March 4, 2013
- Attractive design
- Comfortable keyboard
- Good performance
- Lacking display viewing angles
- Poor battery life
The Lenovo IdeaPad S400 is a bargain-priced Windows 8 Ultrabook that offers solid performance and an attractive design. While it does lack battery life and display viewing angles, it does have a very comfortable keyboard.
The exterior of the Lenovo IdeaPad S400 has a gray plastic finish that is finished off with rounded corners and a chrome Lenovo logo. The interior is made of matte black plastic that looks professional in every aspect. The keyboard sits slightly recessed into the deck. The notebook measures 13.2 x 9.4 x 0.9-inches (wdh) and weighs 3.4-pounds, so it's very lightweight and slim. If you're looking for a portable laptop to carry around all day, this is definitely one to look at.
For a 14-inch display with a resolution of 1366 x 768-pixels, we were hoping for a little more. However, the display is very bright and offers a good-looking, vibrant picture. The noticeably narrow viewing angles were the main problem.
Lenovo includes its AccuType keyboard which we found to be very comfortable to use. The keys have a matte black finish and offer good feedback. The only thing we would have changed was some added size to the Enter and right Shift keys. The touchpad was very large and had a smooth finish that allowed Windows 8 multitouch gestures to be performed without any issues. The bottom of the touchpad doubles has a click surface for right and left clicking.
For ports, the Lenovo IdeaPad S400 includes two USB 2.0 ports, one USB 3.0 port, HDMI-out, Ethernet, a headphone jack and a 2-in-1 memory card reader. It would have been nicer to have two USB 3.0 ports instead of just one, but we can't complain too much.
Our review S400 had a configuration that included a third-gen Intel Core i3-3217U (1.8GHz) CPU, 4GB of RAM, a 500GB 5400RPM hard drive and integrated Intel HD 4000 graphics. A PCMark 7 benchmark returned a score of 2,160, which is about 500 points shy of the category average. However in real-world use, we found the performance to be better than the benchmark let onto. Windows 8 boot times were around 20-seconds and we didn't encounter any slow downs while streaming HD video and surfing the Web.
Battery life with the integrated battery comes out at about 3.5-hours, which is at least 2-hours less than the category average. For a portable Ultrabook, this is most disappointing.
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