Lenovo IdeaPad S540 Core-i7 variant Review

OUR VERDICT

  • High performance
  • Long-lasting battery
  • Little above average screen color gamut
  • Enough brighter display
  • Thin bezels
  • Display has good viewing angles
  • Little good camera quality
  • Windows Hello support with a Fingerprint reader
  • Pretty sturdy and solid aluminum build
  • Backlit keyboard
  • Dedicated GPU
  • Smooth, responsive, and accurate precision touchpad
  • Touchpad clicks down anywhere
  • Poor tactile feedback
  • No thunderbolt port
  • Small and very closely placed 2 arrow keys
  • Microphone quality falls on the poor side
  • Initially doesn't open with one finger
  • CPU UV is a game changer for CPU intensive tasks like gaming
  • Buying a cooling pad is worthy but a little bit.
  • Can do
  • Web/Desktop/Android Programming
  • Graphics & Video editing
  • Run engineering software like AutoCAD, CFD, and many more
  • Small-scale of Machine learning
  • Gaming
  • Can't do
  • iOS/Mac Programming
  • Medium to higher level of machine learning
Buy at Amazon

Hello, guys. Today, In this article, I am going to review the Lenovo IdeaPad S540 laptop. In addition to that, I will also compare it with other laptops that I have reviewed to make you sure that, is it the machine you should consider buying?

So, let's get started. But, before I proceed, read my article on laptop specs to get a basic idea of what to expect.

Table of Contents

I have received the review unit of the Lenovo IdeaPad S540 laptop from New Delhi. Its specs are as follows.

Technical Specs of Lenovo IdeaPad S540

  • CPU: 1.8GHz 10th Gen 4 Core Intel Core i7-10510U | 8 MB Smart cache
  • Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce MX250 2GB GDDR5
  • RAM: 2400MHz 8GB DDR4
  • Storage: 1TB 5400RPM HDD + 256GB PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD
  • Display: 15.6-inch FHD display | IPS & anti-glare panel | 299 nits
  • Battery: 52.5Wh 3 Cell Li-ion battery | Lasted for 4 hours and 49 minutes on DWSIM simulator
  • Weight: 1.8 Kg (4 Pounds)
  • Laptop dimensions: 35.8 x 24.5 x 1.7 cms
  • Ports: Jump to the port section

The Build Quality and Material

Lenovo IdeaPad S540 has all-aluminum build.

This Lenovo IdeaPad S540 comes with a more classy look like Mi Notebook 14 Horizon. It is all aluminum metal body with a smooth matte silver finish on both interior and exterior. There's nothing on the lid except for Lenovo branding at the bottom right corner.

Having a metal chassis account for more in the durability of the laptop. Still, Lenovo's ThinkPad series laptops like Lenovo ThinkPad E14, T490 have the highest durability than other laptops I have reviewed.

In addition to that, the corners and edges are rounded enough. Thanks to Lenovo, that there no sharp thing left outside.

Dimensions and Weight

Lenovo IdeaPad S540's dimension and weight

The dimensions of this S540 are 35.8 cms (14.1-inch) in width, 24.5 cms (9.6-inch) in depth, and 1.7 cms (0.7-inch) in height. Besides that, I have also measured its weight using a propert's weighing scale. It is as follows.

  • For laptop only: 1.8 kg (4 lbs)
  • For laptop with charging accessories: 1.895 kg (4.2 lbs)

So, it’s lightweight to carry when you will be traveling. The purpose here to test the machine’s weight with its accessories is to give you an idea of the weight you may need to carry during traveling.

When compared to other laptops, It found heavier than Mi Notebook 14 Horizon (1.35 kg), HP 14 DK0093AU (1.74 kg). But, lighter than Acer Aspire 3 (1.9 kg), Acer Nitro 5 AN515, and IdeaPad S145 (1.85 kg).

Display Quality and Color Reproduction

Size and Quality

The 15.6-inch FHD 60Hz IPS display of Lenovo IdeaPad S540 laptop.

