Notebookcheck

Review Lenovo IdeaPad S500 Touch 59372927 Ultrabook

Sascha Mölck (translated by Markus Döpfert), 09/12/2013

Average. Lenovo offers with the IdeaPad S500 a new ultrabook with Core i5 processor and GeForce GPU. In addition to the touchpad and keyboard the device can be operated via touchscreen. Lenovo wants about 700 Euros (~$932) for the notebook. Find out in our test if the ultrabook is good value or if you can find a better ultrabook for this price.

For the original German review, see here.

Lenovo's IdeaPad S series consists of numerous notebooks in various sizes (11.6- to 15.6-inches). Their mutual trademarks are their thin design and the use of ULV hardware. We have already tested numerous models of the IdeaPad S series - for example the IdeaPad S210 Touch (Pentium 2127U, HD Graphics (Ivy Bridge), 11.6-inches), the IdeaPad S300 (Core i3-2365M, Radeon HD 7450M, 13.3-inches), or the IdeaPad S400 (Core i5-3317U, HD Graphics 4000, 14-inches). Some of the models - like the S500 - are allowed to call themselves ultrabooks. Other models - like the S400 - do not meet the specific ultrabook requirements. The previously tested models of the IdeaPad S series turned out to be sturdy notebooks that suffered under below-average battery runtimes though. Our review reveals if the IdeaPad S500 can do it better.

We compare it to the competitors HP Pavilion Sleekbook 15-b004sg (Core i5-3317U, GeForce GT 630M) and Asus VivoBook S500CA-CJ005H (Core i5-3317U, HD Graphics 4000) for classification purposes.

Case

Wie wir testen - Gehäuse

The complete case of the S500 is made of plastic. Something the sample has in common with the Sleekbook. Asus, however, uses aluminum elements for the VivoBook. The IdeaPad takes up the cuneiform design of its sisters of the S series. The case is split into two colors: The top of the base unit and the frame of the screen are kept in a matte anthracite. Lenovo decided to use a matte black for the bottom as well as the backside of the lid. Additionally, the two elements are furnished with a texture that reminds of brushed aluminum. Unfortunately both parts turn out to be very susceptible to fingerprints.

The stability of the base unit is acceptable but shows weaknesses that we have already seen in notebooks of other manufacturers: When pressure is applied to the base unit at the left side of the keyboard and underneath the touchpad, the base unit slightly bends. The torsional rigidity is within reason. The latter also applies to the lid. However, in some spots the backside of the lid can be pushed in deeply enough to cause image distortions. The hinges keep the lid tightly in its position with only little bouncing. The lid cannot be opened with one hand.

The IdeaPad S500.
The IdeaPad S500.
The backside of the lid is very susceptible to fingerprints.
The backside of the lid is very susceptible to fingerprints.
A maintenance hatch is not available.
A maintenance hatch is not available.

Connectivity

Wie wir testen - Ausstattung

All the reference devices are equipped with the nowadays common interfaces. Only the VivoBook comes with a VGA output. Owners of the IdeaPad or the Sleekbook could fall back on an HDMI-to-VGA adapter if necessary. These adapters cost about 20 Euros (~$26). Good: All devices come with at least one USB 3.0 interface. Those who depend on an optical drive have no use for the three ultrabooks. None of the three laptops are designed for an optical drive which means it cannot be installed subsequently. An external drive is the only option. The array of the interfaces of the S500 is pleasing: The area next to the palm rest is widely free of cables.

Left: Ethernet slot, HDMI, USB 3.0
Left: Ethernet slot, HDMI, USB 3.0
Right: Memory card reader (SD, MMC), audio combo, 2x USB 2.0, power connection
Right: Memory card reader (SD, MMC), audio combo, 2x USB 2.0, power connection

Communication

Lenovo employs a WLAN module from Intel (Centrino Wireless-N 2230). It supports the WLAN standards 802.11 b/g/n. Additionally, the module provides Bluetooth 4.0 for the notebook. The WLAN reception was at no time problematic: The WLAN gauge always displayed the maximum reception, no matter if the IdeaPad was right next to the router or 2 stories away. Lenovo only installs a Fast-Ethernet chip from Realtek in the S500. Quite surprising since Gigabit-Ethernet should be standard nowadays. The integrated webcam only takes mushy pictures. The maximum resolution is 1280x720 pixels.

Accessories

No other accessories besides the usual documents (warranty information, quick-start guide) can be found in the shipping carton.

Operating System and Recovery

Lenovo ships the IdeaPad S500 with preinstalled Windows 8 (64-bit). A Windows 8 DVD is not included. Lenovo's own recovery system One Key Recovery is also on board. It can repair the operating system or reset it to delivery condition. It is called up when pressing the One Key Recovery button while the notebook is turned off. The notebook boots and displays a menu that allows, among other things, access to the BIOS. Here the option "System Recovery" needs to be chosen. The button is relatively small. It is located at the left side of the case next to the vent slots.

It is easy for the user to switch to Windows 7: All components have a respective driver. The necessary drivers for the Intel GPU, the USB 3.0 controller, the WLAN module and the chipset are found at Intel's website. The driver for the GeForce GPU is available on Nvidia's website. The Ethernet chip can be activated with the respective driver from Realtek. After the installation of all drivers there is one unknown device ("ACPI/VPC2004") left in the Device Manager. According to Lenovo's database it requires Lenovo's energy management software. We were not able to verify this since at the time of writing there were no drivers available for the IdeaPad S500 on the Lenovo website.

