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Review on Lenovo IdeaPad S340-15API Notebook

10 min read

In this review, I will try to describe the pros and cons of this laptop model in my subjective opinion, features or difficulties in the installation and configuration of Microsoft Windows 10, as well as the experience of the first days of operation.

Lenovo IdeaPad S340, photo 1

Notebook series Lenovo S340-15API model 81NC006FRK comes in a cardboard box without handles for carrying size (length x height x depth) 520 x 310 x 70 mm. The total weight is 2 kg, the weight of the laptop without packaging and the power supply (hereinafter PS) is 1.7 kg. In addition to the laptop and PSU itself, the delivery set includes only a set of documentation, the most useful of which is a 1 year warranty card.

Lenovo IdeaPad S340, photo 2
Lenovo IdeaPad S340, photo 3

Now about the appearance of the laptop. Let’s start with the PSU: a rectangular plastic box with a noticeably protruding power plug , a thin, one-piece wire of 2 meters long and a power plug of size 4×1.7 mm. Output characteristics of a direct current: 20 V at 3.25 A. The PSU does not have grounding. A universal PSU with variable voltage and with a replaceable plug 3.5×1.35 mm came up to the laptop (despite the fact that such a connector is shorter than the regular one and “sits” loose, the laptop can work and charge the battery). The laptop can work with an external battery Digma DG-PD-40000-BK at a voltage of 19 V (connected to the power connector).

We pass to the laptop. The top cover is made of metal, the rest of the body is made of ABS plastic, which, in any case, is new, almost indistinguishable from the top cover in color and tactile sensations (metal can only be distinguished by its characteristic coldness when touched). Both on the cover and on the plastic, fingerprints at a certain angle of incidence of light are very noticeable, but to wipe them from the plastic is problematic. The paint on the edges of the laptop is erased.

On the left side are located:

  • The power connector;
  • The HDMI port (based on the specifications of the integrated graphics Vega8 corresponds to version 2.0b, that is, it can transmit 4K video at 60 Hz);
  • USB Type C (it definitely does not have a charging function laptop and, judging by the answer from Lenovo tech support, it can’t transmit a video signal, that is, a regular USB-A port with an opening for Type C);
  • A combined 3.5 mm audio jack.

On the right side:

  • 2 USB 3.0 ports;
  • A card reader;
  • A hole for access to the Novo button (to access the BIOS or recovery menu when the laptop cannot be turned on normally);
  • A power LED.

The following should be said about the back cover: it is screwed under the not very common Torx star-shaped socket wrench, they are without seals, removing it to upgrade the memory and hard drive DOES NOT remove the laptop from the warranty (unless you leave visible mechanical damage, of course), as well as upgrade, ventilation holes on a soft surface, for example, a plaid, overlap, holes for 2-W speakers – no.

Lenovo IdeaPad S340, photo 9

At the rear end, the slots for the exit of heated air open when the screen opens, hot air heats the bottom of the screen. The laptop can be opened up to 180 degrees.

The keyboard in the laptop is full-sized, with a digital block, very convenient for typing, the main keys are large. Of the minuses, I note … Yes, she has no obvious minuses! There is a switchable two-level backlight. Function keys in the top row (from left to right): turn off the sound, magnified. volume, smart. volume, on / off microphone, refresh page, on / off touchpad, airplane mode, on / off webcam, lock screen, switch to external monitor, zoom out. screen backlight, smart. screen backlight; plus control buttons for the player. The touchpad, 107×71 mm in size, with a very smooth surface, combined with the surface of the right and left keys, does not cause complaints about the work. It instantly collects prints and scuffs, which you just have to put up with, since it’s even more problematic to wipe them off than from the case. The power button of the laptop is poorly distinguishable both in size and when pressed. There is nothing more on the top panel except stickers.

Lenovo IdeaPad S340, photo 5

The screen is enclosed in really narrow frames, the webcam is equipped with a shutter (it obscures only the image, the sound remains). The IPS-matrix has a matte finish (reflective properties are perfectly matched: the graininess is not striking and the screen does not glare). There is no flickering of the screen in the entire backlight range. With one hand, opening the lid is very problematic. The laptop does not turn on automatically when the lid is opened (both under FreeBSD and under installed Windows 10).