The 15.6-inch 1080p 60Hz refresh rate display has good viewing angles, thanks to the IPS panel. It is surrounded by 7.5mm thin bezels from the left and right sides with no branding.

In terms of viewing angles, it's quite better than the following ₹50,000 price range laptops. Because the following machines have a VA panel with instead of an IPS one.

  • Acer Aspire 3 A315-23 (Review)
  • Asus VivoBook Ultra 15 M513 (Review)
  • Lenovo IdeaPad S145 (Review)
  • Dell Inspiron 14 3493 (Review)

But not better than the following laptops of the same price range.

Color Reproduction Efficiency

A chart of color gamut results of Lenovo IdeaPad S540's display

As shown in the above image, Spyder 5 PRO has ended up the testing of screen color gamut with 84% of SRGB, 57% of AdobeRGB, and 51% of NTSC. So, the results let the display falls on the nearly poor side. To be frank, I found the display neither good nor bad, not even average.

The color gamut results make it below-average useful for professional photographers. But, overall, good on average for normal uses. The display is above average for several other purposes like programming, PDF rendering, office use, and tasks that don't need color accuracy.

Its color reproduction is quite good when compared to the following laptops.

  • Mi Notebook 14 Horzion
  • Acer Nitro 5 AN515
  • Dell Inspiron 14 3493
  • Acer Aspire 3 A315-23
  • Lenovo IdeaPad S145

Is the display enough bright?

A chart on Display Nits vs Brightness for this laptop.

As shown in the above chart, this Lenovo IdeaPad S540 has reached 299 Nits at 100% screen brightness. That makes it quite brighter compared to the following laptops.

  • Acer Nitro 5 AN515 (246 Nits)
  • Mi Notebook 14 Horizon (250 Nits)
  • Asus VivoBook Ultra 15 (245 Nits)
  • Dell Inspiron 14 3493 (224 Nits)
  • Lenovo IdeaPad S145 (227 Nits)
  • HP 14 DK0093AU Laptop (231 Nits)

But, in terms of the screen contrast ratio, this one falls behind many of the laptops mentioned above. Because they have a VA panel instead of IPS, which has higher screen contrast.

Screen Flex

When intentionally moved the screen up and down with fingers with fair pressure, I found little flex there, despite the hinge that's running mostly along the base. But, during normal use, I found no issues over there, thanks to the aluminum lid of the display.

In addition to that, my review unit did open up using one finger. That demonstrates the evenly distributed weight in the laptop across the hinge.

Keyboard – Tactile, Flex, Build, and RGB Backlit?

Keyboard Flex and Build Quality

Full-size keyboard of this laptop.

There is some flex on Lenovo IdeaPad S540's keyboard when pressed it down hard with fingers with fair pressure. But, to be honest, it wasn't problematic for me in normal use, thanks to the aluminum island.

The black plastic keys have a font on it which makes it better for easier visibility that you won't find on HP 14 DK0093AU laptop.

In terms of build quality, this is rank ahead of the other similar specs laptop like Mi Notebook 14 Horizon. At the same time, the solid build of this IdeaPad S540 accounts for a little heavy to hold, which is a problem for some people. But, not a problem for many.

Overall, in terms of keyboard build quality, it feels quite solid during normal use.

Backlit

A 2-level white LED backlits of the keyboard of this laptop.

The keyboard has a white backlit. It has 2 levels. And, it also clearly visible in a low-light room, thanks to its enough brightness. Asus VivoBook Ultra 15 has a 3-level backlit.

Tactile Feedback?

This is the first quality that everyone looks for on the keyboard. It can only be determined by typing on the keyboard. Hence, during typing 6 paragraphs on Notepad, I found the keyboard was giving very inconsistent feedback. To be frank, I don't call it tactile feedback.

Since the key travel was varying between 1.1 to 1.3mm when pressed it down. Besides that the little curve from the bottom side make bit strange during typing in the beginning. But, over the use, I get used of it.

