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Posted by on Jul 10, 2012 in Featured, Reviews | 1 comment

Lenovo U310 Review

Lenovo U310

Photos: Mariano Mancilla .

As its name suggests, we should be facing a higher bid than seen in the Lenovo U300s, laptop had the opportunity to test some time ago and we generally left good impressions in design and performance, with the exception of having a high price. It turns out that this became a widespread problem in the first generation of ultrabooks: laptops were attractive, performed well, but very expensive.

How did the industry? With a second generation of now cheaper through certain sacrifices as the inclusion of more plastic in the casing, next to the replacement of solid state drives (SSD) for massive internal storage in favor of traditional rotating hard drives with SSD small to cache, in something called “hybrid storage”. On the positive side, besides the price, this second batch of laptops come with Intel platform third-generation Ivy Bridge, promising improved performance in both the CPU and Intel integrated graphics HD 4000.

The result of this strategy? We will see below in this Lenovo U310.

Specs

  • Model: Lenovo IdeaPad U310.
  • Availability and price: Latin America, CLP $600,000 (Chile)-USD $ 1,200 approximate. This to the lower base model features Intel Sandy Bridge Intel second-generation hd 4000 graphics, not the one we tested.
  • Central processor (CPU): Intel Core i5-3317U dual-core with Hyper Threading to move four processing threads, showing the system as a quad-core. Base frequency of 1.7GHz to 2.6GHz scalable when the team is put under load (Turbo Boost). 3MB of cache, 17W TDP, 22nm manufactured part of the recent third generation of processors Ivy Bridge.
  • Graphics (GPU): integrated into the processor. Base frequency of 350MHz in the core, scalable 1.300MHz if the equipment is required in 3D performance.
  • RAM: 4GB DDR3 at 1600MHz. Maximum Supported: 4GB installed.
  • Storage Unit with a hybrid hard disk spinning at 5400rpm and 500GB solid state drive (SSD) 32GB to the saved cache frequently used data.
  • Display: 13.3 inch, 1366 x 768 pixels.
  • Connectivity: Intel Wireless Display (WiDi), Ethernet, USB 2.0, USB 3.0, HDMI, card reader.
  • Battery: It promises up to 7 hours.
  • Dimensions and weight: 18mm thick, 33.3cm wide and 22.4cm deep. Weight 1.7kg.
  • Other: Webcam 1Mpx.
  • Software: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium, McAfee Antivirus Plus (Emerald 11.0), Microsoft Office 2010, Windows Live Essentials 2011, Lenovo YouCam, VeriFace, Adobe Reader X, Google Chrome, Lenovo drivers.

Design and Display

Lenovo U310 image 2

We said that this model of Lenovo is a second attempt to conquer the industry for buyers in the form of ultrabooks, and that it was necessary to reduce the price. A change came over the inclusion of plastic casing, and this shows. Ultra-bright edges of the screen and the hinge are the most obvious example of this, however, the equipment body remains too stiff to be made of metal or aluminum, being very resistant to the moment of taking it from any angle .

Lenovo U310 image 3

This strength comes to changing the weight 1.7kg, 1.2kg which exceed that seen in other products in the same category, but anyway it does not exceed the average netbook in the industry and is not at all uncomfortable refresh this weight during the day. In addition, the thickness of 18mm, while not as thin as we have seen, is not a negative, and remains within the parameters of a ultrabook.

As always, design is subjective and whose conclusion is subject to the consumer’s personal taste, however, we want to note something that caught my attention when we opened the box and lifted the lid of the computer (do not find a more subtle to say) the is much like the MacBook Pro from Apple. Yes, they can dedicate the adjectives you want to say this, but first see with their own eyes what we say:

Lenovo U310 image 4Lenovo U310 image 5

A lack of creativity? We believe that there are so many possibilities in the industrial design is a bit strange, to say the least, it seemed huge.

Lenovo U310 image 6

But leaving aside this “story”, we go straight to see the screen of U310, which left us no conformity. Because the brightness is less than usual on computers that have a price close to this Lenovo, being very difficult to see the full content of sunlight. Add to that the fact that the front glass reflects much light, the experience of going out is very bad day. On the other hand, the color distortion were surprised by the permissiveness of wide viewing angles when moving from side to side, however, top-down color completely distorts the slightest change, but this is normal for this type of LCD panels.

