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Posted by on Jun 13, 2012 in Featured, Reviews |

Lenovo U300s Review

Lenovo U300s

Photos: Mariano Mancilla .

The format of the here to stay, and it is no coincidence that we have the opportunity to test some models in recent times. Several brands have passed through our hands and is now the turn of Lenovo, who bid to differentiate itself from competitors by offering a user experience quick and quality in a robust design.

As expected, this comes with a high economic cost, yet how does the fulfill the promises of its manufacturer? In a world where all Ultrabooks are nearly equal, are there any distinguishing features on this laptop? We shall see below.

Specs

  • Model: IdeaPad U300s.
  • Availability tough p: Latin America, CLP $ 800,000 (Chile)-USD $ 1,600 approximate.
  • Central processor (CPU): Intel Core i5-2467M dual core, supports up to four processing threads thanks to HyperThreading technology. Scalable to 1.6GHz Frequency 2.3GHz under load. 3MB of cache. TDP of 17W, 32nm made part of the second generation Intel “Sandy Bridge”.
  • Graphics (GPU): Intel HD 3000 integrated with the central processor. 350MHz up to 1.150MHz base when the chip is required.
  • RAM: 4GB DDR3 1333MHz, supporting up to 8GB.
  • Storage: Solid State Drive (SSD) JMicron 616 120GB of capacity.
  • Display: 13.3 inch TFT LCD with resolution of 1366 x 768.
  • Connectivity: One USB 2.0, USB 3.0 port. HDMI, Ethernet, audio input and output. WiFi, Bluetooth, Intel WiDi.
  • Battery: 4 cells.
  • Dimensions and weight: 32cm x 21cm, 1.5cm thick. 1.34 kg. weight.
  • Others: 1.3 megapixel Webcam. It has no disc drive unit. SRS Premium Surround Sound.
  • Software: Windows 7 Home Premium.

Design and Display

Lenovo U300s image 2

When we talk to people on this team Lenovo and its high price, we responded that the client will forward the quality and strength of the model rather than money, although this was “the best” is in the market and thus worth paying for it. On the one hand this is true and the other not.

Because obviously, the laptop is very well done in terms of design, clean lines and elegant showing a very firm with excellent construction materials, which allows taking of any point without bending or shows signs of weakness, according to the words of manufacturer when he says that we are facing a very high quality Ultrabook.

However, this strength is associated with a weight that is a bit higher than other ultra-portable, and as we said, a very high cost for a team as we shall see, offers very little mass storage and graphics performance poor.

Lenovo U300s image 3

On the other hand, note that although we had the gray version of the team, this is one of the few and perhaps the only model that can be purchased in a color other than gray or black: orange. We thank Lenovo option more vivid and striking than the usual.

As for the screen, unfortunately we are facing an LED and it shows when demand viewing angles. Because as we move from the front position to look at the PC, the colors are distorted, invest and behave as expected when we say that support for wide viewing angles, and therefore is not bad.

Lenovo U300s image 4

The resolution of 1366 x 768 not out and we laugh or mourn: it is what is today in this kind of equipment. Yes we feel that Lenovo was to be with the display in general, since it does not offer deep blacks, good contrast of colors and worst, a backlight brightness on par with LED alternatives, widely used in models that are cheaper the U300s.

Keyboard and trackpad

Lenovo U300s image 5

To read the following lines, we want to enter the universe of “very good”. Because here live U300s trackpad, an element that shines on your computer, to be made of glass such as that seen in the MacBook Pro from Apple, along with a perfect arrangement of the classic two-button mouse. The texture is ideal and not lose any instruction, making it completely comfortable to use in day to day, enduring sudden movements with precision, moisture and dirt on the surface.