Unlike IdeaPad S145, Acer Aspire 3, and Asus VivoBook M513, The power is completely separate from the keyboard. Hence, the chances of getting accident press is almost eliminated.

Small and Messy 2 Arrow Keys

Small and very closely placed 2 arrow keys of Lenovo IdeaPad S540's keyboard.

The keyboard has 2 small and very closely placed Up and Down arrow keys. Because of too closer placement, they can be accidental wrong pressed easily.

But, that's not a problem during office use, and this machine is not made for gaming. So, in my opinion, this issue isn't much important in front of the specs Lenovo is providing in this laptop.

Overall, the keyboard is better than Mi Notebook 14 Horizon. It's good but not up to the mark.

Precision Touchpad

The smooth, responsive, and accurate 4.5-inch wider matte touchpad with rounded corners.

The 4.5-inch wider touchpad has a matte finish. It is much more smooth, responsive, and accurate in handling the gestures. In addition to that, it is a Windows recognized precision unit. So, you don't need to install any other third party drives for gestures control. Everything can be controlled from Windows Settings.

Furthermore, the touchpad has no dedicated buttons. Although they don't need even. It clicks down anywhere. When I pressed it for a click, It has less bent down compared to Mi Notebook 14 Horizon. Also, Mi's touchpad isn't a precision unit.

There is no accenting around the edge of it, but ambient reflect the edges like so. And, that feels like the premium in design.

Overall, this machine can handle gaming also. But, you won't get a smooth experience compared to dedicated gaming laptops.

For gaming tasks, I always prefer a dedicated gaming mouse because it will help you much while escaping from enemies. But, for office and normal use, the touchpad is far okay.

Fingerprints on the Smooth Surface

A smooth matte silver color aluminum surface of this laptop with Lenovo branding on the bottom right corner.

Fingerprints do show up on the smooth matte finish surface of Lenovo IdeaPad S540. But, due to the silver color, it's not directly visible. You can wipe it away with micro-fiber cloths. In addition to that, I found no color change in the surface over-the-use.

I am telling you that because, during my review of the Alienware m15 R2 gaming laptop, I found its white surface turned yellowish at some parts. Also, it was too hard to clean.

But, that's not the case with this laptop. If you need one that doesn't attract fingerprints, then better to go for Dell Inspiron 14 3493. Its textured matte plastic surface doesn't attract it. But, it has lower specs too, in the comparison of this machine.

Processor, Graphics, and RAM

Intel Core i7 CPU and NVIDIA MX250 2GB GPU is powering the laptop's performance. In addition to that, this laptop has 8GB of DDR4 RAM for smoother and better multitasking.

To make the laptop even faster, Lenovo has put a 256GB of PCIe-based SSD storage in addition to 1TB of 5400RPM hard disk. An SSD storage allows you to open and edit large files smoothly.

Now, let's check the CPU benchmark using Cinebench R20.

CPU Cinebench Score

I have taken 3 runs of Cinebench to show you an average of it. Furthermore, Cinebench is a tool used to measure CPU performance.

In the Cinebench test, I have checked the CPU score for with and without a cooling pad and CPU undervolting.

A chart on the cinebench R20 score for single and multi-core Intel Core i7 CPU of Lenovo IdeaPad S540 laptop.

As shown in the above chart, the Cinebench has shown 457 and 1761 scores for single and multi-core, respectively. In addition to that, the CPU undervolting (UV) has raised the single-core score to 458 and the multi-core score to 1803.

Overall, pretty similar results to Mi Notebook 14 Horizon. Here, a cooling pad has shown some positive impact on increasing the Cinebench score.

Average CPU Clock Speed

The CPU clock speed was measured by performing the stress test using AIDA64. The results of an average of 3 runs are in the below image.

A chart on CPU and GPU clock speed of this Lenovo IdeaPad S540 laptop for different modes of stress test.

During the stress test at an auto fan without a cooling pad, the CPU and GPU clock speeds were 1834 and 1471MHz, respectively. The same test with 0.15v CPU undervolting has raised both' clock-speeds to 2204 and 1476MHz, respectively.

