It might be a little unfair to suggest that the Lenovo IdeaPad U310 is skirting by on its looks, but that's definitely where it stands out from the Ultrabook crowd.

Looks might seem like a small thing in the scheme of computers, but when you consider how close Ultrabooks are to one another in terms of specs, it's one of the few ways to stand out. The IdeaPad U310 looks great, but that really is its only notable feature, ultimately.

Like quite a few lower-priced Ultrabooks, it's really more worth considering as a replacement for a home laptop than as a travelling or working companion. It still offers a size and weight advantage over something similar, but you could get better value for money from something a little less size-conscious.

We liked

The Lenovo IdeaPad U310 really does look the part of a friendly small laptop, with bright colours, a clean white look and rounded edges. You can imagine using it in the living room or with someone at university, instead of on a desk or hidden in an office.

Its speed at coming on from standby and its great keyboard mean that it's a natural thing to grab when you do some quick surfing, while a good range of ports means it definitely isn't lacking as a computer.

We disliked

Aside from looks, there's very little to make this stand out. The components and performance are average, the screen is thoroughly middling, the battery life is a bit low, it's a bit heavy and thick, but it all falls within the realms of what you'd expect for its price…

The trackpad gestures are a major annoyance, though, especially since the silly way they've been implemented means that they can either be turned off or lived with, not improved, as far as we can see.

Final verdict

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Compared to the laptops you'll find it next to in a PC shop, it may be that the fun looks are all that can make the Lenovo IdeaPad U310 stand out. It's not any worse than its low-priced Ultrabook peers, and the keyboard is good for those who want to do a lot of typing on a small machine.

For a 13-inch Ultrabook priced at £599/US$729 (around AU$912), it's perfectly acceptable. You'll get something a fair bit snappier if you can stretch to something like the Asus Zenbook UX32A, though.