Review Lenovo ThinkPad S531 Ultrabook

Tobias Winkler (translated by Andreas Osthoff), 09/13/2013

Think Slim! Business notebooks are usually conservative and rather bulky working devices. Lenovo’s ThinkPad S531 is one alternative that wants to eliminate this prejudice. It combines typical business features with a slim ultrabook design. We checked if the attractive specifications are convincing.

For the original German review, see here.

The Lenovo ThinkPad S531 is a device from Lenovo’s new S-series; the devices represent business notebooks with ultrabook designs and share many similarities with the ThinkPad Edge-series. The ThinkPad S531 is an intermediate step until the arrival of the S540 and is still based on Intel’s Ivy Bridge architecture. According to Lenovo, the ThinkPad S540 with Haswell processors will be available in October. We already reviewed one member of this new generation a couple of weeks ago, the Lenovo ThinkPad S440. It was certainly not one of the fastest business notebooks with its energy-saving features, but offered a good balance between mobility and performance in return.  

Currently there are four different configurations of the ThinkPad S531 available. The street prices start at around 700 Euros (~$934) all the way up to 1,100 Euros (~$1468) for our review configuration. At the time of this review, you cannot configure the ThinkPad S531 in Lenovo’s online store. Our review unit is equipped with an Intel Core i7-3537U CPU (Ivy Bridge), the dedicated AMD Radeon HD 8670M graphics, 10 GB RAM, a 256 GB Solid State Drive and a Full HD display.

Case

The dark gray case and the straight design provide the typical ThinkPad look. There are no chrome elements, curlicues or glossy surfaces. The necessary understated look for business scenarios is maintained and meets the requirements of many professional users. The surfaces of the base unit are very cool and enable a reserved yet nice design.

The overall stability of the case, which is made of aluminum and a magnesium alloy, leaves a very good impression. It is nice to see that Lenovo manages to combine the sturdiness with a low weight of 2,050 grams (~4.5 pounds), which is actually very close to the Apple’s MacBook Pro 15 Retina, although the MacBook is equipped with much faster hardware. The palm rest is very firm, you cannot twist the case and the bottom cover cannot be dented. The display hinge is also very firm and keeps the display well in position. The display cover can hardly be twisted; many competitors have more problems in this regard. We cannot determine any impacts on the picture or the stability. Similar to other modern ThinkPads, features like the double-latch mechanism or Clamshell design are gone.

 

 

Lenovo ThinkPad S531.
Lenovo ThinkPad S531.
Without a doubt a ThinkPad
Without a doubt a ThinkPad
The S531 has a low weight of 2,050 grams.
The S531 has a low weight of 2,050 grams.

Connectivity

The port equipment is almost identical compared to the Lenovo ThinkPad S440. 2x USB 3.0, HDMI, card reader, Gigabit LAN and stereo jacks are the most common ports. Lenovo’s OneLink docking solution is a big advantage over many ultrabook competitors. You can easily attach peripherals and other cables when you use your notebook on the desk, for example with Lenovo’s OneLink Dock (4X10A06083 around 100 Euros/~$133). The OneLink solutions also include the power supply, so you will not need an additional power cord. 

Most of the ports are located at the rear of both sides of the case. Attached cables are therefore not occupying any important space on the desk. Only the card reader is further at the front, which does improve the accessibility. 

 

 

Front: No ports
Front: No ports
Left side: Kensington, power, OneLink, USB 3.0
Left side: Kensington, power, OneLink, USB 3.0
Back: No ports
Back: No ports
Right side: card reader, combined stereo jack, USB 3.0, HDMI, Ethernet
Right side: card reader, combined stereo jack, USB 3.0, HDMI, Ethernet
WLAN performance
WLAN performance

