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.

CES 2021

ASUS unveils its new ZenBook Duo 14

Improved design, powerful internals, and a dynamic ScreenPad Plus

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ASUS continues to push the boundaries of its innovative products. Last year, they introduced the ASUS ZenBook Duo 14, a one-of-a-kind laptop which introduced the ScreenPad Plus. Essentially, you get a laptop with two screens that allow you to multitask and have more creative control. This year, the company is launching its latest iteration of the device, with some changes.

In terms of the overall design, the new ZenBook Duo 14 comes in a magnesium aluminum alloy chassis for a more sophisticated look. As soon as you open the laptop, it will still come with the patented ScreenPad Plus but with a hinge change. This time, the hinges that the ScreenPad Plus rest on are much stronger and incorporate ASUS’s ErgoLift in the process. As a result, this allows more airflow while you run strenous tasks like photo and video editing.

Also, the ScreenPad Plus’ UI gets an upgrade in terms of functionality with ScreenXpert 2.0. With this new Control Center, you can customize the flow of the applications on the second screen with ease. Apart from ASUS utilities and a dedicated Launcher, it also comes with a Control Panel that supports Adobe products like Photoshop, Premiere, and After Effects. Basically, you have more tools and settings to tinker with, to your liking.

All of these comes with powerful hardware to suit the creative mind or the young professional. Inside, the ASUS ZenBook Duo 14 sports up to an 11th generation Intel Core i7 CPU and 32GB of RAM. With up to 1TB of SSD storage, you can keep all your work files and projects up and running in no time. Also, you can opt to get the device with a dedicated NVIDIA MX450 GPU.

Pricing and availability have yet to be announced.

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Hands-On

ASUS ZenBook Duo (2021) Unboxing and Hands-on: Double The Fun!

Is it still the laptop of tomorrow?

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ASUS launched their first first dual-screen laptop, the ZenBook Pro Duo last 2019 at Computex Taiwan.

This 2021, the Full HD LCD display might be a drawback from the 4K OLED display. Still, it has a new and improved ErgoLift Hinge that ASUS is proud of. And with power-packed specs, pen support, and dual displays, this laptop might just be for a creative or content creator like you.

More of ASUS’ latest ZenBook Duo in our latest unboxing and hands-on video right here.

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CES 2021

Honor Band 6 and MagicBook Pro 2021 unveiled at CES

Launching soon in international markets

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Honor is now an independent company and does not have any ties with Huawei. Despite the recent transition, the brand is back at CES and has announced two new products in its global portfolio — Honor Band 6 and MagicBook Pro.

The Honor Band 6 has a massive 1.47-inch AMOLED display with 2.5D curved glass on the top. The band looks like a watch due to the large display, finding a sweet spot that isn’t too small or too big. The left edge of the device has Honor branding embossed into the shell.

The fitness tracker has five health monitoring features, which include SpO2, heart rate, sleep, stress, and menstrual cycle. There are ten workout modes, with six of those detected automatically.

The Honor Band 6 leverages Bluetooth 5.0 and packs a 180mAh battery capable of delivering up to 14 days of battery life on a single charge. It’s priced at CNY 249 (US$ 39), and sale is limited to China right now. However, we expect a gradual launch in other markets soon.

The MagicBook Pro has a 16.1-inch display, and Honor claims it has 100 percent sRGB coverage for color accuracy. Powering the laptop is Intel’s Core i5-10210U processor, coupled with the NVIDIA GeForce MX350 GPU. Everything else remains the same as last year’s offering, including 16GB RAM and 512GB SSD storage.

The battery is rated at 56Wh, and a 65W charger is provided along. It can go from zero to 50 percent within half an hour. And Honor says the laptop can deliver 11 hours of usage on a single charge. Honor has revealed its price yet, but we expect it to be around US$ 1,000. The company will announce availability details based on regions.

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