Lenovo doesn't have the most recognisable consumer PC business, but the tone of its press conference at IFA 2011 in Berlin, Germany, made it clear that the company has serious aims at cracking the consumer market.
This will likely be helped by its new IdeaPad U300s, the company’s Ultrabook, introduced during the event.
Ultrabooks by definition are going to be thin, light, powerful and relatively affordable, looking to take a bite out of Apple’s MacBook Air. The U300s is crafted as a premium notebook, with a robust aluminium shell and an anodised finish, so it certainly looks and feels the part.
Stepping away from the days of a PC being covered in ventilation holes, the base of the U300s is a single flat piece of metal, with Lenovo explaining that the keyboard has been designed to play a part in keeping the laptop cool, referring to it as "breathable".
The chiclet keyboard certainly felt nice in our brief time getting hands-on with the new computer and like other manufacturers, the keyboard is joined by a large glass trackpad, which felt silky smooth.
In terms of connections you are well served. On the left you’ll find some ventilation (despite the breathable keyboard) and USB socket, on the right you’ll get the power, USB 3.0, a full-sized HDMI and the 3.5mm headphone jack. It appears that there is no Ethernet connection.
The attention to detail is excellent, with subtle illuminated icons on the leading edge displaying the power status. The screen is very slim, and like other Lenovo PCs the lid has been designed to be slightly flexible to better accommodate the strains that opening and closing the laptop puts on the display.
The U300s weighs in at 1.3kg, comes with a 13.3-inch display, up to an Intel Core i7 processor, 4GB RAM and options for the hard drive, including up to 256GB SSD.
The sample we had a play with was an engineering sample, so some of the panels weren’t as tight as they will be on the retail units, but it’s an impressive effort from Lenovo that certainly deserves consideration if you are in the market for an Ultrabook.
Landing in October, the Lenovo IdeaPad U300s is priced from $1195, so we’ll probably see it for around £800 in the UK.