Lenovo’s latest Ideapads could be 2019’s best budget laptops for creatives and students

Lenovo has unveiled a trio off new Ideapad laptops and convertibles that could be a great choice for students and buyers on a budget.

Here’s everything you need to know about the catchily-named Ideapad S540, Ideapad S340 laptops and Ideapad C340 convertible.

Related: MWC 2019

Lenovo Ideapad S540

1. Ideapad S540

Key features:

  • 14/15.6-inch models.
  • FHD IPS display with 300 nit max brightness
  • Dolby speakers
  • TrueBlock Privacy shutter for webcam
  • Up to 8th Gen Core i7 Nvidia GeForce MX250 discrete graphics or AMD Ryzen 7 37000 U Radeon RX 10 Vega Graphics
  • Up to 12 hours battery
  • Up to 12GB RAM
  • Up to 512 PCIe SSD

The Ideapad S540 is the top dog in Lenovo’s 2019 Ideapad lineup. The laptop comes in 14 and 15.6-inch versions, both of which feature Intel 8th Gen and AMD Ryzen CPUs and Nvidia GeForce and AMD Radeon graphics options.

The appearance of Ryzen will be a particular selling point for creatives or video editors on the market for a mobile editing station, especially given Lenovo’s claims that both screen sizes will offer “above average” colour accuracy and gamut coverage. Sadly they didn’t have exact DCI-P3 or Adobe RGB figures when we asked.

The key differentiation for it outside of this is its robust all metal design and higher 512GB SSD option, which give it a significantly more premium feel. For people regularly on the move it also supports RapidCharge technology, which according to Lenovo lets you get up to two hours of use with about a 15-minute charge.

The TrueBlock privacy shield is another novel feature common to all three new Ideapads. It’s a little slider mechanism that lets you cover the front facing web camera, protecting you from an potential privacy invasion from hackers.

Pricing will depend on which specific version of the Ideapad S540 you opt for.

The 14-inch AMD-based IdeaPad S540 will set you back €799 while the Intel version will launch in March and retail for a slightly heftier €899. The 15-inch Intel-based IdeaPad S540 is expected to start in April with pricing starting at €899 and going up depending on what SSD and RAM options you opt for.

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Lenovo Ideapad S340

2. Ideapad S340

Key features:

  • 14/15.6-inch options
  • FHD IPS display with 250 nit max brightness
  • Up to 8th Gen Core i7 Nvidia GeForce MX250 discrete graphics or AMD Ryzen 7 37000 U Radeon RX 10 Vega Graphics
  • AI Cortana and Alexa support
  • Up to 12GB RAM
  • Up to 256 PCIe SSD
  • Up to 8 hour battery
  • Dolby audio
  • TrueBlock privacy shutter

The Ideapad S340 is a stripped down version of the S540. It comes in the same sizes as the S540. The CPU and graphics options are also identical. The main compromises are that the chassis is a mix of metal and plastic, which makes it feel a little less premium. The display’s max brightness is also lower with it capping out at a quoted maximum of 250 nits, which is pretty low by today’s standards, but understandable for a laptop this price.

The only other big difference we noticed during our demo is that it has a maximum 256GB storage option, which will make it less alluring for creatives working on big projects.

Outside of this its still a pretty alluring bit of tech, on paper. Featuring the same Dobly speaker system, TrueBlock privacy shield and memory options as the S540. As an added perk it also features Amazon Alexa support, which’ll let you do useful things like set calendar invites or shuffle songs on Amazon Instant Music using voice commands.

Availability of the 14-inch and 15-inch AMD versions of the IdeaPad S340 are scheduled to launch in April with pricing starting at €549. 14-inch and 15-inch Intel versions are expected to arrive in March 2019 with pricing starting at €599.

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3. Ideapad C340 convertible

  • 14/15.6-inch options
  • FHD IPS display, 250 nits max brightness
  • Up to 8th Gen Core i7 Nvidia GeForce MX250 discrete graphics or AMD Ryzen 7 37000 U Radeon RX 10 Vega Graphics
  • Active pen support
  • Up to 8 battery with rapid charge
  • Dolby audio
  • Up to 16GB RAM
  • Up to 512 PCIe SSD
  • TrueBlock display

The Ideapad C340 is the latest affordable convertible from lenovo. It has similar specs to the S340, featuring identical screen, CPU and graphics options.

What differentiates it are the inclusion of a nifty 360 hinge, improved memory and storage options and active stylus support.

The 360 hinge lets you fold the screen all the way round to turn the device into a tablet or stand it in a tent mode, which makes it easier to watch movies in confined spaces, like on an airplane.

It also makes it easier to sketch on it, if you pay for the option Lenovo Active pen. The combination of factors could make it an ideal choice for students or artists, especially given its competitive pricing.

The 14-inch AMD version of the Ideapad C340 will launch in April, with the base version retailing for as little as €599. The 14-inch and 15-inch Intel-based versions will ship in March with pricing starting at €599.

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