Notebookcheck

Lenovo IdeaPad S540-15IML laptop review: Terrific battery life

Florian Glaser, Andrea Grüblinger (translated by Stephanie Chamberlain), 01/29/2020

Mirror, mirror on the wall. Not only did the 15-inch IdeaPad S540-15IML impress in our test with a high-quality metal case but also with an excellent battery life. However, we really can't understand why Lenovo opted for a glossy display.

Lenovo IdeaPad S540

If you're looking for a cheap all-rounder or multimedia laptop, you should take a closer look at Lenovo's S540 series. The 81NG0010GE model that we tested costs around 800 Euros (~$882); it contains 8 GB of DDR4 RAM as well as a 512 GB SSD. The processor is a low-power Core i5-10210U with clock speeds ranging from 1.6 to 4.2 GHz. Graphics-processing is handled by Nvidia's GeForce MX250 low-end accelerator, which unfortunately offers little more power than the old GeForce MX150. A glossy IPS panel with 1920x1080 pixels is responsible for image reproduction.

Lenovo Ideapad S540-15IML (Ideapad S540 Series)
Graphics adapter
NVIDIA GeForce MX250 - 2048 MB, Core: 1519 MHz, Memory: 1750 MHz, GDDR5, ForceWare 441.87, Optimus
Memory
8192 MB 
, DDR4, Dual channel
Display
15.6 inch 16:9, 1920 x 1080 pixel 141 PPI, BOEhydis NV156FHM-N61 (BOE06FB), IPS, Full HD, 60 Hz, glossy: yes
Mainboard
Intel Comet Lake-U PCH-LP Premium
Storage
Samsung SSD PM981a MZVLB512HBJQ, 512 GB 
, NVMe
Soundcard
Intel Comet Point-LP PCH - cAVS
Connections
2 USB 3.0 / 3.1 Gen1, 1 USB 3.1 Gen2, 1 HDMI, Audio Connections: 3.5 mm audio jack (combined), Card Reader: SD,SDHC,SDXC, 1 Fingerprint Reader
Networking
Intel Wireless AC 9462 (b/g/n = Wi-Fi 4/ac = Wi-Fi 5), Bluetooth 5
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 17 x 358 x 245 ( = 0.67 x 14.09 x 9.65 in)
Battery
Lithium-Ion, 4 cells
Operating System
Microsoft Windows 10 Home 64 Bit
Camera
Webcam: HD
Additional features
Speakers: 2.0 (Dolby Audio), Keyboard: chiclet, Keyboard Light: yes, 65-watt power adapter, setup guide, Lenovo Vantage, 24 Months Warranty
Weight
1.9 kg ( = 67.02 oz / 4.19 pounds), Power Supply: 238 g ( = 8.4 oz / 0.52 pounds)
Price
800 EUR
Note: The manufacturer may use components from different suppliers including display panels, drives or memory sticks with similar specifications.

 

The S540-15IML's competitors include other MX250-based 15-inch laptops such as the Acer Aspire 5 A515-52G-723L, the HP Pavilion 15-cs2019ng or the Asus VivoBook S15 S532F. The latter laptops appear in the tables as comparison devices.

RatingDateModelWeightHeightSizeResolutionBest Price
82%01/2020Lenovo Ideapad S540-15IML
i5-10210U, GeForce MX250
1.9 kg17 mm15.6"1920x1080
84%04/2019Acer Aspire 5 A515-52G-723L
8565U, GeForce MX250
1.8 kg17.95 mm15.6"1920x1080
83%04/2019HP Pavilion 15-cs2019ng
8265U, GeForce MX250
1.9 kg18 mm15.6"1920x1080
83%07/2019Asus VivoBook S15 S532F
8565U, GeForce MX250
1.8 kg18 mm15.6"1920x1080

Since Lenovo hasn't made any changes to the chassis except for the display frame (it's glossy with the glossy version instead of matte), we won't revisit the case, connectivity and input devices. You can find the relevant information in the predecessor's review.

Lenovo IdeaPad S540
Lenovo IdeaPad S540
Lenovo IdeaPad S540
Lenovo IdeaPad S540
Lenovo IdeaPad S540
Lenovo IdeaPad S540