Maintenance

The IdeaPad is not particularly maintenance-friendly. Since there is no maintenance hatch, the whole case must be opened to access the hardware. The first step is to remove the keyboard. In order to do this, the respective screws (recognized by the keyboard symbol) need to be removed at the bottom of the device. Afterwards the keyboard can be levered out carefully. But watch out: The keyboard is connected to the motherboard via a flat ribbon cable. An opening is located underneath the keyboard that allows blowing dust off the fan.

Next step is removing the remaining screws at the bottom. Same goes for the screws underneath the keyboard. Now the bottom can be levered out carefully as well. Watch out for the fragile plastic clips that hold the bottom. We recommend having a look at the maintenance manual of the S500 before opening the case. It describes in text and pictures what to do when opening the device and replacing components.

After removing the bottom, the owner has access to the main memory, the hard drive, the WLAN module, the BIOS battery, the SSD cache and the fan. The latter could be removed for cleaning purposes. The IdeaPad is equipped with one main memory bank that is occupied by an 8 GB module. Replacing the hard drive is possible. However, only 2.5-inch hard drives with a design height of 7 mm fit into the device.

It naturally comes to mind to remove the SSD cache and replace it with an appropriate SSD with more memory capacity. This way Windows could be installed on the SSD and the 500 GB hard drive would serve as data storage. To this date this plan is nearly impossible to conduct though. Lenovo employs an SSD in the M.2 format. This means it has another format than the conventional SSDs in the mSATA format. Currently there are nearly no M.2 SSDs available. This means that the SSD cache cannot be replaced with a bigger model.

Warranty

The IdeaPad is equipped with a 24 month warranty. Owners of the VivoBook have the same extent of warranty. Buyers of the Sleekbook have to be content with a one year warranty. During our test we could not find any warranty extensions for the IdeaPad S500 from Lenovo.

Input Devices

Wie wir testen - Eingabegeräte

Keyboard

The IdeaPad is equipped with an unlit chiclet keyboard. The main keys have a contact surface of 15 x 15 mm. The flat, smooth keys have a short stroke and a clear pressure point. The key drag is also acceptable. The keyboard slightly bobs while typing - a little more in the center than at the edges. This is not really disruptive though. The keyboard of the S500 shows the typical Lenovo trademark: The Enter, Backspace and the right Shift key turn out to be quite slim. All in all, it is a very reliable keyboard for common use. It cannot keep up with good keyboards of comparable ThinkPad notebooks from Lenovo, though, for example the ThinkPad S440 Touch.

Touchpad

The Lenovo fits the S500 with a conventional multitouch-capable touchpad with the dimensions 10 x 5.4 cm. Fingers can glide easily on the smooth surface. The surface of the pad also allows a problem-free use of the various multitouch gestures, which can be activated and deactivated individually in the configuration menu. Both mouse buttons have a short stroke and a clearly audible and palpable pressure point.

Touchscreen

The touchscreen of the S500 works flawlessly and reacts swiftly to input. Lenovo employs a model with 10 touch points. Once more the IdeaPad proves that conventional notebooks are not made to be controlled via touchscreen. The arm needs to be held in the air constantly to control the device. Therefore it cannot be used comfortably for longer periods. The use of this input method is more sensible for convertibles like the Lenovo Yoga 13.

The keyboard is unlit.
The keyboard is unlit.
A multitouch-capable touchpad is installed.
A multitouch-capable touchpad is installed.

Display

Wie wir testen - Display

Lenovo treated the IdeaPad to a glossy 15.6-inch display. It has a native resolution of 1366x768 pixels. Lenovo does not offer any other display types. The average brightness of the display lies at 169.6 cd/m² - a bad value. The displays of the Sleekbook (178.4 cd/m²) and the VivoBook (173 cd/m²) offer hardly better values.

163
cd/m²
177
cd/m²
163
cd/m²
173
cd/m²
179
cd/m²
170
cd/m²
163
cd/m²
166
cd/m²
172
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
Information
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 179 cd/m²
Average: 169.6 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 91 %
Center on Battery: 181 cd/m²
Black: 0.62 cd/m²
Contrast: 289:1
IdeaPad S500 vs. sRGB
IdeaPad S500 vs. sRGB
IdeaPad S500 vs. AdobeRGB
IdeaPad S500 vs. AdobeRGB

The black value (0.62 cd/m²) and the contrast (289:1) of the display are also not too good. The screen of the Sleekbook (0.72 cd/m², 268:1) keeps up with its competitor and delivers similar values. The display of the VivoBook (0.27 cd/m², 685:1) outshines both of them. We want to see such values in all notebooks. The screen of the S500 is not able to display the sRGB and the AdobeRGB color space. This should not be a problem for most users since these color spaces are mainly needed for professional image editing.

The display of the IdeaPad is not only dark and flat but also has a distinct blue cast. The average DeltaE 2000 deviation (target color space sRGB) lies at 11.2 at delivery condition. This value is exceeded by the grayscale and some darker color hues. No color reaches the target space (DeltaE smaller than 5).

