Lenovo IdeaPad U300s ultrabook review
- Good keyboard
- Matte screen
- Intel Core i5 power
- Fiddly touchpad
- Plain looks
- Limited connections
The Lenovo IdeaPad U300S is designed for people wanting the best laptop for working on the move. It has its work cut out, not just to overcome the popularity of the Apple MacBook Air, but there’s also stiff competition from the likes of the Asus Zenbook UX31, which has led the Ultrabook race with great design, and rave reviews.
Lenovo IdeaPad U300s: Features
The Lenovo IdeaPad U300S features an Intel Core i5 2467M 1.6GHz processor, which was disappointing when other manufacturers have managed to add Intel Core i7 processors into a smaller designs.
The low voltage family of processors are part of Intel’s Sandy Bridge range, but don’t expect the same performance as on full laptop systems like the Dell XPS 15z. The processors are clocked at 1.6GHz, but have some cunning tech built in to keep the system optimised.
There’s also 4GB of RAM, which is standard across all Ultrabooks and provides enough memory for keeping the system feeling zippy and responsive.
In terms of storage there’s a 128GB SSD drive, which we’re glad to say is becoming standard on Ultrabooks, but it’s unlikely you’ll be able to stick to this, and external; or cloud storage is a must.
One big disappointment was the lack of connections. There are two USB ports, with one USB 3.0 offering, and HDMI, but no VGA, Ethernet or memory card port on offer. This makes it one of the most limited Ultrabooks on the market, and undermines its credibility as a business orientated machine.
Lenovo IdeaPad U300s: Screen
The Lenovo has a 13.6”-inch screen with a sharp 1366x768 resolution, which has a matte coating, so it won’t dazzle you with reflections in direct sunlight.
It’s not suitable for movies, looking rather dull and lifeless, and lacks the richness found on the Asus Zenbook UX31, and other full-form laptops.
If you’re looking to enjoy HD movies, this isn’t the Ultrabook for you, but if you intend to work outside, it’s worth considering along with the Toshiba Satellite Z830.
Lenovo IdeaPad U300s: Performance
The less powerful Intel Core i5 processor showed through in our lab tests and the 7244 score in Cinebench is on the low side, when compared to the Asus Zenbook UX31, and Acer Aspire S3.
In real-world terms, this is more than enough to run advanced programs such as Photoshop, although rendering will take longer than full-powered Intel Core processors, and Ultrabooks with the Core i7 model. You'll have no problem running multiple applications at the same time.
There’s no dedicated graphics card, so 3D effects are left to the GPU found on the Intel Sandy Bridge processor. As you might expect, it produces a poor score, and you won’t be playing any of the latest titles on the Lenovo IdeaPad U300s.
There’s enough graphical grunt to deal with HD video, so you can watch a movie on the move, but anything more demanding is out of the question, and the screen won’t make movies look their best anyway.
Lenovo IdeaPad U300s: Battery
The battery life is decent, if unspectacular, with 232 minutes of use in our harsh lab tests. This translates to around 5 hours of web surfing and emailing, so you could easily spend a day working on the move.
We did find that recharging was slow, compared with rival laptops, and it took a good few hours of charge to be fully ready for a day on the move, which was disapppointing.
Lenovo IdeaPad U300s: Verdict
The Lenovo IdeaPad U300S is a good ultra-portable laptop and the matte screen makes it ideal for working outside. However, if you’re looking for an Ultrabook to use as your main PC, it doesn’t offer any compelling reasons to choose it over the competition.
It looks plain and unispiring, performance is disappointing despite being thicker and heavier than other Ultrabooks, and the keyboard and trackpad are still awkward to use.
If you’re a business user, the lack of connections will also be a problem, and when we went to an office without Wi-Fi, we really started to miss the built-in Ethernet port found on the Toshiba Portege Z830.
With a raft of new Ultrabooks rumoured to be on the horizon, it’s going to be hard for the Lenovo to stand out from the best Ultrabooks around, and it’s difficult to recommend to any particular niche.
Lenovo IdeaPad U300s availability: Available now
Lenovo IdeaPad U300s price: £899