Lenovo IdeaPad U300s Ultrabook Review

By on March 12, 2012
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Chunky, yet elegant.

Good: Uniquely simple and elegant design, cool and quiet operations, very sturdy build
Bad: No backlit keyboard, no memory card reader, more expensive than competitors
Price: AED 4,800
* The price is the Suggested Retail Price at the time of review. Please call a retailer to confirm the latest price for this product.

Screen, Mouse & Keyboard

Open up the IdeaPad U300s and inside you’ll see the same minimal design philosophy carry over from the outside. The entire keyboard panel is also aluminum, but a dark shade of grey. The large glass trackpad is oriented a bit towards the left. The keyboard itself has a style chiclet layout with large keys and ample space between them. The keys are indented and have round edging to them, which makes typing a very pleasurable experience on the IdeaPad U300s, almost as good as a MacBook.

Sadly, and this may be a big turn off for many, the U300s doesn’t have backlit keys. That said, the paint on the keys themselves is pretty solid white, so even in complete darkness you can see most of the keys from the light of the screen. One of the best things on the U300s, which I don’t see other manufacturers adopting, is the use of function keys. All the twelve function keys can only be used by using the orange ‘Fn’ button first, while actual laptops functions are useable directly. Basically you don’t have to press the Function key to increase or decrease the screen brightness, volume, etc. It’s pretty intuitive.

The LED backlit screen itself is pretty standard stuff. The glossy 13.3-inch screen has a resolution of 1366×768. I must say that the IdeaPad U300s is just as sturdy a machine as any other ThinkPad. It feels heavy, even though it weighs only 1.32kgs, but that’s mostly to do with the build quality. The screen itself doesn’t feel flimsy like the Toshiba Portege Z830, or as punishingly sharp as the ASUS Zenbook.

Battery life, Heat and Noise Levels

Using the IdeaPad U300s at medium brightness, watching YouTube HD videos and just working on Google docs and browsing the internet I clocked in just over 7 hours, which is pretty standard stuff.

Heat levels were very minimal on the U300s thanks to the complete aluminum body and the exhaust fans out on the side. Just like the Toshiba Portege Z830, the heat dissipates through the keyboard surface area as well as the rest of the aluminum body. The fan itself is on pretty much all the time, but at no point, even when running benchmarks, did it kick into an absurdly high gear. You’d only notice it if you actually muted the audio when running HD movies or playing games to hear it. Cool and quiet is what the IdeaPad U300s is.

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From auditing to editing, I now test and analyze the latest gadgets and games instead of the latest financial statements. Both jobs are equally intense and rewarding. When I'm not burning up hardware in the name of science, you'll find me nuking in DOTA 2 or engineering in TF2.

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