Lenovo have recently launched their new, affordable gaming laptop. It’s called the IdeaPad L340. Considering its price of just under $1000 at the time of this review and its specs, this should be a best buy. That is if you are searching for cheap performance. But said performance doesn’t come without compromises at this price. Let’s find out what the pros and cons of the Lenovo IdeaPad L340 81LK000EUS are below.
While it’s true that most gaming laptops are priced considerably higher nowadays, the IdeaPad seems rather cheap. Especially if you’re taking into account its more powerful competition. Mobile gaming rigs that go for $2500+ are prohibitive for most casual gamers. You get the latest and best of what hardware manufacturers have to offer, but at what cost? In contrast, the new Lenovo IdeaPad L340 81LK000EUS is a breath of fresh air.
For around $1000, you get decent, if not great gaming performance, even when you consider modern releases that eat up resources like crazy. Moreover, its understated design, clean lines and thin profile further aid the end user find multiple uses for this notebook. You can easily take it at your local café, or workplace and nobody will even realize that’s a gaming laptop you’re working on.
Furthermore, the L340 offers two operating modes: Quiet, for working and Quick, for gaming. This adjusts maximum fan speed and limits other hardware components in order for the system to be more silent. After all, you don’t need all the processing power for your everyday tasks.
The Lenovo IdeaPad L340 81LK000EUS comes equipped with a new generation, Intel Core i7-9750H processing unit. This six-core CPU is made specifically for gaming and workstations, and is therefore a powerhouse. It has 6 cores, 12 threads, a base frequency of 2.6 GHz that goes up to 4.5 GHz, 12 megabytes of cache and a thermal design power of 45 Watts. It consumes copious amounts of power, but that is to be expected from such a powerful processor. Online benchmark tests rate it at 13700 points. The i7-9750H is the main selling point of the IdeaPad L340, since this exact CPU model is installed on the fantastic (and more than twice as expensive) MSI GS75 Stealth-248 gaming laptop I praised earlier this month.
That being said, any comparison between the Lenovo and the MSI stops here. As for memory size, the Lenovo L340 has just 8 gigabytes of DDR4 SDRAM @ 2400 MHz. While this is rather unsatisfactory for a serious gaming laptop, we shouldn’t forget its price tag. And the fact that you’ll be able to upgrade it up to a maximum of 16 gigabytes. Modern games rarely require more than 8 gigs as recommended requirements, but it’s good to have more in order to avoid a bottleneck. Games like FIFA20, GTA5, Witcher 3 or Far Cry 5 use 8 gigabytes of RAM. Yet, there are others who recommend 12 or 16 gigs, such as Forza Horizon 4, Battlefield V or PUBG.
Storage space is more than adequate. I’m happy to report that the Lenovo IdeaPad L340 81LK000EUS has two installed storage mediums. One is a 256-gigabyte NVMe Solid State Drive, and the other is a 1-terabyte Hard Disk Drive. Together, they offer the best blend of capacity and high speed access. You’ll want to install all your frequently used apps and games on the SSD, while storing your media collections and miscellaneous on the HDD.
Graphics and display
When it comes to graphics, the Lenovo doesn’t have the best graphics card, as expected. However, the NVIDIA GeForce 1050 (3GB) it comes with is isn’t exactly your standard entry-level GPU as well. It’s the midrange option from the 1050 line, meaning that it comes second in terms of performance, right under the Ti model. Games like Witcher 3, GTA 5 or FIFA 20 will run smoothly, even at high settings. A game such as GRID might run at only medium settings. You won’t have much trouble with most modern games using this configuration, especially thanks to its powerful processor.
Lenovo’s display is rather standard for a gaming laptop. It features a 15.6″ LED-Backlit screen with Full HD (1920 x 1080) IPS display. Anti-glare technology will make working or gaming that much easier when handling intense sunshine conditions, alongside with its 250-nit brightness, which is about as bright as it gets for regular consumer grade notebooks.
Interface options are great and diversified. The Lenovo IdeaPad L340 81LK000EUS comes with all essential ports you may need as either a gamer or a daily user. One interesting tidbit is their placement. They’re all arranged on the left side of the chassis, with only the Kensigton lock slot being present on the right side. I don’t know if this decision improves its ergonomics, but it is an interesting premise nonetheless. Having your wires hang on the left means that your mouse or hand won’t hit anything while working in tight spaces.
- 1 x USB Type-C
- 2 x USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A
- 1 x HDMI 2.0
- 1 x RJ-45
- 1 x Headphone / mic combo
As expected from a gaming laptop, you get the full deal when it comes to networking options. You can either plug your trusty Ethernet cable, or work and play using your wireless router. Either way, the options are top notch.
- Gigabit Ethernet
- Dual Band 802.11ac Wi-Fi (2×2)
- Bluetooth 4.2
Portability and battery life
Well, the major tradeoff you’ll have to live with is the apparent lack of portability. It isn’t exactly lightweight, weighing 4.8 pounds. Therefore, the Lenovo IdeaPad L340 isn’t a notebook you’d want to carry around everywhere, despite its understated design and great looks. Also, it’s not exactly thin, nor is it small enough by today’s standards. Yet, it’s an honest device. It doesn’t market itself as being something that it’s not. And that’s commendable in my book.
The laptop’s 3-Cell 45Whr will hold a charge for a maximum of 8 to 9 hours under light to moderate load. Think browsing the Internet, writing documents, streaming media and such. Should you want to play games or push its limits, you’re looking at 4 to 5 hours max.
All in all, the Lenovo IdeaPad L340 81LK000EUS is a great budget gaming laptop. If you want to spend around $1000 on a mobile gaming rig, you should take this one into account. Its modern processor is certainly future-proof, while its storage options and upgradeable memory are great additions as well. Graphics-wise, the L340 will handle games at least 3 years from now, but will struggle with some more demanding releases. After all, this isn’t flagship material.
And although its portability stats are hurting the overall picture, I think its components and build quality make up for other shortcomings (battery life and weight).