The first concept of an UltraBook was introduced by Intel in 2011 to urge manufacturers to make lightweight laptops with higher levels of performance, by using Intel’s Core processors and Solid State Drives (SSDs).
The Lenovo IdeaPad U300s rides this wave as a strikingly beautiful, 13.3 inch UltraBook that comes with an Intel Core i5 1.6 GHz processor, 4 Gigabytes of DDR3 SDRAM and a 128 Gigabyte SSD hard drive.
The higher version of the Ultrabook with a 1.8 GHz Intel Core i7 processor, and a 256 GB SSD Hard drive, is the model that we teated.
This laptop comes with a 13.3 inch (1366×768) HD LED backlit screen that displays good colours, but slightly less brightness than other similar screens, probably to save a bit on the battery life.
Much like any other laptop, the keyboard on the U300s takes a little bit of getting used to, but it’s still one of the easiest to adapt to on a device of this size. The laptop also comes with an oversized multitouch touchpad that is very comfortable to use.
One of the key features of an Ultrabook is the really short boot or wake up time, and you can really notice that with the U300s running Windows 7 Home Premium (64 bit). The performance was smooth with a windows experience index rating of 4.5 for the graphics, 6.9 for the processor, and a big 7.1 for the hard drive (out of 7.9). It’s great for your everyday tasks, browsing, Microsoft Office, and other similar applications. You can even run “heavier” software on it such as Adobe Photoshop or
Illustrator. Keep it one at a time though.
We even tried running a few games with minimal 3D settings (World of Warcraft on
minimum graphics) and it ran smoothly. However, with an Intel Integrated Graphics 3000 (within the processor), this laptop is not designed to be used as a gaming station; therefore it won’t run any of the higher graphics games smoothly.
During the gaming session, when we were pushing the performance limit of the U300s, we did experience some excessive heat from the processor, even though Ultrabooks come with a “breathable keyboard”, the Intel Cooling Technology that cools your PC by letting air flow through the keyboard. The battery proformance is great and promises up to 8 hours of moderate use, the U300s also comes with a slim charger that fits easily into any carrying sleeve.
Audio performance was pretty decent; the SRS surround speakers are loud and provide a good sound quality, and the video playback was clear and smooth. Even though it might be obvious, we have to mention that this computer does not come with a DVD player, so you might want to purchase an external one if you want to play DVDs on the move.
The U300s has the main connectivity options that you would need from a computer this size – 2 USB ports (1 USB2 and 1 USB3) and one full-sized HDMI external monitor port, and a headphone/ microphone combo jack.
VERDICT: Aye. Although the concept of an ultrabook hasn’t been properly put into perspective yet, Lenovo’s U300s promises a great future for this new genre of
divices, and leads the way by being one of the first few UltraBooks in the market.
This review was done by Fahed Sabbagh – proud geek and passionate blogger. You can catch him wax poetic on all things geeky at www.nerdyface.com.