Laptops on a decent budget can be hard to find, but the Lenovo IdeaPad S340 is one of the best affordable options.
With devices like smartphones costing over $ 1000USD, you may not have a lot to spend on a laptop. Whatever the reason, inexpensive laptops worth having are hard to find, but the Lenovo IdeaPad S340 It has a lot to offer for little money if you don’t agree with its disadvantages.
Choosing a laptop sku (model) is pretty difficult at best, but the S340 comes in AMD and Intel variations.
The official price starts at just $ 329USD for the AMD model, which comes with a Ryzen 3 processor. You can then jump into a Ryzen 5 or 7, with other updates. Either way, these are all very cheap and affordable laptops.
These are all AMD-based 14-inch laptops and as usual we can’t test them all but we have the cheapest of the lot with AMD models with the model name ‘S340-14API’
The IdeaPad S340 has a plastic construction with interwoven carbon fiber threads. However, you really wouldn’t know how to look at the device, which is a shame, not that we expect adequate carbon fiber at this price.
Theoretically, it makes the plastic stronger, but the S340 has an aluminum finish on the lid, which is nice.
This laptop isn’t particularly thin or light, but Lenovo still calls it “ultra-thin.” At 17.9mm thick we wouldn’t say this fits that description. Part of the design makes the S340 look slim, but it’s just an illusion.
The 14-inch model weighs 1.55 kg, while the 15-inch model jumps to 1.8 kg. Again, it’s not the headline numbers, but this is a budget laptop.
A new design feature is the TrueBlock privacy shutter that allows you to physically cover the webcam in case you need it. This has filtered down to the ThinkPad range which is good to see. However, the slider is a bit tricky to use and it’s not too obvious it’s there.
We take a look at the model Onyx Black, but you can also get the S340 in Sand Pink, Abyss Blue, and Platinum Gray.
We like the keyboard (optionally backlit) that has an elastic and responsive feel with enough travel to satisfy. However, there are some annoyingly small keys in places, such as the up and down arrows that take up the space of a normal key. There are at least a few function keys on the top so you can easily adjust things like screen brightness.
The trackpad isn’t particularly large, but it works reasonably well. Sometimes it can be a little callous, but nothing serious, and overall works perfectly fine with decent palm rejection. It takes a little bit of pressure to reactivate a click, but this is not a surprise at this price.
The display has 20 percent smaller bezels than before, and you can choose between a 14 or 15.6-inch size. They will come in Full HD with optional touch and IPS.
The model we tested was 14-inch, which is a good size and the bezels around the screen are surprisingly small for such a cheap laptop. However, quality is clearly a sign of where costs have been kept low.
You will have to accept that buying the S340 means quite poor viewing angles and that the reproduction is not that bright, either with a limit of 215 cd / m2 in our test with Lenovo claming 250. The colors are also quite worn and the contrast too he is poor, with blacks that look more like gray.
This is even when it looks dead, so this screen is not good if you need to perform tasks like editing photos or want to watch movies in decent quality. Some more expensive models come with an IPS display, so look for those in the specs if this matters.
So the screen won’t provide a great Netflix viewing experience and neither will the speakers. They’re the quintessential cheap 2W laptop forage, so they sound muddy and lacking bass.
There is Dolby Audio so you can choose between Movie, Game, Voice and Music modes. It improves the sound stage a bit, but there’s only so much you can do with the poor speakers, so you’d better plug in a few headphones here.
You get two USB-A ports, a USB-C port, full-size HDMI 1.4, a separate power input, headphone jack, and a 4-in-1 SD card reader. Many of which are rare these days, especially when splashed on a flagship laptop, so if you hate the idea of being forced to use a USB-C dongle, the S340 will be a real boon.
When it comes to the battery, Lenovo promises that the AMD model will offer up to eight hours and Intel will get up to 10.
However, in our standard test, looping an HD video with 120cd / m2 screen brightness (70% unusually high in this case) turned out to be very impressive 14 hours and 26 minutes.
Plus, RapidCharge technology means that with just a 30-minute charge, we found the S340 outperformed by up to 50%, making it very handy if you don’t have much time to give it some juice before you head out.
For such a cheap price, the IdeaPad S340 is a great budget laptop that gives you a decent amount of style and features. You get a nice keyboard, long battery life, and a nice set of ports.
Performance is what you would expect, so it will be limited to basic tasks at this entry level, so look for a more powerful model if that’s a problem. However, the main drawback here is the poor screen.