Lenovo IdeaPad S940 Evaluation: Tiny Bezels and Beautiful Show Outweigh the Flaws

Skinny bezels are all the fashion today, and Lenovo has joined in on the enjoyable.Its latest laptop computer, theIdeaPad S940, comes with a whopping 90 % screen-to-bezel ratio, meaningits 14-inch show suits into a regular 13-inch chassis.

We checked out a midrange IdeaPad S940 configuration that’s constructed round an Eighth-gen Whiskey Lake Core i7-8565U, 8GB of RAM, a 256GB PCIe solid-state drive (SSD), and a 4K (three,840 x 2,160) IPS show with Dolby Imaginative and prescient and HDR VESA400 certification. That’s an honest configuration that is available in at a distinctively premium worth, particularly $1,600 from

Carrying much less laptop computer round with out giving up show dimension is an efficient factor. However did Lenovo should make any compromises to suit the whole lot inside?

Wow, that basically is a small laptop computer

Choosing up the IdeaPad S940 is a singular expertise (at the least, till the following tiny-bezel laptop computer comes round). Severely, this can be a small laptop computer, coming in at 12.57 inches huge by 7.77 inches deep by zero.55 inches thick. It’s not the smallest round, although. The Asus ZenBook 14 is sort of the identical dimension, at 12.56 inches by 7.83 inches, however it’s barely thicker than the IdeaPad S940 at zero.63 inches. They weigh roughly the identical, at 2.64 versus 2.62 kilos.

The IdeaPad S940 cheats, although, by together with its cameras in a notch the extends above the show. Consider it because the reverse of a smartphone notch, and it performs the identical perform of creating the whole lot match into an in any other case very tight area. On the laptop computer, although, that notch is beneficial – it’s straightforward to seize and open the lid with only one hand. You’ll wish to be careful for fingerprints, although. The hinge helps by being very clean and providing simply sufficient strain to maintain the show in place whilst you’re typing.

We’d be remiss if we didn’t point out a standout function of the IdeaPad S940’s design. In case you take a look at the left and proper sides of the show, you’ll discover one other similarity to some fashionable smartphones: The sides are curved, making the bezels look like even smaller. We just like the look, however we’re much less impressed that Lenovo didn’t equip the laptop computer with a contact show – these clean edges simply beg to be swiped.

By way of its aesthetics, the IdeaPad S940 is conservatively placing. Not like the Dell XPS 13 with its a number of colours or the HP Spectre x360 13 with its gem-cut edges, the Lenovo achieved a really engaging look that doesn’t stand out fairly as a lot. The IdeaPad S940 sports activities a equally understated design because the Lenovo Yoga C930 and, oddly sufficient, the identical forward-sweeping strains of the Dell Latitude 7400 2-in-1. It’s a darker coloration, which Lenovo dubs “Iron Gray,” and we prefer it as a lot because the Dell’s darkish (however lighter) silver.

Choosing up the IdeaPad S940 is a singular expertise – it’s a really small laptop computer.

In fact, we must be involved about construct high quality with such a skinny laptop computer. And right here, the IdeaPad S940 excels. It’s a really strong laptop computer, with no give within the lid, the keyboard deck, or the chassis backside. It’s practically as inflexible because the Yoga C930, which is our normal for strong client laptops.

Connectivity befits the laptop computer’s thickness, which means that you simply’re restricted to USB-C ports. One is a USB-C three.1 Gen 1 port whereas the opposite two help Thunderbolt three. Any of the ports can be utilized to energy and cost the laptop computer, and Thunderbolt three implies that exterior show help is optimized and exterior GPU enclosures can allow vastly improved gaming. Sadly, there’s no SD card reader. Wi-fi connectivity is offered by an Intel gigabit adapter offering quick 2X2 MU-MIMO Wi-Fi and Bluetooth

The S940’s nifty safety trick is powered by AI

The IdeaPad S940 doesn’t profit from the wonderful keyboard that Lenovo makes use of in its ThinkPad line. As an alternative, it’s the keyboard on the corporate’s premium client laptops. Meaning it’s not deep, however it has a pleasant snap and good spacing. We want the ThinkPad keyboards, in addition to those on the XPS 13 and Spectre x360, however the IdeaPad S940’s model can be a superb performer for many customers.

