With tablets substituting notebooks in our every day life, many seem to have forgotten that notebooks are still hero devices when it comes to real work and play. Manufacturers like Sony have also lost confidence in the PC market and have sold off its VAIO PC division. Lenovo here seems to think very differently and continues to release more affordable and powerful PC products like the IdeaPad s410p Touch that has been with us for two weeks. Check out our video review below.

First Impressions

Just like any IdeaPad notebooks, you can’t miss Lenovo’s design language. The notebook has got some slimming job by the company though it still feels heavy at 2.3KG. The textured design on the chassis makes the notebook feel premium, and opening the notebook reveals a brushed metal chassis that makes it unbelievable that this is actually a mid range notebook. Lenovo certainly has its way of designing its notebook and makes every money spent on its product worth every cent.

Hardware

The IdeaPad s410p Touch is no slouch in terms of specifications despite being positioned as a mid range notebook.

Lenovo IdeaPad s410p Touch Specifications

Processor: Intel Core i5 4200-U Dual Core 1.6GHz, turbo boost up to 2.6GHz

RAM: 4GB, upgradable to 16GB with 2 RAM slots

HDD: Samsung SpinPoint M8 500GB 5400RPM

ODD: Yes, DVD-Writer

Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce 720M 2GB/Intel HD 4400

Display: 14.1” HD 1366×768 Resolution with 10 multi-touch points

Connectivity: Bluetooth 4.0, WiFi B/G/N 2.4GHz, 10/100mbps Ethernet

I/O: USB 3.0×2, USB 2.0×1, 1xHDMI 1.3, 1xVGA

Battery: 4-Cell 2800mAh battery, up to 5 hours battery life

OS: Windows 8 Single Language

Additionally, you’d be happy to know that the notebook is self-upgradable, which means you can pretty much unscrew the cover below the notebook, swap out your RAM and hard drive without going to a Lenovo service centre if you know how to do it.

The User Experience

The IdeaPad s410p Touch is both a great work and play companion. At work, the Accutype Keyboard is a joy to use while we work on our editorials, the feedback on the keys is good and we don’t miss any characters while typing, we certainly wished that the keyboard is a LED backlit one. The ELAN branded touchpad is one of the best that we’ve used though it still isn’t on par with Synaptics touchpad, touch sensitivity is fine but we aren’t satisfied with performing gestures with it. Instead, we prefer using the touch screen to perform Windows 8 gestures as it is really smooth and precise.

Although the notebook doesn’t come with SSD or m-SATA flash, it performs well in launching applications and even a warm boot takes about a minute and a half. Therefore, if you’re not really particular about speed too much, you will still love the IdeaPad s410p Touch; otherwise, simply purchase a SSD from stores and swap it easily with a few screws.
On top of that, we highly recommend that you upgrade the notebook to Windows 8.1 for better performance and usability and we’re also happy to report that there isn’t any driver compatibility issues on the notebook.
With GeForce discrete graphics onboard, the notebook obviously performs better than those with built-in Intel graphics. The GeForce 720M processor performs well in most common games today like Tomb Raider and Need for Speed Rivals with full resolution and the game’s recommended graphics setting, you get an average 25-40FPS during gameplay if you do not over tune the graphics setting.

The IdeaPad s410p Touch features Dolby Advanced Audio v2 enhanced stereo speakers, which basically creates a virtual surround sound when playing music and watching movies. Trust us, you’ll love it.
Benchmarks and Tests

Notebook benchmarks are very different from smartphones as there’s no such thing like a ‘Benchmark Booster’ that manufacturers can meddle with. Benchmarks on Windows machines will show you the product’s true performance.

PCMark 08

A benchmark software that basically test the overall system performance in multimedia capability, browser and system performance. According to the benchmark, the IdeaPad s410p Touch performs better than a gaming laptop, which is kind of surprising.

3DMark

This benchmark software makes the notebook’s graphics chip show its full potential, and it certainly fails on the last test where the entry-level chip on the IdeaPad s410p Touch isn’t able to reach high frame rates with maximum graphics detail.

CrystalDiskMark

The name of this benchmark software is clearly meant for hard drive benchmarking. We aren’t going to expect SSD-like results over here but based on a 500MB file test, the Samsung SpinPoint hard drive managed to have a maximum read speeds of up to 94MB/seconds and write speeds of up to 93MB/seconds on a sequential basis, which is probably the reason why we aren’t experiencing that much of slow downs in startup.

Battery Life

Lenovo claims the 4-cell battery of the notebook to have a battery life of up to 5 hours. We tested it by only working on editorials, browsing the web and occasionally some Spotify music streaming on a screen brightness of 70% with the help of Lenovo’s Power Management software, we have to report that the notebook managed to last us 3 hours and 30 minutes in a single charge.

Watching full HD movies on the notebook with K-Lite Mega Codec only last us 2 hours of usage.
Lenovo’s Power Management software is what we really love, switching power modes is really easy and you can even see what apps are using up the most power, which is very similar to our smartphones today. Why can’t other manufacturers offer the same thing? We wonder.

Verdict

Two weeks spent on reviewing the IdeaPad s410p Touch is definitely a great experience for us. The IdeaPad s410p Touch is a mid range notebook with no compromises in hardware features, it may not have the best HD display or fastest processor, but it is certainly capable of running most of your tasks smoothly and very suitable for those who doesn’t want to pay too much. The IdeaPad s410p Touch puts many of its competitors to shame with its balanced features and an affordable retail price at RM2099, we highly recommend this notebook to anyone looking for a mid range notebook. And oh, Lenovo offers a 2-year international warranty for its notebooks, which makes life even better. Period.

The Good:
+ Decent system performance
+ Affordable
+ AccuType keyboard works great
+ Great input options, at least 2 USB 3.0 ports available
+ 4th Gen Core i5 processor and GeForce graphics
+ Acceptable battery life
+ Sensitive and precise touch display despite low resolution
+ Decent stereo speakers
+ Warm system temperature
+ Ability to perform hardware swap easily
The Bad:
– Small touchpad and hard to perform gestures
– Heavy despite having a slim design
We rate the Lenovo IdeaPad s410p Touch at 4.5 out of 5 stars.