Communication

Contrary to the Lenovo ThinkPad S440, our ThinkPad S531 is equipped with a WLAN module from Broadcom. The Broadcom BCM43228 has two antennas, does support the 802.11n standard and is on the same level as the Atheros AR9485WB-EG (Asus N76VZ) in terms of performance. Using the rough Window’s signal bar performance comparison, Intel’s Wireless-N 7260 from the ThinkPad S440, with one signal bar more at a distance of 10 meters (~33 feet), was slightly better. We also checked the WLAN performance of both ThinkPads with an 802.11n router (Ralink RT2860T) and a distance of 2 meters, 5 meters and 10 meters (~6.6, 16.4 & 32.8 feet) in direct sight. We determined a performance advantage of 1-2 MB/s for the Intel Wireless-N 7260 for all distances; the Broadcom module cannot keep up with the Intel solution in the ThinkPad S440.  

Another difference compared to the smaller 14-inch sibling can be found at the left side of the case. Here is a small cover for the SIM card tray. Our review unit has neither a WWAN modem nor the associated antennas, but maybe it is an indicator that the following ThinkPad S540 or even other ThinkPad S531 configurations will be equipped with a UMTS module. Other features such as Bluetooth 4.0 and a webcam (720p) are pretty much standard nowadays and the S531 is no exception.

Security

The ThinkPad S531 has a fingerprint reader, Lenovo’s Airbag hard drive protection, Intel’s Anti-Theft and Computrace support. The latter are already activated in the BIOS (F1). You can also set different BIOS and device passwords in addition to protect your data against unauthorized access. However, there is no smart card reader or facial recognition software.

Maintenance

The bottom cover can easily be unscrewed and removed and reveals all the important components. You can clean the fan and access the several slots. Our review unit already has the maximum system memory, 2 GB PC3-12800 RAM are soldered onto the mainboard and there is one memory slot with an 8 GB module. There is also one empty M.2 slot that can be equipped with an appropriate Solid State Drive.

Warranty

The warranty period of the ThinkPad S531 is 12 months. As usual with Lenovo, you can extend that warranty period or the service type for an additional charge. An upgrade to 24 months of On-Site service (Lenovo ThinkPlus ePack (78Y1521)), for instance, is available for around 60 Euros (~$80).

Input Devices

Keyboard

Lenovo’s Chiclet-style keyboard has conveniently sized keys of 19 mm. Contrary to the Lenovo ThinkPad S440, the larger S531 is also equipped with a separate numeric keypad, which especially improves the input of long numbers. The background illumination is also very comfortable and is very convenient in darker environments. 

The keys have an average travel, a well-defined pressure point and a very low noise development. The keyboard itself is very firm, we could not dent it anywhere, and we could not determine any clatter or other problems either. Since the layout of ThinkPad keyboards is slightly different, it will take some time getting used to for beginners: Ctrl and Fn, for instance, are switched and the Print button is in the lower area. The small vertical arrow keys are also unusual and could have been bigger in our opinion.    

Touchpad

The touchpad with 100 x 75 millimeters (~3.9 x 3.0 inches) is identical to the ThinkPad S440. It has excellent gliding capabilities, is very accurate and supports multi-touch and Windows 8 gestures. You can click the whole touchpad and it integrates the TrackPoint buttons and mouse buttons, which were usually separate in old ThinkPads. Similar to the ThinkPad S440, we do not really like this new solution, especially in combination with the very precise TrackPoint. Inputs are often not recognized because you need more force and more precision compared to the excellent solution of the predecessors. 

Large keyboard with separate numeric keypad
Large keyboard with separate numeric keypad
Large touchpad with unusual buttons
Large touchpad with unusual buttons
Precise TrackPoint
Precise TrackPoint
Original TrackPoint buttons from a ThinkPad X230i
Original TrackPoint buttons from a ThinkPad X230i
The arrow keys are very close to each other
The arrow keys are very close to each other
Switched: Ctrl and Fn
Switched: Ctrl and Fn

Display

ThinkPad S531 with Full HD display
ThinkPad S531 with Full HD display

Most configurations of the Lenovo ThinkPad S531 are currently equipped with a matte HD display and a resolution of 1366x768 pixels. Our review unit on the other hand uses a Full HD panel with a resolution of 1920x1080 pixels. The result is more space on the desktop and a higher pixel density of 141 ppi instead of 100 ppi. 