The touchpad is a greater expertise. It fills many of the out there area on the keyboard deck, and its plastic floor is clean with out being slippery. Microsoft Precision touchpad help means Home windows 10 multitouch gestures work completely, and customarily, we favored the touchpad as a lot as certainly one of our favorites, the XPS 13.

Lenovo IdeaPad S940 reviewMark Coppock/Digital Tendencies

As we talked about earlier, Lenovo selected to not equip the IdeaPad S940 with a contact show. That’s disappointing, not solely as a result of the curved bezels beg for contact but additionally as a result of utilizing a laptop computer with a touchscreen is a lot extra nice than utilizing one with out. Generally you wish to simply seize the show and use your thumb to swipe by a protracted internet web page, and we miss that right here.

Lenovo did pay some further consideration to safety, although. Included within the reverse notch is a set of cameras that help Home windows 10 Howdy through infrared facial recognition. That’s not all, although – just like the considerably costlier Latitude 7400 2-in-1 and the Lenovo ThinkPad X390, the IdeaPad S940 may acknowledge when a person steps away from the laptop computer and switch off the show and put the machine to sleep. When the person returns, the display turns again on and Home windows 10 Howdy kicks in.

Lenovo selected a pointy, colourful, and vibrant HDR show with common distinction and coloration accuracy.

The IdeaPad S940 carried out simply as properly right here as did the Latitude 7400. There’s some synthetic intelligence constructed into Lenovo’s answer, together with the power to robotically set the suitable distance sensitivity, and it might additionally flip video on and off because the person leaves the world. As with the Dell, we discover this to be a helpful function that helps make sure you don’t inadvertently go away your laptop computer open to snooping. We didn’t particularly take a look at to see if the function impacts the battery life, however we found the impact on the Latitude and suspect it will likely be the identical with the Lenovo.

Lenovo additionally included Look software program that strikes your cursor from window to window and from show to show, in multi-monitor configurations, simply by glancing. As with the ThinkPad X390 that featured Look, the software program retains the webcam gentle turned on – which we discovered to be an actual annoyance.

An extremely vibrant 4K display

Our assessment unit sports activities a 4K (three,840 x 2,160) IPS show that options excessive dynamic vary (HDR) help, each Dolby Imaginative and prescient and VESA40 certification, and that boasts 500 nits of brightness. There’s additionally a extra mundane Full HD (1,920 x 1,080) IPS show out there for anybody who needs to avoid wasting on money and battery life.

Our colorimeter offered largely excellent news concerning the show. To start with, it’s certainly very vibrant at 470 nits, which is properly above our 300-nit choice and far brighter than most laptop computer shows we’ve examined. And, it affords 83 % AdobeRGB and 100 % sRGB coloration gamut protection, each of that are once more considerably higher than common.  Accuracy was simply okay at (lower than is superb), and distinction was additionally moderately common at 850:1 – we prefer to see fashionable shows at 1000:1 or higher.

These metrics evaluate favorably to most of our comparability group. The IdeaPad is considerably brighter, and its coloration gamut is way greater – in truth, the common coloration gamut help in premium laptops runs nearer to 73 % of AdobeRGB and 95 % of sRGB. That may make the IdeaPad S940’s show extra engaging to creatives who worth loads of colours if the accuracy had been a bit greater – just like the Dell XPS 15 4K show that is available in at 97 %, 100 %, and zero.68, respectively.

The place the IdeaPad S940’s panel shines, although, is in its HDR efficiency. Home windows 10 help for HDR continues to be in its infancy, and so we’ve discovered an excessive amount of variation in high quality amongst laptops that help streaming HDR video on the inner show. The IdeaPad S940 does an excellent job with HDR content material, enhancing particulars in darker scenes with out fully blowing out brighter scenes. That compares favorably to the Dell XPS 13 Full HD show, which whereas being Dolby Imaginative and prescient licensed did a a lot worse job – to the purpose the place a lot Netflix content material, for instance, was simpler to look at on the Dell with HDR turned off.

Lenovo IdeaPad S940 reviewMark Coppock/Digital Tendencies

The IdeaPad S940’s show isn’t nearly as good at dealing with HDR because the HP Spectre x360 15 model with an AMOLED show. And as we famous in that laptop computer’s assessment, the AMOLED show was even higher at streaming Netflix with HDR turned off. The 2 are extra evenly matched, although, when enjoying HDR YouTube movies, though the AMOLED show nonetheless wins out.