Size comparison

363.4 mm / 14.3 inch 243.5 mm / 9.59 inch 17.95 mm / 0.707 inch 1.8 kg3.97 lbs361 mm / 14.2 inch 245 mm / 9.65 inch 18 mm / 0.709 inch 1.9 kg4.28 lbs357.2 mm / 14.1 inch 230.3 mm / 9.07 inch 18 mm / 0.709 inch 1.8 kg3.97 lbs358 mm / 14.1 inch 245 mm / 9.65 inch 17 mm / 0.669 inch 1.9 kg4.19 lbs
SDCardreader Transfer Speed
average JPG Copy Test (av. of 3 runs)
Lenovo Ideapad S540-15IML
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro SDXC 64 GB UHS-II)
77 MB/s ∼100%
Acer Aspire 5 A515-52G-723L
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro SDXC 64 GB UHS-II)
69.1 MB/s ∼90% -10%
Average of class Multimedia
  (11.2 - 190, n=190)
59.3 MB/s ∼77% -23%
HP Pavilion 15-cs2019ng
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro SDXC 64 GB UHS-II)
36.6 MB/s ∼48% -52%
Asus VivoBook S15 S532F
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro UHS-II)
33.3 MB/s ∼43% -57%
maximum AS SSD Seq Read Test (1GB)
Lenovo Ideapad S540-15IML
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro SDXC 64 GB UHS-II)
84 MB/s ∼100%
Acer Aspire 5 A515-52G-723L
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro SDXC 64 GB UHS-II)
81.8 MB/s ∼97% -3%
Average of class Multimedia
  (10.2 - 253, n=187)
75.2 MB/s ∼90% -10%
HP Pavilion 15-cs2019ng
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro SDXC 64 GB UHS-II)
35.6 MB/s ∼42% -58%
Asus VivoBook S15 S532F
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro UHS-II)
35.6 MB/s ∼42% -58%
Networking
iperf3 Client (receive) TCP 1 m 4M x10
HP Pavilion 15-cs2019ng
Intel Wireless-AC 9560
676 (min: 636, max: 689) MBit/s ∼100% +468%
Asus VivoBook S15 S532F
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265
610 MBit/s ∼90% +413%
Average of class Multimedia
  (44 - 1431, n=156)
526 MBit/s ∼78% +342%
Acer Aspire 5 A515-52G-723L
Intel Wireless-AC 9560
522 (min: 371, max: 601) MBit/s ∼77% +339%
Lenovo Ideapad S540-15IML
Intel Wireless AC 9462
119 MBit/s ∼18%
iperf3 Client (transmit) TCP 1 m 4M x10
Acer Aspire 5 A515-52G-723L
Intel Wireless-AC 9560
648 (min: 626, max: 667) MBit/s ∼100% +431%
HP Pavilion 15-cs2019ng
Intel Wireless-AC 9560
562 (min: 507, max: 591) MBit/s ∼87% +361%
Average of class Multimedia
  (46.1 - 1563, n=155)
511 MBit/s ∼79% +319%
Asus VivoBook S15 S532F
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265
479 MBit/s ∼74% +293%
Lenovo Ideapad S540-15IML
Intel Wireless AC 9462
122 MBit/s ∼19%

Display

We don't think it's a good idea for a manufacturer to opt for a reflective display. In the past, glossy displays were mainly used to disguise the poor image quality of inferior TN panels. In times of IPS panels, however, there's hardly any reason for glossy monitors, unless you want to strain the eyes unnecessarily. Even under low sun or light exposure, the IdeaPad S540 is prone to strong reflections that make working pleasantly almost impossible. The only time the display isn't disturbing is when it's in completely darkened rooms.

293
cd/m²
284
cd/m²
286
cd/m²
270
cd/m²
299
cd/m²
282
cd/m²
259
cd/m²
265
cd/m²
260
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
BOEhydis NV156FHM-N61 (BOE06FB)
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 299 cd/m² Average: 277.6 cd/m² Minimum: 6 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 87 %
Center on Battery: 299 cd/m²
Contrast: 1196:1 (Black: 0.25 cd/m²)
ΔE Color 4.32 | 0.6-29.43 Ø6, calibrated: 2.58
ΔE Greyscale 4.21 | 0.64-98 Ø6.2
86% sRGB (Argyll 3D) 57% AdobeRGB 1998 (Argyll 3D)
Gamma: 2.39
Lenovo Ideapad S540-15IML
BOEhydis NV156FHM-N61 (BOE06FB), IPS, 1920x1080, 15.6
Acer Aspire 5 A515-52G-723L
BOE NV156FHM-N48, IPS, 1920x1080, 15.6
HP Pavilion 15-cs2019ng
BOE080D, IPS, 1920x1080, 15.6
Asus VivoBook S15 S532F
LG Philips LP156WFC-SPD1, IPS, 1920x1080, 15.6
Response Times
13%
11%
41%
Response Time Grey 50% / Grey 80% *
49.6 (22.4, 27.2)
45 (23, 22)
9%
43 (22, 21)
13%
24.8 (12.8, 12)
50%
Response Time Black / White *
34.8 (18.8, 16)
33 (18, 15)
5%
29 (16, 13)
17%
24 (14, 10)
31%
PWM Frequency
202 (99)
250 (90)
24%
208 (90)
3%
Screen
-14%
0%
-35%
Brightness middle
299
278
-7%
320
7%
262.3
-12%
Brightness
278
271
-3%
293
5%
250
-10%
Brightness Distribution
87
89
2%
86
-1%
89
2%
Black Level *
0.25
0.26
-4%
0.26
-4%
0.43
-72%
Contrast
1196
1069
-11%
1231
3%
610
-49%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *
4.32
4.73
-9%
4.5
-4%
5.81
-34%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 max. *
9.3
8.38
10%
8.81
5%
14.7
-58%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 calibrated *
2.58
5.17
-100%
5.36
-108%
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *
4.21
2.59
38%
4.71
-12%
2.8
33%
Gamma
2.39 92%
2.38 92%
2.45 90%
2.15 102%
CCT
6799 96%
6160 106%
7085 92%
7016 93%
Color Space (Percent of AdobeRGB 1998)
57
36
-37%
58
2%
35.2
-38%
Color Space (Percent of sRGB)
86
58
-33%
88
2%
55.6
-35%
Total Average (Program / Settings)
-1% / -8%
6% / 3%
3% / -23%

* ... smaller is better

Apart from the degree of reflection, the 15-inch screen leaves a decent impression. Although the brightness is rather poor at 278 cd/m², the S540 achieves a contrast of just under 1,200:1. Thanks to the relatively low black value (0.25 cd/m²), even dark film and game scenes look sufficiently saturated.

