When you’re looking for a 2-in-1 laptop for less than £500, there actually isn’t much out there for you to choose from. This is especially true if you want a Windows laptop as opposed to a Chromebook, which tend to be cheaper anyways.
One laptop that I have seen around the last few years is the Lenovo Ideapad C340. It’s thought to be one of the better low-to-mid range 14 inch laptops on the market. Whilst the basic C340 has been quite popular as a smaller Chromebook, the Ideapad line introduced a budget friendly convertible Windows laptop as well.
So, I saw that the C340 was on sale for a pretty reasonable price and decided to pick it up. Here’s how I’ve been finding it so far after a few months of using it.
Lenovo Ideapad C340 Review
Overall the Lenovo Ideapad C340 is an above average laptop that offers excellent value for money. It’s by no means perfect, but if you’re hunting for a 2-in-1 laptop for a good price, then there’s probably nothing better available on the market right now.
The laptop was originally released back at the very end of 2019, and it’s available in both a 14 and 15.6 inch version. The 14 inch model is more than large enough, so I can’t even imagine how heavy and sizeable the bigger option is.
Often confused for a Chromebook, this Ideapad is actually uses the Windows operating system. This is going to be a major factor for many of us, as although the Chrome OS has its benefits, it’s still not as comprehensive as Windows.
And within this sort of £400-500 budget, there’s not many Windows laptops around that have 8GB of RAM. Let’s look at its appearance, as well as some other aspects of this Lenovo laptop.
Appearance & Design
For the most part, it looks like pretty much any other budget Lenovo laptop. Lenovos tend to have a very similar style – a plain design that’s generally meant to blend in. In terms of appearance, it’s nice enough, though unlikely to turn any heads.
As I’ve already mentioned, this is a 2-in-1 laptop. This means that you can easily flip the screen all the way back and essentially use it as a tablet. Or, you can also flip it into tent mode too, which is great for standing on the kitchen worktop and watching TV whilst you’re cooking.
You can probably see that it’s a pretty sturdy laptop. It’s weighty (I’ll get to that in a minute), but it definitely has a pretty good build quality overall. It’s reliable enough that it should see you through the near future.
Performance & Usability
After primarily using a Mac for many years, it always takes a bit of adjusting to get used to using a Windows laptop. It did take a little while to set up.
The display is fairly good, though probably not on par with premium models out there. It is a full HD 1080p display though, and it’s more than good enough for a Windows laptop. It’s an IPS panel display, meaning that it manages to produce colours really well.
Getting it set up properly shouldn’t take you too long, though I needed to allow some time for updates to run before using the laptop.
You also need to remember to use the Lenovo Vantage software on your Lenovo device. This allows you to play around with the settings and see the information of your laptop easily – it’s perfect for people that aren’t too tech savvy.
I will say that for the touchscreen, it is responsive. Although you’d think it’d have a massive effect on the battery life of the Ideapad C340, it still manages to last for 6 or more hours until you need to charge it again.
Whilst you can use your hands with it if you wish too, I’d advise that you pick up a stylus to use with it instead. This can stop fingerprints, as well as giving you a more precise click when you’re using the laptop.
The keyboard works well, and it feels pretty comfortable to type on too – though there’s not a great deal of feedback from them. Though it’s by no means the most premium or expensive chassis in terms of build quality, for the price, I’m actually pretty impressed.
I’m not a massive fan of the switching between tablet mode and laptop mode. Although that’s pretty easy for me to do, for older people it may be a little confusing having to switch between them every time you want to use the other mode.
Pros of the C340
We’ve had a brief rundown of the specs of the C340, but that doesn’t really tell us the best things about the laptop. Here’s the main reasons you’ll want to consider it.
It’s a good price
The main plus point of the Lenovo C340 is that it’s really cheap when you compare it to the other options out there. Not only that, but you don’t find many touchscreen convertible laptops at this price. They typically start at more than double the RRP of the C340.
We’re comparing it to other convertible laptops that have 8GB of RAM here. Under £500, there’s not much variety out there, which makes this laptop stand out. Plus, you can also consider upgrading the RAM in this model too – adding an extra RAM stick could be a good idea if you need more power.
The touchscreen is responsive
After using a Macbook for many years, any time I get my hands on a touchscreen laptop I appreciate it. However, I have tried out many different touchscreen laptops over the years, from the Microsoft Surface range to the Huawei Matebook line too.
This laptop manages to keep up with both of them in terms of responsiveness. You can use it with your fingers, but it could be worth picking up an additional stylus if you want the ability to be more precise. I opted for the Lenovo pen, which works well with the touchscreen display.
Battery life is pretty good
It is well known that most touch laptops struggle when it comes to battery life. Even premium models can’t cope with a lot of intensive use, and you end up having to reduce the screen brightness just to get your laptop to last a few hours.
However, the Ideapad C340 manages to deliver an above average battery life for its use. If you use it solely as a laptop, then you can get 7-8 hours out of it on a good day. This will reduce if you’re watching movies or playing games on the laptop, though.
Cons of the C340
Although there are many plus points to this laptop, there are also a couple of negatives that stand out as well. It’s only fair that we look at some of the bad aspects of the C340 too.
Lack of Storage
One key area of the laptop that some won’t like is the limited amount of storage. The usual standard that most people look for when buying a laptop is 256GB of SSD, and that’s what many premium laptops will come with.
Only having 128GB of storage space will definitely put some people off. But, if like me you mainly use cloud storage to save most of your files anyway, then the amount of storage won’t matter too much. So, it really depends on what you’re looking to do with your laptop.
Heavy for a convertible
I’m not sure about you, but when I think of a 2-in-1 laptop, I think of something sleek and lightweight. The Microsoft Surface Book is a perfect example of a laptop that manages to maintain decent quality whilst still being thin enough to hold.
And whilst you can’t expect a Surface at these sorts of prices, this is a pretty heavy laptop. Actually, as a laptop it feels fine, but when you’re using it in tablet mode, it can begin to feel a little heavy. It weighs 1.65kg, which makes it one of the heaviest 2-in-1 laptops out there.
Having a 14 inch screen as a tablet isn’t going to be for everyone, and it’s nothing like using an iPad. So, keep this in mind if you’re looking for something lightweight, as it doesn’t feel comfortable to hold for long periods of time.
Processor could be better
Although you can get upgraded models of the C340, the base model that I used came with an Intel i3 processor. I’ve got nothing against i3 processors for the present time, and I think that they’re perfectly fine for casual use.
But when you add in the fact that this laptop is touchscreen, then some people may want it for drawing and digital art. The dual-core processor will struggle with more intensive programs like the Adobe suite, so it may not be suitable for these activities.
It could be worth looking at getting a laptop with an Intel Core i5 processor instead if you do want to do tasks that require more processing power, like video and photo editing.
Overall, I do think that the Lenovo Ideapad C340 fills a gap in the market pretty well. If you’re a casual daily laptop user who just wants something to type on in the day, and use as a tablet at night, then it’s a perfect fit.
My verdict on whether this is a good investment really comes down to the price you find it at. If it’s somewhere between £350 and £420, then I think it’s a good deal. But at £500 plus, you can find something a little better for your money. So, it really comes down to the price tag attached to it at the time.