Lenovo IdeaPad U300S review: first look


While other manufacturers have been focusing on tablets and phones at this year’s IFA trade show, Lenovo has also chosen to introduce its IdeaPad U300s – one of the first examples of Intel’s Ultrabook concept we’ve seen.

And with the promise of serious processing power in a slender 14.9mm thick chassis, this latest addition to the IdeaPad range is a bona-fide stunner.

DSC02048-462x614It can’t quite match the likes of Samsung’s 9 Series or Apple’s Macbook Air 13in for lust-inducing slenderness, but it’s still utterly gorgeous. That 14.9mm thick chassis weighs in at just 1.3kg, yet, thanks to the all-aluminium construction, feels far from insubstantial.

There’s a little flex when you really tug at the seams, but not much: the base feels taut, and the lid looks to afford the display a considerable amount of protection.

The attention to detail in Lenovo’s design is impressive. Lenovo claims that the U300s is crafted from a single sheet of aluminium, which is then sandblasted and anodised to make it tougher and more scratch-resistant.

Then there’s the noticeable lack of vents in the U300s’ gently curved base: instead, Lenovo keeps the Core i5 and Core i7 processors cool by virtue of a discrete vent on the left-hand edge and maintains cool-running by using a “breathable” keyboard, which allows air to circulate through the gaps between the keys.

Any fears such novelties might affect usability swiftly prove unfounded. The scrabble-tile keyboard has a light, crisp feel, and the glass touchpad beneath it behaved brilliantly during our snatched moments with the U300s. Just like Apple’s Macbooks, the glass gives a lovely smooth, solid feel under the finger, and left- and right-clicks were recognised reliable despite the lack of discrete buttons.


Lenovo has done a great job of giving the U300s a classy, uncluttered look, but there’s still enough connectivity where it matters. There’s a single USB 3 port alongside an HDMI output, and a USB 2 port on the opposite edge.


We didn’t have enough time to give the glossy 13.3in display anything more than a cursory look, but the brightness levels were impressive and colour reproduction was punchy. One thing’s for sure, it looks better than the decidedly average LCD in Lenovo’s ThinkPad X1 ultraportable.

The seam-free chassis does of course mean that Lenovo has had to opt for a non-replaceable battery, but the claims of eight hour battery life in MobileMark 2007’s Productivity test give us some hope. In tandem with Lenovo’s excellent RapidCharge technology – which charges the battery to 50% capacity in just 30 minutes – the U300s is looking very promising indeed.


A keen price further bolsters the IdeaPad U300s’ appeal. Models sporting low-voltage 1.6GHz Core i5-2647M and 1.8Ghz Core i7-2677M processors will see the light of day towards the end of October, and our contact suggested a model sporting the low-voltage 1.6GHz Core i5-2647M processor, 4GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD would be available for around 999 Euros, which looks to severely undercut the likes of Samsung’s Series 9 900X3A.

Lenovo looks to be onto a winner with the U300s. With build quality and ergonomics reminiscent of a ThinkPad, and looks that can rival Apple’s best, it heralds an exciting future for Intel’s Ultrabook concept. The ultraportable is dead; long live the Ultrabook.

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