CalMAN: Grayscales
CalMAN: Grayscales
CalMAN: Color saturation
CalMAN: Color saturation
CalMAN: ColorChecker
CalMAN: ColorChecker
CalMAN: Grayscales (calibrated)
CalMAN: Grayscales (calibrated)
CalMAN: Color saturation (calibrated)
CalMAN: Color saturation (calibrated)
CalMAN: ColorChecker (calibrated)
CalMAN: ColorChecker (calibrated)

The Full HD panel doesn't perform quite as well in regard to color accuracy. White tones tend to be slightly in the green/blue area, but this can be corrected through calibration (our ICC file is linked above). The viewing angles don't deserve any criticism. As is typical of IPS panels, the image only changes slightly from very oblique perspectives.

Reflections
Reflections
Subpixel grid
Subpixel grid
Viewing angles
Viewing angles

The color space is also satisfactory at 86% sRGB. For comparison: The Acer Aspire 5 and the Asus VivoBook S15 can't even reach 60% sRGB coverage. Attention: The display flickers under a brightness of 100%. A frequency of 200 Hz can cause problems in sensitive users.

Display Response Times

Display response times show how fast the screen is able to change from one color to the next. Slow response times can lead to afterimages and can cause moving objects to appear blurry (ghosting). Gamers of fast-paced 3D titles should pay special attention to fast response times.
       Response Time Black to White
34.8 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 18.8 ms rise
↘ 16 ms fall
The screen shows slow response rates in our tests and will be unsatisfactory for gamers.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.8 (minimum) to 240 (maximum) ms. » 90 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is worse than the average of all tested devices (24.9 ms).
       Response Time 50% Grey to 80% Grey
49.6 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 22.4 ms rise
↘ 27.2 ms fall
The screen shows slow response rates in our tests and will be unsatisfactory for gamers.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.9 (minimum) to 636 (maximum) ms. » 82 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is worse than the average of all tested devices (39.6 ms).

Screen Flickering / PWM (Pulse-Width Modulation)

To dim the screen, some notebooks will simply cycle the backlight on and off in rapid succession - a method called Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) . This cycling frequency should ideally be undetectable to the human eye. If said frequency is too low, users with sensitive eyes may experience strain or headaches or even notice the flickering altogether.
Screen flickering / PWM detected 202 Hz ≤ 99 % brightness setting

The display backlight flickers at 202 Hz (Likely utilizing PWM) Flickering detected at a brightness setting of 99 % and below. There should be no flickering or PWM above this brightness setting.

The frequency of 202 Hz is relatively low, so sensitive users will likely notice flickering and experience eyestrain at the stated brightness setting and below.

In comparison: 51 % of all tested devices do not use PWM to dim the display. If PWM was detected, an average of 13646 (minimum: 43 - maximum: 2500000) Hz was measured.

Performance

With the help of the preinstalled Lenovo Vantage software, various settings can be carried out on the system. Our tests were performed with the standard settings, which are active out of the box.

CPU-Z
CPU-Z
CPU-Z
CPU-Z
HWiNFO
GPU-Z
GPU-Z
AS SSD Benchmark
CrystalDiskMark
LatencyMon

Processor

For the processor, Lenovo chose the Core i5-10210U from Intel's Comet Lake generation. The energy-efficient 15-watt model is manufactured using the 14-nm process and contains 6 MB of L3 cache. Hyper-Threading allows the quad-core processor to handle up to eight threads in parallel, resulting in significant extra performance in some applications.

Single-core rendering
Single-core rendering
Multi-core rendering
Multi-core rendering
GPU load
GPU load

As mentioned at the beginning, the base clock speed is 1.6 GHz. With Intel's Turbo Boost technology, a maximum of 4.2 GHz can be squeezed out from the CPU. However, the latter is only achieved in single-core scenarios. In multi-core scenarios, the S540 doesn't fully exploit its Turbo. In this way, the clock speed dropped from 3.5 to 3.7 GHz to a mediocre 2.8 to 2.9 GHz after a short period of time in our Cinebench loop.

0102030405060708090100110120130140150160170180190200210220230240250260270280290300310320330340350360370380390400410420430440450460470480490500510520530540550560570580590600610620630640650660670680690Tooltip
Lenovo Ideapad S540-15IML Intel Core i5-10210U, Intel Core i5-10210U: Ø598 (545.52-671.6)
Acer Aspire 5 A515-52G-723L Intel Core i7-8565U, Intel Core i7-8565U: Ø470 (467.49-492.88)
HP Pavilion 15-cs2019ng Intel Core i5-8265U, Intel Core i5-8265U: Ø495 (482.45-528.56)
Asus VivoBook S15 S532F Intel Core i7-8565U, Intel Core i7-8565U: Ø502 (489.9-680.49)

Despite the limited Turbo, the Core i5-10210U easily moves past the older Core i7-8565U and Core i5-8265U Whiskey Lake models. As you can see from the table below, the performance increase amounts to just under 40% in the best-case scenario.

