Laptops

Lenovo IdeaPad S540 review: A professional’s daily driver

An essential for every career-driven millennial

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As a 20-something millennial, I always feel like time is running out. I have this inane need to accomplish so much at a young age. Friends and mentors alike remind me that life’s not a race, but I can’t help it — I’m too passionate.

I’ve always been determined to have a high-flying career before I reach 30. Years fly by so quickly, which is why there’s an urge to achieve so many in a short span of time. Not to mention, global warming is real, wars could happen any minute, and we all could be dead soon. I don’t want to die without reaching my dreams.

To achieve my goals, I ensure I’m equipped with the right gear in building my career. For starters, we all need a laptop that does its job so we can focus on our work.

Make an impression through your gear

Enter Lenovo’s IdeaPad S540. This premium ultrabook is a tad better than the IdeaPad S340. However, both laptops look similar due to Lenovo’s design language — which should be revamped if you think about it. I would’ve appreciated it better if the logo’s more subtle (and if it’s probably embossed).

The IdeaPad S540 comes in three beautiful colors — black, grey, and copper. Of course, mine would come in the beautiful copper. After all, millennials have a flair for style — we wouldn’t settle for anything that’s boring.

It comes in a sleek-looking, matte-finished, aluminum body that’s so smooth, you’d want to caress it with your fingers for an entire day. When you present with this laptop, people will know you mean business — serious, but not boring.

Finding comfort in its shortcomings

Its screen is humongous, coming in with a 15.6-inch FHD IPS display. There’s so much you can do with a screen this big, even though it has thick bezels on its top and bottom. Glare could be a problem, especially when you love working somewhere bright and open.

Typing is sweet with this beaut, especially for someone who types a lot. Its keys are evenly placed and big enough for my tiny fingers to press on.

On the other hand, its trackpad remains as Lenovo’s weak point. Just like the IdeaPad S340, the S540’s trackpad isn’t smooth enough for navigation. Gliding your fingers create a squeaky sound that would make your eardrums cringe.

Security-wise, you can finally calm the F down since Lenovo cares about it, too. We all hate spying cameras, thus, Lenovo allows you to cover your laptop’s camera with a shutter whenever you’re not using it. For even tighter security, the IdeaPad S540 has a fingerprint reader located on the keyboard’s bottom right.

Stay connected, wherever

On the left side, you can find the power input, an HDMI port for your presentation needs, and our well-loved USB 3.1 port, along with an audio jack located at the mid-bottom.

Found on the right side are two USB 3.0 ports, an SD card reader, and indicator lights.

Side note: Its hinge and design were built to handle being laid flat on a table, for presentation purposes. Do note it doesn’t do yoga. If you want a convertible, better check Lenovo’s Yoga lineup.

Get all your job done

The IdeaPad S540 is more than enough for most professionals. This particular model is equipped with an Intel Core i7-8565u at 1.80GHz processor, which can go up to 4.60GHz with Turbo Boost. Additionally, it carries 12GB of DDR4 memory, along with 512GB SSD storage and an Nvidia MX250 GPU.

This laptop can handle your habit of opening multiple tabs at the same time, with heavyweight apps like Spotify, Netflix, or even Adobe’s Creative Suite running in the background. I mostly deal with Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, and Lightroom, with a bit of video editing on the side — and I was able to do all my creative work albeit only at a bare minimum.

Its display wasn’t made for creative professionals, and it heats up when using memory-consuming software for a prolonged time. But for most users dealing with large files, a bunch of emails, browsing, surfing, spreadsheets, and occasional entertainment like binge-watching on Netflix, the IdeaPad S540 is more than enough.

Being a humongous laptop, the IdeaPad S540 doubles as your business companion and entertainment hub. It has a Dolby Audio speaker system, producing decent sound for all your leisure needs. For those obsessed with audio, you might want to look elsewhere because this isn’t the laptop for you. Better buy a different speaker system and connect it to this laptop.

We might need more juice

If you’re looking at a laptop this big, it’s expected to have a lot of juice. Thankfully, the IdeaPad S540 delivers what’s expected from it. Lenovo boasts up to 12 hours of battery life, but most people nowadays are classified as power-hungry users, rendering the 12-hour promise to be useless since it’s going to be shorter.

For instance, I spent one afternoon in Malongo Atelier Barista enjoying a refreshing Iced Coffee while doing my work. I sat around 4 o’clock in the afternoon with a full battery, diving into a pile of articles to write.

Additionally, I’ve been jamming to my favorite playlist from The Bold Type so I can be more productive. Settings include 100% brightness and max volume, while connected to Wi-Fi. In between sipping my coffee, listening to interviews that I recorded, and social media breaks, the IdeaPad S540 drops 10 to 15 percent of its battery per hour.

Before 8 o’clock in the evening, my battery dropped below 20 percent already, prompting me to charge my machine. Almost four hours for a power-hungry is kinda meh but given my usage, I’d say it did its best. At least, I didn’t encounter any hiccups while navigating my work. It was seamless and smooth!

Is this your GadgetMatch?

