detailed review to help you decide if it’s a laptop you should consider.
Lenovo IdeaPad S340 15” Specs
For the specs, I’ve got an Intel i5-8265U CPU, 8GB of dual-channel memory, a 256gb NVMe M.2 SSD, and a 15.6” 1080p 60Hz TN panel. For network connectivity, it’s got 802.11ac WiFi and Bluetooth 5. but it’s too thin for a gigabit ethernet port. So you’ll require to use an adapter if you want that. There’s no discrete graphics in my model, but newer versions are available with MX250 graphics and more modern 10th gen CPUs.
Lenovo IdeaPad S340 15” Design
The top is all just a plain silver plastic with a subtle Lenovo logo on edge. And the interior is a similar color too. Overall the plastic chassis did have some flex to it, but it felt solid enough. And all corners and edges were smooth. The weight is listed at 1.79kg on their website, and mine was quite close to this. With the small 65-watt power brick and cable for charging, the total weight rises to just 2kg. So it’s relatively lightweight and portable.
It’s less than 1.8cm thick, and the width and depth are similar to many other modern slim 15 inch laptops. Giving it 7mm thin bezels on the sides. Despite the smaller bezels, the 720p camera is found in the ideal spot above the display in the middle. And it’s also got a physical privacy shutter you can slide across.
The keyboard in my unit has no backlighting. However, their website notes that it’s available in select models, so it seems like that will vary. Overall I had no problems typing with it. The plastic keyboard deck was somewhat flexible when intentionally pushing down hard. However, I never had any issues with the build quality during regular use.
The precision touchpad worked alright, it’s got the usual gestures, and the size seemed ok. As for the screen, the S340 is available with 3 different options. You can get it with a 1080p IPS option. However, mine has the lowest 1366 by 768 resolution, and it’s a TN panel too. I’ve measured color gamut with the Spyder 5 and got 57% of sRGB, 41% of NTSC, and 42% of AdobeRGB.
At 100% brightness, I measured 232 nits in the center with a 90:1 contrast ratio. So very low results compared to machines I typically test. But the 1080p options should do better. As I’ve got a TN panel, the viewing angles were quite bad. There’s a color shift when not looking at it front on. But to be fair, you’ll probably be looking front on when using it anyway, oh, and the screen goes all the way back. TN panels are harder to get bleed photos due to the limited viewing angles. Nevertheless, despite the differences here, there wasn’t any bleed in my unit that I could see with my own eyes.
On the left from the back, there’s the power input, HDMI output, USB 3.1 Gen1 Type-C port, no Thunderbolt though, and 3.5mm audio combo jack. The HDMI version wasn’t listed, however, after connecting a 4K monitor, it only ran at 30Hz. So its version 1.3 or 1.4 rather than 2.0 or newer. On the right from the front, there’s status LEDs, full-size SD card slot, and two USB 3.1 Gen1 Type-A ports. Otherwise, there’s nothing at all going on over on the back or front of the machine.
Underneath just has some air ventilation towards the back and rubber feet, which did an ok job of preventing movement when in use. To get inside, we only need to take out 10 TR5 screws. And one of the front screws doesn’t thoroughly remove from the bottom panel. The speakers are found towards the front left and right corners, they sounded pretty average. A bit tinny at higher volumes without any bass. However, they still got loud enough at maximum volume, and the latency on results wasn’t too bad.
Lenovo IdeaPad S340 15” Inside
Inside we’ve got the battery down the bottom left, 2.5” drive bay slot towards the right. Single memory slot in the center, single NVMe PCIe M.2 slot to the right of that, and WiFi card right up the top right corner. There’s a part of empty space inside. And they do sell the S340 in a smaller 14” version too. So I guess it’s just been stretched out for the larger 15” panel in this model.
Although there’s only one single memory slot, the laptop comes with 4GB soldered to the board. So mine runs in dual channel with the 4GB stick. I’ll also mention that although the stick is DDR4-2666 capable, the i5-8265U CPU only supports DDR4-2400, which is what it ran at. The S340 is powered by a 3 cell 52.5wh battery. Despite not being all that large, it lasted for over 14 hours just watching YouTube with the screen on 50% brightness.
And this is thanks to the lower-powered specs. By default, the S340 came with Windows 10 S., which basically prevents you from installing untrusted apps outside of the Windows store. However, you can easily disable this for the full version of Windows, so no problem there. The Lenovo Vantage software allows you to manage the system. For some reason, it doesn’t seem to give you the option to swap between the performance modes. However, you can use the function and Q key to swap between silent and performance modes.
Lenovo IdeaPad S340 15” Thermal Testing
Thermal testing was completed with an ambient room temperature of 21 degrees Celsius. As there are no discrete graphics, I’ve only tested with a CPU only stress test. And worst case in performance mode, the CPU is hitting 77 degrees.
These are the clock speeds for the same criteria. The i5-8265U CPU has a maximum all-core turbo boost speed of 3.7GHz on all 4 cores. However, even in performance mode with a -0.1v undervolt applied, we’re a little off this.
This was simply due to the default power limits. In quiet mode, a 15 watt PL1 is defined, with 18 watts being the limit in performance mode. So these limits will prevent it from getting too hot at the expense of some power. Here’s what the CPU performance was looking like in Cinebnech, so we can get a nice boost to performance with performance mode, and then some extra in the multicore result with the extra undervolting.
As for the areas where you actually touch, at idle, it was pretty average, around the typical 30 degrees point I often see. With the CPU only stress test in performance, the middle of the keyboard approaches 40 degrees. With the back exhaust below the screen hitting the mid-40s, it only just barely felt warm to the touch.
Lenovo IdeaPad S340 15” Price
At the time of this news published, you can pick up this Lenovo S340 for USD 460. The Lenovo website has a few different configurations available. Though the config I’ve got is closer to $700 here. So you’ll definitely want to look for a deal. Here in Australia, we’re looking at around AUD 1000, which with taxes removed, is about USD 600.
Let’s conclude by going through the good and bad aspects of the Lenovo IdeaPad S340 laptop. The positives of this machine are that it’s using a reasonably good PCIe NVMe SSD. So you’ll get fast boot times and quick program loading. It doesn’t get too hot even when under full CPU load, and the fans run quietly. Despite the battery not being too large, due to the specs it can last a long time. It’s got a full-size SD card slot. It’s on the thinner and lighter side with ok specs that should be decent for office or school work, all while available for under USD 500.
The main downside for me was the TN screen, it’s not even Full HD. The viewing angles were terrible and the contrast was just awful, making it look very washed out. To be fair, though, it’s available with 3 different screen options. So you could get a brighter 1080p IPS panel, which should resolve the viewing angle issue and would likely also have better contrast. There was some flex to the plastic chassis, it wasn’t too bad or really that noticeable when using it normally. But yeah, it is a plastic laptop.
There’s 4gb of memory soldered to the motherboard, so you can at least run dual channel, but it does limit upgrade options in the future to a single memory stick. There was no discrete graphics in my unit. So only basic graphical work will be possible with the Intel graphics. Although you can play basic esports titles at low settings and low resolutions, it’s not a great experience. And I definitely wouldn’t suggest buying with light gaming in mind. If gaming is a priority, then you’d probably be better served by spending an extra hundred dollars for something with Nvidia graphics. Or otherwise, check the second-hand market. Overall it’s not that bad of a machine for the price. If you’re just doing office or school work, I think it could be a good option when on sale for under USD 500.