Cinebench R15
CPU Single 64Bit
Lenovo Ideapad S540-15IML
Intel Core i5-10210U
173 Points ∼100%
Asus VivoBook S15 S532F
Intel Core i7-8565U
168 Points ∼97% -3%
Acer Aspire 5 A515-52G-723L
Intel Core i7-8565U
165 Points ∼95% -5%
HP Pavilion 15-cs2019ng
Intel Core i5-8265U
157 Points ∼91% -9%
Average of class Multimedia
  (36 - 201, n=390)
130 Points ∼75% -25%
CPU Multi 64Bit
Lenovo Ideapad S540-15IML
Intel Core i5-10210U
672 Points ∼100%
HP Pavilion 15-cs2019ng
Intel Core i5-8265U
528 Points ∼79% -21%
Asus VivoBook S15 S532F
Intel Core i7-8565U
507 Points ∼75% -25%
Average of class Multimedia
  (72.4 - 1550, n=407)
507 Points ∼75% -25%
Acer Aspire 5 A515-52G-723L
Intel Core i7-8565U
493 Points ∼73% -27%
Cinebench R20
CPU (Single Core)
Lenovo Ideapad S540-15IML
Intel Core i5-10210U
425 Points ∼100%
Acer Aspire 5 A515-52G-723L
Intel Core i7-8565U
390 Points ∼92% -8%
Average of class Multimedia
  (62.6 - 481, n=32)
381 Points ∼90% -10%
CPU (Multi Core)
Average of class Multimedia
  (148 - 3422, n=33)
1717 Points ∼100% +21%
Lenovo Ideapad S540-15IML
Intel Core i5-10210U
1416 Points ∼82%
Acer Aspire 5 A515-52G-723L
Intel Core i7-8565U
1035 Points ∼60% -27%
Cinebench R15 CPU Single 64Bit
173 Points
Cinebench R15 CPU Multi 64Bit
672 Points
Help

System performance

Although the results of the PCMark 10 benchmark hardly differ, the IdeaPad S540 is also at the top of the comparison field in terms of system performance. Thanks to the solid state drive, using the operating system (Windows 10 Home 64-bit) feels very fluid.

PCMark 10 - Score
Lenovo Ideapad S540-15IML
GeForce MX250, i5-10210U, Samsung SSD PM981a MZVLB512HBJQ
4292 Points ∼100%
Acer Aspire 5 A515-52G-723L
GeForce MX250, 8565U, WDC PC SN520 SDAPNUW-512G
4236 Points ∼99% -1%
HP Pavilion 15-cs2019ng
GeForce MX250, 8265U, Toshiba KBG30ZMV256G
4190 Points ∼98% -2%
Asus VivoBook S15 S532F
GeForce MX250, 8565U, WDC PC SN520 SDAPNUW-256G
4148 Points ∼97% -3%
Average of class Multimedia
  (1144 - 5500, n=120)
4041 Points ∼94% -6%

Storage

Similar to its competitors, Lenovo relies on an M.2 SSD with PCIe/NVMe technology. The 512 GB Samsung PM981a is one of the fastest representatives of its kind when it comes to both writing and reading operations. Next to the WDC PC SN520 (Acer Aspire 5, Asus VivoBook S15), the Toshiba SSD of the HP Pavilion 15 is also noticeably slower to some extent.

Lenovo Ideapad S540-15IML
Samsung SSD PM981a MZVLB512HBJQ
Acer Aspire 5 A515-52G-723L
WDC PC SN520 SDAPNUW-512G
HP Pavilion 15-cs2019ng
Toshiba KBG30ZMV256G
Asus VivoBook S15 S532F
WDC PC SN520 SDAPNUW-256G
CrystalDiskMark 5.2 / 6
-23%
-29%
-23%
Write 4K
170.7
130.1
-24%
149.3
-13%
149.9
-12%
Read 4K
49.51
27.64
-44%
52.73
7%
46.13
-7%
Write Seq
1156
1438
24%
666.9
-42%
969.9
-16%
Read Seq
1136
1319
16%
818.1
-28%
1085
-4%
Write 4K Q32T1
420.5
323.3
-23%
332.1
-21%
460.8
10%
Read 4K Q32T1
526.7
359.9
-32%
467.1
-11%
410.3
-22%
Write Seq Q32T1
2984
1454
-51%
984.8
-67%
662.4
-78%
Read Seq Q32T1
3550
1740
-51%
1454
-59%
1728
-51%
Samsung SSD PM981a MZVLB512HBJQ
CDM 5/6 Read Seq Q32T1: 3550 MB/s
CDM 5/6 Write Seq Q32T1: 2984 MB/s
CDM 5/6 Read 4K Q32T1: 526.7 MB/s
CDM 5/6 Write 4K Q32T1: 420.5 MB/s
CDM 5 Read Seq: 1136 MB/s
CDM 5 Write Seq: 1156 MB/s
CDM 5/6 Read 4K: 49.51 MB/s
CDM 5/6 Write 4K: 170.7 MB/s

Graphics card

The performance of the graphics card turned out to be less spectacular. For example, while the GeForce GTX 1650 mid-range GPU represents a worthwhile upgrade to the GTX 1050, Nvidia is getting nowhere with the MX250 entry-level model. The 14 nm chip from the Pascal generation is only intended for undemanding and/or older 3D applications due to its poor features (384 shaders, 2 GB VRAM, 64-bit memory interface). The GTX 1650 mentioned above is the minimum for gamers to be happy. The MX250 should primarily be seen as an all-round GPU for a small budget.