If you’re in need of a daily driver, the IdeaPad S540 is an ideal laptop to suit your professional needs. It’s perfect for those looking for a laptop powerful enough to handle multitasking for business and entertainment use.

For PhP 65,995 (US$ 1295), the Lenovo IdeaPad S540 (S540-15IWL, version 81NE0049PH) is a good investment to propel your career. When you’re on your way up on your career ladder, you can buy and use better, higher-end, and possibly flagship laptops that definitely cost a fortune.

For now, this will do. The key to creating milestones in your career is to take baby steps, and buying a laptop to suit your professional needs is one such step you need to take.

Update as of 02/11/2020: Lenovo drops the price for the IdeaPad S540 from PhP 65,995 to PhP 59,995. Additionally, those who will purchase will be entitled to 24-months international and local onsite warranty with Premium Care. Get perks such as On-site service, 24/7 service hotline with senior technicians, priority allocation for replacement parts, annual PC health check, and more. For more information about the warranty, visit their promo page.

Gaming

Think pink: ROG decks out devices in black and pink

Bringing black and pink to your area

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ASUS Republic of Gamers (ROG) just announced a new special edition series of Electro Punk gaming devices that are stunning and they’re decked out in black and pink. From their pink, PNK LTD, line-up to this cyberpunk black and pink combo, ROG has kept releasing eye-catching color palettes to make sure you find the right gear to show off your personalities with.

Hit you with that…

Black and pink: let’s talk color; not the four drop-dead gorgeous girls that first came to mind with this new color combo.

 

ROG has long integrated Aura Sync into their devices so you can make their devices puke whatever color you liked or felt like. But, not even RGB lighting quite fills the void just as much for some people so, they developed color palettes.

The full Electro Punk set

The Electro Punk color set is available on the: ROG Strix G15 gaming laptop, ROG Strix Go 2.4 headset, ROG Strix Scope TKL keyboard, ROG Strix Impact II mouse, ROG Sheath mouse pad, and the ROG Ranger BP1503 backpack.

ROG Strix G15 Electro Punk gaming laptop

The 15-inch ROG Strix G15 sticks to gaming fundamentals to master it. It’s got the latest 10th Gen Intel Core i7 that can shred through everyday work and play; an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060, and 240 Hz display. It’s perfect for buttery-smooth gameplay while maintaining laptop portability, storage, and durability. If you’re looking for a good baseline gaming laptop this is for you.

The Electro Punk edition lays out a sleek stripe around the chassis, highlighted WASD keys, and a pink ROG logo as icing on the cake.

ROG Strix Go 2.4 Electro Punk gaming headset

The ROG Strix Go 2.4 Electro Punk is a USB-C 2.4 GHz wireless headset. It gives you exceptional sound quality with a stable cordless connection to your PC, PlayStation, Xbox, smart devices, and Nintendo Switch. On top of that, it charges fast, has long-lasting battery life, comes with a detachable boom mic, and has built-in buttons for quick and easy volume and mic controls.

The Electro Punk variant has piping hot pink accents in and around the headband, ear pads, and the ROG logo. The rest stays sleek black.

ROG Strix Scope TKL Electro Punk gaming keyboard

The ROG Strix Scope TKL mechanical keyboard was created for fast-paced multiplayer gaming. It’s got an enlarged left CTRL key making it easy to find in any FPS frenzy. Gamers can punch in complex commands with confidence with Cherry MX switches. And, with its durable, aluminium-topped construction and compact size, it’s the perfect keyboard for travelling to LANs, tournaments, and other esports events.

This Electro Punk variant has keys that accent the edges well. On top of that, Aura Sync lighting shines under every key and through the ROG logo while casting an RGB glow below.

ROG Strix Impact II Electro Punk gaming mouse

 

Designed with pro gamers in mind, the mouse delivers smooth action in serious play. It’s 79g lightweight frame features a pivoted button mechanism for precision speed. And, ROG made sure to make personalizing Impact II’s performance easy.

The 6,200 DPI optical sensor ensures accuracy and responsiveness while a DPI button lets you switch between four sensitivity profiles. An exclusive push-fit switch socket design makes it simple to change click resistances and extends the mouse’s lifespan.

The programmable buttons above the thumb-rest pop out against the body of the new ROG Strix Impact II Electro Punk gaming mouse. and of course, the Aura Sync-enabled RGB lighting is integrated into the logo, scroll wheel, and front making it shine in theme from top to tail.

ROG Sheath Electro Punk gaming mouse pad

Every Electro Punk edition Strix G15 laptop comes with a special ROG Sheath desk mat that dials up pinpoint precision for gaming mice. The pad measures 35-inches across and 17-inches deep and provides the perfect comfort cushion for your ROG peripherals.

ROG Electro Punk backpack

The Electro Punk collection is more portable with the ROG Ranger BP1503 backpacks. It’s got pink piping, patches, and slash across the front. The 15-inch laptop backpack’s fabric is durable, lightweight, and water-resistant. And, the mesh netting inside lets users organize their cords tangle-free. It’s no gaming backpack without cushioned compartments for keeping everything perfectly snug.

