The 13.3-inch Lenovo U31 ($579) is a promising midrange ultralight laptop that comes in several stylish colors and configurations. Though we haven't tested this notebook, we can draw several conclusions based on its specs, user reviews and evaluations by other professional publications. Check out our Best Laptops or Best Ultrabooks lists for a series of systems we highly recommend based on our real-world testing.
Who's it for?
The U31 is designed for those who want a svelte consumer laptop without breaking the bank. The ideal user is a student or midrange home user who doesn't need particularly long battery life.
Key Specs and Features
The Lenovo U31 has a 13.3-inch matte, nontouch display with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 (full HD). It can be powered by either a 2.2-GHz Core i5 5200U or a Core i7-5500U processor. The latter model comes with a discrete Nvidia 920M graphics card with 2GB of DDR3 RAM. This Windows 10-powered laptop only ships with 8GB of RAM, and does not offer the ability to upgrade it. In terms of storage, there is a hybrid 5,400-rpm, 500GB hard drive, which has an 8GB SSD cache. The storage can be upgraded to either a 1TB hard drive or a 256GB SSD.
On the connectivity front, the U31 comes with 802.11b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0 and Gigabit Ethernet. The notebook has two USB 3.0 ports, a single USB 2.0 port, an HDMI out port, an SDXC slot and a microphone jack. A fixed-focus 720p webcam and an HD digital array microphone, which are great for video chatting, are built into the screen bezel. The U31 comes in red, white and black color options, and weighs just 3.3 pounds.
What Owners Say
Users who posted their reviews on Amazon and Lenovo love the U31's performance, display and design. A number of owners said they loved how well the system lets them multitask, and they found the full-HD panel bright and colorful. Commenters commended the speakers and webcam. They also liked the amount of travel on the keys, which would make it consistent with other Lenovo laptops, most of which provide an excellent typing experience.
However, posters were unhappy with the U31's battery life, with some reporting that it lasted a mere 2 hours on a charge. Others complained about the amount of bloatware.
What Reviewers Say
A couple of professional tech publications reviewed the Lenovo U31. According to Driversfree, it is a fantastic, inexpensive, "Ultrabook" despite not being officially labeled as one. They wrote that the screen provides a clear and sharp image for viewing from almost any angle. Overall, the site concluded that this machine would be a "good companion in all spheres of life."
Livelaptopspec really liked the 1.5W Dolby DS 1.0 stereo speakers, which the reviewers said provided a great audio experience for personal listening. The 720p HD webcam and digital array microphone also offered them a great experience when using Skype.
If you don't mind its allegedly short battery life, the Lenovo U31 is worth considering for its comfortable keyboard, colorful 1080p display and solid performance. If you're looking for a 13-inch laptop with more endurance in this price range, consider other options, like the HP Pavilion x360 13t, which is also a 2-in-1.