For years, Lenovo has built business-class laptops. Lately, the company has made a name for itself by creating reliable laptops at a low price for users on a budget. And, in most ways, the Lenovo IdeaPad S145 upholds this trend and should be a useful laptop for everyday users.
What you get here is a performant 15-inch laptop with enough power to get you through anything everyday life can throw at it, with a very comfortable keyboard to boot. If you’re working from home, or just looking to do some light office or school work, the IdeaPad S145 will be more than sufficient.
The Lenovo IdeaPad S145 looks, well, like the more expensive ThinkPad laptops. Its design isn’t something you’d call attractive, all-plastic build that feels sturdy and should be more than durable enough for the average user. The display doesn’t show any signs of flexing, even under stress, which is expected of Lenovo laptops.
A granite black finish that, while minimalist enough, comes standard with the Lenovo IdeaPad S145, and you can’t change it. This isn’t surprising, though, especially considering the target audience for this laptop: folks looking for a durable, everyday use laptop that can be carried around on daily commute.
One other thing you’ll like about this laptop is hoe thin and light it is. Measuring just 14.3 x 9.9 by 0.8 inches and weighing just 4 pounds, you’ll be able to tote the IdeaPad S145 wherever you go without straining your back. When compared, the Lenovo Flex 14 is even thinner and lighter, measuring 0.7 inches thick and weighing 3.5 pounds, and the Asus ZenBook 13 (UX331FA-AS51) is the best in class, at just 0.5 inches thin and 2.5 pounds. Still, the S145 will impress by how easy it is to carry around.
Display & Ports
The Lenovo IdeaPad S14 display falls in line with the rest of the notebook: it’s likeable, but nothing spectacular. This is a 15.6-inch, 1366 x 768 IPS matte finish display that should work well in most environments. However, it isn’t very bright if that’s what you happen to be looking for. For day-to-day use, it is a very practical display but we at least expected a 1080p resolution, like Lenovo offers in its range of business laptops.
As for port selection, the IdeaPad’s offering is pretty basic. You’re getting a pair of USB 3.1 ports, a single USB 2.0 port, an HDMI port and a headphone/microphone combo jack. That’s all. Wireless connectivity comes via Wi-Fi 802.11 AC and Bluetooth 4.0. The speakers are fairly quiet, and you really need to wear headphones.
Keyboard & Touchpad
It should not come as a surprise that the keyboard here is stellar, though. After all, Lenovo always offers the perfect laptop keyboards, and the keyboard on the IdeaPad S145 is a dream. We here at DigitalMag do a lot of typing, so we really appreciate a keyboard that’s as tactile and downright comfortable as this one. In fact, this might be one of the best budget laptops for writers – as long as you can look past the few faults.
We only wish we could say the same thing with the touchpad. It’s practical and functional, but it doesn’t have anything else. It doesn’t even include a fingerprint reader like its ThinkPad siblings. However, we totally understand why it has to be this size. It’s a budget machine and Lenovo had to cut a few corners to balance design and performance. The touchpad isn’t a pleasant experience, but it isn’t the worst either.
Even with the flaws on the Lenovo IdeaPad S145, performance isn’t one of them. It is powered by a 2.6GHz dual-core AMD A6-9225 (up to 3.0 GHz), 8GB RAM and 1TB hard drive storage, alongside AMD R4 graphics card. This is enough to get you through an entire workday with tons of tabs open in chrome, Slack and iTunes without lagging. We get that the S145 is a no-nonsense home-office machine, and it at least pills that off.
Don’t be fooled by the budget price tag of this laptop, this notebook can get some work done, and it can multitask like a pricey machine. Granted you don’t expect too much in the way of gaming on this thing. The integrated AMD R4 graphics card will get you through basic gaming, beyond that, just don’t even try it. If you must play modern games but on a tight budget, Lenovo offers the IdeaPad L340 with an Intel Core i5 processor and Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 1650 graphics card.
Lenovo’s laptops are often great with battery life, and the IdeaPad S145’s 6 hours 13 minutes is just fine, not the best though. Don’t get us wrong, a battery life of six hours isn’t anything to write home about, but you should be able to finish most projects without having to reach for the charger. The Lenovo Flex 14 offers just over 8 hours on a single charge, while the Acer Spin 3 (SP314-53N-77AJ) offers just over 11 hours on a single charge.
The Lenovo IdeaPad S145 is a nice laptop – it’s just not especially great, either. If you’re on a tight budget and looking for a laptop to get some work done and you really don’t care about anything else, it will surely get the job done. The display isn’t the best, especially the 1366 x 768 resolution, but there have to be compromises somewhere when making a really budget-friendly notebook. The higher-end options currently offered by Lenovo make all that much sense, with better specs, but it’s still useful to have budget friendly options of course.
That said, the Lenovo IdeaPad S145 is a good option at the budget end of the market, and in most parts, it cuts the right corners, maintaining a decent enough build quality at a great price. However, if you need a better screen and great performance overall, our Editors’ Choice for budget laptops, the Asus VivoBook 15 (F512FA-AB34) is worth having at the top of your short list.