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Lenovo IdeaPad C340 – should I buy one?

Lenovo IdeaPad C340
(Image credit: Lenovo)

PC manufacturers don’t come any bigger than Lenovo, as the Chinese giant is the number one vendor when it comes to the number of PCs sold (and has been for some time). The firm makes a lot of well-liked portables, including the Yoga range, and indeed the IdeaPad models.

It’s the Lenovo IdeaPad C340 that we’re focusing on here, which is a 2-in-1 laptop that has a 360-degree hinge allowing the screen to be folded fully back, so it can be used as a tablet as well as a notebook (or indeed in stand or tent modes).

The IdeaPad C340 comes in two main flavors – 14-inch and 15.6-inch models – with a number of different variants therein, and the choice of AMD Ryzen or Intel processors (if you’re going with the smaller screen).

The 15.6-inch Intel-only model is a good choice for those who want that extra bit of screen real-estate, of course, meaning more space to display apps, with the bigger chassis also providing room for a beefier battery, and thus more longevity for the laptop on the move. This spin also allows for the choice of a cutting-edge Intel 10th-gen (up to Core i7) CPU, and so this is a great all-round choice for those focused on productivity.

The 14-inch Intel versions only have 8th-gen processors, again up to Core i7 – although we say only but these are still powerful enough chips, particularly at the top-end. The 14-inch AMD-powered C340 is equipped with the new Ryzen 3 3200U, which offers more than reasonable performance levels too. These 14-inch machines are more compact than the 15-inch version, as you might expect, and considerably lighter, so great for carrying around and portability in general – plus they’re a bit cheaper, too.

Speaking of cost, also remember that we will hopefully see some chunky discounts on these notebooks for Black Friday, so it’s worth keeping tabs on our roundup of the best Black Friday laptop deals, where we’ll pick out all the very latest and greatest deals around.

The bottom line: Lenovo’s IdeaPad C340 comes in a number of different variants, giving you a range of useful options, but all offer plenty in the performance department, and this is an impressive 2-in-1 backed with good battery life. There’s lots to like here, for sure, even if the display doesn’t quite match the quality of the rest of the machine.

Pros: Some good value-for-money options for a nicely performing 2-in-1. Impressive battery life. Broad selection of models to cater for your needs. Nifty extra security features.

Cons: Screen has some weak points. AMD-powered version isn’t so clever with the battery life (and has limited options).

Key specs

  • CPU: Intel 8th/10th-gen up to Core i7 / AMD Ryzen 3 3200U
  • Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics / Radeon Vega 3 Graphics
  • RAM: 4GB / 8GB
  • Screen: 14-inch / 15.6-inch, 1,366 x 768 or Full HD touchscreen
  • Storage: 128GB / 256GB PCIe SSD
  • OS: Windows 10 Home

Lenovo IdeaPad C340: everything you need to know

The Lenovo IdeaPad C340 is an affordable 2-in-1 which is good for price-conscious punters in terms of the lower-end models, with variants sporting beefier CPUs pitched higher in the mid-range price bracket.

Exactly which model you want to buy obviously depends on what you want from the machine, and how you’ll use it, as we’ve already touched on, although broadly speaking, all the different models of Lenovo’s C340 offer good performance levels for your general day-to-day computing tasks.

So let’s consider the various strengths and weaknesses of the C340, including the key points which may sway your purchasing decision as to exactly what spin of the laptop to plump for.

Screen test: Whether you pick the more spacious 15.6-inch screen, or the smaller 14-inch display obviously depends on if you feel you might need the extra space, maybe for an enhanced movie watching experience, for instance, or to better view an Excel spreadsheet. While the display is generally solid in terms of its core specs and capabilities, the color accuracy isn’t great, and we’ve seen some moans online about the brightness levels not being the best either. So this is something of a weak point with Lenovo’s 2-in-1, and while the Full HD displays are palatable despite niggles, we’d steer away from the 1,366 x 768-resolution options – unless you really want the absolute cheapest machine. Particularly with the 15.6-inch display, which will show any low-res flaws more glaringly.

Powerful CPUs: There’s an impressive array of options for Intel CPUs, including some powerful processors (and the latest 10th-gen models), and the AMD Ryzen 3 3200U is solid enough in performance terms.

Ryzen fall: The Ryzen 3 3200U model offered by Lenovo is, however, only equipped with 4GB of RAM – so don’t expect the world when it comes to multitasking – and it has a 128GB SSD, which is a little stingy on the storage front. This is also true of some of the Intel versions of the C340, but the point is, this is the only configuration sold directly by Lenovo right now if you want Ryzen. On the other hand, the AMD-powered machine is competitively priced – but there’s also something to note on the battery front…

Battery life: The 15.6-inch (Intel) IdeaPad packs in a beefy battery, and offers a claimed up to 12.5 hours of longevity, which is impressive. The 14-inch Intel version promises 10.5 hours, and the AMD-powered laptop 10 hours, so Ryzen is weaker on the longevity front here (and we’ve seen anecdotal reports online indicating this, too). Also good to see is the inclusion of rapid charge technology for very swift charging of your notebook.

Security bells-and-whistles: Lenovo provides a fingerprint sensor with some models, and you also get a webcam privacy shutter, so there are some nice security touches here.

Conclusion: The Lenovo IdeaPad C340 is a good laptop for students, for work and light productivity duties (there are even some nifty security features), or indeed everyday computing. It will appeal to those who want the flexibility of a convertible married with a decent amount of power, without stretching the budget. Lenovo produces some nicely affordable lower-end spec options, although be wary of the non-Full HD screen, and also the fact that AMD’s Ryzen CPU falls a bit shorter in the battery longevity stakes. Overall, though, this could be a good choice of notebook for a fairly broad swathe of 2-in-1 fans, and the 15.6-inch Intel model could be especially tempting if it’s graced with a good Black Friday discount (which may well be in the cards).

TechRadar is scouring every retailer and rounding up all the top deals over the Black Friday period, and we’ve put all the best Black Friday deals and Cyber Monday deals in easy-to-navigate articles to help you find the bargains you’re looking for.