274
cd/m²
275
cd/m²
261
cd/m²
262
cd/m²
259
cd/m²
237
cd/m²
275
cd/m²
253
cd/m²
242
cd/m²
Information
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 275 cd/m²
Average: 259.8 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 86 %
Center on Battery: 259 cd/m²
Black: 0.883 cd/m²
Contrast: 293:1
Distribution of brightness
S531 FHD vs. AdobeRGB
S531 FHD vs. AdobeRGB
S531 FHD vs. sRGB
S531 FHD vs. sRGB

Lenovo promises a brightness of 300 cd/m² for the Full HD display. Similar to the ThinkPad S440, this value once again cannot be reached. We only measured 275 cd/m² at the brightest spot; the average result is just 259 cd/m². This is significantly brighter than the smaller 14-inch sibling, but still below the advertised value. The brightness distribution is 86% but you can only see differences with plain backgrounds. The background illumination can be adjusted in 15 steps: Step 1 is very dark with 8 cd/m², step 13 is sufficient indoors with 139 cd/m² and step 15 is the already mentioned maximum brightness. 

The ThinkPad S531 is well suited for outdoor use thanks to the matte surface of the Full HD display. It does not matter if you are in the shade or with sunlight from the sides, you can always see the display content. Longer working sessions are therefore no problem and only require small adjustments of the display position. Direct sunlight however reduces the visibility noticeably and you cannot really use the device anymore. The display brightness is fortunately not reduced on battery power.

However, the display is not ideal for high-contrast picture or video editing. We only measured a contrast ratio of 293:1, which is significantly lower than our long-time average result of 400:1. Colors are a bit pale and deep blacks are replaced by dark gray. The coverage of the sRGB color space is 80%. 

In the shade
In the shade
In the shade from the side
In the shade from the side
In the shade tilted
In the shade tilted
Adjusted position
Adjusted position
Adjusted position from the side
Adjusted position from the side
Under direct sunlight
Under direct sunlight

The display is not really optimized for the best presentation out of the box. Grayscale presentation, color accuracy and saturation deviate from the ideal values. The average DeltaE (2000) value above 10 confirms our initial impressions. The situation changes after the calibration and we can improve the values. Both the color accuracy and grayscale presentation reach excellent (at least for notebooks) DeltaE (2000) values of 3.18; deviations are not visible to the human eye anymore. The only small drawback is the saturation.

Grayscale
Grayscale
Color accuracy
Color accuracy
Saturation
Saturation
ColorChecker
ColorChecker
Grayscale calibrated
Grayscale calibrated
Color accuracy calibrated
Color accuracy calibrated
Saturation calibrated
Saturation calibrated
ColorChecker calibrated
ColorChecker calibrated

The viewing angle stability meets our expectations for a TN panel. Even small vertical changes result in a reduced contrast ratio and colors start to invert. We can also see a slight blue or yellow cast depending on the orientation. The situation is significantly better with horizontal viewing angles, where we can only see slight brightness and color differences. 

 

Viewing angles Lenovo ThinkPad S531 FHD
Viewing angles Lenovo ThinkPad S531 FHD

Performance

There are currently three different processors for the Lenovo ThinkPad S531 (Intel Core i3-3227U, Intel Core i5-3337U or Intel Core i7-3537U), with and without AMD Radeon HD 8670M graphics, 4 up to 10 GB RAM and several storage solutions. Prices are between 700 Euros and 1,100 Euros (~$934 and $1468), but only configurations with Core i7 CPUs are also equipped with Full HD displays. 