In general, we are faced with an attractive design, but shockingly similar to another computer on another brand fruit, but with a screen much worse. The thinness and weight equipment, while not the best that we have had to prove, is within the standards and that’s always good. Furthermore, the strength of the team is very good and gives great security.

Keyboard and trackpad

Lenovo U310 image 7

It was very disappointing our first encounter with the keyboard of U310, so much so that we think we had a defective unit from the factory. Because we find no explanation for the fact that the aluminum plate bordering the keyboard where the keys are embedded, have so little resistance to the touch. just a little touch and the entire panel goes down, same situation is repeated for the entire plate that covers the area from the computer except the trackpad. Just a finger support with relative strength and the whole structure bends and sinks, showing great weakness.

The lack of backlit keyboard is also a negative point, since for a model of this category and price, one expects more. And talk about the disadvantages of not having independent lighting on the keyboard is something that every user can make to your needs. To this we add something to our taste, is very bad idea: place a column on the right keys and the Enter key to clear, which is the final edge used by most teams. This causes the delete err sometimes a letter and do a page break or a return to the top of the line.

Lenovo U310 image 8

On the side of the trackpad, ie the surface to handle the mouse pointer, things improved. The material chosen appears to be glass and the space is quite large and comfortable. The buttons are integrated into a single structure and keep the form factor of right-left, even over them can keep track of the stylus to make movements.

This is useful when handling multi-touch gestures, those who come through the Synaptics driver software, which offers zooming, scrolling with two fingers and turns, with quick passes with three fingers and other options that provide greater user control over work daily on the PC in an easy and fast.

Lenovo U310 image 9

In general, keyboard and trackpad are 50 and 50. On one hand, the keyboard is wrong with regard to manufacture, no backlight and key arrangement. However, the trackpad is of a material how to use, surface area and allows multi-touch gestures that work quite well.

User experience and software

Lenovo U310 image 10

A good practice is to include Lenovo little factory-installed software on their computers, which improves the overall performance of the platform once out of the box. In this case the experience was not a dream, as we have the McAfee antivirus, but there is little more than that, in fact, a couple of utilities that add little weight to the user experience and offer functionality that is striking and may be of interest to some users. Despite this, no toolbars for Internet Explorer or 1GB preinstalled software and the amount of earnings is low, beyond the system drivers for things like Intel WiDi or Synaptics trackpad, which are absolutely necessary.

Thus, the machine takes 24 seconds to power and only 11 seconds to go, showing a very smooth when opening applications for everyday use and use file folders. Recall that the U310 does not have a solid state drive (SSD) completely, but a hard disk spinning at 5400 revolutions per minute (rpm) which is accompanied by a 32GB SSD, a place where data is stored for recurrent use its load faster. That is why the operating system turns on and off quickly, and the 32GB enough to save the libraries and files needed by applications that use most, being a very efficient hybrid solution for the ordinary user, who gives us the speed of an SSD with hard disk capacity at an affordable price.

Within the integrated Lenovo remarkable software, we found a tool called VeriFace facial recognition for unlocking the computer more easily and “fun”, according to Lenovo-together software CyberLink YouCam webcam to use the computer to create funny pictures.

Lenovo U310 image 11

In addition, Lenovo created his own system to control energy profiles in the ultrabook, showing an attractive marker with three easy to change modes: low, medium and high performance, to adjust the energy consumption according to user needs at the moment.

Lenovo U310 image 12

As the temperature of the equipment during use, we are not against the best cooling system and it shows, especially in environments where the machine is required in processing and 3D graphics or games. As usual, the heated area is about the QWERTY keys and 12345, and while the temperature is not high enough to be uncomfortable to use on legs, it is not best of breed. The hole where the air is escaping to the left side and is large enough to confirm that the platform does generate enough heat, managing to get a lot of air at a temperature quite respectable.

Lenovo U310 image 13

Overall, response fluency basic tasks of the Lenovo U310 is very good, thanks to the small but sufficient 32GB SSD, along with the inclusion of some factory preinstalled software, where utilities have a couple of quite attractive. In this the team warms up a bit more than they should, but not both, so not to worry, that the user experience is very good in terms of elements.

