If there's one thing we don't like about the Lenovo IdeaPad U300s
, it's that it's missing an SD slot, and starts at $1,200 -- a steep price when you can find many an Ultrabook for under $1,000. (Okay, that's two things.) And while the company isn't ready for a complete do-over just yet, it's clearly trying to fill some gaps in its lineup: the outfit just introduced the 13-inch IdeaPad U310 and the 14-inch U410, which will start at a relatively inexpensive $699. On paper, the IdeaPad U310 bears a strong resemblance to the U300s we reviewed two months ago, with 4GB of RAM, 1366 x 768 resolution, an eight-hour battery, Intel Wireless Display and a choice of Intel Core processors. But,
it adds an extra USB 3.0 port, along with that all-important memory card slot. In exchange, you'll have to make some tougher choices regarding storage: you can opt for a 500GB hard drive or an SSD that tops out at 64GB of space.
The 14-inch IdeaPad U410 offers more of the same, though instead of Intel's integrated graphics offering, it packs an NVIDIA GeForce 610M card with 1GB of video memory -- unsurprising, given that the new ThinkPad T430u Ultrabook
also has discrete graphics at a similar price. All in all, not too shabby for $700, though the trade-off for the extra ports and lower price is some extra padding: the 13-inch version tips the scales at 3.7 pounds, versus 2.95 for the U300s. (The U410 weights 4.2.) Then again, when these go on sale in May, we suspect they'll be plenty light for students looking to get a jump on back-to-school shopping. For now, we've got hands-on shots below and some impressions after the break.