3DMark 11 Performance
5081 points
3DMark Cloud Gate Standard Score
14567 points
3DMark Fire Strike Score
3501 points
3DMark Time Spy Score
1292 points
Help

We checked the clock speed behavior of the DirectX 12 graphics card with the role-playing game The Witcher 3. After 60 minutes of running the test, the clock speed settled at about 1,500 MHz, with values fluctuating between 1,400 and 1,600 MHz. Given the 1,519 MHz base clock speed, this result is somewhat disillusioning (Turbo is hardly used).

05101520Tooltip
Lenovo Ideapad S540-15IML GeForce MX250, i5-10210U, Samsung SSD PM981a MZVLB512HBJQ: Ø11.3 (7-15)

Surprisingly, the IdeaPad S540 performs quite boldly in our benchmarks and ranks slightly ahead of the competition in the 3DMark tests. Via Optimus, the 15-inch device can dynamically switch between the processor's graphics chip (UHD Graphics 620) and the dedicated Nvidia GPU.

3DMark
2560x1440 Time Spy Graphics
Average of class Multimedia
  (142 - 4734, n=77)
1606 Points ∼100% +37%
Lenovo Ideapad S540-15IML
NVIDIA GeForce MX250, Intel Core i5-10210U
1169 Points ∼73%
Asus VivoBook S15 S532F
NVIDIA GeForce MX250, Intel Core i7-8565U
1111 Points ∼69% -5%
Acer Aspire 5 A515-52G-723L
NVIDIA GeForce MX250, Intel Core i7-8565U
1090 Points ∼68% -7%
1920x1080 Fire Strike Graphics
Lenovo Ideapad S540-15IML
NVIDIA GeForce MX250, Intel Core i5-10210U
3824 Points ∼100%
Asus VivoBook S15 S532F
NVIDIA GeForce MX250, Intel Core i7-8565U
3705 Points ∼97% -3%
HP Pavilion 15-cs2019ng
NVIDIA GeForce MX250, Intel Core i5-8265U
3690 Points ∼96% -4%
Acer Aspire 5 A515-52G-723L
NVIDIA GeForce MX250, Intel Core i7-8565U
3616 Points ∼95% -5%
Average of class Multimedia
  (337 - 16100, n=431)
2991 Points ∼78% -22%
3DMark 11 - 1280x720 Performance GPU
Lenovo Ideapad S540-15IML
NVIDIA GeForce MX250, Intel Core i5-10210U
4832 Points ∼100%
HP Pavilion 15-cs2019ng
NVIDIA GeForce MX250, Intel Core i5-8265U
4761 Points ∼99% -1%
Asus VivoBook S15 S532F
NVIDIA GeForce MX250, Intel Core i7-8565U
4756 Points ∼98% -2%
Acer Aspire 5 A515-52G-723L
NVIDIA GeForce MX250, Intel Core i7-8565U
4633 Points ∼96% -4%
Average of class Multimedia
  (352 - 20837, n=656)
3120 Points ∼65% -35%

Gaming performance

At its native Full HD resolution of 1920x1080, the GeForce MX250 reaches its limits very quickly. High to maximum details are usually not possible in modern games. Even medium details often result in stuttering, which is why you should limit yourself to 1366x768 or 1280x720 pixels if necessary.

The Witcher 3
1920x1080 High Graphics & Postprocessing (Nvidia HairWorks Off)
Average of class Multimedia
  (3.8 - 117, n=119)
30.7 fps ∼100% +49%
HP Pavilion 15-cs2019ng
GeForce MX250, 8265U
21 fps ∼68% +2%
Lenovo Ideapad S540-15IML
GeForce MX250, i5-10210U
20.6 (min: 16) fps ∼67%
Acer Aspire 5 A515-52G-723L
GeForce MX250, 8565U
20.4 fps ∼66% -1%
Asus VivoBook S15 S532F
GeForce MX250, 8565U
19.1 fps ∼62% -7%
1366x768 Medium Graphics & Postprocessing
Average of class Multimedia
  (5.2 - 206, n=116)
47.3 fps ∼100% +32%
Acer Aspire 5 A515-52G-723L
GeForce MX250, 8565U
37.9 fps ∼80% +6%
HP Pavilion 15-cs2019ng
GeForce MX250, 8265U
37 fps ∼78% +3%
Asus VivoBook S15 S532F
GeForce MX250, 8565U
36.8 fps ∼78% +3%
Lenovo Ideapad S540-15IML
GeForce MX250, i5-10210U
35.9 (min: 28) fps ∼76%

Less processor-intensive titles such as FIFA 20 and Farming Simulator 19, on the other hand, run smoothly even at higher quality levels.

