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March 27, 2012

Lenovo IdeaPad U300s Review

The IdeaPad U300s is Lenovo’s very own sampling in the ultrabook category. The model got its inspiration with Lenovo’s earlier ultraportable laptops, starting with the smaller IdeaPad U150 and the 12.5-incher IdeaPad U260. The U300s i basically a souped-up but slimmed-down version. Check out our full review of the Lenovo IdeaPad U300s after the break.

Unlike other ultrabooks that try to taper the edges making the notebook look slimmer than it actually is, the IdeaPad U300s is flat all across giving it an impression that it is thicker and heavier than the rest. In some respects, that is true but if we take the measurement of an ultrabook’s thinness from the thickest part of the base, then the U300s can hold its own.

The metallic, matte finish of the lid spreads all around the body with a thin protrusion around the edges that helps in giving you a firm grip whenever you open the lid. The full-sized ports (the body design gives it that advantage instead of the tapered design that forces other manufacturers to use a mini or micro-sized ports) are all situated on the left and right sides of the laptop.

The screen used on the U300s is of glossy finish and this provides a bright and crisp display. The resolution is only 1366×768 pixels though and while it is decent enough, we would have wanted to see higher resolution (like the 1600×900 pixels on the UX31 or the 1440×900 pixels of the Mac Air 13).

One of the nicest and most comfortable keyboards on a laptop are designed by Lenovo and they were able to use this on the IdeaPad U300s. The keyboard has fairly-sized keys that are generously spaced apart. The keys are soft, responsive and laid out very neatly for comfortable typing. The only thing missing that we really wanted to see was the back-lit feature.

The generously-sized trackpad is smooth, responsive and comfortable to use; the sensitivity is just right and we’ve not experienced a lot of jerkiness or unwanted mouse commands.

Performance

Almost all of the processors used by ultrabooks are identical — an Intel Core i5 with 2 cores and 4 threads. The same is true with the the GPU since that one is embedded with the Intel chip.

Windows Experience Index shows us the relative performance of the system running Windows OS. The CPU got a sub-score of 5.9; same with the RAM while the SSD storage got the highest sub-core of 7.2. The Intel HD 3000 graphics got the lowest sub-score of 4.6 for Windows Aero.

Over-all performance on Windows 7 is very good and pretty much handles most of the heavy apps you’d want to install.

Connectivity.

Unlike most other ultrabooks that resort into using mini or micro ports, the IdeaPad U300s features full-sized HDMI ports and USB ports, including one fast USB 3.0 port and a Gigabit LAN port.

There’s also the standard WiFi 802.11 b/g/n for wireless connection to the internet but unfortunately Lenovo only managed to pair it with a slower Bluetooth radio.

Battery Life.

Battery life is somewhat tricky with most ultrabooks. This is because you might be using the power-saving mode to do menial stuff like using office productivity tools and on other times be connected online an doing a lot of surfing or downloading.

On average, we’re seeing battery life in the range of 4.75 hours when connected online but can stretch this out to couple more hours with power-saving mode turned on.

Summary.

The Lenovo 300s is one of the nicest-looking and best-designed ultrabooks around. Lenovo was able to differentiate itself form the rest of the ultrabook pack by following the same design concepts they’ve been using years ago, starting with the ultraportables.

If you follow the development of the IdeaPad U150 up to the U260, the current crop of ultrabooks from Lenovo just makes sense. Even if the term ultrabook would not have been invented and heavily marketed by Intel, Lenovo would have still ended with the same design and hardware specifications they have right now with the U300s.