What all this implies in observe is that Lenovo selected a really sharp, very colourful, and really vibrant show with common distinction and coloration accuracy. It’s a bizarre combine, due to this fact – it’s not fairly an awesome selection for artistic professionals, and it’s not the only option for productiveness customers. However it’s superb for each. And in case you like watching Netflix TV exhibits and films, then it’s higher than most laptops.

Generally, being too skinny can sluggish you down

We reviewed a high-end configuration of the IdeaPad S940 full with a quad-core “Whiskey Lake” Eighth-generation Core i7-8565U. It’s a quick processor that may normally churn by productiveness duties and even deal with some demanding chores like video encoding.

As soon as we began operating our benchmarks, although, we discovered a discrepancy.

First, within the Geekbench four artificial benchmark, the IdeaPad S940 scored a barely low 5,zero11 within the single-core take a look at and a really low 13,467 within the multi-core take a look at. The ZenBook 14 was barely quicker with the identical CPU at 5,245 and 14,353, respectively, and the cheaper Acer Swift three 14-inch scored 5,231 and 15,117. Even so, the IdeaPad S940 didn’t carry out terribly within the artificial benchmark

Issues obtained extra regarding once we ran our regular real-world take a look at, utilizing Handbrake to encode a 420MB video file to H.265. Our first run noticed the IdeaPad S940 take a full 411 seconds to finish the take a look at, the place different laptops with the identical CPU take lower than 300 seconds. We ran it once more, and it accomplished in 320 seconds. We then ran it a couple of extra instances and arrived at a median of 367 seconds.

Acer confirmed that the IdeaPad’s skinny chassis ends in some thermal throttling.

These outcomes stand out for 2 causes. First, they’re considerably slower than our comparability group, together with the ZenBook 14 that was very fast at 237 seconds. Second, most laptops we assessment are very constant on this take a look at, various by only some seconds between runs. We suspected that the IdeaPad S940 was thermally throttling because of its very skinny chassis, and Acer confirmed as a lot once we put the query to them. We tried turning off “Clever Cooling” within the Lenovo Vantage app, however it made no distinction.

The Samsung PCIe SSD that Lenovo chosen offered sturdy outcomes, scoring 2,zero77 megabytes per second (MB/s) within the CrystalDiskMark 5read take a look at, and 1,462 MB/s within the write take a look at. That’s a lot quicker than the Kingston SSD within the Acer Swift three that scored 857 MB/s and 764 MB/s, and simply barely slower than the Toshiba SSD within the Latitude 7400 2-in-1 that managed 2,160 MB/s and 1,774 MB/s. In real-world use, the IdeaPad S940 was a lot fast at booting, opening apps, and loading and saving knowledge.

Throughout our testing, we discovered the IdeaPad S940 to be a superb performer in our regular productiveness work. It appeared as quick in regular use as most laptops we’ve examined with the identical processor. However the thermal throttling could be a priority if we wanted to carry out extra intensive duties like video modifying, the place the IdeaPad S940 could be slower than it needs to be.

Being so skinny, the IdeaPad S940 additionally will get a bit hotter than another laptops we’ve reviewed. Temperatures throughout a 3DMark stress take a look at reached 111 levels F on the highest row of the keyboard and beneath the chassis in the identical place. And so whereas the CPU is throttled, that doesn’t cease the chassis from heating up. A constructive is that the followers aren’t very loud, and so whereas they spin up they’re not obnoxious.

Even much less of a gaming laptop computer than regular

The IdeaPad S940 begins as an unlikely candidate for anybody who needs to do greater than probably the most informal gaming. It’s restricted to Intel UHD 620 built-in graphics, and including within the thermal throttling had us even much less excited than regular.

In keeping with the 3DMark Fireplace Strike take a look at, the IdeaPad S940 is certainly slower than equally geared up laptops. It scored an 899, whereas most laptops with the identical graphics rating over 1,100. Then, once we ran a couple of runs in Fortnite, the IdeaPad S940 managed simply seven frames per second (FPS) at 1080p and excessive graphics and 6 at epic graphics. That’s round half of the opposite laptops we’ve examined with the identical Intel UHD 620 graphics.

Given the 4K show, we didn’t get our hopes up for record-breaking longevity.

The IdeaPad S940 is due to this fact not any form of gaming laptop computer – the Acer Swift three 14-inch with an Nvidia GeForce MX150 is a greater choice. In case you go along with the Lenovo, then keep on with informal Home windows 10 video games and indie titles if it’s essential get a gaming repair.

