by Kevin O'Brien
The IdeaPad U330 is the stylish 13.3” consumer oriented notebook from Lenovo. With a slick chassis and thin frameless LCD, the U-series notebook is a huge step away from the popular ThinkPad series. Offering power-saving switchable graphics, HDMI out, touch sensitive media controls, and the Intel Centrino 2 platform the Lenovo IdeaPad U330 packs a big punch.
Lenovo IdeaPad U330 (2267-2BU) Specifications:
Build and Design
The design of the Lenovo U330 is very visually pleasing, with a low profile chassis, super thin LCD, and high gloss display cover. On the inside it has a pinstripe paint scheme with glossy touch-sensitive media controls. The frameless display looks really nice, with a smooth seamless finish side to side. These screens all tend to look great when the system is off, but they do introduce a ton of glare in a bright environment.
Build quality was average, with a good design, but having some components that could be improved. The thin screen while visually pleasing was very flexible, but did seem to protect against ripples in the screen when tapping the back of the cover. The paint scheme looked nice, but the finish could be improved. We saw many areas which looked like dusts had been trapped in the paint surface during the painting process, leaving defects and imperfections on the palmrest. The overall feel of the notebook is nice, but the little things really add up.
The “frameless” display, while highly reflective in nature, looked very nice on our review machine. Colors and contrast were exceptional, and black levels were very good with the LED backlit. Viewing angles were above average, with a broad sweet spot for easy viewing. Vertical viewing angles spanned from roughly 30 degrees down or 20 degrees up before colors started to become washed out or inverted. Horizontal viewing angles were much better, easily spanning to the steepest angles before colors started to wash out. In bright viewing conditions, at steeper angles you start to have nearby surfaces reflecting off the screen and dimming your view of what is on display. This is one limitation of the all-glass panels across the board though.
Keyboard and Touchpad
The keyboard was very easy to type on, and had relatively good support under strong typing pressure. The style looks similar to what is found on the business grade ThinkPad notebooks, but with more of a consumer vibe. Individual key action is smooth with a soft click on each press. For long typing sessions the keyboard was wonderful and very easy on the fingertips.
The Synaptics based touchpad had great sensitivity and had little to no lag during use. The surface texture had a soft matte finish which was easy to slide your finger across, even if slightly sweaty. One problem we noticed which was slightly odd was a bubble underneath the surface, which may have just been a manufacturing defect. The touchpad buttons were large and had great feedback. Each button had a long throw, with a soft quiet click when pressed.
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