TODO alt text

Lenovo IdeaPad S300 review

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

Our Verdict

Product features

  • Screen Resolution : 1366 x 768
  • Processor Core : Dual-core (2 Core)

View full specification

For

  • Ivy Bridge performance
  • Low price tag
  • Connectivity
  • Great design
  • Good keyboard

Against

  • Poor battery life
  • Quick start needs improving
  • Wasted gaming potential
  • Heavy
  • No SSD

Hot on the heels of the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon, at its heart the Lenovo IdeaPad S300 features a brand new Ivy Bridge version of the mid-range Core i5 processor, which kicks out a decent 1.7GHz, making it perform admirably in most tasks.

Although the 4GB of memory is a little on the low side, Windows 7 happily runs on this, and with that processor calling the shots, the Lenovo IdeaPad S300 can handle most things thrown at it.

You can happily have multiple browser tabs open, as well as an HD movie running in the background and a word document in another window for good measure. The Cinebench benchmarking software gave the Lenovo IdeaPad S300 a lower than usual score for this kind of hardware, but the real-life results prove that numbers don't always add up.

Lenovo IdeaPad S300 review

While all laptops featuring Ivy Bridge Core i5 processors come with integrated HD 4000 graphics - as does the Lenovo IdeaPad S300, naturally - Lenovo has seen fit to also add an AMD Radeon HD 7450 graphics card with 1GB of video RAM.

This deals with the more demanding tasks when you want it, while the more battery-friendly HD 4000 integrated graphics takes over when you want to conserve juice.

The Lenovo IdeaPad S300 intelligently switches between the two graphics avenues when needed, although handily you can manually adjust it if need be.

Lenovo IdeaPad S300 review

Unusually, 3DMark gave an average score when put through its paces, and the end result was even less than other machines we've seen running just the HD 4000 integrated graphics.

Suffice to say, this laptop isn't capable of any sort of high-end gaming, but it will happily play slightly older games at lower settings.

Thankfully, however, the Lenovo IdeaPad S300 does a great job when it comes to high definition video, no matter whether it's 720p or 1080p Blu-ray quality movies. Playback is wonderfully smooth, and the HDMI does its job of outputting them onto the big screen.

Lenovo IdeaPad S300 review

You might also like...
Windows 8 review
Windows 8 review

The speakers, as standard, aren't quite as impressive. That's until the Dolby Advanced Audio software kicks in, which helps to enhance the performance of what is a fairly basic speaker setup. They do tend to get a little stressed at higher volumes, causing things to get harsh, but otherwise they do a very good job.

The Lenovo IdeaPad S300's biggest struggle in performance is its battery life.

These days we've come to expect a lot from an Ultrabook. They're designed with portability in mind, so they have to be able to operate for as long as possible.

Lenovo IdeaPad S300 review

The Lenovo IdeaPad S300 managed a pretty paltry 122 minutes when we put it through the Battery Eater test. Even the lesser among the Ultrabook brigade can easily better that.

It's likely that the regular mechanical drive found under the hood is contributing to this poor battery life, or it could just be down to a small capacity battery. Lenovo claims five hours from the Lenovo IdeaPad S300, which is probably not far off the truth under mixed use.

Benchmarks
Cinebench 10 - 7,466
3DMark - 4579
Battery Eater - 122 mins

Tech Specs

Product TypeNotebook
Green CompliantYes
Hard Drive Capacity320 GB
Processor ManufacturerIntel
Graphics Controller ManufacturerIntel
Graphics Controller ModelHD Graphics
BluetoothYes
Wireless LANYes
Graphics Memory AccessibilityShared
Maximum Battery Run Time5 Hour
HDMIYes
WebcamYes
Backlight TechnologyLED
Product FamilyIdeaPad S300
Operating System Architecture64-bit
Operating System LanguageEnglish
Processor Model987
ColourGrey
Operating SystemWindows 7 Home Premium, Windows 7 Home Premium (English)
Brand NameLenovo
Processor Speed1.50 GHz
Processor TypePentium
Screen Size33.8 cm (13.3")
Number of Cells2-cell
Screen Resolution1366 x 768
Standard Memory4 GB
Weight (Approximate)1.50 kg
Cache2 MB
Processor CoreDual-core (2 Core)
Green Compliance Certificate/AuthorityENERGY STAR, RoHS
64-bit ProcessingYes
Display Screen TypeActive Matrix TFT Colour LCD
Wireless LAN StandardIEEE 802.11b/g/n
Bluetooth StandardBluetooth 2.1
Memory StandardDDR3-1066/PC3-8500
Height22.4 mm
Width330 mm
Depth230 mm
Screen ModeHD
Memory TechnologyDDR3 SDRAM
Product SeriesS300
ManufacturerLenovo Group Limited
Product NameIdeapad S300 Notebook
Pointing Device TypeTouchPad
Product LineIdeaPad
Aspect Ratio16:9
Manufacturer Part NumberMA122UK
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.lenovo.com/uk/en/
Marketing InformationYOU BRING THE IDEAS, WE'LL BRING THE SWAGGER.

Attention-getter, multimedia maven or gaming virtuoso - no matter what you call yourself, our IdeaPad laptops power your imagination and your sense of self-expression. They feature clever feature clever technology and a spectrum of equally smart designs.

EXPRESS YOURSELF

IdeaPad's stylish design makes these laptops ones to see and be seen with. No two people are the same. We kept that in mind when we designed the first IdeaPad laptops. Fact is, we wanted to give you options for expressing yourself. You may look at a tribal tattoo pattern and see yourself. Or maybe bold colors or a sleek metallic finish is more your speed. Choose carefully - you will get noticed.

Maximum Memory4 GB
Package Contents
  • Ideapad S300 Notebook
  • Standard Battery
  • AC Adapter