CalMAN - ColorChecker
CalMAN - ColorChecker
CalMAN - Grayscale
CalMAN - Grayscale
CalMAN - Color saturation
CalMAN - Color saturation

Low brightness, low contrast and a glossy surface are not the ideal features for a device that is used outdoors. At most the IdeaPad can be used in the shadow.

Concerning viewing angle stability the display shows the common characteristics: Changing the vertical viewing angle causes heavy distortions of the image. This is better in horizontal direction. The image content can still be read from the side. However, the image darkens increasingly at larger angles.

The IdeaPad S500 outdoors (image taken with thick cloud cover).
The IdeaPad S500 outdoors (image taken with thick cloud cover).
Viewing angles IdeaPad S500
Viewing angles IdeaPad S500

Performance

Wie wir testen - Leistung

Lenovo offers with the IdeaPad S500 series a range of all-round ultrabooks. All models of the series handle everyday tasks (skyping, text processing, watching videos, etc.) easily. The models with GeForce graphics core are also suitable for playing current computer games. Our test sample is currently available for about 700 Euros (~$932). Those who can do without the touchscreen can get the device for 600 Euros (~$798). Currently there are a few other equipment versions on the market. They differ from each other concerning the processor (Core i3-3227U, Core i5-3337U), the amount of main memory, the size of the hard drive, the SSD cache and the graphics chip.

CPU-Z
CPU-Z
CPU-Z
CPU-Z
CPU-Z
GPU-Z - HD Graphics 4000
GPU-Z - GeForce GT 720M
HWInfo
System information Lenovo IdeaPad S500 Touch 59372927

Processor

The IdeaPad is equipped with an Intel Core i5-3337U dual-core processor. This Ivy Bridge descendant runs at a base speed of 1.8 GHz. Via turbo the speed can be increased to 2.5 GHz (both cores) and 2.7 GHz (only one core) respectively. The installed processor is a ULV processor, which is known for its comparatively low energy consumption because it runs at a low voltage. Intel indicates a TDP of 17 watts for the Core i5.

The processor runs at full speed (2.5 GHz) throughout all of the CPU tests of the Cinebench benchmarks. One core is repeatedly accelerated to 2.7 GHz during the single-thread tests. Therefore the results lie in the expected range. The values of the IdeaPad are only minimally better than those of the Sleekbook (Core i5-3317U, GeForce GT 630M) and the VivoBook (Core i5-3317U, HD Graphics 4000). This is no surprise: Both of the notebooks are equipped with the same processor, which has a 100 MHz lower speed in comparison to that of the IdeaPad. The IdeaPad and the Sleekbook are also on the same level in the GL tests. The performance of their GPUs is very similar. Just as we expected, the VivoBook is far behind its competition since it is fitted with the weakest GPU.

Cinebench R10 Rendering Single 32Bit
3641
Cinebench R10 Rendering Multiple CPUs 32Bit
7376
Cinebench R10 Shading 32Bit
5588
Cinebench R10 Rendering Single CPUs 64Bit
4534 Points
Cinebench R10 Rendering Multiple CPUs 64Bit
9439 Points
Cinebench R10 Shading 64Bit
5620 Points
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Single 64Bit
1.09 Points
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Multi 64Bit
2.46 Points
Cinebench R11.5 OpenGL 64Bit
27.65 fps
Help
Cinebench R11.5 - OpenGL 64Bit (sort by value)
Lenovo IdeaPad S500 Touch 59372927
GeForce GT 720M, 3337U, Seagate Momentus Thin ST500LT012-9WS142 + 24 GB LITEONIT LSS-24L6G SSD Cache
27.65 fps ∼25%
Asus VivoBook S500CA-CJ005H
HD Graphics 4000, 3317U, Hitachi Travelstar Z5K500 HTS545050A7E380 + 24 GB SanDisk SSD U100 Cache
12.38 fps ∼11% -55%
Acer Aspire V5-551-64454G50Makk
Radeon HD 7500G, A6-4455M, Seagate Momentus 5400.6 ST9500325AS
19.5 fps ∼18% -29%
Dell Inspiron 15z-5523
GeForce GT 630M, 3317U, Liteon LCT-128M3S
22.82 fps ∼21% -17%
HP Pavilion Sleekbook 15-b004sg Ultrabook
GeForce GT 630M, 3317U, Western Digital Scorpio Blue WD7500BPVT-60HXZT3 + 32 GB LiteOn LMT-32L3M SSD Cache
29.8 fps ∼27% +8%
Acer Aspire M5-581TG-53314G52Mass
GeForce GT 640M, 3317U, Seagate Momentus Thin ST500LT012-9WS142 + 20 GB SSD Cache
32.37 fps ∼30% +17%
Acer Aspire E1-572G-54204G75Mnkk
Radeon HD 8750M, 4200U, TOSHIBA MQ01ABD075
37.85 fps ∼34% +37%
Cinebench R11.5 - CPU Multi 64Bit (sort by value)
Lenovo IdeaPad S500 Touch 59372927
GeForce GT 720M, 3337U, Seagate Momentus Thin ST500LT012-9WS142 + 24 GB LITEONIT LSS-24L6G SSD Cache
2.46 Points ∼14%
Acer Aspire V5-551-64454G50Makk
Radeon HD 7500G, A6-4455M, Seagate Momentus 5400.6 ST9500325AS
0.86 Points ∼5% -65%
Dell Inspiron 15z-5523
GeForce GT 630M, 3317U, Liteon LCT-128M3S
1.61 Points ∼9% -35%
Acer Aspire M5-581TG-53314G52Mass
GeForce GT 640M, 3317U, Seagate Momentus Thin ST500LT012-9WS142 + 20 GB SSD Cache
2.38 Points ∼14% -3%
HP Pavilion Sleekbook 15-b004sg Ultrabook
GeForce GT 630M, 3317U, Western Digital Scorpio Blue WD7500BPVT-60HXZT3 + 32 GB LiteOn LMT-32L3M SSD Cache
2.4 Points ∼14% -2%
Asus VivoBook S500CA-CJ005H
HD Graphics 4000, 3317U, Hitachi Travelstar Z5K500 HTS545050A7E380 + 24 GB SanDisk SSD U100 Cache
2.41 Points ∼14% -2%
Acer Aspire E1-572G-54204G75Mnkk
Radeon HD 8750M, 4200U, TOSHIBA MQ01ABD075
2.51 Points ∼14% +2%