low med. high ultra
The Witcher 3 (2015) 62.3 35.9 20.6 11 fps
Assassin´s Creed Odyssey (2018) 40 20 12 fps
Farming Simulator 19 (2018) 163 63.4 38.6 fps
Darksiders III (2018) 110 32.1 21.8 fps
Just Cause 4 (2018) 45.3 28.9 19.4 fps
Metro Exodus (2019) 29.2 8.1 6.8 fps
Control (2019) 42.1 13.7 9.4 fps
Borderlands 3 (2019) 50.2 17.9 11.8 fps
FIFA 20 (2019) 123 88.2 85.7 fps
GRID 2019 (2019) 66.6 23.4 14 fps
Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2019 (2019) 43.9 23.8 18.4 fps
Need for Speed Heat (2019) 35.7 16.7 14 fps
Star Wars Jedi Fallen Order (2019) 25.6 20.2 fps
Red Dead Redemption 2 (2019) 21.6 13 fps

Emissions

Noise emissions

One of the greatest strengths of the IdeaPad S540 is its moderate noise and heat development. Although the cooling system sometimes turns up a little in idle mode and in simple activities related to office work, video playback and web surfing, the device is very quiet (32 dB) or completely silent most of the time. 

dB(A) 0102030405060708090Deep BassMiddle BassHigh BassLower RangeMidsHigher MidsLower HighsMid HighsUpper HighsSuper Highs2036.335.93433.437.32540.544.541.140.344.33136.942.533.635.133.54035.936.938.433.137.15034.236.136.530.732.26335.436.433.829.232.78033.833.535.32930.810028.927.328.224.126.512529.728.227.925.22616031.833.634.829.431.220027.628.227.223.82725028.528.928.321.225.73152824.323.720.627.740025.824.221.119.526.650027.923.421.420.328.563028.325.524.218.228.180025.220.919.51825.1100025.821.419.41825.6125028.624.119.31828.8160028.725.218.517.629.7200030.625.318.717.730.5250029.423.618.317.730.4315031.330.617.817.532.5400032.622.417.917.135.9500026.920.317.917.228630024.619.917.717.125.5800021.81817.817.122.51000019.21817.816.919.71250019.21817.717.119.21600018.617.817.616.918.1SPL40.736.732.130.242.1N3.62.61.81.43.8median 28median 24.1median 19.3median 18median 27Delta1.93.33.21.81.8hearing rangehide median Fan NoiseLenovo Ideapad S540-15IML

In 3D mode, the 15-incher doesn't mutate into a squaller either at 39 to 42 dB, whereby the fan noise is subjectively louder than on paper due to the relatively high frequency.

Noise Level

Idle
30 / 32 / 37 dB(A)
Load
41 / 42 dB(A)
  red to green bar
 
 
30 dB
silent
40 dB(A)
audible
50 dB(A)
loud
 
min: dark, med: mid, max: light   Audix TM1, Arta (15 cm distance)   environment noise: 30 dB(A)
Lenovo Ideapad S540-15IML
i5-10210U, GeForce MX250
Acer Aspire 5 A515-52G-723L
8565U, GeForce MX250
HP Pavilion 15-cs2019ng
8265U, GeForce MX250
Asus VivoBook S15 S532F
8565U, GeForce MX250
Average of class Multimedia
 
Noise
4%
1%
6%
3%
off / environment *
30
29.9
-0%
30.5
-2%
28
7%
31.2 (22 - 304, n=194)
-4%
Idle Minimum *
30
29.9
-0%
31.5
-5%
28
7%
31.1 (27.8 - 40.1, n=995)
-4%
Idle Average *
32
29.9
7%
31.5
2%
28
12%
31.9 (27.8 - 42.2, n=997)
-0%
Idle Maximum *
37
29.9
19%
31.5
15%
30
19%
32.6 (27.8 - 47, n=997)
12%
Load Average *
41
41.7
-2%
42.5
-4%
41.4
-1%
36.5 (28.9 - 51.8, n=997)
11%
Witcher 3 ultra *
39
41.5
-6%
Load Maximum *
42
41.7
1%
42.5
-1%
41.5
1%
41.9 (32.5 - 62.7, n=997)
-0%

* ... smaller is better

Temperature

Whether under full load or with a "normal" 3D application: The components of the S540 always remain pleasantly cool. In this way, we were only able to measure an average of 60 °C (~140 °F) for the Core i5-10210U and the GeForce MX250 in both tests, which speaks for a good cooling system.

The Witcher 3
The Witcher 3
Stress test
Stress test
Full load top
Full load top
Full load bottom
Full load bottom

The case surfaces are also anything but hot-headed. A maximum of 42 °C (~107.6 °F) at the top and 45 °C (~113 °F) at the bottom after 60 minutes of running Furmark + Prime95 is completely in order. Longer work sessions are no problem either given the idle temperature of approximately 25 °C (~77 °F).

