Notebookcheck

Lenovo U41-70 Notebook Review

Manuel Christa, Tanja Hinum (translated by Liala Stieglitz), 07/27/2015

Fast ultrabook. As thin and light as an ultrabook, and yet it's not an ultrabook. It lacks a touchscreen and a bit more battery power, but a GeForce graphics card is inside. How does Lenovo's new subnotebook fare compared with other thin graphics machines?

For the original German, see here.

It is not easy to keep track of the lineups in Lenovo's jungle: While the IdeaPads are classic laptops for private users, ThinkPads are designed for professional use. The 360-degree swivel-mounted screen characterizes the Yoga models, which has now also been passed on to the less pricey Flex lineup. Beyond that, Lenovo mixes the labels and, for example, offers a business laptop with a swivel-display in its ThinkPad Yoga.

Now the U lineup has been refreshed. For example, we tested the U410 a few years ago, and many other models from this line - some with touchscreen and also still under the IdeaPad label. That has disappeared along with the new models. Lenovo's U31 and our U41 review sample always feature a matte screen. The laptops are still intended for private users.

Lenovo's U41-70 has a height of approximately 19.5 millimeters and a weight of 1.6 kilograms. Its S41 sister model is allegedly half a kilo lighter and is to fulfill the higher demands of private users. We will compare the U41-70 with the less expensive but also weaker Lenovo Flex 2 14, its direct contender the Asus Zenbook UX303LN, and the Schenker S405 in this report.

Lenovo U41-70 (U41 Series)
Graphics adapter
NVIDIA GeForce 940M - 2048 MB, 9.18.13.4501, Optimus
Memory
8192 MB 
, PC3-12800 DDR3L 1600 MHz
Display
14 inch 16:9, 1920 x 1080 pixel, INNOLUX N140HGE-EAA, TN LED, glossy: no
Storage
Samsung MZRPC256HADR-000SO, 256 GB 
, 140 GB free
Soundcard
Intel Broadwell PCH-LP - High Definition Audio Controller
Connections
1 USB 2.0, 2 USB 3.0 / 3.1 Gen1, 1 HDMI, 1 Kensington Lock, Audio Connections: headphone/microphone combo, Card Reader: SD/MMC
Networking
Realtek RTL8168B/8111B Family PCI-E Gigabit Ethernet NIC (10/100/1000MBit), Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 3160 (a/b/g/n/ac), Bluetooth 4.0
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 20 x 340 x 240 ( = 0.79 x 13.39 x 9.45 in)
Battery
30 Wh Lithium-Polymer, 2 cells
Operating System
Microsoft Windows 8.1 64 Bit
Camera
Webcam: 1.3 MP
Additional features
Speakers: stereo, Keyboard: AccuType, Keyboard Light: yes, MS Office 2013 trial, 24 Months Warranty
Weight
1.6 kg ( = 56.44 oz / 3.53 pounds), Power Supply: 345 g ( = 12.17 oz / 0.76 pounds)
Price
999 Euro
Note: The manufacturer may use components from different suppliers including display panels, drives or memory sticks with similar specifications.

 

Case

The matte, silver aluminum display lid is the first thing noticed. Alongside the base unit's metal it makes a high-quality impression. That can be expected from an almost 1000-Euro laptop (~$1110). The surface around the keyboard and touchpad additionally has been brushed vertically. This finish would also look good on the display lid, and so its looks are not quite as imposing. The U41-70 is also available in black and red.

Even if the laptop is not really meant for rough outdoor use, we did not notice faulty manufacturing. The relatively narrow gaps are all evenly spaced, and all casing components have been assembled impeccably. Although the device is thin at only 19.5 millimeters in total, it makes a rigid and stiff impression. The device's weight of almost 1.6 kilograms makes it suitable as a mobile companion that does not weigh down the briefcase. Lenovo states a weight of 1.68 kg, but we measured almost 80 to 100 grams less here.

The screen is a bit difficult to open, and it cannot be opened elegantly with one hand without lifting the base unit from the table. That is, however, no issue with both hands. The hinges have not been pulled too tight and allow a maximum opening angle of almost 180 degrees.

Connectivity

Subnotebooks have never been connectivity miracles. The slim dimensions and low weight require a compromise. Despite that, Lenovo's U41-70 has all the essentials. The left one of the three USB ports supports version 2.0 and the two on the right the 3.0 standard, which should be absolutely sufficient for private users. A combo-audio jack, Kensington-lock slot, SD-card reader (SD/MMC), and HDMI socket are also installed and belong to the must-haves for every laptop. The 720p HD webcam is nothing special and is sufficient for occasional Skype calls.

