Lenovo IdeaPad U300s full review

The IdeaPad U300s from Lenovo is a solidly-built ultrabook, that internally at least stays quite true to the Apple/Intel template.

It doesn't compete with the Apple MacBook Air or Asus Zenbook UX31E in terms of looks, although neither is it as unprepossesing as the Toshiba Z830.  

It is also slightly unusual (in ultrabook terms at least) by maintaining the same thickness from front edge to hinge. Most modern ultraportable notebooks are thicker at the hinge and come to a point at the front.

The Lenovo IdeaPad U300s is one of the better performers from recently released ultraportables, achieving a WorldBench 6 score of 122. This is still some way short of the 13in MacBook Air, which sports exactly the same processor as the U300s. 

There's 4GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD, which puts it on a par or above most of its opponents, and the battery life of 399 minutes - more than six-and-a-half hours - is particularly impressive.

But we found the Lenovo to suffer one particularly galling problem – the keyboard is blighted with small right Shift, Return and Backspace buttons.

Even worse, the key to the right of the right Shift key is the Up arrow, which we frequently hit by accident. So when hoping to put a letter in uppercase, we moved the cursor up a row instead. This took some getting used to - in fact, we couldn’t, so we typed up this review of the Lenovo on a different laptop; normally we compile a review on the laptop under test.

We found other detractions too. There's no SD card reader and compared to some others – the Toshiba Z830 in particular – connectivity options are limited, although there is a full-sized HDMI port. 

The screen has a glossy finish and though the colours are rich and deep, definition seemed a little fuzzy and the viewing angles are even less impressive than other ultrabooks.

When you press the power button on the Lenovo IdeadPad U300s the only indicator that you've actually started the booting process is a small, faint light on the front edge that's easy to miss. As the screen stays blank for a few seconds you may be unsure that you've pressed the button hard enough and press it again, which is a nuisance.

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