CPU
Caches
Mainboard
Memory
Memory
HWinfo 64
HD Tune
 
Lenovo ThinkPad S531

Processor

Our review unit is still equipped with an Intel Intel Core i7-3537U Ultra-Low-Voltage CPU based on the Ivy Bridge architecture; the Thermal Design Power is 17 Watts without the chipset. The nominal clock of this CPU is 2 GHZ, which can be raised up to 3.1 GHz for single threaded applications via Turbo Boost. The dual-core CPU supports Hyperthreading and can execute up to four threads simultaneously.

Compared to standard voltage CPUs with a TDP of 35 Watts, the frugal i7 is similar to an Intel Core i5-2540M CPU in terms of performance. Our review unit gets 5,268 points in Cinebench R10 64-bit (single) and 11,391 points (multi). Our practical tests with iTunes MP3 conversion (45.1x speed) and video conversion are sometimes slower and sometimes faster than the latest Haswell competitors Intel Core i7-4500U and Intel Core i5-4200U

We could not determine any performance limitations on battery power; the CPU clock does not drop below the nominal clock even under continuous load. 

Audio conversion
Audio conversion
Video conversion
Video conversion
Cinebench R10 Rendering Single 32Bit
4169
Cinebench R10 Rendering Multiple CPUs 32Bit
9010
Cinebench R10 Shading 32Bit
6535
Cinebench R10 Rendering Single CPUs 64Bit
5268 Points
Cinebench R10 Rendering Multiple CPUs 64Bit
11391 Points
Cinebench R10 Shading 64Bit
6586 Points
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Single 64Bit
1.27 Points
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Multi 64Bit
2.92 Points
Cinebench R11.5 OpenGL 64Bit
21.14 fps
Help

System Performance

The overall system configuration is well balanced and there are no unnecessary bottlenecks. We get dual channel memory, a fast Solid State Drive and the processor has sufficient performance for many tasks. Similar to the ThinkPad S440, the performance advantage of the dedicated AMD Radeon HD 8670M over the integrated Intel solution is disappointing, even the advantage in complex 3D applications is sobering and there are not many cases where you can really feel the difference.

The system benchmark results are slightly below the ThinkPad S440, which is already based on the new Haswell architecture; we got 12,583 points in PCMark Vantage and 3,681 points in PCMark 11. We could not switch to the dedicated AMD GPU for these benchmarks and had to use the integrated Intel HD Graphics 4000. This is also the reason for the comparatively low scores. 

5.1
Windows 7 Experience Index
Processor
Calculations per second
7.1
Memory (RAM)
Memory operations per second
7.3
Graphics
Desktop performance for Windows Aero
5.1
Gaming graphics
3D business and gaming graphics
6.4
Primary hard disk
Disk data transfer rate
7.9
PC Mark
PCMark Vantage12583 points
PCMark 73681 points
Help

Storage Solution

Our review unit is equipped with a 250 GB (gross) Solid State Drive and offers a lot of fast memory. The 2.5-inch Samsung SSD 840 (7 mm height) provides transfer speeds of up to 500 MB/s (reading) and 238 MB/s (writing). In combination with the low access times of around 0.1 ms, the flash storage enables a very convenient and fast user experience. There is also an additional empty M.2 slot for another SSD. Less expensive configurations are equipped with a conventional hard drive with an SSD cache module in the M.2 slot. 

Samsung SSD 840 250GB MZ7TD256HAFV
Transfer Rate Minimum: 267 MB/s
Transfer Rate Maximum: 337.5 MB/s
Transfer Rate Average: 330.4 MB/s
Access Time: 0.1 ms
Burst Rate: 126.3 MB/s
CPU Usage: 1 %

Graphics

The ThinkPad S531 can either use the integrated Intel HD Graphics 4000 or the dedicated AMD HD 8670MAMD’s switchable graphics is similar to Nvidia’s Optimus technology and offers an automatic or manual selection to assign the GPU to specific applications. Unfortunately, not every application in our benchmark suite worked with the AMD graphics, for example, Cyberlink’s Media Espresso or the already mentioned PCMarks. 

