Lenovo IdeaPad U300s review

9 Mar 2012

Understated elegance married with decent performance, but the dim display sends it dropping down the rankings

Price when reviewed: 
799(£799 inc VAT)
4

Unlike the rest of the Ultrabook crowd, there’s no way you could possibly accuse the IdeaPad U300s of being a MacBook Air clone.

From the first moments with Lenovo’s Ultrabook, we were seduced. The slight lip around the base and lid make it easy to peel the lid open, which itself is held shut by hidden magnets, and the combination of stark, sharp edges and gentle, curved accents make for a tremendously classy laptop.

The almost completely featureless exterior feels great in the hand, and at 1.32kg, it’s plenty light enough. It doesn’t feel quite as bombproof as either of Asus' Zenbooks, though, with the UX31 and UX21 both impressing.

It takes barely any pressure on the lid to cause show-through on the display, and there’s a little side-to-side give in the base. Look even closer, and there are also a few areas where the finish isn’t quite immaculate, such as the hole for the power socket that doesn’t match up with the indent beneath.

Lenovo IdeaPad U300s

Nit-picking aside, though, there’s much to like. The keyboard is well up to Lenovo’s usual high standards. We’re not keen on the half-height Enter key, or the narrow right-hand Shift key, but the overall feel more than makes amends. There’s just the right amount of travel, each dab of a key giving a crisp dig of feedback followed by a soft bounce at the end of the stroke. It’s superb.

The touchpad is pretty good, too, although we were grateful for the ability to disable it: we often found our thumbs brushing past the pad while typing, sending the cursor zipping into another paragraph. That aside, it’s innocuous enough. The glass touchpad depresses with a firm, solid click, and the multitouch scrolling and zooming is prompt and intuitive.

Details

Price ex VAT £666
Price inc VAT £799
Overall rating 4
Features & Design 3
Value for Money 5
Performance 4

Warranty

Warranty 1yr collect and return

Physical specifications

Dimensions 324 x 216 x 18mm (WDH)
Weight 1.320kg
Travelling weight 1.7kg

Processor and memory

Processor Intel Core i5-2467M
RAM capacity 4.00GB
Memory type DDR3

Screen and video

Screen size 13.3in
Resolution screen horizontal 1,366
Resolution screen vertical 768
Resolution 1366 x 768
Graphics chipset Intel HD Graphics 3000
HDMI outputs 1

Drives

Capacity 128GB
Battery capacity 3,400mAh
Replacement battery price inc VAT £0

Networking

802.11a support yes
802.11b support yes
802.11g support yes
802.11 draft-n support yes
Integrated 3G adapter no
Bluetooth support yes

Other Features

Wireless hardware on/off switch no
Wireless key-combination switch yes
USB ports (downstream) 2
3.5mm audio jacks 1
SD card reader no
Memory Stick reader no
MMC (multimedia card) reader no
Smart Media reader no
Compact Flash reader no
xD-card reader no
Pointing device type Touchpad
Hardware volume control? no
Integrated microphone? yes
Integrated webcam? yes
Camera megapixel rating 1.3mp
Fingerprint reader no

Battery and performance tests

Battery life, light use 7hr 7min
Overall Real World Benchmark score 0.56

Operating system and software

Operating system Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
OS family Windows 7
Recovery method Partition