Lenovo IdeaPad S300 review

A budget, pseudo-Ultrabook with plenty of power and good looks

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While the Lenovo IdeaPad S300 doesn't quite have the technical ability to rival other Ultrabooks, in the end you're paying a lot less money.

Admittedly, the Lenovo IdeaPad S300 isn't actually an Ultrabook, so perhaps it's unfair to compare. But - aside from its lack of a fast drive - the Lenovo IdeaPad S300 has much the same appeal that any expensive Ultrabook does.

We liked

Ignoring the raw figures, which reveal the Lenovo IdeaPad S300's performance, it handled pretty much everything we could throw at it, which is surely a testament to that current generation processor producing the goods.

Its £469.99 (around AU$729/US$757) price tag might be low, but Lenovo hasn't scrimped on the important things, so It has a pretty good range of connections, including a handy USB 3.0 port, HDMI-out and the latest generation Wi-Fi adaptor for faster wireless speeds.

In the fashion stakes, the Lenovo IdeaPad S300 takes on the Ultrabooks and makes a pretty good case for itself. It certainly looks the business, and that build quality looks as if it came from a laptop costing over £1,000 (around AU$1,545/US$1,603).

We disliked

Although it looks great, the Lenovo IdeaPad S300 is actually pretty heavy - for an Ultrabook at least. This isn't a big laptop by any means, so you expect it to be much lighter.

Heavier than expected, it affects the Lenovo IdeaPad S300's portability credentials, and this is further blighted by a poor battery performance. 122 minutes of looped HD video might seem pretty decent, and real-life use will probably see more than that, but it's still not really acceptable in this day and age.

Had Lenovo promised more battery capacity, we would have happily let the additional AMD graphics go in return for some added juice. It doesn't appear to really offer any benefit over the integrated Intel HD 4000 graphics, so what's the point?

Final verdict

The Lenovo IdeaPad S300 isn't exactly the slimmest, nor is it definitely the lightest, but it is very attractive, well-built, very nice to use for long periods of time and it does have a decent amount of lick underneath the hood, thanks to its Ivy Bridge processor.

Its only real downside is the lack of a strong battery life compared to the 'all-day' boasts made by many of the Ultrabook manufacturers.

Lenovo has been consistently coming up with the goods recently, especially for those on a budget. While its Ultrabooks haven't completely set the world on fire, the Lenovo IdeaPad S300 shows that being the best isn't always the name of the game.

It offers a lot of real-world performance, looks and connectivity. If you want outright performance and portability, you might be better off forking out a little more cash for something better.