Otherwise the results of the Radeon HD 8670M are usually at the level of the ThinkPad S440 configuration; we get 4,670 points for 3DMark 06 and 1,195 points for 3DMark 11. However, the good Cinebench R10 OpenGL Shading result of 6,586 points instead of 6,010 points is surprising. One reason could be the different operating system and the slightly older GPU driver. 

You can really see a performance advantage if you can use the GPU for complex calculations. Depending on the GPU, there are different technologies like OpenCL, CUDA, AMD APP or Intel Quick Sync. Cyberlink Media Espresso, for instance, supports Intel’s Quick Sync for video conversions. You can see the performance advantages in combination with reduced CPU load in the section Processor. We could not use the AMD Radeon HD 8670M for Media Espresso 6.7.

There are no GPU performance restrictions on battery power or under maximum load.  

3D Mark
3DMark 06
 1280x1024
4670 points
3DMark Vantage4033 points
3DMark 111195 points
3DMark Ice Storm32119 points
3DMark Cloud Gate3702 points
3DMark Fire Strike673 points
Help
Better CAD performance than expected.
Better CAD performance than expected.

The 3D performance in some professional applications is actually not as bad as you might think. Compared to alleged fast consumer chips like the Nvidia GeForce GT750M (in this case SLI) or the GeForce GT 740M, the Radeon HD 8670M is actually similar or even faster. However, it cannot compete with entry-level Quadros or FirePros. 

SPECviewperf 11
1920x1080 Lightwave AA:0x AF:0x
Lenovo ThinkPad S531
20.49 fps ∼25%
HP EliteBook 8570w B9D05AW-ABD
41.3 fps ∼51% +102%
HP EliteBook 8470w B5W63AW-ABD
42.25 fps ∼52% +106%
Lenovo IdeaPad Y510p
14.63 fps ∼18% -29%
HP Envy 17t-j000
18.02 fps ∼22% -12%
1920x1080 Maya AA:0x AF:0x
Lenovo ThinkPad S531
10.19 fps ∼9%
HP EliteBook 8570w B9D05AW-ABD
37.39 fps ∼33% +267%
HP EliteBook 8470w B5W63AW-ABD
36.89 fps ∼33% +262%
Lenovo IdeaPad Y510p
10.17 fps ∼9% 0%
HP Envy 17t-j000
10.99 fps ∼10% +8%
1920x1080 SolidWorks AA:0x AF:0x
Lenovo ThinkPad S531
18.17 fps ∼28%
HP EliteBook 8570w B9D05AW-ABD
28.89 fps ∼45% +59%
HP EliteBook 8470w B5W63AW-ABD
33.19 fps ∼51% +83%
Lenovo IdeaPad Y510p
9.1 fps ∼14% -50%
HP Envy 17t-j000
9.1 fps ∼14% -50%
Legend
      Lenovo ThinkPad S531 Intel Core i7-3537U, AMD Radeon HD 8670M, Samsung SSD 840 250GB MZ7TD256HAFV
      HP EliteBook 8570w B9D05AW-ABD Intel Core i5-3360M, NVIDIA Quadro K1000M, Hitachi Travelstar 7K500 HTS727550A9E
      HP EliteBook 8470w B5W63AW-ABD Intel Core i5-3360M, AMD FirePro M2000, Hitachi Travelstar 7K500 HTS727550A9E
      Lenovo IdeaPad Y510p Intel Core i7-4700MQ, NVIDIA GeForce GT 750M SLI, Samsung SpinPoint M8 HN-M101MBB
      HP Envy 17t-j000 Intel Core i7-4700MQ, NVIDIA GeForce GT 740M, Toshiba MQ01ABD100
LuxMark v2.0 64Bit
Sala Scene, OpenCL GPUs-only
Lenovo ThinkPad S531
244 Samples/s ∼10%
Asus N76VZ-V2G-T1011V
190 Samples/s ∼8% -22%
Room Scene, OpenCL GPUs-only
Lenovo ThinkPad S531
147 Samples/s ∼10%
Asus N76VZ-V2G-T1011V
93 Samples/s ∼6% -37%
Legend
      Lenovo ThinkPad S531 Intel Core i7-3537U, AMD Radeon HD 8670M, Samsung SSD 840 250GB MZ7TD256HAFV
      Asus N76VZ-V2G-T1011V Intel Core i7-3610QM, NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M, Seagate Momentus SpinPoint M8 ST1000LM024

