Lenovo Ideapad U300S Laptop review

A solid performer but doesn’t stand out from the crowd

Lenovo Ideapad U300S Laptop review
Despite the Lenovo IdeaPad U300S being a fantastic ultraportable laptop - with a comfortable keyboard, lightweight design and decent amount of power - it does little to stand out from rivals like the Asus Zenbook. That said, the Lenovos brushed metal body feels solid, there’s little flex and there are contours and lines which add detail, making it more interesting than the myriad Apple MacBook Air clones we've seen elsewhere.

An Intel Core i5 processor is under the hood, which we were a bit disappointed to find when other manufacturers haw added Intel Core i7 processors into a smaller chassis. There’s also 4GB of RAM and a small but fast 128GB SSD drive.

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 with the Asus Zenbook UX31 and Acer Aspire S3. These arc much more powerful systems, and the Lenovo has little in reply to make it a real winner.

The battery life made up for this somewhat with 231 minutes of use in our harsh lab tests. This translates to around five hours of web surfing and emailing, which equates to a good day on the move, but nowhere near the seven hours quoted by Lenovo on their marketing literature. However, this still beats much of the competition in this group test. The Lenovo features a 13.6-inch screen, and in a nod to true portability, there’s a matt screen with a coating to help stop reflections in direct sunlight. Matt screens tend to polarise opinion: some complain they make the panel dull and lifeless; others love the ability to work outside, and near window's, that you don’t get with a glossy screen.

Both of these statements are true: with this screen the Lenovo is unsuitable for those who want to enjoy movies and pictures, but its still a great choice for people who want to work on the move.

Frustrating to use
Ultrabooks arc poor, uncomfortable keyboards and single button track pads that are frustrating to use.
Two of the major complaints about Ultrabooks arc poor, uncomfortable keyboards and single button track pads that are frustrating to use. The Lenovo is little better than most. On the plus side, the keys are as comfortable and natural to use as any Ultrabook. They're well cushioned, well-spaced, with isolation style keys jutting through the aluminium chassis. However, Lenovo has made the Enter and Backspace keys very small, with the Home, End and Delete keys to the for right. These meant mistakes were common, and it took us a while to get used to the keyboard. The trackpad, however, is terrible and often clicking and navigating led to chaotic moments, where clicks were misregistered.

In short, the Lenovo IdeaFad U300S is a good ultraportable laptop, but doesn't offer more than its direct competition on test here. Battery life is average, performance is mediocre, despite being thicker and heavier than any other Ultrabook, and the keyboard and trackpad are still awkward to use.

The matt screen will make this Ultrabook attractive for business buyers, but the lack of a VGA and Ethernet connection found on its Toshiba rival mean that many will inevitably overlook this laptop.


What's It Best For
WEB, MAIL AND PHOTO Yes
Light and Portable Yes
HD Movies and TV No
Games and Editing No
Details
Part Code M6845UK
Review Date 24 Nov 2012
Price ex VAT
£666
Price inc VAT
£799
Overall rating
4 stars out of 6
Features & Design
3 stars out of 6
Value for Money
5 stars out of 6
Performance
4 stars out of 6
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
Operating system and software
Operating system
Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
OS family
Windows 7
Recovery method
Partition
Battery and performance tests
Battery life, light use
7hr 7min
Overall Real World Benchmark score
0.56
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