Lenovo IdeaPad U310: A More Affordable Ultrabook

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Thanks to its aluminum body, the Lenovo IdeaPad U310 gives the same metallic vibe that the MacBook does. But you wouldn't mistake the ultrabook for an Apple product, and that's not a dig by any means. The U310 is a good looking machine with a great mix of rounded corners and sharp edges. Take the body, for example. The top, which houses the keyboard and touchpad, has sharp edges that create eye-catching lines. But all four corners of the notebook's sides are rounded. The result is a sophisticated, clean look. 


Like its older sibling, the U310 is a slim, sleek device. It measures 13.1 inches long by 8.8 inches wide, giving it a smaller footprint than most notebooks on your desk. (Or, more likely, your lap.) But the number that matters most is the height: the U310 is a mere 0.7 inches tall. That's a little thicker than the U300s (which is 0.58 inches high), but it passes Intel's bar for ultrabook status. In fact, it's so thin that the LAN port sticks out a little, breaking up the curve of the bottom edge just a bit.

Speaking of sharp, the screen is bright and clear, with reasonable viewing angles. If you angle it just a little on an airplane seat tray, you should have no problems keeping the person next to you out of your business. On the other hand, the U310 isn't the best choice for showing today's cat videos to a large group. What, you keep the cat antics to yourself?  At a more modest 1366X768 resolution, you may be left wanting a bit more real estate and pixel density but that would come a cost likely pushing this ultrabook beyond its $799 target.  There are other options in the market with higher resolution displays, including Lenovo's ThinkPad X1 Carbon, if you have the extra budget.


The screen bezel is unobtrusive and darker than it was on Lenovo's earlier IdeaPad model, the U300s. There's no latch on the top, so you can open it by simply lifting it up, but the top stays shut when you close. I didn't have any problems with the lid opening while I carried the ultrabook.

The keyboard is Lenovo's AccuType style, which emphasizes typing accuracy over saving space. Each key is visibly separate from the next, something you don't always see in laptops, or even desktop keyboards. The result is aesthetically pleasing and physically comfortable. The U300s ultrabook didn't have keyboard backlighting, and neither does the 310. That's too bad: the brightly-lit power button is easier to see in dimly lit environments and makes us wish the rest of the keyboard had received the same treatment.

The touchpad is also roomy – in fact, it's enormous. But a palm rejection feature keeps you from accidentally activating it while typing. During the length of my review, I bumped the touchpad regularly, but never once knocked my cursor somewhere random. Beyond knowing the difference between your palm and your fingers, the touch pad is actually capable of handling strokes from all five fingers, including swipes, pinches, and pulls. Lenovo went with a glass touchpad this time around. It makes for a surprisingly smooth surface. The touchpad's sensitivity is great when it comes to double-tapping to double-click, but it took me awhile to master the art of dragging and dropping on the touchpad without making my cursor stop.


Interestingly, the U310 comes in a few different colors. You can choose from Aqua Blue, Sapphire Blue, Graphite Grey, Cherry Blossom Pink, or Metallic Red, depending on the model you choose. There are plenty of laptop skins out there for people who want a customized system, but it's hard to beat a shell that's already your favorite color.

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Erakith 2 years ago

As much as I know it fits the bill, the design doesn't scream "ultrabook" to me. It looks like any other slim laptop that has been on the market for years now. The HP 13.3" dv3t series springs to mind. Thin and light yes, ultrabook? Hmm.. no.

That's just me, though.

pwrntspd 2 years ago

So um, this with trinity please?

realneil 2 years ago

This is nice for the price.

$722.00 is a decent street price for it.

nicoletoledo 2 years ago

Ultrabook is slick and slim with a blazing fast ssd. This looks like a brick

karanm 2 years ago

a brick!!! I know its not as slim and awesome looking as the Zenbook or the Dell and Hp ultrabooks but for that price its really good. Personally I would kill for the Asus zenbook Prime but this Lenovo would allow me to forgo the jail time and actually use the laptop. 

CDeeter 2 years ago

Do you have the option of adding another dimm for dual channel, or is there only one memory slot?

BTW Josh, nice review.

karanm 2 years ago

[quote user="CDeeter"]

Do you have the option of adding another dimm for dual channel, or is there only one memory slot?

BTW Josh, nice review.


The Lenovo PDF says there is only one SODIMM slot with a max of 1x 8gb.That's enough IMO for w/e you want to do on a laptop like this but then for my use even the 4GB would be enough. Surfing, watching movies on the screen or using the Intel WIDI option won't use that much ram. neither will word processing or the basic apps that one uses in windows.

Joshua Gulick 2 years ago

Thanks, CDeeter and NNK. karanm is right, there's only one slot. A little surprising, but it still handles everyday tasks well. And physically, it's really light. Very easy to hold.

realneil 2 years ago

[quote user="Joshua Gulick"]And physically, it's really light. Very easy to hold.[/quote]


So it's nothing like a "brick"? LOL!

NNK 2 years ago

Nice Review Josh.. might be recommending this to my friend.. he is in the market for a laptop.. I told him to wait a few months ago... he didn't know what an Ultrabook was.. I told him to wait and for the prices to drop

KPhoenix 2 years ago

Ultrabooks are the future .. half the weight for the same or better performance

Lead_filler 2 years ago

Wish they could have crammed the numpad too

JPrakash 2 years ago

Anybody who buys a normal Laptop these days are poorly informed IMO.. They need to subscribe to sites like HotHardware maybe :P

CKr 2 years ago

I would like to see more upgradable Grahpics in Laptops and Ultrabooks

PKumar 2 years ago

Sounds nice.. and the pricing is great

DDK 2 years ago

Ultrabooks need to be lighter IMO

RRajan 2 years ago

Can't wait to see what Haswell ultrabooks bring to the table

NSadhasivam 2 years ago

Will be more significant than Sandy or Ivy Bridge

BWelch 2 years ago

Yes it is like a slim laptop not an ultrabook. See this ultrabook from different manufacturer that is also under $1000 http://www.squidoo.com/ultrabook-under-1000

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