Gaming Performance

We could play all titles at least with minimum or in most cases even medium details, except for very demanding games like Metro Last Light or Alan Wake. You can also find more results in the review of the ThinkPad S440, which is also equipped with the AMD Radeon HD 8670M.  

low med.high ultra
World of Warcraft (2005) 24271229fps
Anno 1404 (2009) 12217fps
Total War: Shogun 2 (2011) 11022.19.3fps
Batman: Arkham City (2011) 5038188fps
Anno 2070 (2011) 5330169fps
Dirt Showdown (2012) 6235229fps
Torchlight 2 (2012) 1046136fps
F1 2012 (2012) 56423721fps
Hitman: Absolution (2012) 26.2716.6211.91fps
BioShock Infinite (2013) 35.7820.4816.765.49fps
Metro: Last Light (2013) 14.811.159.34.7fps

Emissions

System Noise

Similar to the ThinkPad S440, Lenovo does a very good job in regard to the noise development of the ThinkPad S531. The fan is very quiet or even deactivated in many scenarios and it spins up very slowly with light workloads, which was also apparent in our 3D Mark 06 benchmark. The maximum value of 33.6 dB(A) was reached after half of the benchmark was finished. Finally, we measured 35.8 dB(A) under load, which is still very bearable even for longer sessions. 

Noise Level

Idle 28 / 28 / 28 dB(A)
Load 33.4 / 35.8 dB(A)
 
    30 dB
silent
40 dB
audible
50 dB
loud
 
min: , med: , max:    PCE-322A (15 cm distance)

Temperature

The maximum temperatures of around 60 °C (140 °F) under load are lower compared to the ThinkPad S440, but they are still very high and you should really use the notebook on your desk instead of your lap. Otherwise, you can comfortably work with the ThinkPad S531 since the surface temperatures at the palm rest are comparatively low with a maximum of 37 °C (98.6 °F). The situation is significantly better with light workloads, where the case is much cooler. A maximum temperature of 34.2 °C (93.56 °F) at the fan exhaust in no problem at all. 

Max. Load
 35.2 °C52.9 °C59.9 °C 
 33.7 °C48.9 °C41.6 °C 
 34.5 °C34.4 °C36.7 °C 
 
37.6 °C59.3 °C49.5 °C
38.1 °C47.2 °C43 °C
36.9 °C39.4 °C39.1 °C
Maximum: 59.9 °C
Average: 42 °C
 Maximum: 59.3 °C
Average: 43.3 °C
Power Supply (max.)  56.1 °C | Room Temperature 20 °C | Fennel Firt 550

Speakers

As expected for a business device, the sound experience is not suited for multimedia playback. It is very focused on high tones with almost no medium tones and bass. You can attach external solutions via USB, HDMI or 3.5 mm stereo jack. The 3.5 mm stereo jack follows the trend and combines the headphone port and the microphone port.

Energy Management

Power Consumption

We measured power consumption between a minimum value of 6.7 Watts and a maximum of 53 Watts. The difference between the minimum and maximum display brightness alone is 4.5 Watts and will be an important factor in many runtime scenarios.

The integrated battery has a capacity of 63 Wh. It is not glued inside the case and can easily be replaced if necessary. The power supply unit has a rated output of 65 Watts and should have no problems with the maximum consumption of 53 Watts. 

