Windows – Ultrabook Review: Lenovo IdeaPad U300

Today we are taking a look at the Lenovo IdeaPad U300, one of the many new ultrabooks that has been arriving on scene as of late.

So compared to the models we’ve reviewed so far, how does Lenovo’s option compare? We’ll find out, but first let’s start with the system specifications:

  • 13.3” Display with a resolution of 1366×768 pixels, 16:9 widescreen
  • Powered by 2nd generation Intel Core i7 processor (2.7G, up to 3.4G, L3, 4MB) or
  • Powered by 2nd generation Intel Core i5-2430M (2.4G, turbo to 3.0G, L3 3MB) or
  • Powered by 2nd generation Intel Core i3-2330M (2.2G, L3 3MB)
  • Intel Turbo Boost Technology 2.0
  • Boot in as little as 16 seconds
  • Enhanced Experience 2.0 RapidDrive SSD technology
  • Intel GMA HD 3000 graphics
  • Up to 4GB DDR3 memory
  • Up to 1TB HDD storage, & up to 64GB SSD1 storage (RapidDrive SSD)
  • Integrated Bluetooth and high-speed 802.11n Wi-Fi connectivity
  • 10/100/1000M LAN
  • External DVD reader/writer
  • Integrated 1.3 megapixel (720p HD) webcam
  • 2.0 speakers (2x1W)
  • Integrated stereo speakers
  • SRS Premium Surround Sound
  • Two USB2.0 and one USB3.0 ports
  • Headphones, mic, and HDMI output
  • Intel Advanced Cooling technology
  • Cool-touch palm-rest
  • Active Protection System
  • Anti-theft protection
  • Intel Wireless Display (WiDi) technology

Okay, now that we’ve got a list of the specs out of the way, let’s get started by taking a look at the device’s overall design.

I want to applaud Lenovo for not directly copying the design of the Macbook Air in every possible way, something we’ve seen a lot with ultrabooks so far.

Instead of a thin wedge shape, the U300 maintains the same thickness of .6-inches throughout, and strongly resembles a book in its design styling. Also, the Lenovo U300 feels very solid, made out of just a single piece of sand-blasted aluminum.

There are two different color schemes to choose from, Graphite Gray or Clementine Orange, but no matter what you choose you get a clean, simple design that is minimalistic yet still quite stunning.

As is my tradition, after talking about the overall design I skip right ahead to what I feel is probably the most important aspect of any good PC, laptop or desktop, and that’s the power underneath the hood.

Hardware wise, the U300 has fairly good specs and a reasonably capable screen resolution. There is also Intel’s Wireless Display technology that when coupled with a special adapter allows you to stream your screen experience to the big TV or monitor of your choice.

The SRS Premium Sound technology is also worth noting, since you wouldn’t expect much from such a small device and yet while not perfect in quality, it is certainly capable of producing quite loud sound, something that is often a weakness for many laptops and mobile devices.

Additionally, the boot time of the Lenovo is just 34 seconds, rather impressive, although the MacBook Air still trumps it at just 17 seconds. Wake time is a little slower than the competition though, at 4 seconds (while many manage under 2 seconds).

With an i7 in tow, you can expect the Lenovo to perform quite admirably for most tasks but with its Intel GMA graphics you shouldn’t expect to use this machine for intense video-editing or high-performance gaming. Still, for most of us the combination of Intel’s graphics and processor should prove a wonderful overall experience.

Last but not least, the 6 hours and 52 minute battery life, with web surfing via Wi-Fi as the test, is great to see and one of the few areas that the U300 really trumps the Air for a change (although only by about 20 to 30 minutes). Additionally, the U300 has RapidCharge technology that allows it to recharge to 50% in just 30-minutes.

The Lenovo IdeaPad U300 is an attractive machine with a fair amount of power under the hood, still with a price tag around $1,500, it might not be enough to appeal to everyone and for many the Air might still prove the better choice.

Still, if you really have your heart set on a Windows-powered Air alternative, this one is hard to beat.

For more information, check out Lenovo Ideapad U300.

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