Lenovo IdeaPad U300s specs:
13.3″ LED display @ 1366×768 pixels
Intel Core i5 2467M 1.6GHz
Turbo Boost to 2.3GHz
Intel HD 3000 Graphics
128GB SSD
4GB DDR3 RAM
Gigabit LAN (10/100/1000Mbps)
Bluetooth 2.1
1 x USB 3.0 port
2 x USB 2.0 port
HDMI output
1.3MP (720p HD) webcam
Intel Wireless Display
4-cell Li-Ion battery (up to 8 hours)
Windows 7 Home Premium

What we liked about the U300s:
– pretty good keyboard
– fast SSD, boot-up
– USB 3.0
– full-sized HDMI port
– HD webcam
– nice metal design

What we did not liked about the U300s:
– no backlit on the keyboard
– slow Bluetooth
– low screen resolution
– did not meet the 8 hours of promised battery life

The Lenovo UdeaPad U300s has been in stores since February and comes with a suggested retail price of Php55,990.

Lenovo IdeaPad U300 in the flesh, first impressions
Sony DEV-5 Digital Recording Binoculars
Lenovo U300s ultrabook hits stores for Php55,990

10 Responses to “Lenovo IdeaPad U300s Review”

  1. Smoking_Kapre says:

    Getting really interested in this upcoming trend of ultrabooks. Having a Thinkpad Edge E420 really is a hassle when commuting(going to work) because of its weight. People’s standards can change when laptops begin to weigh lighter. This is something.

    Puff Puff..

  2. Lorenz says:

    Still trying to decide between this, the Dell XPS 13 and XPS 15z. One big caveat of this is no MiniDisplay Port. Paano makakapag-present sa projector nyan? But still considering this.

  3. boytuwad says:

    55k na yan? must be a joke. there are better ultrabooks at this price.

  4. Pinoy says:

    @Lorenz madali daw maubos ang batt ng XPS pero maganda screen nya dahil gorilla glass.

    Kakabili lang namin ng Folio 13 ng HP. pero ang pinagpipiliaan namin ay itong Ideapad u300s at Toshiba Satellite Z830. Pero Folio 13 pinili namin dahil karamihan sa review ay maganda daw battery ng Folio 6-cell kasi yun battery nya unlike sa iba na 4cell lang gaya nitong ideapad.

  5. Neil says:

    My mom bought me a Toshiba Portege Z830 i5 model . A really cool gadget, when switched to eco mode it allows me to use it for eight and a half hours, maximum and just five if not. I use it a lot for documentation and gaming purposes. Can handle The Godfather 2 (HIGH), LoL, and GTA IV(med-high). The weight of this ultrabook for me is it’s most fascinating asset. Really, cause it is almost as light as my hard bound review notebook. And it really looks sexy when it’s hand carried while walking along hallways. :)

  6. SpiderWak says:

    @Neil How’s the screen of your Z830? I saw a youtube review and it looks like a bit flimsy.

  7. Neil says:

    @SpiderWak The screen works fine for me as it sports the normal resolution for almost all ultrabooks. When I first opened it, the screen part really shocked me of how thin it is, but the magnesium alloy convinced me of its durability, been bringing it to school placing it just inside my bag which’s usually overcrowded with books and test papers and clothes and a pair of basketball shoes, still not a scratch or crack has been seen. I also bought a Razer Kabuto mobile gaming mousepad which doubles up as a screen protector which I usually place inside my folded z830 for added safety measures, don’t have a case laptop case for a 13″.

    P.S. my mom bought my portege z830 from the middle east because we’ve learned that z830s sold in south-east asia doesn’t have back lightings.

  8. karl
    Twitter: estabillokarl
    says:

    Grabe mahal ng asking price! can we get what we pay for?hmmm?

  9. Neil says:

    @Karl really, if your were to buy an ultrabook here in the Philippines it’ll be overpriced as compared to the prices in other countries. It’s better to ask a relative abroad to buy one for you.

    Before you buy one, just compare the specs of your options, specially the i/o, battery, keyboard, processors, and graphics if you would like to play games with it.

  10. The New road riot crack apk is twice the enjoyable

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Abe is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of YugaTech. You Can follow him on Twitter @abeolandres.

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