Left: Kensington, power, USB 2.0,  card reader, audio, status LEDs
Left: Kensington, power, USB 2.0, card reader, audio, status LEDs
Right: microphone, USB 3.0, Gigabit-LAN, HDMI
Right: microphone, USB 3.0, Gigabit-LAN, HDMI

Communication

Now almost superfluous thanks to Wi-Fi: An RJ45 LAN port. Users who require cabled Ethernet will find that here with a maximum of 1 GBit. Other manufacturers or models only offer a USB adapter or waive the Ethernet solution completely.

Intel's Dual Band Wireless-AC 3160 module provides wireless communication, i.e. Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0. It achieves a gross speed of up to 433 MBps using the 802.11 ac/a/b/g/n Wi-Fi standards. The module did not exhibit any shortcomings in range. The connection was stable and fast one story away, and the connection was still active in some places even on the second story - although with speed losses.

Accessories

Lenovo does not offer any special accessories when buying the U41-70 across the counter - apart from the compulsory power supply. The manufacturer's shop does not list any product-specific items for this model, either. Being a consumer device, the U41 does not have a port for connecting a docking station.

Maintenance

The hatch on the underside can be removed with a correspondingly small screwdriver and completely reveals the innards. The user can quickly access the device's internal components, such as SSD, working memory, or battery. Releasing the screws is quick and easy so that even curious non-savvy users can replace some components.

Warranty

Lenovo includes a 24-month bring-in service from purchase date on its U41-70. The customer has to send the device to an authorized workshop that returns it to the user after repair in warranty cases. The manufacturer's warranty only covers the battery for 12 months.

Input Devices

Keyboard

Like most current Lenovo laptops, an AccuType keyboard is installed here. The lightly rounded keys characterize it. Whether or not typing is more comfortable on them is likely a matter of taste or feel. Users who are familiar with the flat and square or rectangular keys of the chiclet layout will not notice much of a difference. Typing is pleasant, the pressure point is palpable and crisp - the keyboard consequently does not display any quality deficits. Beyond that, it features a white backlight that can be switched on and off via the FN key.

As is now common for many consumer laptops, the function keys F1 to F12 can only be switched via FN. Simple pressure allows controlling laptop functions, such as volume, screen brightness or flight mode.

Touchpad

The touchpad is lowered very lightly in the wrist rest surface and also features a different feel. The cursor can be controlled easily and, as usual, with the finger. The touchpad's lower corners serve as mouse key replacements. The common multitouch gestures, such as two-finger scroll or pinch-to-zoom function impeccably. The tactile quality does not give reason for complaint, either. The keys are not too easy or too arduous to trigger, which reduces the likelihood of accidental inputs.

Keyboard
Keyboard
Touchpad
Touchpad

Display

With a resolution of 1920x1080 pixels, Lenovo's U41-70 has a Full HD screen as would be expected in this price range. A low-cost TN model is installed here, which at most delivered mediocre rates in our lab tests. It is an Innolux N140HGE-EAA. The screen's average brightness of approximately 221 cd/m² will only be enough for indoor use. Its brightness is roughly on par with that of the considerably cheaper Lenovo Flex 2 14. The throughout good rates of over 350 cd/m² of the direct contender, Asus Zenbook-UX303LN, proves that this can be done much better in the 1000-Euro price range (~$1110).

213
cd/m²
229
cd/m²
221
cd/m²
216
cd/m²
245
cd/m²
223
cd/m²
207
cd/m²
219
cd/m²
222
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 245 cd/m² Average: 221.7 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 84 %
Center on Battery: 196 cd/m²
Contrast: 583:1 (Black: 0.42 cd/m²)
ΔE Color 9.55 | 0.6-29.43 Ø6.1
ΔE Greyscale 10.73 | 0.64-98 Ø6.3
60% sRGB (Argyll 3D) 38% AdobeRGB 1998 (Argyll 3D)
Gamma: 2.34

The low - thus quite good - black level at least renders a rich black. That leads to a relatively decent contrast ratio of 583:1. The sRGB and AdobeRGB references are only covered by 60% and 38%. That, however, will not matter much to a private user who wants to buy this device.