But most important is what we can do with this tool, which comes through the implementation of software called Cypress Trackpad:

Lenovo U300s image 6

As you see, we feature multitouch gestures with which we can activate functions when moving with two, three and four fingers on the trackpad. Is the typical pinch to zoom, ie zoom in on the screen with two fingers and rotate images or move them. Even more interesting is something that Lenovo wanted to surprise, and when “brush” or rather move to the side with four fingers on the trackpad, appearing the following interface:

Lenovo U300s image 7Lenovo U300s image 8

This is a utility that displays the pictures in a more interactive and attractive through Windows, along with delivering notes to write reminders, all being controlled through gestures such as those described on the screen, which serve as a guide for move into this new environment. It is a bit limited what we can do, however, an interesting detail that takes us out of the ordinary and wild delivered by Windows when writing notes or viewing pictures.

Lenovo U300s image 9

Now, get out of this ideal universe and talk about the keyboard. We do not mean it’s bad, because it is not, however, misses the presence of backlight. If not for that too would be talking only good things, because the experience of writing and producing on this computer is quite good, being that only plastic keys.

The overall balance of these two is good, including Lenovo design with lines out from the rest and make it look a little more innovative, without being overdone. Also, the trackpad offers a lot of functionality, which is certainly a distinctive element to consider when comparing U300s the competition.

User experience and software

Lenovo U300s image 10

Important aspect of the offer that makes Lenovo is to ensure a premium user experience on this Ultrabook, which is revealed in small details such as those described above the trackpad, or in response times that have the equipment to be used, among other things.

In this we note that it takes between 20 and 25 seconds to turn, since we pushed the power button until we are fully functional on the desktop, which is a very short wait when compared to even higher performance notebooks. Here the culprit is solid state drive (SSD) of which more later, but it behaves very well to move everyday tasks and also have short time to shut down Windows, which occurs in less than 14 seconds.

As seen in the picture above, the laptop comes with little software pre-installed from factory, pleasantly surprised that we would also lead to other assemblers. Not even a restricted license antivirus, giving users the freedom to choose the solution that it deems appropriate, including the excellent free products that are available online.

What we do find are the appropriate drivers for each team role, for example, the configuration windows for the SRS Premium Surround Sound, Intel My WiFi technology and Intel WiDi:

Lenovo U300s image 11Lenovo U300s image 12

Special case is the software to configure the energy saving, which Lenovo joined through a proprietary tool that is simple to use and can even be essential for some users because of the same. We have the option of going for different profiles, either low or high performance, affordable way to deliver fast but enough options to customize each without complications:

Lenovo U300s image 13

Another important aspect is the sound of the integrated speakers, which has absolutely nothing special. We have heard good portable audio, however, this falls short of Lenovo volume and clarity, largely due to the closed design of the computer where the speakers are enclosed in the casing.

What I was pleasantly surprised by the heat dissipation system, ie the way the U300s gets rid of the high temperatures when it is being required to the maximum. Because the portable is heated only slightly at the top and center of the keyboard, however, does not become annoying and sometimes even is imperceptible. According to Lenovo, use a cooling system where the team “breathes” through the keyboard, which works in mysterious ways but it works very well.

Lenovo U300s image 14

In general, both by the absence of annoying software from the factory and the presence of an SSD for mass storage, we are dealing with a machine that greatly reduced waiting times in all kinds of tasks, from power, the implementation of applications and off. This will help controllers and integrated programs that handle basic functions in a simple and easily accessible, making it even more seamless user experience.

Performance

Here we will stop at length, as ever. Because there are several things to explain in what is most important in a computer (performance), so we add to our repertoire tests better reflect the rate at which doing this, that we tell in advance is good, but has a brutal failure that you can imagine what it is.

First of all we must clarify that the results you get are only affordable to other Ultrabooks that have passed through our claws hands: the Toshiba Portege Z835 , HP Envy 14 Spectre , Samsung 530U and to a lesser extent, Acer Aspire Timeline Ultra M3-581TG , since the latter “cheats” because it has a size of 15.6 inches that allows the inclusion of dedicated graphics GT 640M.

