CNET First Look
Lenovo IdeaPad U300sLenovo's stylish U300s ultrabook is one of the best-looking Windows laptops we've seen and matches Apple's MacBook Air nearly spec-for-spec.
I'm Dan Ackerman and we are here taking a look at the Lenovo IdeaPad U300s. Now this is another one of the new laptops in the subcategory known as the Ultrabook that's an Intel-invented term that refers to laptops that are very thin, very light, still pretty powerful, good battery life, kinda like a Windows version of the MacBook Air. I've seen a couple of them that are the same price as the MacBook Air. Some of them are significantly less expensive. This model right here comes in 2 different configurations. The one that matches up with the entry-level MacBook Air has a 128-gig solid state hard drive, a Core i5 CPU from Intel. If you go with that setup, the Lenovo U300s is actually $100 cheaper than the MacBook Air. And you know what, this is probably one of the nicer-looking Windows laptops we've ever seen so that actually seems like a pretty good deal especially if you think that this includes things like an HDMI output, USB 3.0, things you're not gonna get on the MacBook Air. This exact model sitting right in front of us, however, is the more expensive version. This has a big 256-gig SSD drive and a Core i7 CPU, very powerful, very enviable stuff. That actually works out to be $1599, the exact same as the 13-inch MacBook Air that has a bigger hard drive and that faster CPU. If they're exactly the same price, I don't know. I still might be tempted to go with the MacBook Air just 'cause it's such a great all-together system and the design and the touchpad and the keyboard, everything works fantastically on that. Now, on this model, much like we see with a lot of other Lenovos, keyboard is excellent. It's got a nice big touchpad. The keys have that Lenovo IdeaPad thing where they curve out just a tiny bit at the bottom. I find that helpful with some of my sloppy typing. I kind of catch the bottom edge of the key where normally on a perfectly squared off key, I'd miss it. One knot that we've got is the 13-inch screen. Native resolution is 1366 x 768. That's perfectly normal for a 13-inch laptop, but when you get up to this price range, you kinda want something a little bit-- a little bit nicer, maybe a 16 x 9. Even the MacBook Air is a 1440 x 900, slight difference there because that's a 16 x 10 versus 16 x 9. Design on this, however, is really great. It's super thin, super light. When you close it, it kinda looks almost like a book from the side. It's got the little lids kind of stick out a tiny bit. The body stem from a single piece of aluminum and as you can see, there are no vents on the bottom. It actually uses some very subtle vents here on the side and they claim that the keyboard actually acts as a venting system itself letting heat out through the keys, although we certainly didn't suffer any hot finger while typing on it. This Ultrabook concept is still unproven but if we see more systems that costs the same or hopefully less than a MacBook Air and that look and work as nicely as this one, I think there's a lot of lengths there. And going into next year or the year after that, hopefully we'll see a lot more super-thin systems like that that will even become the basic standard for laptops of all sizes. I'm Dan Ackerman and that is the Lenovo IdeaPad U300s.