The onslaught of Ultrabooks has arrived, to fight off the thin and light might of Apple's MacBook Air. Lenovo's U300s is one of the first Ultrabooks coming out of the gate and it's a looker.
At 2.95 pounds and only 0.6-inches (14.9mm) thick, the U300s easily sits within MacBook Air territory. It has a 13.3-inch with 1366x768 resolution display, a second-gen Intel Core i7 processor, 4GB DDR3 RAM, 256GB SSD storage and of course Windows 7.
Boot-up time is said to be about 10 seconds and battery life is pegged at eight hours on one charge with 30 days of standby time.
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But the best part isn't that the U300s comes in a lovely shade of orange, that it's made of anodized aluminum or that it has one hell of a large glass trackpad (just like on MacBooks), but that it has a breathable keyboard. What's a breathable keyboard? Basically, because the U300s is so damn thin, it doesn't have room for much venting.
Breathe In, Breathe Out
So Lenovo came up with another workaround: heat comes up through the chic-let style keyboard buttons and flows through the hinges and the single vent on the left side of the laptop. The design allows Intel's Advanced Cooling Technology to cool off the keyboard, without it getting toasty (a no-no for folk who type all day) while allowing the U300s to maintain its thin form factor.
The general consensus seems to be that the keyboard is great to type on, but its lack of a backlit keyboard is a major turnoff and we're skeptical of how warm the U300s's keys can get with that breathable keyboard.
A warmer keyboard might be a nice feature for those who live in colder regions or during the colder winter season, but in places like California, it might just be sweat central for your fingers.
If all Ultrabooks turn out to look as sleek as Lenovo's $1,195 (starts at) offering, then we think Apple's MBA is going to see some stiff competition in the ultra mobile space. The U300s comes out in October.
Better yet, if all ThinkPad laptops don't look this good in their next revisions, we think some designers need to get canned.