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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on April 24, 2013
Verified Purchase
Originally, I had wanted the ultrabook from Lenovo but it was way out of my price range. This laptop was my alternative choice. I love that it's super lightweight and easy to carry around school. It reboots quickly, has a decent battery life of 3~hrs, never overheats, and is pretty quiet. Sound is ok (more details down below). I use this laptop to do normal, everyday student activites: write papers, browse the web, listen to music, watch movies and the i3 processor is good enough and fast enough for me.

Some things took me a while to get used to (i.e. very sensitive trackpad as mentioned in another review, typing on a new keyboard, Win8). I had to mess with the sensitivity settings for the trackpad for a while until it was to my liking. I don't really like the size of the BACKSPACE key. For some reason, they made it smaller than a normal size and placed PG UP/PG DOWN keys next to it and I hit it by accident all the time. It's a pain and I'm still getting used to it after a few weeks. Windows 8 was a bit overwhelming at first but I found a really helpful guide to explain what had changed and new features:

[...]

An issue I had was that the speakers are located on the underside of the laptop...never really knew of any laptop that did that but it's a problem if you're in bed and listening to music. Blankets obviously muffle the sound so I usually hook it up to an external speaker. Just wish the speakers weren't impeded by anything but when it's on top of a desk, sound is clear and good. Final thing is that the webcam and microphone are pretty awful. I had issues when using it to Skype. Webcam quality just sucks and for some reason, the microphone never picks up my voice so I just end up using my old laptop that I was supposed to replace with this one (Sony Vaio 4 yrs old).

Overall, I like this laptop for it's ease of travel and battery life. It performs well while being extremely affordable. Just a few things you should be warned about beforehand and where some things could be improved.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on March 9, 2013
Verified Purchase
This laptop is slim, light and works fast. It can boot and shut down within seconds! I also get used to win8 now. I don't play big games with it. I mainly use it to write, browse the web, listen to music and watch movies. This laptop does all these wrks perfectly. Sometimes the noise of fan and hard disk is a bit large but still bearable.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on November 29, 2013
The ~2000mah 4-cell battery gives you 2 hours of real world usage.
2h 30m under very light usage (e.g. typing a Word document, web browsing (text&images only) without videos, flash, animations, or sound)
1h 30m if you're watching a YouTube video.

Lenovo needs to compensate its victims with free wireless electricity for the life of the product!
Or atleast a second battery we can swap in....

Completely unacceptable, I don't know how they claim up to 5-hours. Only way to get 5 hours is if you sleep it and turn it back on 5 hours later.

Other smaller gripes:
- Inexplicable ding dong sounds (device connect/disconnect) every time you turn it on or wake up from sleep.
(Can mute in Windows Settings, but why is it playing at all? What's being connected and disconnected?)

Just don't like:
- Small backspace key.
- The keyboard design makes me mistype a lot. The Accutype name is ironic, because it has the effect of making you type less accurately.

I don't understand how this S series can have such terrible battery life.
The U-series laptops by Lenovo seem to get reasonably close to its advertised battery life.
My $230 Toshiba laptop even gets its stated 4 hour battery life (light usage).

See Amazon reviews on the Lenovo S405 for more hysterical reviews on the horrible battery life on the S-series. Different processor, but same design and same battery pack.

Other:
Touchscreen - neat addition, but I don't have much use for it. Awkward and uncomfortable having the laptop bobbing back and forth every time you touch it... and you have to reach for it. Can't fold it over like a notebook/tablet/yoga... so you end you support the screen with one hand and using your other hand to.... touch it. No compelling tile-world touch apps either.
The only decent touch app seems to be Fresh Paint, in my opinion.

Touchpad - Odd acceleration/sensitivity settings by default, makes it a pain it use. Can be changed in settings. Then it seems fine. I like that's it's all integrated like a Macbook touch pad, no separate button for clicks.

Webcam - A joke. Driver/software supports 720p encoding but the camera sensor is a junk 0.3mp sensor that gives you pixelated and grainy off colored images/video. $230 toshiba c55 has a better camera, not to say it's decent, it's just better than what this has.

Speakers - Decent speakers. Probably would be better if they were top facing or front facing rather than bottom facing. Has a neat effect of trembling your keyboard/laptop base when it's... sounding...? Still quite nice compared to the very budget laptops I have which sound like old school am radio with more tin.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on March 18, 2013
Verified Purchase
Had my doubts about Windows 8. In my opinion, looks a lot better and has some nice features like built in iso support. The big track pad is nice, as is the Chiclet style keyboard. The screen and bezel are glossy, which is the only thing I don't care for as far as aesthetics go. Performance wise, the graphics capabilities are not bad for basic games like the sims 3 and SimCity. The power button, and battery and power lights are a nice white LED, however there is no HDD indicator. Speakers are decent for a laptop.

It's a joy connecting to my tv via HDMI, this computer has no problem playing a movie and running a few other tasks at the same time on two screens.

The webcam isn't that great on quality, but it's not something I use, so it's not a deal breaker for me. The computer is a bit flimsy, if you pick it up by the very edge it will flex quite a bit. It's a thin computer, but it's too bad they didn't use a stronger frame. The fan is almost never noticeable.

