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Lenovo IdeaPad S540 14 review (AMD version)

Lenovo IdeaPad S540 14 assessment (AMD model)

On this article we’re having a look on the 14-inch variant of the Lenovo IdeaPad S540, in it’s competitively priced AMD Ryzen variant. We’ll go over all its options and traits, that will help you determine if that is the moveable laptop computer for you or not.

The IdeaPad S540 is a superb worth ultrabook for these of you buying on a extra restricted finances, and makes for a reliable on a regular basis pc or pocket book for varsity. On the time of this text, the AMD IdeaPad S540 goes for underneath $600 within the US and underneath 500 GBP within the UK.

And whereas there are positively cheaper choices on the market, it’s necessary to think about that this one doesn’t compromise on necessary traits because the construct high quality, typing expertise, connectivity, on a regular basis efficiency or battery life (a lot).

Nevertheless, as you’ll discover down beneath, it’s not with out quirks, because it lacks sure options you’ll get with higher-tier gadgets and settles for a slightly dim and washed out display, in addition to probably buggy wi-fi. We’ll get in-depth on all these points down beneath.

Specs as reviewed – Lenovo IdeaPad S540 14

Lenovo IdeaPad S540 14API
Display 14.zero inch, 1920 x 1080 px, IPS, non-touch, matte (LG Philips LP140WFA-SPD1)
Processor AMD Ryzen 5 3500U, quad-core
Vide0 Radeon RX Vega eight 2 GB, built-in
Reminiscence eight GB DDR4 2400 Mhz (4GB soldered + 1x 4GB DIMM)
Storage 512 GB M.2 PCIe x4 SSD (Samsung PM981 MZVLB512HAJQ-000L2), empty M.2 2242 slot
Connectivity Wi-fi AC 2×2 (Realtek RTL8822BE), Bluetooth four.2
Ports 2x USB-A Three.zero, 1x USB-C Three.1 gen1, HDMI 1.4b, SD card-reader, mic/headphone
Battery 50 Wh, 65W charger
Measurement 323 mm or 12.72” (w) x 227 mm or eight.94” (d) x 15.9 mm or zero.62” (h)
Weight ~Three.05 lbs (1.37 kg) + .75 lbs (.34 kg) for the charger and cables, EU model
Extras white backlit keyboard, webcam, 2x 2W stereo audio system, finger sensor

That is the base-configuration of the S540 14API, however Lenovo additionally gives a higher-tier variant with extra RAM, additional storage and the extra succesful AMD Ryzen 7 3700U processor.

That apart, there’s additionally an Intel-based variant of the 14-inch S540, code-named IdeaPad S540 14IWL. That one is constructed on Intel Core i5 and i7 processors and elective Nvidia MX250 graphics, so it may be a superior performer in mild video games and different demanding hundreds. The Intel model additionally runs extra effectively and will get a distinct, brighter and richer 14-inch display. On the similar time, although, the IdeaPad S540 14IWL is a way more costly product, going for 700-1000 USD/EUR/GBP primarily based on configuration, so it competes in a distinct phase, with the larger fishes.

That’s why the AMD variations are the higher worth choices for most individuals.

Design and building

Aesthetically, thE S540 appears to be like very like the Ideapads we’ve seen in previous years. The laptop computer is available in a light-grey colour and appears skilled and really clear, however can also be pleasant to make use of and hides smudges and scratches properly.

Steel is used for all the outer chassis, together with the underbelly, and Lenovo didn’t skimp on the standard. They opted for thick items of aluminum for the main-deck and the lid-cover, and that’s why the laptop computer feels well-built. In all equity, although, I nonetheless observed slightly flex within the keyboard deck and a few squeaking and creaking coming from the bottom-panel when grabbing the laptop computer or adjusting the display angle. However let’s not overlook this isn’t a premium $1000+ ultrabook, and correctly regulate our expectations right here.

Whereas we’re nonetheless nitpicking, I’ve to say that the hinges are pretty stiff and also you’ll want each fingers to lift-up the display and regulate its angle. However, they do enable it to lean again flat to 180-degrees, which can make the product versatile on the lap or on the thighs, one thing I vastly respect in an ultraportable. Lastly, the economic design leaves a reasonably aggressive entrance lip which may dig into your wrists in sure typing positions, regardless of the massive arm-rest and low profile.

