The Lenovo IdeaPad U310 Touch is compact affordable notebook with a solid level of performance.
Ultrabooks are typically known for their flare and style, but the Lenovo IdeaPad U310 goes against the grain. While most Ultrabooks focus on an aesthetic ideal, the Lenovo IdeaPad U310 is a simple utility driven device.
Sure Lenovo U310 Touch still offers a sleek clean form factor, but it doesn't sport the gleaming stylistic appeal that so many Ultrabooks strive for. Instead the U310 Touch is all about value; equipped with an Intel i5 processor and 500GB HDD (with 24GB SSD cache), the IdeaPad offers a solid level of performance for its competitive $700 price point.
However, does the Lenovo IdeaPad U310 Touch offer enough in its small package to entice consumers? Read the full review to find out.
Build and Design
The Lenovo IdeaPad U310 Touch employs a sleek design with curved edges and a slight curved slant across the edges of the top of the display case. The metallic chassis is comprised of two colors, a darker grey across the top and bottom portions of the chassis and lighter silver running across the body of the machine. While the design is rather generic, the device produces a clean understated aesthetic perfect for business.
Measuring at 13.7" x 8.9" x 0.71" and weighing in at 3.9lbs. the Lenovo U310 Touch is lightweight and easy to carry, making the device ideal for travel. Considering its sleek design, the U310 touch does offer a suitable level of durability. While testing the device the chassis held up well only flexing slightly when adequate pressure was applied. The display also flexed a bit when pressure was applied with noticeable distortions occurring on the corners of the display. The Lenovo IdeaPad U310 Touch certainly isn't a tank, but it should hold up to the normal wear and tear of travel just fine.
Ports and Features
The 13-inch ultrabook isn't loaded with ports, but the device manages to cover all of the basics. The left side offers an Ethernet, an HDMI port, two USB 3.0 ports. The Right offers a headphone/mic combo jack and a USB 2.0 port.
|Left: Ethernet, HDMI, two USB 3.0||Right: headphone/mic jack, USB 2.0|
Considering the limited selection of ports it would have been nice if the Lenovo IdeaPad U310 Touch offered more space between the two USB ports on the left side of the chassis, but besides that everything else is spaced adequately and easy to reach.
Display and Speakers
The Lenovo IdeaPad U310 Touch is equipped with a 13.3-inch LED Back-lit 10-point touch enabled HD display with a 1366 x 768 resolution. The display offers a clear image with solid color contrast perfect for watching media or reading text. It's nothing spectacular, but for an affordable 13" ultrabook its more than acceptable.
The display offers fairly decent viewing angles as well. On the horizontal axis, image quality holds well past 100 degrees. On the vertical axis however, the display proves far less forgiving with image quality becoming distorted when the display is tilted forwards or backwards. With a glossy finish the display can become reflective at times, but it's only a serious issue in heavily lit environments.
The touch enabled display is also a welcome addition to the device, especially when paired with Windows 8 live tiles. Given how well the touchpad works on the Lenovo IdeaPad U310 Touch, I honestly didn't find myself using the touchscreen all that often, but when I did, it was quick and responsive. Even multi-finger inputs read well on the display with little to no disruptions.
The Lenovo IdeaPad U310 Touch offers two speakers located just below the hinge that connects the chassis and display case. The speakers offer a suitable amplification, which is certainly loud enough for personal use and small groups though the notebook may struggle to provide an entire room with audio.
The more serious issue for the speakers is the lack of quality. Below 80 percent capacity the speakers manage to offer clear audio, however once users bypass that noticeable distortion becomes audible. Additionally, at 100 percent capacity the speakers produced a noticeable hiss in the background. As previously stated, the speakers are function especially below 80 percent capacity, but users looking to view media will likely want to use an external device.
The U310 Touch offers a Chiclet style keyboard. The keys have a smooth finish and offer a decent level of compression given the small form factor of the device. Tactile feedback is consistent, but feels a bit lackluster. It's still easy to type quickly and efficiently on the device, though added feedback might make the experience a bit more pleasurable.
The U310 Touch offers a generously sized touchpad, especially for the size of the 13-inch machine. The pad (equipped with a synaptics driver) is devoid of mouse buttons. Instead the machine designates the bottom left and right portions of the pad to act as the left and right mouse clicks respectively; as denoted by the small graphic and slight downward slant of the pad. The design of the touchpad is actually quite similar that seen on the Lenovo IdeaPad Y500. Both devices use the downward slant of the pad to help users understand where the left and right click portions of the pad are located.
The touchpad also performs admirably reading swipes and clicks with clarity and responsiveness. Multi-finger gestures also read well on the pad with only a few mis-reads occurring during my time with the device. Additionally, the smooth texture of the pad makes it easy to glide your finger across it, providing added sensitivity and precision; making the touchpad perfect for more detailed functions such as reading text.
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