Top positive review
81 people found this helpful
Research alternatives before purchasing this laptop.
on November 3, 2013
I purchased the Lenovo S400 Touchscreen 14.0 inch as it does not have a numeric keypad, which I don't use. (I'm not an accountant). I really wanted a 15.6 screen but I could not find a laptop without the numeric keypad, so settled on this model.
CPU: I bought the S400 knowing that the CPU speed was a little slow. However it has done a good job so far.
It bogs down a bit when running too many CAD or similar programs at one time, so I am careful to run one at a time. I am on a strict budget and could not wait for any newer models to come out as time was of the essence in my purchasing decision.
Hard Drive: Slow opening large files. Hopefully SSD prices come down soon.
Memory: I upgraded the memory to 8gb. This is a must if you run multiple programs at once. Do not purchase this notebook and expect the existing memory to perform well, it will not. I purchased this product: Crucial Single 8GB DDR3 1600 MT/s (PC3-12800) Notebook Module, CT102464BF160B which performs very well.
Important Note: Performing a system status check indicates that there are two memory slots (0 and 1). This is not true, there is only one memory slot available. There is a good YouTube video that shows how to replace the memory, just type in S400 without the T-or Touch, and the video shows how to upgrade. Lot's of screws to deal with and a bit of prior knowledge makes this an easy task. If you don't have experience, please have a friend who is knowledgeable assist you.
I also suggest downloading the freeware Belarc Advisor on your existing machine to attain your MS Office software product serial numbers/keys and also to download on this laptop so that you can keep track of your configuration setups going forward. Print out a copy and keep in a safe place, as you will need the info to transfer not only MS office but other software programs that have specific keys/serial numbers. I have seen a lot of write ups where people had difficulty trying to move their MS Office software to a new machine without knowing what their product key/serial numbers were and had to re-purchase MS Office. This is absolutely not necessary, just need to be in the know, which unfortunately is a step often looked over by pc and notebook manufactures. I wish there was a standard disclosure that informed non-techy or non-IT people for each pc or laptop purchased, it would make life so much easier for the average user.
This notebook is an excellent choice for a student or small business owner. It runs MS office (once the memory is upgraded to 8 gb) just fine. Just don't expect it to be a heavy multi-task machine.
Portability: It is lightweight and very easy to carry. I purchased the Targus MCD-2 backpack and AmazonBasics 14-inch Laptop Sleeve for this laptop and both are very well made, work well for use with the S400 touch.
DVD Drive: No drive, I did purchase the Amazon basic portable drive, but have only used it once. Drives are becoming a non-essential fast due to the new download options with all the major software companies.
Touchscreen: Works well, however I find that I don't use it much. Touch screens are for tablets IMO unless the notebook screen can be rotated for public viewing or screen only use. There is a good touch screen cleaner available on Amazon that comes with a micro fiber cloth and it does an awesome job of cleaning. The cleaner can also be used on tablets, smart phones and I highly recommend: ShieldMe Screen Cleaning Kit, 6oz (on Amazon).
Ports: Plan on purchasing a good mini usb hub. I purchased and recommend: Belkin USB 2.0 4-Port Ultra-Mini Hub (available on Amazon). I would have preferred two 3.0 usb's as opposed to 1 3.0 and 2 2.0 usb's, but this is a small laptop.
Keyboard: It's ok, it's a small laptop with small keys, they work fine for me, although the touch is very different from more expensive Lenovo laptops with the better responsive keyboards. If you break a key, forget about finding a replacement, they are very difficult to find. I purchased a regular cheap S400 standard keyboard from China to have on hand for backup replacements. I also purchased a keyboard skin: Lenovo Ideapad U310 U300S U410 S300 S400 S405 Keyboard Protector Skin Cover US Layout Black. There is one key on the top F keys that is different (the switch window key) and the windows icon on the windows key is a little different, in addition the caps key on this skin does not have a hole so one can see the caps light. I just poked a hole in the skin where the caps light is on the cover with a nail that was similar size. Note: I have a pet bird that likes to visit me often on my laptop and well, likes to poop anywhere she lands, so a keyboard skin was a must for me. :)
Battery Life: Forget about it. 3 hours max is all I have been able to get out of this machine. Thank god most coffee shops have outlets! :)
Touchpad: It's ok, however due to the nature of my work I use a separate mouse, just don't like touchpads as I have never been able to get used to or set properly for my liking. In a pinch on the road I will use the touch pad, but still prefer a separate mouse.
One touch recovery: Will restore your system to factory settings only. Purchase a 16gb flash drive and use windows utilities to download recovery with your current programs and settings. More info on this subject is available by searching google, etc.
Windows 8: Belongs on tablets, not laptops, period. Windows 8 is easy to use IMO but I have been using computers, laptops since they came out. I agree that windows 8 uses more resources (CPU and memory) which is an unfortunate reality. In simplified terms WIndows 8 as far as I can tell, is really only 2 additional screens and the ability to add apps and a lot of the apps are useless. The new version 8.1 has the start button but it routes one back to the main custom app window which IMO is confusing to novice users. Too many options and choices to an already confusing industry (computer, high tech) places the average user at a disadvantage. IMO, I believe that the industry needs to rethink computer and laptop configurations as a whole. There used to be choices where one could purchase a machine customized to their liking. The manufacture's became hip to this trend, and have monopolized the market with machines that often are more than the average user needs, or in some cases too little. There seems to be a fine line. I don't know or have the answers, I just wish that manufacture's would realize this and be more accommodating. :) I know, I know :)
One last note of interest: Lenovo has stopped recognizing this laptop in their current line up on their website. So support is going to be pretty much non-existent.
Overall: This is a good machine for the budget conscious or someone who needs a quick solution. If this is going to be your main machine, I highly recommend looking for another laptop. There are many viable alternatives now coming out in this price range and IMO one will be able to get a much better deal if they do the necessary research.
I hope this review is helpful, I tried to provide as much and honest info as I could.
Have a great day!