Lenovo IdeaPad S405 review

Ultrabook by name, netbook by nature

Lenovo IdeaPad S405 review
The Lenovo IdeaPad S405 looks like an Ultrabook, but lacks the Intel processor

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While the Lenovo IdeaPad S405 might sound like a bit of a lively one on paper, the performance figures netted from the benchmarking process tell us otherwise. The real Achilles' heel is the performance of the processor - it's simply not up to scratch when compared with its Intel competitors.

The Core i3 found in its Intel cousin - the Lenovo S400 - is marginally better when it comes to overall performance, although the Lenovo IdeaPad S405's Radeon HD 7640G gives it the edge when it comes to graphical prowess.

Effectively both the Lenovo IdeaPad S400 and Lenovo IdeaPad S405 balance each other out, so overall neither laptop is head and shoulders above the other.

Lenovo IdeaPad S405 review

The low-voltage processor doesn't really offset the lesser performance in the battery department either, although in fairness the Lenovo IdeaPad S405 isn't really able to accommodate a battery unit with greater capacity due to the slender case.

But a battery life of around two to four hours, depending on how intensively you're using it, isn't ideal for working on the move. This is a shame, because the low weight and slim chassis really make you want to take it everywhere with you.

Ultimately, then, this is the kind of laptop that will have to stay at home with the rest of the everyday offerings on the market, tethered to a power supply the majority of the time.

Lenovo IdeaPad S405 review

Cinebench 10: 3276
3D Mark: 1573
Battery Eater: 128 minutes

Ignoring the benchmark figures and the battery life, the Lenovo IdeaPad S405 actually works pretty well in the majority of scenarios - whether you're browsing the internet with multiple open tabs or working on a document.

It's certainly not speedy, but you wouldn't call it lethargic either. Though there's no SSD fitted to the innards of the Lenovo IdeaPad S405, the old-school mechanical hard drive manages to boot quickly into the 64-bit version of Windows 8, which is pleasing to see.

It also happily played any of the 1080p content we could throw at it, and while the screen isn't Full HD - just 1366 x 768 pixels, instead - or particularly great when it comes to contrast levels, it looks perfectly good, and you wouldn't really expect much more for the price.

Lenovo IdeaPad S405 review

In strong sunlight the glossy screen naturally produces quite a lot of reflection, but it didn't make the Lenovo IdeaPad S405 entirely unusable - with a little bit of squinting you can happily work at the Lenovo IdeaPad S405 without too much trouble.

The volume is pretty decent for a laptop of this size too, though don't expect to be cranking out tunes with any kind of depth or clarity.

While the Lenovo IdeaPad S405 is great for carrying around with you, its downside is that the battery Lenovo has stuffed inside is relatively small, so despite the low-voltage CPU doing its best to reign power in, the battery will only manage a few hours of life under mixed use. At full steam you're looking at no more than a little over two hours.

Lenovo IdeaPad S405 review

The Lenovo IdeaPad S405, then, is a laptop that will spend the majority of its life indoors, tethered to a power cable, which is a shame because its size is ideal for stuffing in a bag and forgetting about.

Although this laptop boasts mildly better graphics over its Intel counterpart, the Lenovo IdeaPad S405 certainly isn't made for gaming, at least not for propping up any high-end titles that have come out in the last few years.

Bioshock Infinite and Max Payne 3 - two relatively recent games - ran at their lowest settings and a decent frame rate was just a little out of its grasp. Of course, it'll handle any of the more casual gaming titles found on the Windows Store, though.

Lenovo IdeaPad S405 review