A somewhat better color reproduction quality could be expected from a high-performance laptop. The assessments via CalMAN show clear shifts in the magenta and blue tones, which give the screen a bluish tint. However, the eye will only notice that in a direct comparison with another screen.

CalMAN ColorChecker
CalMAN ColorChecker
CalMAN Grayscale
CalMAN Grayscale
CalMAN Saturation Sweeps
CalMAN Saturation Sweeps
sRGB color space
sRGB color space
AdobeRGB color space
AdobeRGB color space
 
Outdoors
Outdoors

The relatively low maximum brightness does not inevitably make outdoor use impossible. Enough screen content is still visible when the sky is lightly overcast or when the sun does not shine directly on the screen, as the screenshot shows; likely also because of the matte surface.

Viewing angles: Lenovo U41-70
Viewing angles: Lenovo U41-70

The difference between IPS and TN screens is evident in viewing-angle stability. The drawback of the TN model is visible since the reproduction quickly changes when looking at it from a slanted position. However, the image remains stable for quite some time horizontally, as can be seen in the screenshot. Lenovo's Flex 2 14, for example, sports a glossy IPS screen - even if it is a low-cost model with Pentile-RGBW matrix - with higher viewing-angle stability.

Performance

Lenovo's U41-70 is available in many hardware configurations in the manufacturer's shop. The prices start at 699 Euros (~$776) with Intel's Core i5-5200U, 4 GB of RAM, and a 500 GB hard drive. We are testing the highest-performance model for 999 Euros (~$1109), which sports a dedicated Nvidia GeForce GT 940M graphics card besides an Intel Core i7-5500U. Other differences are its 8 GB of working memory and 256 GB SSD. The casing is also available in red and black besides the silver color.

Processor

A ULV processor from Intel with a power dissipation (TDP) of only 15 watts is installed here. It is Intel's Core i7-5500U, a dual-core CPU from the latest Broadwell architecture with a base clock of 2.4 GHz. Turbo Boost increases the clock of both cores up to 2.9 GHz or one core up to 3.0 GHz. This behavior was also observed in battery mode, allowing the full performance to be retrieved in battery mode. The subsequent Cinebench test confirmed that; it did not record any noteworthy differences in the scores.

The comparison of the regular Cinebench scores with devices based on the same CPU is a bit surprising. Asus' Zenbook and Schenker's S405 - both also configured with the i7-5500U - achieve higher scores with a clear plus of 20 to 50%. Nevertheless, the results of Lenovo's U41-70 are remarkably low compared with the respective median value of all measured rates with this CPU.

Cinebench R10 Rendering Single CPUs 64Bit
4148 Points
Cinebench R10 Shading 64Bit
5407 Points
Cinebench R10 Rendering Multiple CPUs 64Bit
9109 Points
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Multi 64Bit
3.04 Points
Cinebench R11.5 OpenGL 64Bit
41.57 fps
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Single 64Bit
1.14 Points
Cinebench R15 Ref. Match 64Bit
99.6 %
Cinebench R15 OpenGL 64Bit
25.58 fps
Cinebench R15 CPU Multi 64Bit
222 Points
Cinebench R15 CPU Single 64Bit
83 Points
Help
Cinebench R11.5
CPU Single 64Bit (sort by value)
Lenovo U41-70
GeForce 940M, 5500U, Samsung MZRPC256HADR-000SO
1.14 Points ∼47%
Lenovo Flex 2 14
GeForce 840M, 4010U, Samsung SSD PM851 128 GB MZ7TE128HMGR
0.76 Points ∼31% -33%
Asus Zenbook UX303LN-R4274H
GeForce 840M, 5500U, SanDisk X300s SD7SB3Q256G
1.42 Points ∼58% +25%
Schenker S405
HD Graphics 5500, 5500U, Samsung SSD 850 EVO mSATA 120GB
1.42 Points ∼58% +25%
CPU Multi 64Bit (sort by value)
Lenovo U41-70
GeForce 940M, 5500U, Samsung MZRPC256HADR-000SO
3.04 Points ∼11%
Lenovo Flex 2 14
GeForce 840M, 4010U, Samsung SSD PM851 128 GB MZ7TE128HMGR
1.85 Points ∼7% -39%
Asus Zenbook UX303LN-R4274H
GeForce 840M, 5500U, SanDisk X300s SD7SB3Q256G
3.16 Points ∼12% +4%
Schenker S405
HD Graphics 5500, 5500U, Samsung SSD 850 EVO mSATA 120GB
3.29 Points ∼12% +8%
Cinebench R15
CPU Single 64Bit (sort by value)
Lenovo U41-70
GeForce 940M, 5500U, Samsung MZRPC256HADR-000SO
83 Points ∼38%
Lenovo Flex 2 14
GeForce 840M, 4010U, Samsung SSD PM851 128 GB MZ7TE128HMGR
67 Points ∼31% -19%
Asus Zenbook UX303LN-R4274H
GeForce 840M, 5500U, SanDisk X300s SD7SB3Q256G
121 Points ∼56% +46%
Schenker S405
HD Graphics 5500, 5500U, Samsung SSD 850 EVO mSATA 120GB
125 Points ∼57% +51%
CPU Multi 64Bit (sort by value)
Lenovo U41-70
GeForce 940M, 5500U, Samsung MZRPC256HADR-000SO
222 Points ∼5%
Lenovo Flex 2 14
GeForce 840M, 4010U, Samsung SSD PM851 128 GB MZ7TE128HMGR
171 Points ∼4% -23%
Asus Zenbook UX303LN-R4274H
GeForce 840M, 5500U, SanDisk X300s SD7SB3Q256G
303 Points ∼7% +36%
Schenker S405
HD Graphics 5500, 5500U, Samsung SSD 850 EVO mSATA 120GB
305 Points ∼7% +37%