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Gaming

The ASUS ROG Zephyrus Duo 15 is an elevated experience

For gamers and creators

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In 2019, ASUS had a lot of people losing their minds when they unveiled the ZenBook Pro Duo with its secondary 4K display. Now, they’ve taken that same concept, improved it, and slapped it on a gaming machine — the ASUS ROG Zephyrus Duo 15.  

Why? Because they can, and it also kind of makes sense. ASUS ROG recognizes the reality that many gamers are also creatives. They work AND play. So they came up with this machine that serves both purposes.

ROG even managed to make it fairly light (2.4kg) and slim (36 x 26.8 x 2.1 cm) while packing it with everything you’ve come to expect from a top-tier gaming notebook. Here’s a quick rundown of the device’s highlights so you’re not overwhelmed.

  • ROG ScreenPad Plus unlocks endless possibilities: 14.1″ secondary display aids multitasking with intuitive touchscreen, apps, and stylus support
  • AAS Plus amplifies airflow: 28.5 mm intake increases airflow 30% over standard AAS while keeping noise under 46 dB(A) and elevating performance
  • Go hi-res or hi-speed: PANTONE® Validated display options include an ultrafast 300 Hz / 3 ms gaming display
  • Super-powered speed: Up to a GeForce® RTX 2080 SUPER™ GPU delivers high frame rates and speeds up tasks like 3D modeling and deep learning
  • Boosted productivity: Powered by up to a 10th Gen Intel® Core™ i9 CPU, 32 GB of 3200 MHz RAM, 2 SSDs in RAID 0, and Thunderbolt™ 3
  • Revolutionary cooling: CPU and n-Blade fans use an exotic liquid metal compound, and operating modes adapt to any task to boost overall performance

ROG ScreenPad Plus for gaming 

The ScreenPad Plus is great. It tilts up at a 13° angle for comfortable viewing and touchscreen interaction and stays firmly in place as you use the laptop. That tilt not only helps with viewing angles but also with ventilation.

Don’t worry about the screens making contact. ASUS made sure to prevent this by adding curved sliders that delay the deployment of the secondary display.

You’re probably wondering now if any games will actually support this new hardware. But of course, it will! ROG has tapped multiple game developers to make sure you have games you can play that will maximize the hardware.

They’re worked with Techland to optimize AAA games like Dying Light 2. Here, the co-op chats were moved to ScreenPad Plus for easy viewing, and adds touchscreen controls for easy switching between inventory items and quests.

A collaboration with Overwolf also allows gamers to download apps for games like League of Legends, Fortnite, and CS:GO to see real-time stats, build recommendations, and more — all to give you that extra edge when gaming on a multi-screen machine.

Surreal display options

In gaming, your screen refresh rate can make a huge difference in winning or losing. With that in mind, ASUS equipped the ROG Zephyrus Duo 15 with  an ultrafast 300 Hz / 3 ms gaming panel. Sweet.

Other than the high refresh rate displays are factory calibrated and PANTONE Validated to guarantee color accuracy. The panel also covers 100% of the Adobe RGB color space — making it perfect for gamers, creators, or one who does both.

Everything gaming

For the processor and graphics you have two options each: Intel 10th Gen Comet Lake i9-10980HK or Intel 10th Gen Comet Lake i7-10875H, and NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 SUPER, 8 GB GDDR6 VRAM or NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 SUPER, 8 GB GDDR6 VRAM.

The keyboard is backlit chiclet that supports n-key, per-key with 1.4 mm key travel. As for ports you have:

  • 1 x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C™, DisplayPort 1.4, TBT, PD input 20 V/3A;output 5 V/3A
  • 2 x USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A (right)
  • 1 x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A (Bottom)
  • 1 x HDMI (HDMI 2.0b support)
  • 2 x audio jack: mic-in & headphone, plus mic-in
  • 1 x RJ45 LAN

Lastly, it has a 90Wh battery with a 240W power adaptor that supports USB-C power delivery 3.0 up to 65W. Overall, it’s everything we know and love about the ROG Zephyrus line but elevated with a secondary display for a brand new experience. Pricing and availability have yet to be announced.

 

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Laptops

Apple’s 2020 MacBook Air is faster, has better keyboard

Time to switch to Mac?

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Apple made performance changes to the 2020 MacBook Air and we have a feeling you’re all going to like it.

First major change is the keyboard. Gone are the butterfly-mechanism keys that Mac die-hards tried hard to talk (or typed?) themselves into. In its place is the scissor-switch keyboard that Apple also put in 16-inch MacBook Pro.

At the core of the performance improvement is a10th-gen Intel processor — up to a 1.2GHz quad-core Core i7. By comparison, last year’s model was equipped with an 8th-gen chip. The machine starts at 8GB of memory and 256GB of internal storage that you can bump up to 16GB and 2TB, respectively. It will also now come with Intel Iris Plus Graphics.

The 2020 MacBook Air starts at US$ 999 and is discounted at US$ 899 for education customers. Orders can be placed on Apple.com.

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