Lenovo Ideapad L340 Review
The Lenovo Ideapad L340 (81LK00HDUS) checks all the must-have boxes for an entry-level, budget gaming laptop. As reviewed with a Core i5-9300H quad-core processor and 4GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 graphics card, it pushes well above the standard 60fps mark in real-world benchmarks, translating in a smooth gaming experience.
- Excellent 1080p gaming performance
- Reasonably priced
- Good battery life
- Comfortable keyboard
- ClickPad button clicks are too loud
- 512GB SSD is a little tight for gaming
Smaller, affordable, and more capable than before, the latest generation of the flagship Lenovo IdeaPad L340 (81LK00HDUS) is a prime candidate to fulfil the role of a budget gamer’s most essential tool. The 15.6-inch IdeaPad L340 starts at a reasonable price for a Intel Core i5-9300H CPU and a Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 GPU. In case you need more power, there is a more powerful iteration of our review unit – the Lenovo Ideapad L340 (81LK000EUS) that propels into the bigs with a Core i7-9750H six-core chip and a GTX 1660 Ti, for excellent gaming performance at its native 1080p screen resolution, matching and sometimes topping the 2019 Acer Predator Helios 300. To the massive raw power, it adds better battery life and impressive build quality.
The IdeaPad L340 sits between Lenovo’s own 15-inch business ThinkPad X1 and the gaming-oriented Legion Y545 lineup, but is more of a mid-2019 debut that was a technology refresh of the heavier Legion lineup. The Lenovo IdeaPad L340 is mainly a design change, as it shares its core specifications, pricing of some models, and even port layout with the Y540.
Like its Acer and Asus competition, Lenovo clads the IdeaPad L340 in a brushed black chassis with a dominant blue keyboard lighting and acceptable build quality for the money. Priced further south that its rivals, though, and it gives reason to start appreciating the materials used here. On aesthetics, the soft-touch palm rest is a step up from hard plastic, but is less stylish than the brushed aluminum on the Acer predator Helios 300. But fair enough, it’s easier to keep clean.
The chassis is reasonably trim for a 15.6-inch gamer, at around just under an inch thick and with a footprint of 14.3 by 10 inches. Its side screen bezels aren’t as thin as those of the pricier MSI GS65 Stealth (2019), but they’re thin enough to give the Lenovo a modern look. Lenovo is attempting to pursue thin-is-in, but the do make room on the top bezel for a webcam, a feature that others like Huawei are demoting to the thick border above the display hinge.
The IdeaPad L340’s display is everything a value-oriented gaming laptop should be. In addition to its 1080p resolution that’s just right for gameplay with the GeForce GTX 1650, but games are brought to life by its bright and colorful picture, acceptable viewing angles, and anti-glare surface.
The IPS panel has a 60Hz refresh rate, not the 144Hz (or even 240Hz) available on deluxe gaming laptops, but that’s not a deal-breaker at this price. Outside of a few demanding esports titles, the GTX 1650 isn’t likely to deliver over 60 frames per second (fps) in modern titles.
The IdeaPad L340 we’re reviewing only provides the most basic ports for a modern laptop, all located on the left side, except for a Kensington lock on the right side. It doesn’t include an SD card reader and a Thunderbolt port; all you have are a USB Type-C port, a part of USD 3.1 ports, an Ethernet port, HDMI 2.0, and a headphone/mic combo.
Wireless connectivity comes via 802.11 AC Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.2. The lack of 2×2 MIMO antenna technology means you’ll have to do with transfer speeds that are not as high as what you have laptops like the HP Omen 15, but still the transfer rates are moderate at 290-309 Mb/s when sending your data.
Keyboard & Touchpad
Most gaming laptops feature RGB backlighting, but the IdeaPad L340 joins the likes of Acer’s Helios 300 that feature a monochrome keyboard backlighting that glows blue in our review model. The two-stage illumination is uniform across all keys and can be adjusted for both outdoor and indoor use. It’s a full-size keyboard with a standard number pad; it offers short travel and precise pressure point, it feels comfortable to type on, even though the arrow keys are smaller than the rest of the keys.