In the same test, the use of a cooling pad has shown a further increase in both' speeds to 1477 and 2236MHz, respectively. So, CPU UV has shown quite a positive impact on CPU and GPU clock speeds. In addition to that, the use of a cooling pad has also shown little more improvements in the results.

Here, the CPU and GPU TDP (Thermal Power Design) test isn't required since this machine isn't made for gaming. The TDP measurement shows the change in the power consumption employing the cooling pad and/or a CPU undervolting.

But, as being an office laptop, TDP care is not the case with this laptop. Office-use laptops consume fewer resources than gaming laptops.

Video Editing Performance

The video editing performance of this laptop was tested by two ways.

  • Average of the video export time
  • Multitasking during video export

Average of the video export time

In this test, I have exported the 16 minutes and 13 seconds long video in YouTube 4K H.264 preset using Adobe Premier CC. And I have repeated the same test 4 times further to show you the average result.

A chart on the results of the 5 test of Video export of 16 minutes and 13 seconds long video in YouTube 4k H.264 preset using Adobe Premier CC in Lenovo IdeaPad S540 laptop.

As you can see in the above image that this Lenovo IdeaPad S540 laptop has exported the video in on average 18 minutes and 44 seconds (1113.4 seconds). See below, which shows the video export time of the same video by different laptops.

Multitasking during video export

The motive to conduct this test wasn’t other than to rate the smoothness of this laptop when the CPU is busy with intense work. I have checked the following during the video export, the touchpad, keyboard, and laptop’s response time.

Overall, I found the Intel Core i7 CPU, NVIDIA MX250 GPU, and 8GB of DDR4 RAM much more efficient to handle the office-level complex tasks very smoothly. The results are noticeably for good for the Core i7 laptop.

Thermal Performance

This test was performed to tell you whether the cooling pad is efficient in temperature reduction with stable or increased performance. For the stress test, I have used the AIDA64 tool. So, the results are in the below image.

A chart of average CPU and GPU temperatures of 3 tests.

At idle, both CPU and GPU were a bit warm - just 47 and 46 degrees Celsius, respectively.

During the stress test at an auto fan without a cooling pad, both CPU and GPU were 82 and 74 degrees Celsius hot, respectively. With the use of a cooling pad in the same test, GPU temperature was not changed. But, the CPU temperature has shown a reduction of 2 degrees Celsius.

In the same test with 0.15v CPU undervolting, both' temperatures were 76.1 and 72 degrees Celsius, respectively.

So, the CPU undervolting has a very positive impact on the reduction of CPU and GPU temperature. In addition to that, a cooling pad has also shown a little positive effect on the CPU temperature. That makes its buying worthy for this Lenovo IdeaPad S540.

Laptop’s Exterior Temperature

At idle at an auto fan, the exterior was near to mid 30 C.

During the stress test, the keyboard was found at mid 40 degrees Celsius. The top of the base near 55 degrees Celsius. At the same time, Both touchpad and a palm rest found cool. And nearly similar results obtained when used the cooling pad.

Here, in this case, the cooling pad is found unworthy for this laptop. So, in terms of thermal management, this laptop is pretty average when compared to other laptops I have reviewed.

Fans Noise Level

A chart of the Fan noise level during different stress tests on this Lenovo IdeaPad S540 laptop.

At idle, the fan noise level was just 34.8dB.

During the stress test at an auto fan, the fan noise level was 49.3dB - heard but not distracting. In the same test with CPU undervolting, the noise level was a bit reduced to 49.1dB.

So, the 1 fan is loud, similar to Mi Notebook 14 Horizon laptop.

Camera and Microphone

The 720p camera with Windows Hello support and a microphone placed at the top bezel.

The 720p camera and a microphone are placed on the top bezel of the laptop. The camera quality is below little above average with Windows Hello support here. The microphone feels somewhat disappointing since it has recorded a bit more noise. In addition to that, during the stress test, the microphone has recorded the noise of the fan. But, my voice was clearly heard - that's okay to get the job done.

