Since the introduction of Ultrabooks, Lenovo has been at the forefront of thin and light machines. We've seen it do well at both ends of the pricing scale with the Lenovo U410 and ThinkPad X1 Carbon, but those are both 14-inch machines.

The IdeaPad U310 is a 13-inch Ultrabook, more in keeping with the likes of the Asus Zenbook UX32A, Lenovo's own IdeaPad Yoga (but without the touch capabilities, or the flexible spine), or the MacBook Air.

Though it trims down on screen size from the IdeaPad U410, it keeps the funky design sensibilities. With a choice of finishes for the outside, including the fetching blue colour we had, and stark white (with slightly sparkling finish) on the inside, it definitely looks like more of a home laptop than the usual dour business fare.

Lenovo IdeaPad U310 review

There's a spacious trackpad, and a good-sized keyboard too, with simple black keys. It's definitely a handsome computer, and one that manages that special trick of looking friendly, rather than like a serious work machine.

Inside the model we tested, you'll find silicon fairly comparable to other machines at the lower end of the Ultrabook market. There's a 1.8GHz Intel Core i3 processor, a 500GB hard drive with a 24GB SSD for rapid booting and waking from sleep, 4GB of RAM and Windows 8 powering it all.

The model we had has a full recommended price of £599 in the UK (around AU$912) or US$729 in the US, but can be found a bit below that online.

Lenovo IdeaPad U310 review

The Lenovo U310 comes in a few configurations, which can affect the price. You can also find it with a more powerful Intel Core i5-3317U processor, or even an Intel Core i7-3517U, for more money (we'll touch on the processor differences on the Specification page).

Though a quick glance at the specs and price of the Lenovo IdeaPad U310 leave it looking pretty middle-of-the-road in the lower end of the Ultrabook range, it's an incredibly appealing thing to see in the flesh. Something like the Asus Zenbook Prime UX31A is designed to be severe and sexy; this is designed to be fun and inviting.

At 18mm (0.7 inches) thick, it's hardly the thinnest of Ultrabooks, and at 1.6kg (3.5lbs) it won't win any portability awards. But it's still slimmer and lighter than most home computers, so the advantage isn't something to be ignored.

Lenovo IdeaPad U310 review

As we mentioned, this isn't a touchscreen laptop (although a Lenovo IdeaPad U310 Touch is "coming soon", it has been announced), so if you're looking for a more hands-on way to use Windows 8, you're better off with the aforementioned Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga or something like the Asus VivoBook S200.

It comes with three USB ports (including two that are USB 3.0), an Ethernet port, an SD/MMC card reader, an HDMI video output, and a headphone jack.

Colour options for the Lenovo IdeaPad U310's cover are Aqua Blue, Graphite Grey or Cherry Blossom Pink.

Lenovo IdeaPad U310 review