The first and most basic thing we can do is run the becnhmark (Test) Windows 7 to measure the performance of the essential parts of a PC, processor, RAM, graphics and hard drive speed, which in this case it is a SSD to which we refer in detail below.

Lenovo U300s image 15

The central processor, RAM and storage behave very well, however, the “cheese” or clashing element are integrated graphics Intel HD 3000, which are not up to the rest of the components and lower the score the platform making bottleneck, ie, limiting computer performance and power that can give the CPU, memory, etc., may not appear quite as requiring the team to move 3D content.

Now for a second test that measures the team as a whole, and here we are indeed facing a complex software that squeezes every last drop of Lenovo U300s. We talked about Futuremark PCMark7, which makes its debut on our battery of tests. The overall score gives us a full view of the user experience, which is a result of load to all parts of the PC. Here we highlight, in addition to the final figure, what comes out of testing and coding of video playback in high resolution, along with the numbers on performance testing for web browsing and photo editing, aspects of daily use in the real life is now possible to quantify.

Futuremark PCMark7 Video playback and encoding (Frames per second) Processing web pages (pages per second) Image manipulation (Mpx per second) General
Lenovo U300s 23.1 8.19 6.39 3117

Over time this limited list will grow, so we’ll have numbers to compare PCMark7. For now, we are left with the hard facts of this Lenovo U300s.

Let us now have a more specific benchmark, where we see the capabilities of the central processor Intel Core i5-2467M. In this comes into action Cinebench R10, which measures the processing in the area of graphics rendering as well as under the OpenGL technology. Single CPU core requires a single chip and multi core CPU goes to work the two. Basically, estrujaremos the CPU and graphics to a lesser extent, this will give us a number and we will compare that to other devices.

Cinebench R10
Single CPU
Multi CPU
OpenGL
Alienware M11x 1643 2979 2886
Acer Aspire Timeline Ultra M3-581TG 3352 7000 4449
Toshiba Portege Z835 3611 7190 4620
SONY VAIO 3D VPCF215FL 4529 17121 3859
Sony VAIO VPCCA17FL 4621 9768 4793
Sony VAIO Z 4573 9819 2058
Samsung R480 2362 5494 2924
Samsung 530U 3513 6195 3743
Samsung R580 2795 6268 3350
Samsung Series 7 Chronos 4688 14070 5607
HP Pavilion dm1z 1149 2210 1937
HP Pavilion dm4 3081 6852 2036
HP ENVY 14 Spectre 3622 7211 4677
HP Pavilion DV6-6185LA 4582 16983 5490
Lenovo U300s 3544 7137 3724

Here we get to levels below those seen in other notebooks like the Toshiba Portege Z835 , thanks to an internal platform with relatively lower CPU other Ultrabooks, which does not mean a deterioration of the user experience, since the difference is quite marginal and only slightly noticeable when we demand the team in demanding tasks such as running Cinebench R10 case. Not to worry.

What is a point to consider is the graphics performance of the platform, which leaves much to be desired. This is obviously a product of Intel integrated graphics HD 3000, which rightfully do not serve to almost nothing but move the Aero user interface of Windows 7, contrary to what Intel would have us believe. Who’s to blame? We can throw the stone at Intel, to create a solution that bad, or Lenovo, to implement it on your computer and not to seek innovative alternatives to the internal design of the PC to integrate dedicated graphics, which of course leads to an ongoing effort for the company rather high and somewhat utopian to ask, because here was a single mission: to create a as Intel calls.

But more than words, what we say is exposed when running Futuremark 3DMark06 tests, which require specific U300s graphics performance.