A fingerprint reader of this laptop placed right side below the keyboard.

In addition to that, this Lenovo IdeaPad S540 laptop has a fingerprint reader which, also supports Windows Hello unlock.

Overall, pretty nice camera results. All I can say about the microphone is that Lenovo could place the microphone of little more improved quality.

Speakers

The 2 down-firing speakers of Lenovo IdeaPad S540 laptop.

The 2 down-firing speakers are placed at sides at the front corner. They were heard pretty loud while watching YouTube Videos but weren't enough clear to hear. DigiTech's sound level meter has recorded the sound level of 85dB during YouTube watch.

But, LatencyMon results have shown pretty good green bars, that's strange for me. When compared to Mi Notebook 14 Horizon, the scenario becomes completely contrasted. Mi laptop's speakers aren't loud but clear.

So, overall, not problematic during normal uses like Video conferencing. But, you will see some sort of reduced clarity of voice when you listen to songs, videos, or movies.

Ports on Lenovo IdeaPad S540

Left Side

Ports on the left side of this machine.

On the left side, there are the following ports from left to right.

  • 1 Power input
  • 1 HDMI 2.0 output
  • 1 USB Type C Gen 1
  • 1 audio/combo jack

Right Side

Ports on the right side of Lenovo IdeaPad S540 laptop.

On the right side, there are the following ports from left to right.

  • 1 SD card slot
  • 2 USB 3.0

Backside

There is nothing on the backside except the air exhausts. The front side is also clean.

Air Intake Vents

Two belts of air intake vents nearly similar in length to Hinge on the bottom of the laptop.

This Lenovo IdeaPad S540 has two belts of air intake vents. They are almost 1-inch thick and, their length is the same and equal to the length of the hinge. And, as shown in the above image, this laptop has got quite a long hinge that runs mostly along the base.

The long 2 belts of air intake vents are responsible for temperature reduction during the use of a cooling pad.

Battery

A chart on the battery life of this laptop during various tests.

The battery life was tested for both normal and processor-intensive tasks. So, this 52.5Wh battery has lasted for 8 hours and 33 minutes during YouTube watching and 2 hours and 1 minute during the continuous stress test.

I have watched the YouTube videos continuously at 50% of screen brightness, keyboard backlighting off, and background-apps disabled.

Storage

This Lenovo IdeaPad S540 has 256GB of PCIe-based solid-state drive in addition to the 1TB of 5400RPM hard disk. Here, I have only checked the SSD's speed because it makes the speed measurement worthy. Since HDDs are poor in speed and power consumption, it's unworthy to go for it.

A chart of SSD speed test results by checked by CrystalDiskMark.

As shown in the above image, the SSD of this laptop can read the large file at 1631MB/sec and writes at 862MB/sec. That's you can consider the speed of copying the file.

In addition to that, Almost 8 apps can access the same file in parallel at the speed of 512MB/sec for reading and 371MB/sec for writing. Furthermore, the same scenario in the series gives the reading speed of 401MB/sec and writing speed of 254MB/sec.

On average, it can access the different files one by one at the common speed of 78MB/sec for reading and 31MB/sec for writing.

See, this is the interpretation of the results shown by CrystalDiskMark. Next, I will end up by showing you some of the gaming benchmarks.

Gaming Benchmarks

I have played the following games for exactly half an hour and the benchmarks in terms of FPS were measured for the maximum-settings.

  • Shadow of the Tomb Raider
  • Far Cry New Dawn
  • GTA V
  • Fortnite
  • Overwatch
  • Crysis 3
  • CS:GO
Gaming Benchmarks of Lenovo IdeaPad S540 laptop.

So, this is the end of this article. This Lenovo IdeaPad S540 is an awesome machine for office uses. It's able to run games on it. But, its MX250 GPU isn't capable to give you the stunning experience like GTX series NVIDIA GPUs.

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