There’s no shortage of new gaming laptops on the market for prospective buyers, ranging from entry-level units all the way to “there’s-no-limit-on-price” variants. That said, it’s not always easy to choose which is the best for your budget. We’ve reviewed many a gaming laptop in the recent months, also ranging at various price points, across many brands. This time around, we’re reviewing the Lenovo IdeaPad L340 gaming laptop. This is the first review for the brand in some 18 months and a lot has changed during this time. Lenovo launched its lineup of smaller, powerful, yet cost-effective gaming laptops towards the end of 2019, along with the latest generation of hardware. Their aim is to provide more value for gamers without breaking the bank.
IdeaPad L340 Build and Design
The IdeaPad range of units is the middle ground between the more business-oriented ThinkPad series and the much more powerful and somewhat bulkier, Legion gaming units. The redesigned IdeaPad range is a lot sleeker than any of its previously-released IdeaPad lineups. The new Lenovo IdeaPad L340 has dimensions of 363×254.6mm and just 23.9mm thick. The unit also has an all-plastic build and weighs just 2.2KG.
But, it’s not all about the numbers. The new design is a lot more stylish. There is a clear blue theme across the unit with blue keyboard lighting, between the hinges, blue ventilation ducts, as well as a blue Lenovo logo on the lid. As with many other units in this category, the L340 has a brushed metal-themed chassis. While it is made of plastic, it has a softer finish, especially on the palm rests, which makes it easier on the palms over long periods of usage.
One of the biggest improvements on the new lineup is the improved hinge. The update allows users to push the screen all the way back for a 180°-fold to lie flat on the table. The webcam has a conventional position above the screen, unlike a lot of other laptops that make it awkward with strange locations. In terms of the L340’s ports, it includes a USB Type-C 3.0, x2 Type-A, HDMI 2.0, Ethernet and 3.5mm dual jack.
Lenovo IdeaPad L340 Screen and Display
Being an entry-level unit, the expectation on the Lenovo IdeaPad L340 wasn’t exciting when it came to the screen. That said, it has a solid 15.6”, Full HD, IPS panel with a 1080p resolution display. The screen has the more conventional 60Hz refresh rate, saving costs from the higher-end 144Hz screens. That said, the L340 doesn’t really have the capabilities to produce more than 60fps for AAA games. In terms of overall brightness, the unit rates quite well. Unfortunately, the colour reproduction is a bit on the lower end at about 50% of the sRGB, with the contrast is also on the low side. In terms of blue light emissions, however, the unit does pretty well, especially if you’re going to be spending quite some time in front of the screen while gaming.
IdeaPad L340 Performance and Battery
The L340 sports an Intel 9th-generation Core i5-9300H CPU with an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 GPU. Alongside this is a 2TB HDD and 16GB of RAM. Starting at the lower end of the scale, which I received for review, the L340 includes many variations, including more powerful CPUs, GTX 1660 Ti, increased RAM and even NVMe SSD options. The Acer Predator Helios 300 features similar specs and is a direct competitor for the L340.
Under day to day workloads, the unit performs very well, even when increasing the computational load. While it is possible to overclock the CPU from 2.4GHz clock speed to 4.1GHz in turbo mode, it isn’t really necessary. When moving towards gaming mode, the Lenovo IdeaPad L340 also does a decent job. While you shouldn’t be expecting anything higher than the 1080p, it does a great job averaging around the 60fps. The more resource-heavy AAA games average around 30fps, which is still good enough for the beginner and casual gamer.
The laptop has a 45Wh battery fitted. When it comes to battery life, the unit is quite efficient at optimising power versus longevity. With the screen at full brightness under average load, the L340 can easily manage over seven hours on a single charge. Increasing the load with multi-window browsing and video playback, the battery life reduces to just under six hours and around three hours while gaming. While not setting the world alight, these are quite good stats for a lower-end gaming laptop on a budget.
The Lenovo IdeaPad L340 is all about balance. You’re not going to be getting the all-out gaming machine, but at the same time, you’re not going to be left wanting during everyday usage or while gaming. Despite the lacking screen, there are quite a lot more redeeming qualities for the L340. The unit can also be connected to your TV to overcome some of those colour limitations while gaming. Battery life is good and performance is good.
In addition to this, you won’t be breaking the bank either. The unit we received retails for around R14,000 for its specifications, with base pricing starting around R10,499. This makes the Lenovo IdeaPad L340 one of the most affordable gaming laptops on the market currently and is well worth it when on a budget. If you do have a few extra Rand around, it’s definitely worth adding an NVMe SSD and the 1660 Ti GPU, with pricing still under the R20,000 mark.
Lenovo IdeaPad L340
The Lenovo IdeaPad is a great, all-round laptop that can easily fit into any budget.