System Performance

There is nothing to criticize regarding operating speed and system performance: Windows boots quite quickly and the system runs smoothly. Due to the SSD cache the results of the PC Mark benchmarks turn out to be quite positive. The VivoBook (Core i5-3317U, HD Graphics 4000) cannot keep up with the IdeaPad. The Sleekbook (Core i5-3317U, GeForce GT 630M) achieves better results than both competitors. This is owed to the faster HDD SSD cache combination.

When replacing the hard drive and the SSD cache of the Ideapad with a solid state drive (Crucial RealSSD C300 - 64 GB), the PCMark 7 value increases by 28% to 4,274 points and the PCMark Vantage value by 58% to 11,349 points. In addition to that the operating system and applications boot noticeably faster.

4.8
Windows 8 Experience Index
Processor
Calculations per second
6.9
Memory (RAM)
Memory operations per second
7.2
Graphics
Desktop performance for Windows Aero
4.8
Gaming graphics
3D business and gaming graphics
6.4
Primary hard disk
Disk data transfer rate
5.9
PC Mark
PCMark Vantage7205 points
PCMark 73340 points
PCMark 8 Home2610 points
PCMark 8 Creative2426 points
PCMark 8 Work4196 points
Help
PCMark 7 - Score (sort by value)
Lenovo IdeaPad S500 Touch 59372927
GeForce GT 720M, 3337U, Seagate Momentus Thin ST500LT012-9WS142 + 24 GB LITEONIT LSS-24L6G SSD Cache
3340 Points ∼50%
Acer Aspire V5-551-64454G50Makk
Radeon HD 7500G, A6-4455M, Seagate Momentus 5400.6 ST9500325AS
1201 Points ∼18% -64%
Acer Aspire E1-572G-54204G75Mnkk
Radeon HD 8750M, 4200U, TOSHIBA MQ01ABD075
2711 Points ∼41% -19%
Asus VivoBook S500CA-CJ005H
HD Graphics 4000, 3317U, Hitachi Travelstar Z5K500 HTS545050A7E380 + 24 GB SanDisk SSD U100 Cache
2813 Points ∼42% -16%
Acer Aspire M5-581TG-53314G52Mass
GeForce GT 640M, 3317U, Seagate Momentus Thin ST500LT012-9WS142 + 20 GB SSD Cache
2826 Points ∼43% -15%
Dell Inspiron 15z-5523
GeForce GT 630M, 3317U, Liteon LCT-128M3S
3679 Points ∼56% +10%
HP Pavilion Sleekbook 15-b004sg Ultrabook
GeForce GT 630M, 3317U, Western Digital Scorpio Blue WD7500BPVT-60HXZT3 + 32 GB LiteOn LMT-32L3M SSD Cache
3923 Points ∼59% +17%

Storage Devices

HD Tune
HD Tune
CrystalDiskMark
CrystalDiskMark

Lenovo installs a hard drive from the Momentus Thin series from Seagate in the IdeaPad. It has a capacity of 500 GB and runs at 5,400 revolutions per minute. The hard drive is accompanied by an SSD cache (24 GB) from Lite On. The cache does not seem to have any influence on the results of the hard drive benchmarks. CrystalDiskMark reports a read rate of 106.2 MB/s. HD Tune reports an average transfer rate of 83.8 MB/s. The hard drive reaches the same values without the SSD cache. They are very reasonable for a 5,400 rpm hard drive. The Sleekbook shows another way for the implementation of an SSD cache. Here the SSD cache has a significant influence on the CrystalDiskMark values of the notebook.