Performance

We are facing a ultrabook, and as such, it prioritizes the user experience for basic tasks, above the yield on specific things. We should not expect a great performance of the central processor and graphics, as these machines are designed to accomplish office tasks and web browsing. The novelty here is the inclusion of the Intel platform of third-and last-generation, in addition to a better processor, integrated graphics HD 3000 promises better quality, with the company saying that “serve for 3D games and all class of applications that want to run “, as we have said senior executives of the company, personally, more than ever. We’ll see.

With this in mind, we compare this against other Lenovo U310 ultrabooks as the Toshiba Portege Z835 , Samsung 530U , Lenovo U300s and to a lesser extent, the HP Envy 14 Spectre and M3 Acer Aspire Timeline U , two models with larger screen sizes and a different approach to the ultrabook average of 13 inches.

The first will run tests Windows 7, we give a score of 1.0 to 7.9 for each component of the system, with an overall figure that tells us not only the achievements of the weakest area of our configuration :

Lenovo U310 image 14

In this case, it gave the lowest graphics, a trend that is constantly repeated with the integrated solutions offered by Intel, despite being promised an improvement over the HD 4000. The rest generally respond quite well, considering that data transfers are taken into account the area of 32GB SSD mass storage, delivering high speed and a score of 5.9, on par with the RAM at 1600MHz that is, the faster than can be found in a notebook.

Now is the turn of the PCMark 7, which measures the HD video encoding, image manipulation, editing and web browsing fluidity, ie daily tasks of various types of users, reflecting the experience of use in more than central processor and graphics, but for the whole system together.

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
Sony VAIO Series E14P 23.04 12.44 9.14 2287
Lenovo U310 23.04 10.3 8.24 3451

The overall team performance is very good, and the strength of the inner shelf as a whole set of elements looks when all the components required in a trial as complex as PCMark 7, far exceeding a ultrabook last generation as the Lenovo U300s. We talked about an experience in general use very fluid, and now that we confirm these figures.

But now to the more specific and go from taking out the juice to the central processor Intel Core i5-3317U. Cinebench lights that will give thanks to the heavy load that gives the chip, either a core-CPU Single-core and all working together in unison MultiCPU-as well as one at first sight-OpenGL graphics -.

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
Sony VAIO Series E14P 4910 10376 6980
Lenovo U310 4378 9085 4049

Again, the numbers are very good and if we compare to other ultrabooks, the beating is evident in terms of processor. But Intel HD 4000 graphics again we were to be, and here we began to worry, because we got put are not consistent with the promises of the company.

Let’s see this in detail with 3DMark 06, which does not require to give more to the integrated graphics:

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
Sony VAIO Series E14P 2030 2512 3405 5976
L enovo U310 1196 1634 2958 3838

And of course, improving the HD 4000 HD 3000 regarding, for example, the Lenovo U300s is minimal, virtually undetectable in terms of synthetic tests. We know in advance that these graphics do not work to play great games or run other demanding 3D games at decent quality, but not necessarily all that people search on your machine which may be intended to move only Windows animated windows and some point where there are other tasks involved graphics. For everything else, better to opt for a solution dedicated NVIDIA or AMD, as Intel gives back what is not up to par.

As mass storage, it measure the performance of the integrated solid state drive, which as we said, is a small device used to store 32GB of information we use more regularly, in a space that is more than enough to take the data cache operating system and our most used applications, so this is what ultimately defines the good performance of the laptop.

CrystalDiskMark 3 is a small application that sheds light on the fastest read and write data reaches our unit:

Lenovo U310 image 15

The speed of reading is one of the highest we have seen portable SSD with 287MB/seg, well above the 80MB/seg reaching traditional spinning hard drives. In writing we were a little short with 83MB/seg, however, it is not used because the information should be recorded only once in the SSD, then loaded indefinitely when we turn on the computer or launch an application.

In general, we found a very efficient platform to work everyday with fluid response times, CPU performance enough, very fast RAM and a hybrid SSD serves as the core to complete this great team. Integrated Intel Graphics HD 4000 were the big disappointment, despite promises from Intel have improved this aspect.

Games

Lenovo U310 image 16

An important aspect in judging a computer is its efficiency when running games, and could not miss this section in our reviews, so we will detail the performance of the Lenovo U310 in two titles: Starcraft II and Far Cry 2.