These apart, the IdeaPad S540 is a reasonably compact and light-weight pocket book, with slim bezels across the high and edges of the display and a complete weight of slightly over Three lbs. Once more, it’s not as mild or as small as different higher-tier ultraportables, however it’s greater than moveable sufficient for its class and for what most individuals would need and count on.

I used to be glad to see that Lenovo really put the area to good use, implementing up-firing audio system flanking the keyboard, an ample palm-rest and clickpad, in addition to a good number of ports on the edges.

You get the usual USB-A slots, an USB-C, HDMI, card-reader and headphone jack, so just about what you’ll have to get you lined. Sure, the HDMI port is just the older 1.4b model, the USB-C doesn’t help DisplayPort, Thunderbolt Three or charging, however come on, even I can’t complain about these particulars on a sub-$600 ultrabook.

Keyboard and trackpad

The keyboard os the Ideapad S540 is as soon as extra the identical we’ve seen on previous IdeaPads/Yogas and even the newer ThinkBook 13s reviewed just lately.

Meaning the keyboard will get short-travel and slightly shallow chiclet keys, with a barely rounded backside form and easy coating. There’s little to complain in regards to the structure, except for the truth that the Up and Down keys are shorter than the others.

I’ve typed just a few hundreds of phrases on this keyboard and received together with it simply tremendous. It’s on the shallower facet, so not significantly quick or correct, however it’s OK when you get used to it. I additionally discovered it very quiet, completely ample for library-use, colleges or pretentious workplaces.

The keys are backlit with white LEDs, and there are two brightness ranges to select from. The sunshine creeps out fairly annoyingly from beneath the higher Perform keys, however that apart, the illumination is even and properly carried out. There’s even a bodily Caps Lock indicator, and the lights activate by swiping your fingers over the clickpad.

The clickpad is a plastic floor of common measurement. It labored tremendous with day by day use, however I discovered it slightly low-cost on my fingers and observed that it rattles with faucets. The bodily clicks within the corners are additionally slightly clumsy and loud.

Lastly, the S540 additionally will get a finger-sensor, positioned on the palm-rest as on the older IdeaPads. It labored properly, with uncommon misreads.

Display

Because the naming suggests, the IdeaPad S540 14API will get a 14-inch show, with a matte IPS panel.

Lenovo went with a lower-tier possibility right here, although: the LG Philips LP140WFA-SPD1. It’s not as shiny, as color-accurate or as contrasty because the panels on higher-tier ultrabooks, however the common person ought to nonetheless discover it adequate for on a regular basis use.

Particulars beneath, taken with a Sypder4 sensor:

  • Panel HardwareID: LG Philips LGD05EC  (LP140WFA-SPD1);
  • Protection: 59.5% sRGB, 41.2% AdobeRGB, 42.Three% DCI P3;
  • Measured gamma: 2.41;
  • Max brightness in the midst of the display: 252 cd/m2 on energy;
  • Distinction at max brightness: 588:1;
  • White level: 7200 Ok;
  • Black on max brightness: zero.42 cd/m2;
  • Common DeltaE*00: zero.54 calibrated;
  • Response time: ~40 ms GTG;
  • PWM: No.

Calibration helps tackle the white level, gamma and colour imbalances, however don’t plan to make use of this for any exercise that requires excessive colour accuracy anyway. That apart, I’d additionally counsel maintaining this indoors, as it can wrestle in shiny environments and also you’d want a brighter panel for that.

Lastly, it is best to make certain to check your unit for mild bleeding on darkish backgrounds. We observed some on our check unit, and I’ve additionally seen just a few consumers complaining about it on the boards.

, efficiency and improve choices

Our check model is a base-level configuration of the Lenovo IdeaPad S540 14API with the AMD Ryzen 5 3500U processor, Radeon RX Vega eight graphics, eight GB of RAM, and a 512 GB PCIe x4 SSD.

It’s additionally a retail model, equivalent to those yow will discover in shops, operating on the newest BIOS and drivers out there as of early November 2019.

