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Lenovo IdeaPad U300S – a first look and preview

By Adrian Diaconescu , last updated on June 4, 2015

Ultrabooks are definitely the computer devices of the moment, having caught the attention of technology enthusiasts all around the world with their promises of portability, lightweight, high performance and affordability.

Lenovo is one of the companies that is planning to release an ultrabook in the near future and the U300S, while being less original than the Toshiba Z835 and less solid than the Apple Macbook Air, looks like a portable computer that could have an important saying in electronic sales in the following months. For alternatives, you should also check our post on the best ultrabooks on the market.

Update: Here’s our in-depth review of the Lenovo IdeaPad U300S.

In the following lines we will take a quick first look at the Lenovo IdeaPad U300S, trying to analyze it as comprehensive as we can at the moment in terms of design, build, technical specifications and features.

Exterior and design

Some may call it homage, some may call it copying and some may even call it coincidence. What is clear though is that for some reason the U300S looks very similar to the successful Apple Macbook Air. The chassis is made from premium magnesium alloy and you can’t help but notice the solid, but elegant build of the Lenovo laptop.

The overall design is kind of minimalist, but the casing is very clean and smooth and manages to avoid those tacky and unnecessary curves you can see on quite a few laptops right now. In terms of dimensions and weight, Lenovo’s laptop is a winner, even though it doesn’t manage to be as thin and light as the Toshiba Portege Z830, for example. The U300S weighs around 1.3 kg( 2.86 pounds) and measures just under 15 mm( 0.6 inch) in depth.

The IdeaPad U300S looks very good, but resembles a bit too much the MacBook Air

The IdeaPad U300S looks very good, but resembles a bit too much the MacBook Air

Keyboard and touchpad

The keyboard is great, providing little flex and a very high level of comfort. It is also pretty stylish with an all-black, classy look that contrasts very nicely with the grey chassis and has a certain light feel that makes typing more enjoyable than usual.

The glass touchpad is even better, featuring easy scroll, zoom and rotate functions. It is very smooth, comfortable, but solid nevertheless and is surprisingly accurate and responsive, despite the lack of clearly separated left and right buttons. On the other hand, the touchpad looks very similar to that of the Macbook Air and makes Lenovo’s laptop look once again as a kind of copycat of the Apple product.

Screen, hardware and performance

The U300S features a 13.3-inch HD display with 1366×768 pixels resolution that offers decent brightness levels and above-average color reproduction. On the other hand, the glossy finish will most definitely hamper with the screen’s ability of featuring decent image quality in difficult lighting conditions.

It's pretty amazing just how thin this bad boy is!

It’s pretty amazing just how thin this bad boy is!

In terms of hardware, Lenovo’s upcoming laptop is set to feature Intel’s second generation Core i3, i5 and i7 processors with up to 4 GB of DDR3 memory and an Intel GMA HD3000 graphics card. The U300S will also come with SSD storage memory of up to 256 GB, which will probably ensure pretty high booting speeds.

Battery life, connectivity and others

The Lenovo U300S looks pretty promising in battery life terms, with the Chinese company claiming an autonomy of about eight hours. Furthermore, the innovative and original RapidCharge technology should come as a great help for people on the move, charging the battery to 50 percent capacity in only a half an hour.

The number of ports on the other hand is pretty disappointing. Only two USB ports( a 2.0 and a 3.0 one), headphone jack, microphone jack and HDMI, but no sign of SD slot or Ethernet. It is true that it is pretty hard to fit a large number of ports on a machine this thin, but if Toshiba and Samsung have managed to fit Ethernet and memory card readers on their Z830 and Series 9 laptops, we can’t see why Lenovo couldn’t have done the same.

Lenovo's ultrabook comes with very many interesting features.

Lenovo’s ultrabook comes with very many interesting features.

Other features will include WiFi, Bluetooth, 2.0 speakers, as well as a 1.3 MPx integrated web camera with HD capacity.

Pricing and availability

As it is the case with all the other ultrabooks right now, except the Macbook Air and the Samsung Series 9, the Lenovo U300S is not yet available for sale, but is expected to hit the market in late October or early November.

In terms of pricing, we know nothing clear, but the rumored numbers range from 900 to 1200 dollars when it comes to the starting price, with the possibility of reaching 1500-1600 bucks for the better equipped models of the ultrabook. This could prove similar to most of the 13.3-inch laptops to be released this year.

Wrap-up

While in some areas it looks suspiciously similar to the Apple Macbook Air, Lenovo’s IdeaPad U300S looks like it could find its own way to the computer fans’ shopping lists. With a decent build, good performance level, brilliant keyboard and touchpad and a pretty strong battery, Lenovo’s first ultrabook could only be considered a semi-failure in connectivity terms.

However, if the Chinese electronics giant will be able to get the perfect price tag for the U300S, the low number of ports and the somewhat unoriginal design will most likely be forgotten and the 13.3-inch laptop could be a great hit.

For more details on the Lenovo Ideapad u300s, see our complete video review below or read our written review, also posted here on the site.

Adrian has a passion for technology and portable computers and he's been writing about mobile devices for many years now. He is in charge with the news here on the site, but sporadically he also contributes with tests and reviews.

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