Max. Load
 42 °C
108 F
42 °C
108 F
41 °C
106 F
 
 37 °C
99 F
37 °C
99 F
30 °C
86 F
 
 30 °C
86 F
27 °C
81 F
25 °C
77 F
 
Maximum: 42 °C = 108 F
Average: 34.6 °C = 94 F
41 °C
106 F
45 °C
113 F
44 °C
111 F
29 °C
84 F
39 °C
102 F
39 °C
102 F
28 °C
82 F
32 °C
90 F
33 °C
91 F
Maximum: 45 °C = 113 F
Average: 36.7 °C = 98 F
Power Supply (max.)  43 °C = 109 F | Room Temperature 20 °C = 68 F | Voltcraft IR-900
(±) The average temperature for the upper side under maximal load is 34.6 °C / 94 F, compared to the average of 30.9 °C / 88 F for the devices in the class Multimedia.
(±) The maximum temperature on the upper side is 42 °C / 108 F, compared to the average of 36.5 °C / 98 F, ranging from 21.1 to 71 °C for the class Multimedia.
(±) The bottom heats up to a maximum of 45 °C / 113 F, compared to the average of 38.8 °C / 102 F
(+) In idle usage, the average temperature for the upper side is 24.3 °C / 76 F, compared to the device average of 30.9 °C / 88 F.
(±) Playing The Witcher 3, the average temperature for the upper side is 34 °C / 93 F, compared to the device average of 30.9 °C / 88 F.
(+) The palmrests and touchpad are cooler than skin temperature with a maximum of 30 °C / 86 F and are therefore cool to the touch.
(±) The average temperature of the palmrest area of similar devices was 29 °C / 84.2 F (-1 °C / -1.8 F).
Lenovo Ideapad S540-15IML
i5-10210U, GeForce MX250
Acer Aspire 5 A515-52G-723L
8565U, GeForce MX250
HP Pavilion 15-cs2019ng
8265U, GeForce MX250
Asus VivoBook S15 S532F
8565U, GeForce MX250
Average of class Multimedia
 
Heat
-19%
-5%
-9%
-9%
Maximum Upper Side *
42
53.7
-28%
46
-10%
45.4
-8%
41.8 (27.2 - 71, n=953)
-0%
Maximum Bottom *
45
56
-24%
44.6
1%
40.8
9%
45.1 (28.5 - 82, n=953)
-0%
Idle Upper Side *
25
28.4
-14%
26.6
-6%
29.6
-18%
29.6 (21.1 - 40.2, n=805)
-18%
Idle Bottom *
26
28.9
-11%
27.4
-5%
31.2
-20%
30.9 (21.5 - 44.4, n=805)
-19%

* ... smaller is better

Speakers

dB(A) 0102030405060708090Deep BassMiddle BassHigh BassLower RangeMidsHigher MidsLower HighsMid HighsUpper HighsSuper Highs2033.440.52540.342.63135.138.64033.139.85030.737.96329.237.6802934.310024.130.712525.234.616029.44420023.849.225021.264.331520.665.340019.568.350020.365.563018.268.48001874.110001875.312501871.4160017.668.4200017.766.7250017.766.6315017.563400017.163.7500017.260.6630017.163.6800017.165.51000016.963.91250017.161.71600016.958.4SPL30.280.6N1.449.5median 18median 64.3Delta1.85.633.232.433.233.530.433.531.93031.930.631.130.629.429.529.428.62928.629.226.829.228.826.728.827.824.827.831.924.231.939.423.939.449.222.549.25721.75768.220.968.271.119.871.170.319.670.362.718.662.766.918.566.968.817.968.867.217.767.268.817.568.867.917.567.971.617.771.671.317.871.369.617.969.666.41866.461.618.361.663.418.263.461.818.261.860.818.360.880.530.580.547.21.347.2median 66.4median 18.3median 66.48.82.18.8hearing rangehide median Pink NoiseLenovo Ideapad S540-15IMLHP Pavilion 15-cs2019ng
Frequency diagram (checkboxes can be checked and unchecked to compare devices)
Lenovo Ideapad S540-15IML audio analysis

(±) | speaker loudness is average but good (81 dB)
Bass 100 - 315 Hz
(-) | nearly no bass - on average 16.6% lower than median
(±) | linearity of bass is average (13.8% delta to prev. frequency)
Mids 400 - 2000 Hz
(±) | higher mids - on average 5.4% higher than median
(+) | mids are linear (6.5% delta to prev. frequency)
Highs 2 - 16 kHz
(+) | balanced highs - only 1.5% away from median
(+) | highs are linear (4.3% delta to prev. frequency)
Overall 100 - 16.000 Hz
(±) | linearity of overall sound is average (15.2% difference to median)
Compared to same class
» 22% of all tested devices in this class were better, 4% similar, 73% worse
» The best had a delta of 3%, average was 19%, worst was 41%
Compared to all devices tested
» 16% of all tested devices were better, 4% similar, 80% worse
» The best had a delta of 3%, average was 21%, worst was 53%

HP Pavilion 15-cs2019ng audio analysis

(-) | not very loud speakers (71.56 dB)
Bass 100 - 315 Hz
(-) | nearly no bass - on average 27.4% lower than median
(±) | linearity of bass is average (10.6% delta to prev. frequency)
Mids 400 - 2000 Hz
(+) | balanced mids - only 2.5% away from median
(±) | linearity of mids is average (8.3% delta to prev. frequency)
Highs 2 - 16 kHz
(+) | balanced highs - only 3.2% away from median
(+) | highs are linear (4.8% delta to prev. frequency)
Overall 100 - 16.000 Hz
(±) | linearity of overall sound is average (19.6% difference to median)
Compared to same class
» 55% of all tested devices in this class were better, 10% similar, 36% worse
» The best had a delta of 3%, average was 19%, worst was 41%
Compared to all devices tested
» 40% of all tested devices were better, 8% similar, 53% worse
» The best had a delta of 3%, average was 21%, worst was 53%

Energy management

Energy consumption

As long as the GeForce GPU is inactive, the 15-inch is very economical. 5 to 10 watts of idle consumption is reminiscent of the competition's values. Under load, our measuring device showed between 44 and 67 watts – also typical of an all-round laptop with a ULV CPU and low-end GPU.

