Lenovo IdeaPad U300s Review: Beauty and the Beast

by Charles P. Jefferies Reads (54,203)
Editor's Rating
5.57

TG Ratings Breakdown

    • Software & Support
    • 8
    • Upgrade Capabilities
    • 2
    • Usability
    • 6
    • Design
    • 6
    • Performance
    • 7
    • Features
    • 5
    • Price/Value Rating
    • 5
    • Total Score:
    • 5.57
    • Rating 1 to 10, top score 10

Overview

  • Pros

    • Good keyboard
    • Excellent performance
    • Sleek design
  • Cons

    • Flexible chassis
    • No media card reader

Quick Take

The IdeaPad U300s is an attractive Ultrabook with good performance but flexible construction and a high price aren't as pretty.


Lenovo’s new Ultrabook features a 13.3-inch display, Core i7 processor and 256GB SSD. Those are nice specs for a premium thin and light laptop, but are the build quality problems a deal breaker?

BUILD AND DESIGN
The U300s is thin as expected from an Ultrabook; it measures just 0.6 inches high and a tick less than three pounds.
The chassis relies not on an internal frame but on its external magnesium alloy shell for strength. While the metal feels solid, it doesn’t lend enough support; the chassis is easy to flex as is the lid. This isn’t a desirable characteristic in a well-traveled computer as it allows the internal circuit boards to flex; it can lead to premature failure down the line.

I like how the overall design of the notebook is somewhat understated. The gray metal has a matte finish and a quality look. When closed the U300s resembles a book, however those edges (around the lid and bottom of the chassis) are quite sharp. Is such a tradeoff worth the look? Not really.

Overall the design is pleasing though the chassis strength leaves something to be desired. As with most Ultrabooks, the U300s isn’t easy to upgrade on your own; there are no access panels on the bottom to swap out RAM or the storage drive.

Ports and Features
Ultrabooks don’t come with the a lot of ports but the U300s manages to do worse. Its lack of a media card reader is surprising and seems like an oversight on Lenovo’s part. The U300s has just two USB ports (one of which is USB 3.0), HDMI, and a headphone/microphone combination jack; that’s it. It does not have a VGA port either.


Front: Power LED

Back: Nothing

Left: Recovery button, cooling exhaust vent, USB 2.0 port

Right: Headphone/microphone combination jack, USB 3.0 port, HDMI, AC power jack


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