Power consumption

Off / Standby 0.2 / 0.4 Watt
Idle 6.7 / 11.3 / 12.5 Watt
Load 28.3 / 53.5 Watt
 
Key: min: , med: , max:         Voltcraft VC 940

Battery Runtime

The battery runtimes of the ThinkPad S531 benefit from the frugal components and the comparatively large battery for a thin ultrabook. We determined a maximum runtime of an excellent 10:54 hours in the Battery Eater Reader’s Test (minimum display brightness of 8 cd/m², energy-saving mode, wireless modules deactivated, Intel HD Graphics). The more realistic WLAN Test (display brightness adjusted at 139 cd/m², energy-saving mode, wireless modules activated, Intel HD Graphics) runs for 5:25 hours, still a good result. The battery is empty after 1:43 hours in the Battery Eater Classic Test (maximum display brightness, High-Performance profile, everything activated, AMD graphics).

Readers Intel
Readers Intel
Readers AMD
Readers AMD
Classic AMD
Classic AMD
Battery runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
10h 54min
WiFi Surfing
5h 25min
Load (maximum brightness)
1h 43min

Verdict

Lenovo ThinkPad S531
Lenovo ThinkPad S531

Lenovo’s ThinkPad S531 is a very good ultrabook with many positive aspects. 

The mobility is very good for a 15-inch notebook thanks to the comparatively low weight and the decent battery runtimes. However, this does not mean that you have to sacrifice performance; the system is actually more than sufficient for many tasks. 

The only drawback in this section is the dedicated AMD GPU. It cannot really convince us in terms of performance since it is slower than the integrated Intel GPU in many scenarios. The system noise is very quiet and it only attracts attention under maximum load, where we can also measure very high surface temperatures that can affect the handling. 

While there is no reason to criticize the keyboard or the case, the display cannot really convince us. It has a low contrast ratio, limited viewing angles (especially vertically) and does not reach the advertised brightness. 

Our review unit is currently available for around 1,100 Euros (~$1468). Although it is an attractive overall package, the ThinkPad S531 is in a tough spot since the successor ThinkPad S540 will be available soon. 

Review unit courtesy of ...

Comment this article:

In Review: Lenovo ThinkPad S531. Courtesy of:
In Review: Lenovo ThinkPad S531

Specifications

Lenovo ThinkPad S531

:: Processor
:: Mainboard
Intel HM76 (Panther Point)
:: Memory
10240 MB, 1x 2GB soldered + 1x 8GB (slot), PC3-12800 Hynix (Hyundai), dual channel
:: Graphics adapter
AMD Radeon HD 8670M - 2048 MB, Core: 825 MHz, Memory: 900 MHz, 12.102.0.0, AMD Switchable Graphics mit Intel HD Graphics 4000
:: Display
15.6 inch 16:9, 1920x1080 pixel, LEN40B4, B156HTN03.4, TN LED, glossy: no
:: Harddisk
Samsung SSD 840 250GB MZ7TD256HAFV, 250 GB
:: Soundcard
Realtek ALC269 @ Intel Panther Point PCH - High Definition Audio Controller
:: Connections
2 USB 3.0, 1 HDMI, 1 Kensington Lock, 1 Docking Station Port, Audio Connections: combined headphone and microphone port, Card Reader: 4 in 1 card reader, 1 Fingerprint Reader, Sensors: Brightness sensor,
:: Networking
Realtek PCIe GBE Family Controller (10/100/1000MBit), Broadcom BCM43228 (a b g n ), 4.0 Bluetooth
:: Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 23 x 378 x 252
:: Weight
2.05 kg Power Supply: 0.34 kg
:: Battery
63 Wh Lithium-Ion, 14.8V, 4.25Ah
Battery runtime (according to manufacturer): 540 min
:: Price
1100 Euro
:: Operating System
Microsoft Windows 7 Professional 64 Bit
:: Additional features
Webcam: 720p, Keyboard: Chiclet, Keyboard Light: yes, Windows 8 Professional 64 bit

 