Below the keyboard is ClickPad that sits on its frame, something that results in rattling noises when using it. For instance, you’ll the mouse buttons only respond to excessive pressure on the bottom corners of the pads, and the surface itself is fairly stubborn on the fingerprints when swiping and making gestures. The overall experience is hum-hum, and you’ll definitely notice some lagging when using the mouse pointer.
Lenovo bills the IdeaPad L340 as a powerful gaming laptop. However, while that is true, not all models in this Series fit that description since you have some pricier powerful systems. On the flip-side, our review unit belongs to the entry-level category and is capable enough to run modern games smoothly. Nothing else, unless you’re willing to spend more for a better configuration. You’ll have to do without the very high graphics settings and frame rates on modern titles, and you should not attempt playing at 4K resolution either.
On productivity, the 9th Generation Intel Core i5-9300H processor, paired with 8GB RAM and 512GB NVMe SSD make for a smooth operation on daily computing tasks. The chip’s 2.4GHz base clock speed maxes at 4.1GHz in turbo mode and can be maintained by up to two simultaneous cores backed by efficient cooling on the system. As configured, this laptop can deliver stable performance on daily tasks including spreadsheet processing and light media creation among other projects.
On the IdeaPad L340, Lenovo installs two variants of the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 so you can choose between three and four gigabytes of video memory. Our review unit is the 4GB version and it puts forward a strong showing in real-world gaming. The graphics card used here can run modern games at Full HD resolution, but you will at times have to lower your graphics settings.
For instance, even older games like ‘The Witcher 3’ barely exceed the 30 FPS mark at the highest graphics settings (Ultra Settings), but within the realm of a budget gaming laptop, it delivers over 60 fs on modern games.
As always, synthetic tests alone are meaningful for measuring a GPU’s general 3D aptitude, but they can’t beat full retail video games in rating a laptop’s gaming performance. Far Cry 5 and Rise of the Tomb Raider are both modern AAA titles that boast built-in schemes that can be run at 1080p on both the moderate and maximum graphics-quality presets (Far Cry 5 – Normal and Ultra; Rise of the Tomb Raider – Medium and Very High).
This is possible considering that Far Cry 5 is DirectX 11-based, while Rise of the Tomb Raider can be fired to DX12, which is essentially what a benchmark does. Tested at 1080p, the Lenovo Ideapad L340 delivers 97 fps in Normal settings, but the values drop to 81 fps in Ultra settings; and Rise of the Tomb Raider garners 125 fps in Medium settings and 97 fps in Very High settings. Both scores are slightly better than what you get on the Acer Predator Helios 300 (2019) fitted with Nvidia’s GTX 1660 Ti graphics card.
Simply put, the extra cost of the RTX 2060 doesn’t pan out, especially when stacked against GTX 1660 Ti-based systems. That’s is partly due to the fact that the RTX 2060 can’t make great use of ray-tracing, like you would with high-end RTX 2070 and RTX 2080 variants. As such, since the performance is about equal to the non-RTX cards, the added cost isn’t really worthwhile. Regardless of how it fares head to head, if you have your eye on this laptop, in a larger sense, this performance is solid.
Battery life is one area where the Lenovo IdeaPad L340 pulls away from the Acer predator Helios 300, although just over 4 hours off the plug isn’t long by any measure. (In fact, its barely enough to keep battery life off the list.) The MSI GS65 Stealth offers better battery life, but the Acer Nitro 5 triumphs over them all.
The Lenovo IdeaPad L340 checks all the must-have boxes for an entry-level, budget gaming laptop. As reviewed with a Core i5-9300H quad-core processor and 4GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 graphics card, it pushes well above the standard 60fps mark in real-world benchmarks, translating in a smooth gaming experience. However, when buying on budget, you have to accept minor trade-offs such as a missing card reader and a middling ClickPad. Also, Wi-Fi could be faster.
All told, in addition to good maintenance scores, a bright display with suave contrast and black value, Lenovo offers real value here. The Acer predator Helios 300 (2019) remains our Editors Choice thanks to a bright, 144Hz screen as standard equipment and it runs way cooler than the Lenovo model.
Still, the Acer Predator Helios 300’s exemplary profile does very little in stopping the Lenovo IdeaPad L340 from being a close second (or better choice) if you’re on a tight budget or prefer a more toned-down design and can make use of its extra battery life.