Now about the BIOS. Version 1.08 is installed from the factory. It is greatly reduced in comparison with the PC versions, but important functions for the laptop are present. In the Configuration section, the Integrated Graphics Controller parameter set to Forced allows you to set the amount of RAM allocated for the needs of the integrated graphics (from 512 MB to 2 GB). Hotkey Mode determines whether the functions on the keys of the upper row of the keyboard will be processed directly (for example, adjusting the brightness of the screen) or together with the Fn key. Always ON USB determines the ability to charge devices connected to USB ports in a state of sleep or hibernation, and Charge in Battery Mode – charges when the laptop is running on battery power. System Performance Mode sets the performance level of both the laptop and its cooling system. One Key Battery allows on / off display of the battery charge on the screen of a turned off laptop, if you press any key. In the Boot section, you can enable Boot Mode in UEFI mode (preferred for Windows 10), or leave the traditional Legacy Support, which allows you to separately enable the Fast Boot mode. The Exit section for a similar task presents the OS Optimized Defaults parameter, which when turned on enables the Load Optimized Defaults command to load the optimal settings for UEFI, and when OFF with the same command, it is already optimal for traditional loading. at which it becomes possible to separately use the Fast Boot mode. The Exit section for a similar task presents the OS Optimized Defaults parameter, which when turned on enables the Load Optimized Defaults command to load the optimal settings for UEFI, and when OFF with the same command, it is already optimal for traditional loading. at which it becomes possible to separately use the Fast Boot mode. The Exit section for a similar task presents the OS Optimized Defaults parameter, which when turned on enables the Load Optimized Defaults command to load the optimal settings for UEFI, and when OFF with the same command, it is already optimal for traditional loading.

We proceed to the installation phase of Windows 10. On my laptop instance, the disk from the factory was marked in MBR and had a section with some information recorded on it. Based on correspondence with Lenovo technical support, these were drivers that you can either download on your own from the office. site or through the Lenovo Vantage program (in the Win Store after installing the “system”). So this section can be safely deleted if necessary. And this need arose both because of the desire to install Windows on a drive labeled GPT, as well as because of the installation flash drive in the “same” GPT (installing from it an “axis” on the MBR disk and creating new partitions on it is impossible) , and due to the fact that BIOS from the official site is “sewn” only if there is a GPT disk in the system, and it does not want to work under MBR.

Further installation as Widows 10 1903 itself, drivers from. The site and third-party programs went quite smoothly. Moreover, the “system” was installed not from the official image, but in the form of an image with initially disabled updates and cut-off telemetry. Drivers from the official site were downloaded and installed manually, everyone got up the first time and without bugs. After installing Vin10, the default zoom ratio is set to 125%, because with a resolution of 1920x1080p on a 15.6-inch screen at 100% everything looks very small. However, some sites (or the “axis” itself) did not fully learn how to work with variable scaling, and, for example, when typing this review on the site, it seemed that it was printed in different fonts.

Now about components of the laptop (copied from the official site for my copy):

  • Wireless LAN adapters – Wireless, CMB, LTN, NFA435A, Qualcom Atheros;
  • SOLID STATE DRIVES – UMIS AM610 256G M.2 PCIe 2242 SSD;
  • SYSTEM BOARDS – MB C 81NC NOK R53500U UMA 4G S;
  • LCD PANELS – LG LP156WFC SPD1 FHDI AG S NB;
  • Rechargeable Batteries, internal – LG L18L3PF3 11.34V52.5Wh3cell;
  • MEMORY – 4GB DDR4 2666 SoDIMM, Samsung.

Well, the AMD Ryzen 5 3500U processor with integrated Vega8 graphics. RAM installed 2×4 GB.

