Lenovo IdeaPad U300s review – design and build
At just 15mm, the U300s is one of the thinnest Ultrabooks ever – and it doesn't resort to design cheats to get there. The latest IdeaPad shuns the tapering edges that Apple made popular, and makes no attempt to hide the real measurements of its base. It's hard to see how it could be any narrower, in fact, without just painting the keys on to a touch sensitive surface.
As it is, the keyboard isn't perfect – the Return key is only half-size for a start – but the IdeaPad U300s certainly doesn't feel small. What it does feel is premium – it's all-metal and while that adds a little weight, it's still lighter than most of its Ultrabook rivals.
Lenovo IdeaPad U300s review – power and performance
The Lenovo's Core i5 may look second rate but similarly priced laptops have near-identical dual core processors with very similar performance. And while you can live without an optical drive, the lack of an SD card reader might get a little frustrating as they can be a handy way to expand the cramped storage on an SSD drive.
Lenovo IdeaPad U300s review – ridge and trackpad
The all-metal design adds that sheen of respectability that Windows users need. The curious ridge around the edge is a nice touch too, making it look bigger than it is. We also liked the big, glossy trackpad – it works well, with multi-fingered swipes taking you to some interesting undocumented software for changing the desktop background and so on.
Lenovo IdeaPad U300s review – screen
The classy finish doesn't quite extend to the screen – it's too stingy on the resolution for really crisp, colourful quality – but it's better than any other 13-in Ultrabook we've tested.
Then again, the screens on many small laptops are too light to be stable while typing. That's not so with the suprisingly sturdy IdeaPad U300s which has a tough hinge to keep the screen perfectly still.
Lenovo IdeaPad U300s review – price
What's more, you can get the U300s for a great price. You can get the U300s for as little as £555 (October 2012) which is exactly what a Windows Ultrabook needs to cost to compete with the MacBook Air.
Lenovo IdeaPad U300s review – verdict
All of this adds up to a five star product. If Ultrabooks are always about compromise, then the U300s makes compromises in all the right places.