Lenovo U410 in Sapphire Blue

Lenovo’s U410 budget Ultrabook is no speed demon, but it is a sight for sore eyes. The aluminium lid and underside are colour-coded blue, red or grey, while the keyboard tray is silver with black keys. See also Group test: what's the best ultrabook laptop?

It isn’t the thinnest or lightest Ultrabook, but it’s fine for the occasional traveller. Perhaps more importantly, the specifications are reasonable for the price. A Core i3-3217U processor is backed by 4GB of RAM, a 500GB hard disk and a 24GB SSD. Take a look at our Dell Inspiron 15R 7520 'Special Edition' review too.

This combination offers a useful, if not blistering, level of pace. The Lenovo recorded the lowest score here in PCMark 7, with 2,265 points, and in its Windows 7 guise in WorldBench 6, with just 95 points. The lower scores in our benchmarks are primarily due to the Core i3 processor’s lack of a Turbo Boost mode. We advise opting for a Core i5 version with Turbo Boost for £50 more (see next page for a review from our sister title PC World). See all Laptop reviews.

The GeForce 610M dedicated graphics chip is a bonus, delivering just enough grunt to keep undemanding gamers happy. The Lenovo managed 49fps in our Fear test (Maximum detail).

The combination of a large hard disk and a small SSD means the U410 resumes almost instantly from standby. However, the Lenovo needed 45 seconds to get ready for action from a cold boot.

The 14in LED-backlit screen has a reflective glossy coating. However, it’s bright and has good contrast. Unless you really can’t avoid bright sunlight or overhead lights, it’s not a deal-breaker.

The keyboard is comfortable to type on for extended periods, but you’ll have to get used to pressing Fn to use the function keys. Taking another leaf out of Apple’s book, the glass multitouch trackpad is large and responsive, and supports Windows 8 gestures.

The U410 has just enough ports to satisfy most users, but the lack of an optical drive will disappoint some. Lenovo’s bundled OneKey Recovery program needs updating – it asked us to insert blank DVDs to create a recovery image.

Battery life is reasonable, at 5 hours 35 minutes in our tests, if falling somewhat short of the competition.

Add Jim Martin to your Google+ circles and follow Jim Martin and @PCAdvisor on Twitter.