Now about the experience of the first weeks of operation of the laptop

The laptop, basically, pleases with both the appearance and everyday performance (see drawbacks). I note the operation of the cooling system, which (when the laptop is on a stand with minimal fan speed) remains in passive mode even when playing 1080p video from Youtube. When spinning the fan under severe load, it does not emit any unpleasant overtones. Without a stand, the laptop heats up significantly under average load, as noticeable fan spinning has not yet occurred (Intelligent performance mode). Excellent screen (in this price category, of course), I am very glad that I spent on IPS, and did not save with TN. The level of comfortable brightness in the apartment is 66%. Downloading Windows is very fast, accessing files is done, if not instantly, then certainly does not cause visible delays (see test). Lightweight regular PSU (compared with standard PSUs of 90 W or more) plus the weight of the laptop itself allow long-term carrying in a bag “over the shoulder.” The backlight of the keyboard literally saves in the dark.

The speed of the built-in WiFi is more than enough for my tasks (there is definitely a reception of 5 megabytes per second – neither my home network nor the external ones I dealt with provide higher speeds), although, objectively speaking, the wireless module is noticeably weaker than those that put in many models from competitors. The signal when passing through a brick wall is noticeably weaker. Now we turn to the shortcomings and problems in the work.

Let’s start by charging the battery. After buying a laptop, the battery, of course, was not fully charged. There were no problems with the first recharging – the battery was fully charged. Then it took a few minutes to pull out the power supply – the laptop ran out of battery to 97%, but refused to recharge after connecting to the network! Neither rebooting, nor reconnecting the power supply, nor resetting the BIOS to the default values ​​helped – the battery stubbornly refused to charge until the end (the charging indication appeared for a few seconds and that was all). To fully charge the battery, it was necessary to discharge it below 90% – after that, charging was up to 100%.

Regarding the laptop’s battery life (with Intelligent performance level and better battery power scheme): the battery discharge dropped when watching 1080p video from the “pipe” from 100 to 90% in 30 minutes. Because there is no charge via USB Type C, then if you really need long battery life, you need an external battery with a power connector, which costs a lot and weighs a lot. The set of ports is scarce, USB Type-C is more in the way (I had to buy an adapter for the usual Type-A). The easily soiled case is not annoying because it collects prints, but because it is difficult to wipe them. When connecting a TV via HDMI, it retains image scaling of 125%! You can switch to 100%, but only in the mode of duplicating a picture on 2 monitors, i.e. the laptop screen will not go blank. The sound volume of the built-in speakers is enough end-to-end, moreover, an increase in volume above 50% does not raise this volume very much. When watching a video on Youtube or in MPC, you often have to twist it to the maximum in both the player and the laptop. The rattling of the speakers has not yet been noticed, about some bass, I think, and it is not necessary to mention. For laptop speakers left a regular Windows driver. External sound card Creative SBX Pro 5.1 with a laptop works flawlessly.

The performance of the processor and the integrated graphics of the laptop is very pleasing, about office and everyday needs nothing to even say – more than enough. You can play quite old games, personally tried F.E.A.R. 2005 – at maximum settings above 50 FPS, Silent Hunter 5 with mods – at maximums above 30 FPS. Without a stand, the laptop in games heats up noticeably and reduces performance. However, this laptop is just a terrible organization of RAM! Firstly, 4 GB are soldered, the second 4 GB are installed on the plug-in module and they can be officially replaced with 8 GB, and unofficially up to 16 GB. However, in the dual-channel mode, a maximum of 8 GB of memory will remain, and all that is higher in the single-channel mode, and this mode greatly reduces the performance of both the Ryzen processor and Vega8 (even fatal). Although the memory is soldered and installed at 2666 MHz, it works at 2400 MHz. And to top it off, such delays are flashed in BIOS that the standard latency in AIDA64 is 120 ns, but often 220 ns can also be observed there !! Of course, there are no BIOS management settings, and all that remains is to ask a rhythmic question – why did Lenovo engineers artificially lower the laptop performance?

Lenovo IdeaPad S340, photo 6
Lenovo IdeaPad S340, photo 7
Lenovo IdeaPad S340, photo 8

The “passport” performance of SSDs is also not impressive, especially the linear recording speed of 300 MB/s. When the processor and the video core are simultaneously loaded in AIDA64, the CPU frequencies decrease to ~ 2250 MHz, the heating stops at very pleasant values ​​of ~ 60 degrees.

The review is translated into english, the original review can be found on the source site.

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