System Performance

We ascertain the total performance with PCMark. All other hardware components also play a role here. Thanks to the dedicated graphics card and the SSD, the U41-70 scores quite well. The Home Score in PCMark 8 of the weaker Lenovo Flex 2 14 is only 3% lower. Although the Flex only has an i3 processor, it sports an identically strong GeForce graphics card and SSD. The PCMark versions also vary here: The difference of 21% in PCMark 7 is clearer.

PCMark 7 Score
4828 points
PCMark 8 Home Score Accelerated v2
2343 points
PCMark 8 Work Score Accelerated v2
2803 points
Help
PCMark 7 - Score (sort by value)
Lenovo U41-70
GeForce 940M, 5500U, Samsung MZRPC256HADR-000SO
4828 Points ∼56%
Lenovo Flex 2 14
GeForce 840M, 4010U, Samsung SSD PM851 128 GB MZ7TE128HMGR
3816 Points ∼44% -21%
PCMark 8
Work Score Accelerated v2 (sort by value)
Lenovo U41-70
GeForce 940M, 5500U, Samsung MZRPC256HADR-000SO
2803 Points ∼43%
Lenovo Flex 2 14
GeForce 840M, 4010U, Samsung SSD PM851 128 GB MZ7TE128HMGR
2877 Points ∼44% +3%
Asus Zenbook UX303LN-R4274H
GeForce 840M, 5500U, SanDisk X300s SD7SB3Q256G
4154 Points ∼64% +48%
Schenker S405
HD Graphics 5500, 5500U, Samsung SSD 850 EVO mSATA 120GB
4081 Points ∼63% +46%
Home Score Accelerated v2 (sort by value)
Lenovo U41-70
GeForce 940M, 5500U, Samsung MZRPC256HADR-000SO
2343 Points ∼38%
Lenovo Flex 2 14
GeForce 840M, 4010U, Samsung SSD PM851 128 GB MZ7TE128HMGR
2274 Points ∼37% -3%
Asus Zenbook UX303LN-R4274H
GeForce 840M, 5500U, SanDisk X300s SD7SB3Q256G
3057 Points ∼50% +30%
Schenker S405
HD Graphics 5500, 5500U, Samsung SSD 850 EVO mSATA 120GB
3329 Points ∼55% +42%

Storage Device

Our U41-70 review sample sports an SSD with a capacity of 256 GB from Samsung. Lower-priced models are also shipped with a 128 GB SSD or a 500 GB hard drive. The read and write rates are very impressive. Schenker's S405 and Asus' Zenbook UX303LN also sport swift SSDs, as the comparison of measured rates below illustrates.