Seagate Momentus Thin ST500LT012-9WS142 + 24 GB LITEONIT LSS-24L6G SSD Cache
Transfer Rate Minimum: 35 MB/s
Transfer Rate Maximum: 187.6 MB/s
Transfer Rate Average: 83.8 MB/s
Access Time: 19.2 ms
Burst Rate: 101.4 MB/s
CPU Usage: 6.8 %

Graphics Card

The graphics output is shared by Intel's HD Graphics 4000 GPU and the GeForce GT 720M GPU. The GeForce GPU is responsible for performance intensive applications - for example 3D computer games. The graphics core from Intel is activated during everyday life and battery mode. Both chips support DirectX 11. The GT 720M graphics core belongs to the lower mid-range of GPUs. Its base rate lies at 625 MHz. The speed can be increased to 937 MHz via turbo. The turbo only comes into use when the CPU is not working to capacity at the same time. But even if this is the case the maximum turbo speed can only be reached for a short time. We ran Furmark separately. The GPU can keep its full turbo speed for about 5 minutes. Afterwards the speed is throttled to 700 to 800 MHz. With Furmark running by itself the speed of the processor lies permanently at 800 MHz.

The results of the 3DMark benchmarks turn out to be slightly lower than expected - the GeForce GT 720M is able to achieve better results. It is noticeable that the GPU turbo is only rarely or never fully used. The technically almost identical GeForce GPU of the Sleekbook (Core i5-3317U, GeForce GT 630M) delivers significantly better values because neither CPU nor GPU are throttled when the notebook is plugged in. Naturally the VivoBook (Core i5-3317U, HD Graphics 4000) is far behind the competition. The Intel graphics core is simply no match for the competition from Nvidia.

3D Mark
3DMark 06
 1280x1024
7374 points
3DMark Vantage4022 points
3DMark 111070 points
3DMark Ice Storm41219 points
3DMark Cloud Gate3873 points
Help
3DMark 11 - 1280x720 Performance (sort by value)
Lenovo IdeaPad S500 Touch 59372927
GeForce GT 720M, 3337U, Seagate Momentus Thin ST500LT012-9WS142 + 24 GB LITEONIT LSS-24L6G SSD Cache
1070 Points ∼8%
Asus VivoBook S500CA-CJ005H
HD Graphics 4000, 3317U, Hitachi Travelstar Z5K500 HTS545050A7E380 + 24 GB SanDisk SSD U100 Cache
555 Points ∼4% -48%
Acer Aspire V5-551-64454G50Makk
Radeon HD 7500G, A6-4455M, Seagate Momentus 5400.6 ST9500325AS
690 Points ∼5% -36%
Dell Inspiron 15z-5523
GeForce GT 630M, 3317U, Liteon LCT-128M3S
1214 Points ∼9% +13%
HP Pavilion Sleekbook 15-b004sg Ultrabook
GeForce GT 630M, 3317U, Western Digital Scorpio Blue WD7500BPVT-60HXZT3 + 32 GB LiteOn LMT-32L3M SSD Cache
1336 Points ∼10% +25%
Acer Aspire M5-581TG-53314G52Mass
GeForce GT 640M, 3317U, Seagate Momentus Thin ST500LT012-9WS142 + 20 GB SSD Cache
1859 Points ∼14% +74%
Acer Aspire E1-572G-54204G75Mnkk
Radeon HD 8750M, 4200U, TOSHIBA MQ01ABD075
1885 Points ∼14% +76%

Gaming Performance

The IdeaPad is able to run many current 3D games at medium quality settings and in the native display resolution (1366x768 pixels) fluently. Some of the slightly older games can also be played with high quality settings. Full HD resolution and maximum quality settings can only be used for low performance games - for example FIFA 13.

Those whose focus lies on gaming are better off with the Acer Aspire Timeline Ultra M5-581TG (Core i5-3317U, GeForce GT 640M). This ultrabook has considerably better frame rates and is currently available for 650 Euros (~$865). Another alternative is the Acer Aspire V5-573G (Core i5-4200U, GeForce GT 750M). Entry-level versions (without Full HD display) cost about 550 Euros (~$732). Principally the Sleekbook would be another alternative. However, the GPUs of the IdeaPad and the Sleekbook are very similar. Therefore the performance differences are probably not very big.

low med.high ultra
World of Warcraft (2005) 6464fps
Crysis - GPU Benchmark (2007) 101.943.824.5fps
Crysis - CPU Benchmark (2007) 104.238.921.7fps
Resident Evil 5 (2009) 97.844.2fps
Mafia 2 (2010) 53.842.835.2fps
Civilization 5 (2010) 47.6fps
Total War: Shogun 2 (2011) 11822.9fps
Deus Ex Human Revolution (2011) 89.636.7fps
Batman: Arkham City (2011) 694622fps
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (2011) 46.33222.9fps
Anno 2070 (2011) 87.134.921fps
Alan Wake (2012) 25.914.7fps
Ghost Recon: Future Soldier (2012) 28.88.5fps
Dishonored (2012) 55.544.838.8fps
Tomb Raider (2013) 70.233.120.7fps
StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm (2013) 159.161.330.8fps
GRID 2 (2013) 8342.929fps
Company of Heroes 2 (2013) 18.3fps
Dota 2 (2013) 5930.4fps
Splinter Cell: Blacklist (2013) 43.111.4fps
Saints Row IV (2013) 37.729.912.5fps
The Bureau: XCOM Declassified (2013) 32.126.111fps
Total War: Rome II (2013) 47.732.424.7fps
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
1366x768 Medium Preset AA:4x (sort by value)
Lenovo IdeaPad S500 Touch 59372927
32 fps ∼19%
HP Pavilion Sleekbook 15-b004sg Ultrabook
29.3 fps ∼18% -8%
Acer Aspire M5-581TG-53314G52Mass
41.6 fps ∼25% +30%
1366x768 High Preset AA:8x AF:8x (sort by value)
Lenovo IdeaPad S500 Touch 59372927
22.9 fps ∼18%
HP Pavilion Sleekbook 15-b004sg Ultrabook
19.8 fps ∼16% -14%
Acer Aspire M5-581TG-53314G52Mass
32 fps ∼25% +40%
Tomb Raider
1366x768 Normal Preset AA:FX AF:4x (sort by value)
Lenovo IdeaPad S500 Touch 59372927
33.1 fps ∼8%
HP Pavilion Sleekbook 15-b004sg Ultrabook
36.7 fps ∼9% +11%
Acer Aspire V5-573G-54208G50aii
65.4 fps ∼17% +98%
1366x768 High Preset AA:FX AF:8x (sort by value)
Lenovo IdeaPad S500 Touch 59372927
20.7 fps ∼7%
HP Pavilion Sleekbook 15-b004sg Ultrabook
20.8 fps ∼7% 0%
Acer Aspire V5-573G-54208G50aii
39.8 fps ∼13% +92%

