Performance and Benchmarks
The ThinkPad S431 in all configurations provides reliable day-to-day performance. The 500GB 7200RPM hard drive is aided by a 24GB Solid State Drive (SSD) cache to provide most of the benefits of using all SSD storage without the cost. The S431 supports up to 8GB of RAM though was only configurable with 4GB at the time of writing. We’d recommend saving $100 and going with the base Intel Core i3 processor as opposed to the Core i5 in our review unit; the difference isn’t going to be noticeable for most tasks. One of the S431’s highlights is the 1600×900 resolution display; it’s both touch-enabled and has an anti-glare surface. Another item of note is the biometric fingerprint reader.
Our review model of the Lenovo ThinkPad S431 has the following specifications:
- 14-inch touch-enabled display (1600×900 resolution, anti-glare surface)
- Windows 8 Pro 64-bit
- Intel Core i5-3337U dual-core processor (1.8GHz, up to 2.7GHz Turbo Boost, 3MB cache)
- Integrated Intel HD Graphics 4000
- 4GB DDR3L-1600 RAM (1x 4GB; 8GB max – 1x 8GB)
- 500GB 7200RPM hard drive (Hitachi HTS725050A7E630)
- 24GB SSD cache (LITE-ON LSS-24L6G)
- No internal optical drive
- Broadcom 802.11n wireless LAN
- Integrated Bluetooth 4.0
- Integrated HD webcam
- Integrated fingerprint reader
- 4-cell li-ion battery (46Wh)
- 1-year limited warranty
- Dimensions: 13.1″ x 8.9″ x 0.8″
- Weight: 3.9 lbs.
- Starting Price: $615
- Price as Configured: $809
wPrime processor comparisons (lower score means better performance):
PCMark 7 is a newer benchmark and measures overall system performance (higher score means better performance):
3DMark 11 is a benchmark that measures overall graphics card performance for gaming (higher score means better performance):
Heat and Noise
The S431 produces little heat; the only area of the chassis that gets remotely warm is near the display hinge where the heat is vented. Most of the chassis remains room temperature during normal activities. The fan itself is barely audible even under full benchmarking load. Overall the cooling solution works well.
We use our new Powermark “Balanced” benchmark to test battery life; it uses a combination of automated web browsing, word processing, gaming and video playback workloads. This test is far more strenuous than our previous test; the runtime numbers are understandably lower.
Powermark “Balanced” battery life test results (higher score means better battery life):
The S431’s built-in 4-cell battery propelled it to two hours and 31 minutes; this is an anemic time contrasted against competing Ultrabooks. At a minimum we’d like to see another hour (if not two) in this test. For reference, the S431’s time in this benchmark translates to about five hours of “normal” usage (web browsing and general productivity).