Lenovo IdeaPad S405 review

Katharine Byrne
4 Jul 2013
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
inc VAT

It’s very slim for a budget laptop, but it’s far too slow and the touchpad will drive you mad



14 in 1,366x768 display, 1.8kg, 2.1GHz AMD A6-4455M, 4.00GB RAM, 320GB disk, Windows 8

The Lenovo IdeaPad S405 is the newest model in the company's ultra-portable range of laptops. Just 22mm thick and weighing 1.8kg, it’s just as portable as its predecessors, showing that thin and stylish laptops aren’t limited to the realm of the high-end Ultrabooks.

Lenovo IdeaPad S405

The real difference comes from the hardware inside. Where the previous Ultrabooks were Intel-based, the S405 is powered by AMD components and we were eager to see how its 2.1GHz AMD A6-4455M processor and 4GB of RAM compared. Sadly, its high clock speed made very little difference when we ran our multimedia benchmarks, as it scored just 16 overall. It was fine for web browsing and composing word documents, but it really started to chug when it tried multi-tasking different programs.

Lenovo IdeaPad S405

Unsurprisingly, its AMD Radeon HD 7400G graphics chipset was equally poor when it came to playing games and it failed our Dirt Showdown test at High Quality settings and a 720p resolution. By knocking the settings down to Low and disabling the anti-aliasing at the same resolution, we only managed 20fps, which is still too jerky to play. You’ll be much better off sticking to 2D Flash games you can download from the Windows 8 Store to satisfy your gaming fix with this laptop.

This is unfortunate, as we really liked the S405’s keyboard. Its bouncy Chiclet-style keys were well spaced and gave plenty of feedback and we’d happily type on it all day. A good keyboard can only carry a laptop so far, and its all-in-one touchpad was a complete nightmare. We found it was very temperamental.

Lenovo IdeaPad S405

Multi-touch gestures, such as two-finger scrolling, rarely worked and we had little success with Windows 8 shortcuts as well. We were able to bring up the Charms bar occasionally, but it often simply refused to switch between windows when we swiped from left to right. We suspect this is partly due to the touchpad’s slightly recessed surface area, which makes it difficult to swipe right along the sides, but there were certainly some sensitivity issues as well. Even normal tasks like opening and selecting files quickly became frustrating as it constantly sent our cursor shooting all over the screen when we clicked the lower part of the touchpad. We recommend using a mouse so it doesn’t end up driving you mad.