Futuremark 3DMark 2006
SM 2.0
SM 3.0
CPU
TOTAL
Alienware M11x 3016 3160 1400 6539
Acer Aspire Timeline Ultra M3-581TG 4800 5267 2440 10854
Toshiba Portege Z835 1422 1690 2440 4114
SONY VAIO 3D VPCF215FL 2462 3063 3231 7060
Sony VAIO VPCCA17FL 2473 3074 3129 7054
Sony VAIO Z 1598 1975 3199 4761
Samsung R480 3183 3167 2216 7547
Samsung 530U 1170 1461 1931 3454
Samsung R580 3178 3273 2498 7726
Samsung Series 7 Chronos 2978 3266 3454 7946
HP Pavilion dm1z 762 968 1023 2213
HP Pavilion dm4 655 856 2763 2120
HP ENVY 14 Spectre 1187 1468 2000 3498
HP Pavilion DV6-6185LA 4063 5341 5048 11877
Lenovo U300s 1186 1408 2412 3484

Finally, we emphasize the solid state drive (SSD) that provides mass storage in the U300s, distinctive element in Intel’s Ultrabooks and primarily responsible for the speed and short response times that have this equipment. Because the difference in data transfer rates between a traditional spinning hard drive and an SSD is tremendous, and that running the test will reflect what CrystalDiskMark 3.

Lenovo U300s image 16

Here we face a JMicron 616 unit with 120GB of capacity, which gives us a speed of reading data from and writing to 135MB/seg 253MB/seg.

Interpreting these results, we realize that the clear focus of the device is to deliver an excellent reading of data, we used to when reading files when you launch applications, look for documents in folders and start the operating system. A traditional hard drive, the best, showing figures slightly lower than 100MB/sec in reading, so that you can draw conclusions about the yawning gap that exists between one of those and the 253MB/seg in this SSD.

The downside is seen in the writing speed, which is going down instead of pairing with the reading. This parameter affects when copying files to hard disk, ie, “write it”, which is not so much as read, but nevertheless is important when transferring files from outside to our team.

Battery and charger

Lenovo U300s image 17

Now we know how the team performs, but how about the battery? With four cells, it is difficult to establish a parameter or set of tests to get a number in this field to be accurate, nor we will strive to achieve what it promises Lenovo (7 hours continuous).

On the other hand, do our own testing, which could not be more simple: the test of YouTube. We will use the Windows power profile set to “Balanced”, put the screen brightness to 3/4 of its maximum capacity and we ran on Google Chrome a video on YouTube, the longest I could find at 240p in the small player.

The result? 4 hours and 45 minutes of continuous playback, which we hope will serve as a reference for calculating the energy independence that can reach this equipment under other scenarios.

On the other hand, as we see in the image, the size of the charger is also small enough and light in weight, making it very convenient to carry in your purse next to the PC, with 1.3kg and somewhat heavier than other alternatives, not is to die, making the Lenovo U300s generally a very portable machine, of course, thanks to its definition as Ultrabook.

Conclusion

Lenovo U300s image 18

We are facing a good team, with their flaws and shortcomings, but overall very well done, with nice details and generally providing a great user experience, such as Lenovo wants. If we give away what-not-do not receive him happy, however, the problem is that you pay to have it priced too high, so much so that it is not worth buying.

But we are talking about a problem that affects the entire category Ultrabooks sold in Chile and Latin America, so here we can not blame Lenovo or throwing stones, but there is always the idea that might be more bold in implementing the Ultrabook platform or to escape from the specification to generate a better product. Perhaps could have made an effort to lower the price, but that is another matter: we have no idea why Ultrabook reach such an enormous cost to our region, this all makes.

But if we close our eyes to it, which believe me is hard, we can look at the U300s falls short of other Ultrabooks, with some critical differentiators as physical robustness, quality of materials, software, and color options .

Performance is on par with what to expect, and although the graphics leave much to be desired, the other delivers a fantastic experience for the day to day, reaching energy independence for all.

I miss

  • Quality workmanship and materials.
  • Experience fast commonly used for day to day.
  • Little pre-installed software factory.
  • High speed reading of data in mass storage.

The unpresentable

  • The price.
  • Intel Integrated HD 3000.
  • The screen.
  • Massive storage capacity.

Source: fayerwayer

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