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Schenker S403 review

Kat Orphanides
13 Jun 2014
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
875
inc VAT

This ultraportable has a good specification for its price, but is let down by terrible battery life

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Specifications

14 in 1,920x1,080 display, 1.8kg, 1.6GHz Intel Core i5-4200U, 8.00GB RAM, 620GB disk, Windows 8.1

The Schenker S403 GT is a highly customisable laptop built into an off-the-shelf Clevo chassis, but it's a lot lighter than most Clevo-based laptop we've seen. It's also a fair bit cheaper than similarly specified equivalents from big names. Admittedly, it's not as pretty or as light as ultra-thin portables from the likes of Dell, Apple or HP, but the S403 GT will still comfortably fit into most bags and, at 1.8kg, is light enough to use on the move.

Schenker S403

The laptop has an attractive brushed-metal finish on its lid, but the plastic in the interior looks and feels rather cheap. The keyboard is fairly standard, with flat, widely spaced square keys. They don't have much room to move when you strike them, though, and this lack of travel means that it can be difficult to tell that you've hit a key hard enough to register when you're typing quickly. However, the layout lends itself to fast, accurate typing.

Schenker S403

The touchpad is positioned below the spacebar, which means it's offset towards the left-hand side of the wrist rest. We're not always keen on this kind of positioning, but in this instance, we found both keyboard and touchpad comfortable to work with. The touchpad has separate buttons, rather than the buttons being integrated into the touchpad, as is currently the fashion among many laptop manufacturers. This makes the buttons easy to click accurately, although they're a little thinner than we'd like.

Schenker S403

The S403 GT's 1,920x1,080 matt screen looks a little dull and gritty, but we were pleased to find that it had a very good contrast ratio of 926:1 and deep black levels of 0.28cd/m2 when we tested it with our colour calibrator. We were also happy with its colour accuracy. Although the matt finish means colours don’t quite have the same punch we see on glossy displays, the S430 GT's screen was very comfortable to use to direct sunlight and our test images looked great. Our measurements backed up our subjective impressions, reporting an sRGB gamut coverage of 89.8%, which is excellent for a laptop screen.

Schenker S403

The S403 GT has an Nvidia GeForce GT 745M graphics processor. We were hoping to see some proper gaming performance from this dedicated chip, but we were disappointed. The laptop failed our standard laptop Dirt Showdown test, which we run at a resolution of 1,2080x720 with 4x anti-aliasing and High quality settings. However, dropping the quality to Medium brought the frame rate up to a slick 53fps. You'll be able to play most 3D games at reduced settings, though the GPU will struggle with the most demanding of titles.

The laptop has an HDMI output which allows you to connect a second screen to use as a source for a TV or projector. It's otherwise rather short on ports, with just two USB3 ports for connecting external devices, an SDXC card reader, 3.5mm mic and headphone ports and a Gigabit Ethernet port. Our review model also came with an integrated 802.11ac Wi-Fi adaptor. This standard, the latest and fastest around, is backwards compatible with older wireless routers and means that, if you have an AC-compatible router, you'll be able to get speeds that rival 10/100 wired Ethernet.

Schenker S403
Schenker S403

The laptop is equipped with a 120GB mSATA SSD system disk and a 500GB hard disk. This combination means you'll get fast boot speeds and a responsive desktop thanks to the SSD, but still have plenty of room to store media files on the standard hard disk. As is common with many slim laptops, there's no optical disc drive.

In our review configuration the laptop came with 8GB RAM, which is plenty for most purposes. You can specify up to 16GB should you wish. It's also equipped with a 1.6GHz Intel Core i5-4200U. This dual-core processor isn't massively powerful, producing an overall score of 48, but it can certainly cope with most desktop applications - just don’t expect to transcode high-resolution video in a hurry. Unfortunately, the laptop did poorly in our battery life test, lasting just three hours in our light-use battery test, which simulates web browsing.

Schenker S403

The S403 GT isn't as light or as attractive as many rivals in the same category, and it lacks a touchscreen display. It's well made, though, has a replaceable battery and is a bit cheaper than similarly specified big-name brands. All these factors make it a potential cut-price rival for laptops with similar specifications costing close to £1,000. However, the poor battery life means it's not the kind of device you'll be able to use on the road, while its gaming performance is outstripped by the equally portable and much more powerful Gigabyte P34G v2.

Basic Specifications

Rating***
ProcessorIntel Core i5-4200U
Processor clock speed1.6GHz
Memory8.00GB
Memory slots2
Memory slots free1
Maximum memory16GB
Size21x340x2140mm
Weight1.8kg
SoundRealtek HD Audio
Pointing devicetouchpad

Display

Viewable size14 in
Native resolution1,920x1,080
Graphics ProcessorIntel HD Graphics 4400
Graphics/video portsHDMI
Graphics Memory1,792MB

Storage

Total storage capacity620GB
Optical drive typenone

Ports and Expansion

USB ports2
Bluetoothyes
Wired network ports1x 10/100/1000
Wireless networking support802.11ac
PC Card slotsnone
Supported memory cardsSDXC
Other ports3.5mm headphone port, 3.5mm mic port

Miscellaneous

Carrying caseNo
Operating systemWindows 8.1
Operating system restore optionburn own restore disc
Software includednone
Optional extrasnone

Buying Information

Warrantytwo years collect and return
Price£875
Detailswww.mysn.co.uk
Supplierhttp://www.mysn.co.uk