The Lenovo ThinkPad S531 is a business ultrabook...
The Lenovo ThinkPad S531 is a business ultrabook...
...and combines the best aspects of both worlds.
...and combines the best aspects of both worlds.
Typical ThinkPad qualities have not been waived...
Typical ThinkPad qualities have not been waived...
...and were even improved in some cases.
...and were even improved in some cases.
The display has a big opening angle.
The display has a big opening angle.
You can clearly recognize it as a ThinkPad.
You can clearly recognize it as a ThinkPad.
The display has a low contrast ratio and bad viewing angles but is still suited for outdoor use.
The display has a low contrast ratio and bad viewing angles but is still suited for outdoor use.
The new touchpad comes with integrated mouse buttons and takes some time getting used to.
The new touchpad comes with integrated mouse buttons and takes some time getting used to.
A fingerprint reader and other security features are available.
A fingerprint reader and other security features are available.
The hinges keep the display well in position.
The hinges keep the display well in position.
The webcam with 720p resolution is supported by two Dual-Array microphones.
The webcam with 720p resolution is supported by two Dual-Array microphones.
The ports are far at the rear area of the sides.
The ports are far at the rear area of the sides.
Easy to reach: SD card slot further at the front.
Easy to reach: SD card slot further at the front.
Lenovo's OneLink is a good alternative to traditional docking solutions.
Lenovo's OneLink is a good alternative to traditional docking solutions.
The ports are almost too close together.
The ports are almost too close together.
Power supply unit with 65 Watts.
Power supply unit with 65 Watts.
The new power connector can also be found at the new T-series ThinkPads.
The new power connector can also be found at the new T-series ThinkPads.
A hidden SIM card tray could suggest...
A hidden SIM card tray could suggest...
...an upcoming optional feature.
...an upcoming optional feature.
The bottom cover is fixed with screws but can easily be removed.
The bottom cover is fixed with screws but can easily be removed.
After that you gain access to all important components.
After that you gain access to all important components.
The fan is accessible, just...
The fan is accessible, just...
...like the memory slot...
...like the memory slot...
...and the battery.
...and the battery.
It has a generous capacity of 63 Wh.
It has a generous capacity of 63 Wh.
The performance of the two speakers is average.
The performance of the two speakers is average.
2.5-inch Solid State Drive with a height of 7 mm.
2.5-inch Solid State Drive with a height of 7 mm.

Similar Devices

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

Notebooks with the same GPU

» Review Update HP Pavilion 17-e126sg Notebook
Core i5 4200M, 17.3", 2.9 kg
» Review Lenovo ThinkPad S440 Touch Ultrabook
Core i7 4500U, 14", 1.86 kg

Laptops with Same Screen Size and/or Weight

» Review Update HP ProBook 655 G1 Notebook
Radeon HD 8450G, A-Series A6-5350M
» Review Acer Aspire E1-510P-2671 Notebook
HD Graphics (Bay Trail), Celeron N2920
» Review Update HP 255 G2 Notebook
Radeon HD 8210, E-Series E1-2100

Links

Pro

+Build quality
+Case
+Keyboard
+Background illumination
+System performance
+Switchable graphics
+Docking port
+System noise
+Battery runtimes
 

Contra

-Heat development under maximum load
-Performance difference of the GPUs
-Warranty period

Shortcut

What we like

Light and thin but sufficient performance with an excellent noise development.

What we miss

A display with wider viewing angles and a higher contrast ratio.

What surprises us

That the ThinkPad S531 is available for a few weeks and the successor is already on its way.

The competition

Lenovo ThinkPad S440, Asus UX51V, Apple MacBook Pro Retina, Lenovo ThinkPad T540 and many more...

Rating

Lenovo ThinkPad S531
04/01/2014 v4
Tobias Winkler

Chassis
92 / 98 → 94%
Keyboard
94%
Pointing Device
80%
Connectivity
67%
Weight
63 / 67 → 91%
Battery
86%
Display
76%
Games Performance
74 / 85 → 87%
Application Performance
94%
Temperature
61%
Noise
98%
Audio
63%
Camera
44%
Average
76%
84%