Legend

 
Lenovo IdeaPad S500 Touch 59372927 Intel Core i5-3337U, NVIDIA GeForce GT 720M, Seagate Momentus Thin ST500LT012-9WS142 + 24 GB LITEONIT LSS-24L6G SSD Cache
 
HP Pavilion Sleekbook 15-b004sg Ultrabook Intel Core i5-3317U, NVIDIA GeForce GT 630M, Western Digital Scorpio Blue WD7500BPVT-60HXZT3 + 32 GB LiteOn LMT-32L3M SSD Cache
 
Acer Aspire M5-581TG-53314G52Mass Intel Core i5-3317U, NVIDIA GeForce GT 640M, Seagate Momentus Thin ST500LT012-9WS142 + 20 GB SSD Cache
 
Acer Aspire V5-573G-54208G50aii Intel Core i5-4200U, NVIDIA GeForce GT 750M, Seagate Momentus Thin ST500LT0 12-9WS142

Emissions

Wie wir testen - Emissionen

System Noise

During idle we measure a sound pressure level of 31.4 to 33.1 dB. These are decent values but the Sleekbook (30.3 to 30.7 dB) and the VivoBook (30.2 to 31.1 dB) are better. The IdeaPad reaches a level of 40.1 dB under medium load (3DMark06 running) and 40.4 dB under full load (stress test, Prime95 and Furmark running). The values of the Sleekbook are slightly higher (40.3 and 42.9 dB resp.). It comes as no surprise that the values of the VivoBook (34.4 and 36.6 dB) are significantly lower than that of the competition: The VivoBook is the only notebook that does not have a dedicated graphics core. Therefore the cooling system has to dissipate less waste heat. The fan of the IdeaPad attracted negative attention: It creates a slight whistling/buzzing sound that becomes very annoying over time. The noise becomes more noticeable the faster the fan rotates. Luckily it is barely noticeable in idle mode and drowned by the ambient noise.

Noise Level

Idle 31.4 / 31.4 / 33.1 dB(A)
HDD 31.5 dB(A)
Load 40.1 / 40.4 dB(A)
 
    30 dB
silent
40 dB
audible
50 dB
loud
 
min: , med: , max:    Voltcraft sl-320 (15 cm distance)

Temperature

The IdeaPad S500 during the stress test.
The IdeaPad S500 during the stress test.

During idle mode the case temperatures of the three notebooks stayed at an acceptable level. The temperature values of some areas of the IdeaPad and the Sleekbook exceed the 40 °C mark under full load. The VivoBook stays markedly cooler due to the lack of a dedicated, performant graphics chip.

The CPU runs during the stress test (Prime 95 and Furmark running for at least one hour) at 2.4 GHz when plugged in and at 1.8 GHz during battery mode. The GPU does not run at a consistent speed during power supply operation. The GPU turbo develops its full potential in the first minute. Afterwards the speed fluctuates permanently with a negative tendency. After about 10 minutes the speed has leveled and is held for the remaining duration of the test. As soon as the GPU hits a temperature of 70 °C the speed is throttled to 325 MHz causing the temperature to decrease simultaneously to about 68 °C. Subsequently the speed is incrementally increased again. As a result the speed reaches up to 625 to 663 MHz causing the temperature to rise to 70 °C once again.

When conducting the stress test during battery mode the GPU shows basically the same behavior. Since the CPU does not use its turbo though, the cooling system has more capacity available for the GPU. Therefore the 70 °C mark is reached less often and at a later time. Thus the GPU reaches speed values of over 700 MHz during battery mode.

We ran the 3DMark06 benchmark once more right after the stress test during power supply operation. The result is only slightly lower (7,154 points) than when the notebook was cool (7,374 points). The CPU temperature leveled at about 77 °C during power supply operation. Therefore the performance should not be throttled due to overheating during practically relevant load scenarios.

