The IdeaPad U310 for Lenovo comes in two versions, namely the ultrabook and non-ultrabook version. While the non-ultrabook version retails for about $700, the ultrabook version retails for about $800 putting it in the category of affordable high performance ultrabooks.
The major upgrade that this ultrabook sports is the addition of Ivy Bridge with a third generation i5 1.7 GHz processor; compared to its predecessor that had a second generation i7 1.7 GHz processor. This ultrabook takes a lot of cues from the MacBook Air’s design. It is an aluminium slab with a 13.3” screen that has a resolution of 1366×768 pixels. It even sports an island keyboard which unfortunately is not backlit. Compared to its predecessor, the click pad is more responsive and has fewer issues.
Another great improvement to this IdeaPad is the inclusion of 1 USB 2.0 and 2 USB 3.0 ports. The HDMI port, wired Ethernet port and the SD slot are similar to the U300 and do the job well. The hard disk while expanding in size, at 5600 rpm the 500GB disk is slower than the 256 GB solid state drive, one the U300 had. Benchmark tests show that the faster CPU and slower hard-disk cancel each other out and thus show the same results as the U300.
The battery lasts for about 4 hours and 30 minutes of video playback, which is pretty decent for an ultrabook. Unfortunately it does not improve upon the U300’s performance. While the changes in this particular model’s hardware specs are minimal, the major change is in the price point. The U310 costs about 50% lesser than the U300, which cost $1500. This firmly puts it within the reach of graduate students and first time purchasers of ultrabooks.
Another major change is the weight. The ultrabook now weighs 3.6 pounds, which is up from the 2.9 pounds that the U300 weighed. Contributing factors include the shift to traditional hard disk. This laptop is sturdier than its predecessor because of its metal shell. One of the components that could potentially spoil the device quickly is the plastic bezel that surrounds the LCD screen. It looks flimsy and is easy to pry apart with a fingernail even on a brand new machine.
The LCD screen looks good only when it is viewed head on. All things considered, this ultrabook is a great alternative for people who could afford only a traditional laptop but were interested in purchasing an ultrabook for the portability that it offers.