Yesterday the IdeaPad U300s ultrabook that had been announced in November finally went on sale. There are already a number of reviews on the web for the U300s so you can get a pretty good idea of what this laptop is like, there are even some user reviews posted on Amazon.com that are pretty thorough and give a nice comparison of other Ultrabooks such as the Asus UX31e and Acer S3 compared to the U300s. Here’s a quick list of reviews that are out there and a quick take from each:
- J. Darji “Buck” U300s Review on Amazon.com – User reviews are some of the best. This user posted a review on October 30th after he got an early ship model ordered via Amazon.com. Buck gives strong praise the the U300s keyboard calling it solid and saying you will “actually love typing on it”. The screen and ability for the laptop to remain cool are also praised. At the end he summarizes “The Lenovo is an elegant minimalistic design that just feels and screams sophistication and reliability. It’s stylish without being so flashy like the Asus.” That’s pretty strong support for the U300s over the Asus Zenbook, which has been reported to have a lot of wireless issue.
- Engadget U300s Review – Dana Wollman of Engadget got ahold of the U300s in November before it was released, some of the pros mentioned in her review were the nice design, great keyboard and very fast bootup thanks to the SSD. The cons were predictable, there is no SD slot, no backlit keyboard and the resolution of the display was found to be disappointing, although we’ll mention the 1366 x 768 you find on the U300s is no different to any other Windows Ultrabook.
- TheVege.com U300s Review – Joanna Stern put together a nice review of the U300s back in early November. Interestingly she lauded Lenovo for not copying the Apple MacBook Air design, which is a good point seeing as there are so many MacBook clones out there today. The orange case makes it look different and black sides do not mimic the silver aluminum sides of the MacBook Air. Once again the keyboard is praised for avoiding the common pitfall of ultrabooks, having a shallow key travel depth, by using a ThinkPad-like feeling keyboard. Still, the final score given is a 7.8/10 and the MacBook Air is rated as the winner over the U300s.
- LaptopMag.com U300s Review – Michael Prospero reviewed the U300s and, just like every other reviewer, gave it a strong rating but called it “not enough to beat the 13-inch MacBook Air”. The high price tag of $1,495 for their review configuration was called into question based on the fact certain features are missing you would expect such as a backlit keyboard.
- PCMag U300s Review – PCMag calls the U300s an “elegant entry into the new ultrabook category” and like TheVerge praised the design for not copying Apple.
- T3.com U300s Review – T3.com gave the U300s a rather low 3/5 stars. They complained about the screen being quite dull and said that the laptop was slow to charge, which is interesting as nobody else mentioned that. Instead of praising the design like other reviewers they actually call the design “plain and uninspiring”. The final verdict was also that “it doesn’t offer any compelling reason to choose it over the competition”. Ouch!
On the whole the consensus among U300s reviews seems to be that overall this is one of the better Windows ultrabooks available. The keyboard is certainly the best of any ultrabook and the battery life is very good at between 5 and 6 hours. The consistent complaints are in regards to a lack of an SD card slot and no backlit keyboard. Early reviewers were also told the laptop would cost $200 less than the $1,499 it actually costs via Lenovo.com right now. Since cost is the major factor for most buyers, that’s an important piece of misinformation seen in early reviews. Let’s hope the price does actually fall to around the $1,000 mark originally quoted by Lenovo.