The power cord doesn't "click" in.. I find after using it a bit and moving around with it connected the cord seems to slowly work it's way out a bit.

Overall, I think this computer was a good deal for the price and I'm happy with my purchase. It does have a few things I'd like to change, but they are really not a big deal for me.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on December 2, 2013
This is a good slim laptop .battery life arounf 3.0-3.5hrs.Using it for basic surfing light office docs.Camera quality is not great but ok.
Sound is clear when not covered.
Nice keyboard and responsive touchapd and touch screen.
Windows 8.1 upgrade went fine.
If you have slow internet connection use the ethernet cable to to download windows8.1.
If after upgrade the wifi does not work .Change the driver installed by windows8.1 from intel to Broadcom
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on August 16, 2013
Verified Purchase
Pros:
Lightweight
Inexpensive
Plenty of USB ports
Lightweight power cord
Speaker quality

Cons:
Keyboard has a bit of give
Screen quality is just OK (not as sharp/clear as I would like)
No optical drive
Battery life is shorter than expected
Speaker location
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on April 3, 2013
Verified Purchase
Excellent choice of a laptop for college. I'm able to take it around school without a hassle and all of the features work perfectly.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on August 8, 2013
Verified Purchase
We got this for our father in law and though widows 8 is a bit of Nuisance the product is really good
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on February 21, 2013
Verified Purchase
Very good product but within 10 days price was dropped by 50$, little sad with that... still i like it.. i buyed as a gift to my brother.
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10 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on December 22, 2012
Read at the end about my problems with this computer.

I wanted a computer that is light weight and easy to bring with me. Netbooks fit that class, except that the keyboard is so small that one can not touch type on it. This machine is a great combination. It has a normal size keyboard (no number pad, but do not need that here), nice size screen, and light weight. Like an ultrabook, but at half the price. My rationale in buying it is if it is too big and too heavy to shlep around, then I am not going to bring it, then why have it.

The big problem is that when one travels, AND uses the machine for more than just internet communication, computer functionality is important. And so is the size and the weight. This machine does all that I need. I am very impressed with it.

On the negative side, there is no door or cover for the RAM or the harddrive. If I were to go and put in a bigger RAM stick, I would have to take the whole bottom off, and that would void my warranty.

Then the OS. I know that Windows sells, but is ridiculous for a mouse driven laptop. It is fine for a cell phone, but not for programming on a machine like this. I wiped the hard drive, turned off UEFI, and then installed Opensuse 12.2 (12.1 does not have a driver for this new graphics chip). It now works very well.

On another side, the box said that the machine is "distributed by Lenovo" meaning that they did not make it. Lenovo is a fine company and I expect that it is a well made machine, or they would not sell it. I also note that Asus also makes an S400, but theirs has a touch screen and costs a whole lot more. I do not need a touch screen so this is much better. And I can not think of a higher quality computer manufacturer than Asus.

One more point, the BIOS does not allow turning off the touch pad, and sometimes while typing it causes some funky things to happen (I might bump it). I carry a mouse with me and do not like the touch pad. And there are NO BIOS updates available from Lenovo for this machine.

Just found out that I can turn off the key pad with F plus Fn keys. Too bad that is screwed up now.

Update

There were 4 keys that were dead, would not work. This was from the beginning. So, I tried plugging in a USB keyboard and everything worked fine, but the keyboard on the machine had the problem.
Then I put in skype and the image looked like I was underwater, just blurry.

so I sent it back under warranty. I was told that it would be about 10 days.
After 3 weeks I called and they had not even touched it yet.
Called back in another week and they said that they put in a new motherboard and it is on the way.

Well, it came back, and now it had six things wrong with it. The novo button would not bring up the BIOS, but Fn and F2 together will within the first 1 second of boot up. The BIOS says that the machine is an S405 but with an Intel chip. Huh?
The camera is not blurry now, it is dead.
The F keys do what they are supposed to combined with Fn, but can not be used as F keys anymore.
Should I go on.
Yes, it went right back. They paid the post for Fedex express.
Now lets see what happens.
I should have bought the optional insurance package when I bought it. I have had Lenovo and Toshiba in the past and no problems. I am very disappointed is all that I can say.

I sent it back for the second time, less than a few hours after I got it. I started calling after 3 weeks. Did not get calls back. I finally filed a formal complaint with the BBB. That got me a response. Promised me my choice of two machines in exchange. Reviews on neither were very good. Why go from the frying pan to the fire?
I finally got it back from service after 6 weeks (now a total of 10 weeks). The trim piece around the screen was falling off, just hanging there. The Novo button will not depress and does nothing. No more boot options. At least it now now knows that it is an S400. What else is wrong I have no idea at this time. I plan to get rid of this machine. Maybe round the corners and make it into a frisbee.

My opinion (and nothing more) is that this is a nice machine, as long as you never let Lenovo service it. This is based upon my experience of them breaking more than they fix every time it goes in, them taking ten weeks, and the lack of communication.
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