Looking back at 2008, something remarkable happened in global PC sales that year; for the first time ever, more notebooks were sold than desktops. Once a device reserved for the most exclusive among us, the notebook has now become a common and necessary tool for millions of users worldwide. Recently, a new breed of slim but powerful notebooks has been sweeping the market: Touch-enabled Ultrabooks. These are high-end sub-notebooks designed to be ultra portable without compromising battery life or performance. The IdeaPad U310 Touch is great example from Lenovo’s line of super slim Ultrabooks and offers users an array of features that blur the lines between a notebook and a tablet.
Sleek and Stylish
While the IdeaPad U310 Touch may be priced at less than other Ultrabooks, it certainly doesn’t show in its appearance. The IdeaPad U310 Touch is one of the prettiest looking notebooks you’ll see on store shelves with its sleek aluminum chassis that offers rigidity and strength, weighs 3.7-pounds and is 0.7-inches thick.
Open up the lid and you’ll find a Chiclet-style keyboard which offers a responsive typing experience and a large glass touchpad that allows multi-touch gestures for scrolling and switching applications. Going around the edge of the IdeaPad U310 Touch you’ll find two USB 3.0 ports, Ethernet, and HDMI on the left side. On the right side there is single USB 2.0 port, a headphone jack, and an AC adapter port. There are no ports on the back and the lone feature on the front is an SD card reader.
Under the hood, the IdeaPad U310 Touch runs Windows 8, powered by an Intel third generation core i5 processor, 4GB of memory, and a hybrid 500GB hard drive with 24GB of solid state storage to help increase disk performance. There are no dedicated graphics, but the integrated Intel HD Graphics 4000 offer great performance with minimal power usage that helps provide up to seven hours of battery life. Just above the screen there is a 720p webcam and just below the screen are stereo speakers hidden under the chassis. It should be noted that there is no built-in optical drive, a common occurrence on Ultrabooks because of their thin design.
Most of these amenities are fairly common in Ultrabooks, but the 10-point multitouch screen on the IdeaPad U310 Touch offers users something extra that they may not get from the competition. Windows 8 thrives in a touch screen setting and there are thousands of applications available to take advantage of this extra functionality on the Windows Store.
Small Size, Big Performance
The IdeaPad U310 Touch performs like a good Ultrabook should: fast! The hybrid hard disk makes for a quick startup time of less than 12 seconds and the high performance Core i5 processor keeps you running smoothly even when working in multiple applications. Word processing, Web surfing and other basic productivity tasks were no problem for the IdeaPad U310 Touch. When attempting some lightweight video editing tasks, the editing software ran smooth and quick as well with no noticeable slowdown in HD video playback. The Intel HD Graphics 4000 chipset provides fantastic performance with low power usage, something that couldn’t be said for internal graphics as few as two years ago, but it isn’t a replacement for dedicated graphics chips if you’re going to be doing high-end gaming or 3D graphics work. If you have devices that support it, the USB 3.0 ports offer tremendous speed and can transfer data nearly 10 times faster than USB 2.0 devices. There is a small internal fan to help keep things cool and while it was never so noisy as to be distracting, it can be heard in a quiet room if you’re listening for it.
With the Lenovo’s IdeaPad U310 Touch, users no longer have to compromise between performance and portability.
The large, glass touchpad has an excellent feel and allows for precise pointing and smooth, easy scrolling using multitouch gestures that work consistently, something we’ve found to be a rarity on similar products. On that same note, the multitouch screen also performed great in both the standard Windows desktop environment and in Windows RT applications designed for touch from the ground up. The keyboard is also very comfortable to type on and we experienced no issues with interference while typing.
While the internal speakers’ maximum volume won’t blow your hair back, they do provide sound that is crisp and clear enough to check audio levels on video clips or share your latest edit with a friend. On the visual side of things, the screen itself is covered by a thin piece of glass which offers improved color and contrast at the expense of increased glare in brightly lit environments. The screen hinge on the IdeaPad U310 Touch has a big enough range of motion that most glare can be avoided, but we do wish that the hinge was a bit less stiff, as adjusting the angle often takes both hands and causes unwanted stress on the LCD panel.
Affordability, Mobility, and Power Joined Together
In the past, users would have to compromise between having a notebook that was powerful and heavy, or slow and light. With the Lenovo’s IdeaPad U310 Touch, users no longer have to compromise between performance and portability. The high performance internal components matched with high-end external features including a full aluminum chassis and touch screen offer a very complete feature set for the power user who is constantly on the move. Overall, the Lenovo IdeaPad U310 Touch is a great performing Ultrabook for its comparatively low asking price and would be an asset to any casual video enthusiast.
Lenovo IdeaPad U310 Touch
Lenovo Group Ltd.
Processor: Intel Core i5-3337U Processor (1.80GHz 1600MHz 3MB)
Number of Processor Cores: 2
OS: Windows 8 64-bit
Display: 13.3” 1366×768 10-point multitouch LCD
Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 4000
Memory (RAM): 4.0GB PC3-12800 DDR3 SDRAM 1600MHz
Storage: Hitachi 500GB 5400RPM 8MB Cache + 24GB SanDisk SSD
Wi-Fi Model: Centrino Wireless-N 2230
Optical Drive: None
Touchpad Size: 4.1 x 2.75 inches
Ports: Gigabit Ethernet; HDMI; USB 3.0 (2) ; USB 2.0; Headphone; SD Card
Size: 13.1” x 8.8” x 0.7”
Battery Life: Up to 7hr
- Solid Construction
- Lightweight, yet powerful
- Great touch controls and keyboard
- Stiff display hinge
- No dedicated graphics
Adam Vesely is a Videographer/Director of Photography and Photographer.