First, we tested the five Starcraft II standard settings for graphics quality: Low, Medium, High, Ultra and Extreme, measuring the FPS (frames or frames per second) we get on average and its highest points and lowest , ie when the game is less demand and there are few items on the screen, and when it is higher, as during an epic battle where you get the lowest number of FPS.

To interpret these numbers we know that over 30 FPS gaming experience will have a good and fluid, and that under this number and begin to see sequences interrupted and slow implementation.


Low Intermediate High Ultra End
Average FPS 62 23 17 11 11
Lower FPS 13 10 7 5 5
Higher SPF 105 42 32 20 20

The HD 4000 graphics allow us to play this game only as low, as if we jump to any other category we find a performance that does not allow for a nice performance, though even in low quality sequences have pulls in where the game gets more demanding, reaching lows of 13 FPS.

On the other hand we have Far Cry 2 benchmark tool and (testing), where we use a standard configuration for all computers that let’s try from now on, as in Starcraft II. In this case, we can get more specific and say that we run at a native resolution of 1280 X 720 on DirectX 10 with anti-aliasing filter (4x) and best overall quality.


Average FPS Maximum FPS Minimum FPS
Lenovo U310 11 17 8

Totally unplayable under this configuration, and although we know that we are facing a game “bigger” with a more demanding graphics settings, eventually realizing that we will do other notebooks can run this application, and that in this case we prepare low-level gaming thanks to the Intel HD 4000 solution.

In general, for a game that does not demand as many resources as Starcraft II, as well as for another that does, like Far Cry 2, the Lenovo U310 is not up to par and we conclude simply that you’re a machine to run 3D games this is not your model and found that we should avoid Intel integrated graphics, either HD 3000 or HD 4000, and that despite this latest promise better performance, the advance over its predecessor is minimal and still remains to be.

Battery and charger

Lenovo U310 image 17

Lenovo promises a range of up to seven hours of use, probably under ideal conditions. But we use a simple test that we like to call “The Test of YouTube”, where we ran on Google Chrome a video on YouTube, the longest I could find at 240p on the player small, using the Windows power profile in “Balanced” and the screen brightness to 3/4 of its maximum capacity.

We got 3 hours and 56 minutes straight, which will serve you to calculate the independence of a plug as needed. Compared to other ultrabooks, especially the last generation U300s Lenovo, we fell short and was expected, since previously we obtained better results, concluding that this time we face a worse autonomy in the past.

Fortunately, the charger is very small, and it is annoying to go with him everywhere, which added to the small size of a ultrabook by definition, have in hand a team that certainly classifies as an ultra-portable.

Conclusion

Lenovo U310 image 18

The promise of a cheaper price on this ultrabook second generation comes under a sacrifice in design, manufacturing quality leaves some doubts, but anyway it is offset by a yield that exceeds everyday tasks to the teams of the past Thanks to the inner shelf Ivy Bridge. The hybrid storage on hard disk and SSD appears to be most optimal and the capacity of 32GB SSD helps us move our files every day without problems, together with 500GB we receive with open arms. In short, we have a very fluid experience in general things such as office tasks and web browsing.

But if we demand a little more the model is when we are disappointed because we expected more from Intel HD 4000 graphics. Perhaps we were naive about it, because it is only an integrated graphics solution with low energy consumption, however, the manufacturing company and promises much publicity about anything in this field, when in fact even the most basic 3D games can run them on a fluid.

In short, we believe that appropriate measures were taken to lower the price of ultrabooks without damaging the user experience in general and understandable in terms of design transactions that come in exchange for a lower label. Aesthetically because it shows that we are facing a more economic and less resistance when compared to first generation equipment, but neither is to die: the format continues to meet its objectives and fans of the ultra-thin can still be found in the Lenovo U310 that I fell for this category.

The Unmissable

  • Body very strong.
  • Soon the factory preinstalled software.
  • Very smooth overall performance for basic tasks.
  • Presence of USB 3.0 ports.
  • Hybrid mass storage well thought out.

The unpresentable

  • Mysteriously closely resembles a laptop from another brand …
  • Poor manufacturing soft keyboard.
  • The screen has a low sheen and reflects too much light.
  • Poor graphics performance.

Source: fayerwayer.com

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1 Comment

  1. an Impressive machine! I’d like to have one. Yes it does look a lot like a macbook pro…

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