Remember the netbooks of yesteryear? Conceived as budget machines typically sporting Atom processors from Intel, they look great on paper: reasonable specifications, cheaper, and smaller than "standard-sized" laptops.
Ultimately, though, many netbooks were also slow to the point of being unusable as manufacturers went for the subpar hardware to achieve possible prices.
I recalled a business-owner friend who tried to show clients some photos of the company's work from a staffer's netbook. The machine took so long to start up that the (important) client made quips about "upgrading" to a Mac laptop. Needless to say, the employee had his machine changed soon after.
This was the reason why my last two laptops were equipped with fast solid-state drives (SSD) and usually upgraded to 6GB or 8GB of RAM. The equation to me is simple: there is no point in saving a few dollars on a work machine only to have to "wait on it" all the time.
Fortunately, the netbook problem is one that belongs to the past now. After spending time with various ultrabooks including a Lenovo U310, I have come to the conclusion that they do indeed deliver on the responsiveness and speed required to get work done--and at an affordable price.
The U310 that I tested came with the following specifications:
- Intel 3rd Gen Core i5 processor
- 13.3-inch screen (1366x768)
- 500GB hard disk drive
- 4GB of RAM
- 1x USB 2.0, 2x USB 3.0, HDMI, 2-in-1 card reader
- 10/100 Ethernet LAN port
- Weight of 1.7kg with 18mm thickness
- Windows 7 Home Premium
Of course, some businesses will find the specifications lacking in terms of the operating system version and the lack of Gigabit Ethernet. Also, the battery life clocked in closer to 5 hours in my hands-on than the "up to 7 hours" that was published.
Ultimately, however, the U310 proved to be a well-rounded machine, and more importantly, woke up from sleep mode within a couple of seconds and felt responsive. In fact, the average (non-gamer) office worker will be hard-pressed to tell the difference from the U310 and a more expensive laptop.
According to Lenovo, the IdeaPad U310 is currently priced at SG$1,299 and comes in a wide variety of colors. You can find a list of retailers located in Singapore here.