Ultrabooks are set to become a huge item in the coming months, and has the possibility of becoming as big as netbooks were back in 2009. So it’s not surprising that manufacturers are readying their take on Intel’s newly established notebook category, with Acer, Asus and Lenovo unleashing their machines unto the public, with HP and Samsung following close behind. Today we’re taking a look at Lenovo’s interpretation of the ultrabook – the U300s. While certainly not the thinnest nor the flashiest ultrabook currently in the market today, its subdued design and solid specs give it a certain charm that we’re sure a lot of you will appreciate.
And while it’s not as flashy, the U300s seems to be made out of the same material that most ultrabooks are – aluminum. The build construction is very, very good, and we couldn’t really find a single fault with the overall externals of the machine. Like the UX21, the battery compartment of the U300s is completely sealed off, so if you ever run into any kind of battery trouble, you’ll have to take it to Lenovo to get it fixed. The overall weight of the U300s just tips the scales at around 2.95 pounds or about 1.3 kilos.
Opening the lid, you’ll be treated to a 13.3-inch HD display that’s capable of up to 1366 x 768 resolution. Aside from the island style keys that greet your fingers once you start typing, there isn’t much going on the U300’s chassis, aside from that spun power button near the upper left side of the device, and the unobtrusive power and charge indicators near the front of the device.
The U300s also sports an all glass trackpad that clicks positively when you apply pressure.
Like other ultrabooks, there isn’t much in the way of ports and plugs in the U300s. You get a total of 2 USB ports (with one being USB 3.0), full sized HDMI, 3.5mm jack and uh..that’s it. We can’t help but think that Lenovo could have stuck a few more USB ports in there, as well as a SD card reader – there’s certainly enough room in the chassis for it.
Under the hood lies an Intel Core i5-2467M processor running at 1.6GHz, paired with 4GB of DDR3 memory. Our particular unit had a 120GB SSD drive installed in it, though you can get a higher, 256GB SSD version if you desire.
Typing on the U300s is a pleasure, which shouldn’t be a surprise, considering the U300s’ pedigree. The keys have the right amount of travel, and though it doesn’t feature the curved keys on other Lenovo devices that make typing such a civilized affair, the U300s’ keys are still extremely nice to type on, a stark comparison to the mushy keys of the Asus UX21.
Sound quality is decent, though it’s nowhere near the awesome quality that we experienced while using the Asus UX21.
Weirdly enough, the U300s is also equipped with Intel’s Wireless Display technology, which allows you to stream hi-definition video to a similarly equipped TV or adapter sans wires.
Performance wise, the U300s is fairly above average, and managed to score 3173 on PCMark 7. From what we’ve seen, the U300s is fairly capable of handling most mundane tasks like browsing the net and creating office documents as well a few, more intense number crunching efforts like light Photoshop and watching HD movies. Like other, SSD equipped ultrabooks, the U300s boots fast – clocking in at around 18 seconds from off to the Windows screen.
Battery life is actually pretty good, and though it won’t last on a non-stop flight from Singapore to New York, it’ll manage to eek out about 5 hours on a single charge with WiFi on.
So is the U300s the be-all and end-all of ultrabooks? Not exactly. Lenovo omitted quite a few things from the whole design that they could’ve been accomodated easily, like the aforementioned SD card slot, and a higher display resolution. Another item that Lenovo omitted from the U300s is one of those things that you think you don’t need until you actually DO need it – an Ethernet port. Asus managed to squeeze one in via a Ethernet to USB solution on their ultrabooks, unfortunately the same can’t be said about the U300s.
Is the Lenovo U300s THE ultrabook to get? Like most things in life, it’s a compromise – the U300s is the most boring one of the bunch we’ve managed to see so far, and nowhere as visually stunning as the UX21. Then again, the U300s delivers a fantastic typing experience and solid performance backed with a 5 hour battery endurance. Again like we said, it all goes boils down to your priorities and what you want to get out of a notebook. The Lenovo U300s starts at Php 55,995.
Fast boot time
Solid construction, well made
Design is safe and a bit boring
No Ethernet connection
No SD card reader
While the Lenovo U300s surely won’t turn any heads when you take it out of your bag, it’s certainly a pleasurable device to take along with you on long jaunts and trips. Certainly an ultrabook to consider if you’re in a market for one.
- Screen Size: 13.3-inch HD, 1366 x 768 resolution
- Memory: 4GB DDR3
- CPU and chipset: Intel Core i5 2467M Processor (1.6GHz)
- Physical Dimensions: 324 x 216 x 14.9 mm
- Warranty: 1 year on parts and labor