The 4K tax on battery life

The IdeaPad S940 has 52 watt-hours of battery packed inside that small and skinny chassis. That’s not lots for a 14-inch laptop computer, however then once more most have extra room inside. Given the 4K show, we didn’t get our hopes up for record-breaking longevity.

We’re by no means stunned, then, to see the IdeaPad S940 falling quick towards its competitors. In our most demandingBasemarkweb benchmark take a look at, the Lenovo made it simply previous three hours, much like the Swift three 14-inch. The ZenBook 14, although, lasted for nearly 4 and three-quarter hours and the also-expensive Dell Latitude 7400 2-in-1 lasted for near seven hours.

Subsequent, we ran the IdeaPad S940 by our internet looking take a look at that loops a sequence of well-liked internet pages. Right here, it lasted for simply over six hours whereas the following closest comparability machine, the ZenBook 14, lasted for nearly eight hours. Once more, the Latitude 7400 was the standout at a whopping 14.three hours. We’ll word that the newest Dell XPS 13 with a 4K show lasted for 30 minutes longer on this take a look at, highlighting the affect of excessive resolutions on battery life.

Lenovo IdeaPad S940 reviewMark Coppock/Digital Tendencies

Lastly, when repeating our 1080p Avengers native take a look at video, the IdeaPad S940 simply barely made it to 10 hours. The ZenBook 14 lasted for 11 hours, the Swift three for 15.three hours, and the Latitude 7400 a spectacular 21.eight hours. The IdeaPad S940 did final three hours longer than the XPS 13, which shut down after simply seven hours of video looping.

The IdeaPad suffers from too little battery capability for too energy elements and a really power-hungry 4K show. It’s unlikely you’ll get a full day’s work on a single cost of the battery, and so that you’ll wish to carry your energy adapter with you in case you’ll be away from the workplace for some time. That does have a tendency to cut back the worth of such a skinny and lightweight laptop computer.

Our Take

The IdeaPad S940 is a good laptop computer to hold round – actually, it’s good in hand and doesn’t take up a lot room wherever it’s essential use it. Lenovo did a exceptional job of packing a really good 4K 14-inch show into a really small chassis.

Sadly, the corporate additionally made it very skinny, which restricted efficiency on account of thermal throttling and didn’t go away room for sufficient battery to fulfill that power-hungry show. The IdeaPad S940 has a really engaging aesthetic and tight design, however its svelte body comes at an actual price.

Is there a greater various?

We’ve reviewed a few 14-inch laptops that compete with the IdeaPad, and one very related choice is the Asus ZenBook 14 UX433. It’s additionally very small due to even tinier bezels, and whereas it’s not as skinny because the IdeaPad, it supplies higher efficiency – particularly in case you purchase the model with the MX150 GPU. It’s additionally a lot cheaper, at $1,200 for a Core i7-8565U, 16GB of RAM, a 512GB PCIe SSD and a Full HD show. You’ll pay $100 or so extra for the quicker graphics.

Subsequent up is the Asus ZenBook S13. It, too, options spectacularly tiny bezels and a really small chassis. It’s not fairly as skinny because the IdeaPad S940, however it’s additionally quicker and doesn’t undergo from the identical form of thermal throttling. It additionally comes normal with the MX150, which means it’ll present higher gaming and creativity app efficiency in mainly the identical footprint. And, it’s equally priced at $1,400 together with a bigger 512GB SSD however with a Full HD show – that affords it significantly better battery life.

Lastly, you may think about the IdeaPad S940’s enterprise cousin, the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon. It, too, is an expensive laptop computer $1,682 for the same configuration. It’s additionally not as small or as skinny, however it’s very gentle with a greater keyboard. It additionally sports activities the long-lasting ThinkPad design, if that’s one thing that appeals to you.

How lengthy will it final?

The IdeaPad S940 may be very properly constructed and supplies some confidence that it’s going to sustain with the standard productivity-worker put on and tear. It additionally enjoys up-to-date elements, together with Thunderbolt three connectivity that may sustain with new peripherals. The 1-year guarantee is disappointing, as regular.

Must you purchase it?

Sure, in case you’re in search of an especially small 14-inch laptop computer with a really good show. However beware the efficiency and battery life tradeoffs.

these are each fairly spectacular. let’s emphasize that!


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