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July 5, 2012
- Affordable price
- Attractive design
- Solid performance
- No Bluetooth
- No keyboard backlighting
- Below par display quality
Just in time for back to school shopping, the Lenovo IdeaPad U310 is an all-around well-designed Ultrabook laptop that is designed for college-aged users. While it does have a very attractive design and all the necessary internals, it faces competition from a crowded market.
We seem to review more Ultrabooks than any other computers these days, so that's not a good sign for the IdeaPad U310. The market is definitely very crowded, so new laptops in this market need to find a way to stand out. This laptop aims to be low-cost yet carry enough power for solid performance.
Lenovo designed this laptop to be very Apple MacBook Pro-like with a little differences in the color of the exterior. It has a wraparound aqua aluminum lid and the inside is all white. It measures 13.1 x 8.8 x 0.7-inches (wdh) and weighs 3.7-pounds. It's a little heavier and larger than some other Ultrabooks that we've reviewed, but it's more like a typical ultraportable laptop instead.
The keyboard is very much similar to the Apple MacBook's in terms of the black, shallow keys. We found the keyboard to provide a comfortable experience but we noticed some flex at times. The keys are not backlit, which is very disappointing. The multitouch clickpad is very spacious and responsive, on the other hand, so that made us feel better.
The U310 has a 13.3-inch display with a 1366 x 768-pixel resolution. We found the display to looked fairly decent, but we've definitely seen better. The viewing angles are poor, the screen is very glossy and the brightness is a tad dimmer than others.
Lenovo includes two USB 3.0 ports, one USB 2.0 port, HDMI-out, Ethernet, a headphone/microphone combo jack and an SD card reader. There is 802.11n Wi-Fi but no Bluetooth wireless or an optical drive.
The internal specifications include a third-gen "Ivy Bridge" Intel Core i5-3317U (1.7GHz) CPU, 4GB of RAM, a 500GB 5400RPM hard drive and integrated Intel 4000 HD graphics. Unfortunately, the memory configurations max out at 4GB with some other Ultrabooks having an additional 2GB.
These new Ultrabooks (and other new computers) with the third-generation Intel Ivy Bridge CPUs are definitely faster than their second-gen predecessors. We found performance with this laptop to be right on par with the other Ivy Bridge Ultrabooks that we've reviewed so far. The integrated graphics provides only enough power for the usual computing tasks as well as streaming HD media.
Battery life lasts about 5-hours, which is also right on average with the latest Ultrabooks. However, this is several hours less than the 13-inch Apple MacBook Air.
For other laptop reviews, check out our Notebook & Netbooks section.