Power Consumption
Off / Standbydarklight 0.3 / 0.5 Watt
Idledarkmidlight 5 / 7 / 10 Watt
Load midlight 64 / 67 Watt
 color bar
Key: min: dark, med: mid, max: light        Metrahit Energy
Lenovo Ideapad S540-15IML
i5-10210U, GeForce MX250
Acer Aspire 5 A515-52G-723L
8565U, GeForce MX250
HP Pavilion 15-cs2019ng
8265U, GeForce MX250
Asus VivoBook S15 S532F
8565U, GeForce MX250
Average of class Multimedia
 
Power Consumption
7%
7%
-24%
-73%
Idle Minimum *
5
4.4
12%
4.9
2%
6
-20%
11.4 (2.1 - 101, n=952)
-128%
Idle Average *
7
6.9
1%
7.9
-13%
10.3
-47%
16 (3 - 122, n=952)
-129%
Idle Maximum *
10
9.9
1%
10.1
-1%
10.5
-5%
19.5 (4.6 - 181, n=952)
-95%
Load Average *
64
55
14%
60
6%
69.1
-8%
60 (18.5 - 164, n=931)
6%
Load Maximum *
67
63.4
5%
38
43%
88
-31%
78.1 (20.1 - 329, n=936)
-17%
Witcher 3 ultra *
44
57.8
-31%

* ... smaller is better

Battery life

The absolute highlight of the IdeaPad S540 is its excellent battery life. It reached up to 30 hours in the Reader's Test of the Battery Eater tool (minimum display brightness), a value that almost no other laptop achieves. With this result, the Lenovo computer trumps the competition by two to four times!

Almost 12 hours of runtime when surfing the Internet via Wi-Fi (medium brightness) is also remarkable and deserves the greatest respect. There's also praise for the fact that 3D performance remains constant on battery power (tested with The Witcher 3 in FHD/Ultra).

Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
30h 10min
NBC WiFi Websurfing Battery Test 1.3
12h 04min
Load (maximum brightness)
1h 21min
Lenovo Ideapad S540-15IML
i5-10210U, GeForce MX250,  Wh
Acer Aspire 5 A515-52G-723L
8565U, GeForce MX250, 48 Wh
HP Pavilion 15-cs2019ng
8265U, GeForce MX250, 41 Wh
Asus VivoBook S15 S532F
8565U, GeForce MX250, 42 Wh
Average of class Multimedia
 
Battery Runtime
-19%
-45%
-39%
-40%
Reader / Idle
1810
773
-57%
480
-73%
655
-64%
415 (73 - 2085, n=902)
-77%
WiFi v1.3
724
414
-43%
297
-59%
306
-58%
368 (96 - 942, n=270)
-49%
Load
81
117
44%
79
-2%
86
6%
85.7 (32 - 238, n=906)
6%
H.264
388
366 (114 - 1053, n=111)

Pros

+ first-rate battery life
+ moderate emissions
+ metallic surfaces
+ low weight
+ fancy design

Cons

- extremely slow Wi-Fi (bug?)
- very few connections
- very reflective display

Verdict

Lenovo IdeaPad S540-15IML, review device provided by:
Lenovo IdeaPad S540-15IML, review device provided by:

An endurance champion with a classy metal case for 800 Euros (~$882)? What sounds unlikely at first is a reality with the Lenovo IdeaPad S540-15IML.

Hardly any other all-round laptop handles itself so well without a power supply. Together with the low weight (1.9 kg) and the flat build (1.7 cm), the 15-incher is predestined for mobile use.

If only the glossy display that frustrates outdoor activities and even many indoor activities weren't there. A matte panel would've been much better suited to the device and, above all, better suited to the overall concept.

If you can accept this shortcoming, however, you will receive a recommendable and largely very successful multimedia laptop.

Lenovo Ideapad S540-15IML - 01/25/2020 v7
Florian Glaser

Chassis
82 / 98 → 84%
Keyboard
81%
Pointing Device
81%
Connectivity
50 / 80 → 62%
Weight
64 / 20-72 → 85%
Battery
89 / 95 → 94%
Display
83%
Games Performance
60 / 90 → 67%
Application Performance
88 / 90 → 98%
Temperature
89%
Noise
81 / 95 → 85%
Audio
75%
Average
77%
82%
Multimedia - Weighted Average

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Lenovo IdeaPad S540-15IML laptop review: Terrific battery life
Florian Glaser, 2020-01-29 (Update: 2020-01-28)