I used to be stunned to get a quick Samsung PM981 SSD on this unit, however from what I’m seeing, the bottom stage variants ship with a 256 GB PCIe x2 possibility. Each ought to be a lot quick for on a regular basis use. Larger tier variants of the S540 14API get the 512 GB SSD and ca be specced as much as an AMD Ryzen 7 3700 U APU with Radeon Vega RX 10 graphics and 12 GB of RAM.

The CPU and GPU are soldered on the motherboard, however the Wi-Fi, RAM and storage are upgradeable. Getting inside is simple and requires to take away the back-panel, maintain in place by a handful of screws.

As soon as inside, you’ll discover just a few fascinating particulars. First, the DIMM is additional hidden beneath a metallic cowl that you simply’ll have to drag out, and a part of RAM (four GB) is soldered on the motherboard. That apart, the wi-fi slot can also be upgradeable, and it’s one thing you would possibly take into account changing when you run into issues together with your unit (we’ll contact on that in an extra part). Lastly, you really get two M.2 slots for SSD storage, a regular 2280 slot that homes the Samsung PM981 on this pattern, but in addition an extra M.2 2230 slot close by.

General, it’s good to see the power to nonetheless improve the reminiscence and storage on a 2019 ultraportable. Meaning you should purchase a base-level variant and improve it your self, which permits for flexibility and financial savings.

Again to our Ryzen 5 variant, it’s completely ample for on a regular basis use: shopping, motion pictures, music, text-editing and such.

The Ryzen 7 processor isn’t required even when you plan to multitask and run occasional demanding software program, as the principle distinction between the 3500U and 3700U is within the built-in graphics. Greater than eight GB of RAM would possibly assist, although, particularly because the Vega graphics inside the APU can reserve as much as 2 GB of that RAM, leaving you with as little as 6 GB for precise use. The laptop computer helps as much as 12 GB of RAM, and a few top-tier configurations ship with 12 GB out of the field.

In all equity, I wouldn’t essentially get such a laptop computer for demanding hundreds, anyway. That’s why we didn’t run our customary Cinebenh loop check on this pattern. We did run the 3DMark Stress check, which it failed, and that means that the efficiency on this type of CPU+GPU mixed hundreds isn’t constant and degrades over time, because the laptop computer heats up.

That is additionally backed-up by our gaming checks, the place the GPU kicks in laborious, however shortly settles for frequencies of round 800 MHz, down from its most potential of 1200 MHz. It’s, nontheless, shocking, and hopefully one thing that Lenovo can tweak with future software program, because the thermals enable loads of headroom for increased efficiency.

We ran a few DX11 and DX12 titles on our test-unit, on FHD decision and Low particulars, and compiled our findings within the following desk. We’ve additionally added our outcomes from the Core i7/MX250 primarily based ZenBook UX434FL, for a comparability of what you get with that type of configuration, however needless to say’s a dearer possibility. In reality, the Intel alternate options on the similar value vary would solely get a Core i5 processor with UHD graphics, and that scores about 50-70% of what the Ryzen 5 did.

IdeaPad S540 ZenBook UX434FL 
Bioshock Infinite (DX 11, Low Preset) 52 fps 77 fps
Far Cry 5 (DX 11, Low Preset, TAA) 18 fps 23 fps
NFS: Most Needed (DX 11, Lowest Preset) 46-54 fps – fps
Center Earth: Shadow of Mordor (DX 11, Lowest Preset) 32 fps 50 fps
Rise of Tomb Raider (DX 12, Low Preset, FXAA) 18 fps 32 fps
The Witcher Three: Wild Hunt (DX 11, Low Preset, Hairworks Off) 17-21 fps 27-38 fps
  • The Witcher Three, NFS – recorded with Fraps in marketing campaign mode
  • Bioshock, Far Cry 5, Center Earth, Tomb Raider video games – recorded with the included Benchmark utilities

The logs beneath present extra particulars on the CPU/GPU efficiency and thermals in a few of these video games.