Max. Load
 47.1 °C37.4 °C25.7 °C 
 45.2 °C40.5 °C26.2 °C 
 39.6 °C39.7 °C28 °C 
Maximum: 47.1 °C
Average: 36.6 °C
24.3 °C38 °C45.6 °C
25 °C47 °C44 °C
27.3 °C37.2 °C45.9 °C
Maximum: 47 °C
Average: 37.1 °C
Power Supply (max.)  43 °C | Room Temperature 22.6 °C | Voltcraft IR-360

Speakers

The two speakers are located at the bottom of the IdeaPad. They produce a voluminous sound but the bass is missing. Speech is easy to understand. A better sound quality can only be reached with external speakers or headphones.

Energy Management

Wie wir testen - Akkulaufzeit

Power Consumption

During idle mode the power consumption ranges between 6.5 and 12.7 watts. These are acceptable values but ought to be slightly lower for an ultrabook. The Sleekbook (6.7 to 11.2 watts) and the VivoBook (7.1 to 12.8 watts) lie at the same level. The values reach 39.6 watts under medium load (3DMark06 running) and 44 watts under full load (stress test, Prime 95 and Furmark running). The values of the Sleekbook (55 and 57.2 watts resp.) are considerably higher. This has two reasons: The GPU of the HP notebook is slightly more demanding and the graphics core of the S500 does not run at full speed. The values of the VivoBook (31.7 and 32.4 watts resp.) are significantly lower than that of the competition. Once again this is owed to the fact that the Asus notebook is missing a dedicated GPU.

Power Consumption

Off / Standby 0.1 / 0.3 Watt
Idle 6.5 / 8.6 / 12.7 Watt
Load 39.6 / 44 Watt
 
Key: min: , med: , max:         Voltcraft VC 940

Battery Runtime

The battery lasts for 5:33 h during idle mode. The Sleekbook (5:34 h) has the same runtime. The VivoBook (6:55 h) outperforms both of them. The operating time during idle mode is examined by the Battery Eater Reader's test: The brightness of the screen is at the lowest setting, the energy saving profile activated and the radio modules deactivated. Under load the IdeaPad reaches a runtime of 2:06 h. The Sleekbook (1:22 h) and the VivoBook (1:17 h) do not come even close. We use the Battery Eater Classic Test for the measurement of the runtime under load. The screen is set to full brightness, and the high performance profile and the radio modules are activated.

The WLAN test of the S500 ends after 3:11 h. The Sleekbook (2:45 h) cannot keep up while the VivoBook (3:44 h) lasts longer. During this test websites are automatically called-up in a 40 second interval. The energy saving profile is activated and the display brightness set to about 150 cd/m².

The batteries of the three notebooks have different capacities (Lenovo: 48 Wh, HP: 37 Wh, Asus: 44 Wh). The runtimes of the IdeaPad are a little disappointing. That an ultrabook capable of running games and with good battery runtimes is no contradiction is proven by, for example, Acer with the Aspire Timeline Ultra M5-581TG (Core i5-3317U, GeForce GT 640M). Despite the DVD burner it still has enough space for a battery with more capacity (54 Wh) than that of the Ideapad. The runtimes (idle: 11:12 h, WLAN: 5:05 h, DVD: 4:28 h, load: 2:39 h) of the Aspire are at a level that is expected from an ultrabook.

Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
5h 33min
WiFi Surfing
3h 11min
Load (maximum brightness)
2h 06min

Wie wir testen - Fazit

Verdict

The Lenovo IdeaPad S500 Touch.
The Lenovo IdeaPad S500 Touch.

The Lenovo IdeaPad S500 offers a good application performance paired with a gaming performance that should be more than sufficient for casual gamers. The overall system performance can be described as satisfying. The keyboard is acceptable and the touchscreen works flawlessly. Lenovo will not win any awards for the display: It is dark, of low contrast and has a blue cast. The battery runtimes could be better as well. Additionally, the notebook is not very maintenance friendly. There is savings potential: Those who can do without the touchscreen can get the ultrabook for about 600 Euros (~$798).

The IdeaPad and the HP Pavilion Sleekbook 15-b004sg are not very different. Many of the points of criticism of the S500 also apply to the Sleekbook. Even the dismantling of the case is very similar. In the end personal taste decides which notebook to buy. The only sensible difference: The CPU and the GPU of the Sleekbook run constantly at full speed under full load. The Asus VivoBook S500CA-CJ005H is especially interesting for users that place value on high-grade materials: The back side of the lid and the top side of the base unit are made of aluminum.

Test sample courtesy of ...
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In Review: The Lenovo IdeaPad S500 Touch 59372927. Courtesy of:
In Review: The Lenovo IdeaPad S500 Touch 59372927. Courtesy of:

Specifications

Lenovo IdeaPad S500 Touch 59372927

:: Processor
:: Mainboard
Intel HM76 (Panther Point)
:: Memory
8192 MB, DDR3, single channel, one memory bank
:: Graphics adapter
NVIDIA GeForce GT 720M - 2048 MB, Core: 325-937 MHz, Memory: 900 MHz, ForceWare 320.49, Optimus
:: Display
15.6 inch 16:9, 1366x768 pixel, 10 point multitouch, LG Display LP156WH3_TLT1, TN LED, glossy: yes
:: Harddisk
Seagate Momentus Thin ST500LT012-9WS142 + 24 GB LITEONIT LSS-24L6G SSD Cache, 500 GB 5400 rpm , 420 GB free
:: Soundcard
Intel Panther Point PCH - High Definition Audio Controller
:: Connections
2 USB 2.0, 1 USB 3.0, 1 HDMI, Audio Connections: Combo audio, Card Reader: SD, MMC,
:: Networking
Realtek RTL8102E Family PCI-E Fast Ethernet (10/100MBit), Intel Centrino Wireless-N 2230 (b g n ), 4.0 Bluetooth
:: Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 23 x 382 x 266
:: Weight
2.3 kg Power Supply: 0.234 kg
:: Battery
48 Wh Lithium-Ion, 14.4 V, 3350 mAh
Battery runtime (according to manufacturer): 360 h
:: Price
699 Euro
:: Operating System
Microsoft Windows 8 64 Bit
:: Additional features
Webcam: HD-Webcam (max. 1280 x 720 Pixel), Speakers: stereo, Keyboard: chiclet, Keyboard Light: no, Cyberlink YouCam, McAfee Internet Security (test version), Microsoft Office 365 (test version), 24 Months Warranty

 

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A numeric keypad is available.
A numeric keypad is available.
The hinges...
The hinges...
...keep the lid tightly in its position.
...keep the lid tightly in its position.
An opening is located underneath the keyboard the allows the cleaning of the fan to a limited extent.
An opening is located underneath the keyboard the allows the cleaning of the fan to a limited extent.
The flat ribbon cable of the keyboard can be removed easily.
The flat ribbon cable of the keyboard can be removed easily.
The open case.
The open case.
It only has one main memory bank.
It only has one main memory bank.
The hard drive can be replaced.
The hard drive can be replaced.
Lenovo equipped the S500 with an SSD cache.
Lenovo equipped the S500 with an SSD cache.
The fan can be removed for cleaning purposes.
The fan can be removed for cleaning purposes.
Processor...
Processor...
...and graphics core are soldered.
...and graphics core are soldered.
Good: Two WLAN antennas are available.
Good: Two WLAN antennas are available.
Access to the BIOS battery is granted.
Access to the BIOS battery is granted.
The battery weighs about 225 grams...
The battery weighs about 225 grams...
...and provides a capacity of 48 Wh.
...and provides a capacity of 48 Wh.
The power supply weighs about 234 grams...
The power supply weighs about 234 grams...
...and provides a maximum power of 65 watts.
...and provides a maximum power of 65 watts.
As of this year Lenovo uses a new plug design for the power supply.
As of this year Lenovo uses a new plug design for the power supply.
The keys have a short stroke.
The keys have a short stroke.
The speakers are located at the bottom of the device.
The speakers are located at the bottom of the device.
The ultrabook has a lot of power.
The ultrabook has a lot of power.
The IdeaPad S500 outdoors.
The IdeaPad S500 outdoors.
Lenovo supplies various applications.
Lenovo supplies various applications.

Similar Devices

Devices from a different Manufacturer and/or with a different CPU

Devices with the same GPU

» Review Lenovo G710 59397112 Notebook
Core i7 4702MQ, 17.3", 2.9 kg
» Review Asus F75VC-TY088H Notebook
Core i3 2370M, 17.3", 3 kg

Devices with Same Screen Size and/or Weight

» Asus X551MAV-SX391B Notebook Review Update
HD Graphics (Bay Trail), Celeron N2830
» Lenovo IdeaPad Z50-75 Notebook Review Update
Radeon R6 M255DX, Kaveri A8-7100

Links

Price Comparison

Amazon.com

Show results on Amazon.com

Pricerunner n.a.

Pro

+Good application performance
+Sufficient for games
+24 month warranty
+SSD cache
 

Cons

-The fan creates a disturbing buzzing/whistling sound
-Low-contrast, dark screen
-Difficult to maintain
-GPU throttling under full load

Shortcut

What we like

The good application performance

What we'd like to see

A better display and a quieter fan. Additionally, the ultrabook should have significantly better runtimes.

What surprises us

The battery capacity of the IdeaPad is average for normal 15.6-inch notebooks. Despite this fact the notebook reaches only below-average runtimes. Keep in mind: The device has a ULV processor.

The competition

HP Pavilion Sleekbook 15-b004sg, Asus VivoBook S500CA-CJ005H, Acer Aspire Timeline Ultra M5-581TG, Acer Aspire V5-571P, Acer Aspire V5-571G, Acer Aspire E1-572G, Dell Inspiron 15z, Acer Aspire V5-573G Lenovo IdeaPad U510, Acer Aspire V5-551.

Rating

Lenovo IdeaPad S500 Touch 59372927
04/16/2014 v4
Sascha Mölck

Chassis
51 / 98 → 52%
Keyboard
67%
Pointing Device
83%
Connectivity
58 / 95 → 61%
Weight
61 / 67 → 87%
Battery
82%
Display
64%
Games Performance
66 / 93 → 71%
Application Performance
68%
Temperature
75%
Noise
84 / 95 → 88%
Audio
50%
Camera
38 / 85 → 45%
Average
65%
70%
Multimedia *
Weighted Average

> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Review Lenovo IdeaPad S500 Touch 59372927 Ultrabook
Author: Sascha Mölck, 2013-09-12 (Update: 2013-09-12)