I’ll additionally add some benchmarks outcomes earlier than we wrap this up, for these of you curious about numbers:

  • 3DMark 11: P4020 (Graphics – 3942, Physics – 6360);
  • 3DMark 13 – Hearth Strike: 2005 (Graphics – 2228, Physics – 8236);
  • 3DMark 13 – Time Spy: 854 (Graphics – 766, CPU – 2499);
  • PassMark: Score: 2929, CPU mark: 8200, 3D Graphics Mark: 1767;
  • PCMark 10: 3799 (Necessities – 7651 , Productiveness – 5777 , Digital Content material Creation – 3367);
  • GeekBench four.four.2 64-bit: Single-Core: 3592, Multi-core: 11065;
  • GeekBench 5.zero.1 64-bit: Single-Core: 758, Multi-core: 2888;
  • CineBench R15 (greatest run): CPU 579 cb, CPU Single Core 127 cb;
  • CineBench R20 (greatest run): CPU 1309 cb;
  • x265 HD Benchmark 64-bit: 95.85 s.

Not like with Intel ULV platforms, there’s no option to additional tweak the efficiency of the AMD Ryzen APUs by undervolting, so that you’ll should settle with what you’re getting out of the field.

Nonetheless, the Ryzen 5 primarily based IdeaPad S540 is a stable on a regular basis pocket book for shopping, motion pictures, and different day by day duties. Simply don’t plan to run very demanding chores. It’s additionally not a gaming ultrabook by any means, however it could deal with older titles higher than a regular Core i5/i7 Intel model with built-in HD graphics, which is what you’ll get with comparable priced Intel choices.

Which may range with the newer Ice Lake configurations, however probably the most succesful IceLake SKUs gained’t get their means into this value vary. We’ll evaluate this AMD platform with the base-tier IceLake Core i5-1035G1 in our Swift Three SF314-57 assessment, however fast spoiler, the AMD possibility continues to be the extra succesful when it comes to graphics.

Noise, Warmth, Connectivity, audio system, and others

This IdeaPad S540 will get a surprisingly beefy thermal module, with two followers and a thick heatpipe.

The thermal habits could possibly be improved by software program, although. As it’s, these followers do a great job at maintaining the at bay on the higher-end, whereas maintaining quiet, at as much as 38-40 dB at head-level in our measurements.

Nevertheless, in addition they stay energetic on a regular basis with day by day use, even if this might properly do with passive cooling. At 35-38 dB, the followers are hardly audible in a traditional room on this case, however you’ll hear them in quiet environments or at night time when watching a film. On a extra optimistic facet, we didn’t discover any coil whine or digital noise with this pc.

*Each day Use – operating Netflix in EDGE for 30 minutes, followers 35-38 dB
*Load – taking part in Want for Velocity: Most Needed for 30 minutes,  followers 39-40 dB

For connectivity, there’s a Realtek RTLRTL8822BE on this laptop computer, with Bluetooth four.2. In carried out OK on this implementation, each close to the router and additional away with obstacles in between, however you can find quicker wi-fi on different ultrabooks.

Nevertheless, the Lenovo boards are stuffed with individuals complaining about poor wi-fi efficiency, short-range and drop-outs on the S540, so even when we didn’t run into any of those, they’re one thing to remember. I can’t inform if that’s a random downside with some wi-fi chips, it could possibly be, since Lenovo supply their parts from totally different producers. On the similar time, these points are principally driver-based, so maybe Lenovo managed to determine them out just lately.

Both means, you’ve been warned: make certain to correctly check the wi-fi in your unit, and return the product if not glad. If that’s not an possibility, you would additionally take into account changing the Realtek chip with an Intel 9560, the method solely requires to get inside, pop-out the previous chip and throw the brand new one as a substitute.

So far as the audio system go, there’s a set of them firing by these grills that flank the keyboard. Lenovo went with some lengthy and slim chambers and so they sound OK; having them up-firing positively helps with the perceived audio, however don’t count on a lot, they’re nonetheless slightly tinny, with bass noticeable from 110 Hz. I additionally want they have been louder, we solely measured volumes of as much as 70-71 dB at head-level, however not less than they don’t push vibrations into the chassis and can be utilized at these increased settings.

Lastly, we’ll point out the included 720p digicam. It’s positioned on the high of the display, the place it ought to, however the high quality is mediocre at greatest.

Battery life

There’s a 50 Wh battery contained in the IdeaPad S540, bigger than you’ll get with most different ultrabooks on this phase. The AMD implementation, alternatively, isn’t almost as environment friendly because the Intel choices, so that you’ll solely find yourself with slightly brief runtimes.

Right here’s what we received on our assessment unit, with the display’s brightness set at round 120 nits (~70 brightness).

  • 11 W (~four h 30 min of use) – textual content enhancing in Google Drive, Higher Battery Mode, display at 70%, Wi-Fi ON;
  • 9.5 W (~5+ h of use) – 1080p fullscreen video on Youtube in Edge, Higher Battery Mode, display at 70%, Wi-Fi ON;
  • eight W (~6+ h of use) – Netflix fullscreen in Edge, Higher Battery Mode, display at 70%, Wi-Fi ON;
  • 20 W (~2 h 30 min of use) – shopping in Edge, Higher Efficiency Mode, display at 70%, Wi-Fi ON.

The laptop computer comes with a 65W charger that plugs-in through a traditional barrel plug. It’s a two-piece design with a standardly sized brick, and a full cost takes about 2 hours, however there’s additionally RapidCharge to shortly replenish the primary half of the battery. The S540 can’t cost through USB-C.

Value and availability

The Lenovo Ideapad S540 is broadly stocked in shops in most areas as of November 2019.

The bottom-level variant reviewed right here, with the Ryzen 5 3500U processor, eight GB of RAM and a 256 GB SSD, goes for underneath $600 on the US, underneath 600 EUR in Germany/France and underneath 500 GBP within the UK.

The next-tier variant can also be out there, with the extra graphics succesful Ryzen 7 3700U processor, eight/12 GB of RAM and 512 GB of storage, for round $750 within the US, and 700 EUR/GBP within the different areas.

Costs and configurations range over time, so comply with this hyperlink for up to date information on the time you’re studying this text.

Closing ideas

This 14-inch IdeaPad S540 has what it takes to be one of the fashionable finances ultrabooks of its technology.

It’s constructed properly and appears good, it will get an IPS display and a quick and quiet backlit keyboard, it handles on a regular basis actions with out hiccups and lasts for just a few hours of use on every cost. However on high of all of those, that is excellently priced in most areas, and that vastly helps potential consumers look previous its quirks.

There are fairly just a few of these, the truth is. My main nit is with the pretty dim and washed out panel that Lenovo went with, however even that one is best than you get with different equally priced ultrabooks. Then there’s the slightly clunky clickpad, the always-on followers, the pretty quiet audio system and the surprisingly brief battery life, in addition to the potential wi-fi issues that many have reported on the boards. We haven’t run into any on our pattern, however it’s not one thing we must always ignore.

Lastly, my different nit is with the AMD platform as a complete. Sure, it’s a good all-rounder, stable performer with day by day use and higher with video games than equally priced Intel-based alternate options, however the loss in effectivity bothers me vastly. Maybe you’re tremendous with Three-5 hours of use on a cost, however I’m not, and primarily based on our expertise with the ThinkBook 13s, an Intel-based model of the IdeaPad S540 will run for considerably longer than this AMD variant. As much as you if that’s value paying additional and sacrificing the gaming efficiency for.

Earlier than we wrap this up, I need to point out that whereas one of many higher worth 14-inch ultraportables in the marketplace, the IdeaPad S540 14 isn’t with out rivals. Look into the Asus Vivobook 14, Dell Inspiron 14 5000 or the convertible Lenovo Flex 14 earlier than deciding in your buy, simply to know what else you would get on the market.

That’s about it for our assessment of the 14-inch AMD-powered Lenovo IdeaPad S540. Wanting ahead on your ideas and suggestions, so get in contact within the feedback part down beneath.

Disclaimer: Our content material is reader-supported. In the event you purchase by a few of the hyperlinks on our website, we could earn an affiliate fee. Be taught extra.

Andrei Girbea, Editor-in-Chief of Ultrabookreview.com. I have been masking cell computer systems because the 2000s and you will principally discover opinions and thorough guides written by me right here on the positioning.

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