Lenovo U41-70
GeForce 940M, 5500U, Samsung MZRPC256HADR-000SO
Asus Zenbook UX303LN-R4274H
GeForce 840M, 5500U, SanDisk X300s SD7SB3Q256G
Schenker S405
HD Graphics 5500, 5500U, Samsung SSD 850 EVO mSATA 120GB
CrystalDiskMark 3.0
12%
31%
Write 4k QD32
248.1
303.6
22%
328.9
33%
Read 4k QD32
369
336.9
-9%
357.1
-3%
Write 4k
78.36
99.88
27%
105.2
34%
Read 4k
34.11
33.33
-2%
45.85
34%
Write 512
265
351.4
33%
392.7
48%
Read 512
438.4
308.1
-30%
475.1
8%
Write Seq
262.6
441.1
68%
502
91%
Read Seq
517
447.2
-14%
520.6
1%
Samsung MZRPC256HADR-000SO
Sequential Read: 517 MB/s
Sequential Write: 262.6 MB/s
512K Read: 438.4 MB/s
512K Write: 265 MB/s
4K Read: 34.11 MB/s
4K Write: 78.36 MB/s
4K QD32 Read: 369 MB/s
4K QD32 Write: 248.1 MB/s

Graphics Card

Lenovo's U41-70 is available with the dedicated, DirectX 11 Nvidia GeForce 940M graphics card that has only been on the market since March. It is the successor of the GeForce 840M that only has marginally lower clock rates and is found in both Lenovo's Flex 2 14 and Asus' Zenbook UX303LN. Lenovo's device is also available without a GeForce graphics, which results in a price difference of 100 Euros (~$111).

The graphics unit of Intel's processor is always installed in every case. The graphics cards are switched depending on the load in order to either retrieve more power or lower the power consumption. The 3DMark benchmarks confirm that both mentioned graphics cards are roughly on par in terms of performance.

3DMark 11 Performance
2329 points
3DMark Ice Storm Standard Score
48537 points
3DMark Cloud Gate Standard Score
6342 points
3DMark Fire Strike Score
1378 points
Help
3DMark 11 - 1280x720 Performance (sort by value)
Lenovo U41-70
GeForce 940M, 5500U, Samsung MZRPC256HADR-000SO
2329 Points ∼7%
Lenovo Flex 2 14
GeForce 840M, 4010U, Samsung SSD PM851 128 GB MZ7TE128HMGR
2260 Points ∼7% -3%
Asus Zenbook UX303LN-R4274H
GeForce 840M, 5500U, SanDisk X300s SD7SB3Q256G
2499 Points ∼8% +7%
Schenker S405
HD Graphics 5500, 5500U, Samsung SSD 850 EVO mSATA 120GB
1434 Points ∼5% -38%
3DMark
1920x1080 Fire Strike Score (sort by value)
Lenovo U41-70
GeForce 940M, 5500U, Samsung MZRPC256HADR-000SO
1378 Points ∼5%
Lenovo Flex 2 14
GeForce 840M, 4010U, Samsung SSD PM851 128 GB MZ7TE128HMGR
1286 Points ∼5% -7%
Asus Zenbook UX303LN-R4274H
GeForce 840M, 5500U, SanDisk X300s SD7SB3Q256G
1446 Points ∼5% +5%
Schenker S405
HD Graphics 5500, 5500U, Samsung SSD 850 EVO mSATA 120GB
868 Points ∼3% -37%
1280x720 Sky Diver Score (sort by value)
Lenovo Flex 2 14
GeForce 840M, 4010U, Samsung SSD PM851 128 GB MZ7TE128HMGR
4675 Points ∼8%
Asus Zenbook UX303LN-R4274H
GeForce 840M, 5500U, SanDisk X300s SD7SB3Q256G
5541 Points ∼9%
Schenker S405
HD Graphics 5500, 5500U, Samsung SSD 850 EVO mSATA 120GB
3043 Points ∼5%
1280x720 Cloud Gate Standard Score (sort by value)
Lenovo U41-70
GeForce 940M, 5500U, Samsung MZRPC256HADR-000SO
6342 Points ∼11%
Lenovo Flex 2 14
GeForce 840M, 4010U, Samsung SSD PM851 128 GB MZ7TE128HMGR
4600 Points ∼8% -27%
Asus Zenbook UX303LN-R4274H
GeForce 840M, 5500U, SanDisk X300s SD7SB3Q256G
6774 Points ∼11% +7%
Schenker S405
HD Graphics 5500, 5500U, Samsung SSD 850 EVO mSATA 120GB
6106 Points ∼10% -4%
1280x720 Ice Storm Standard Score (sort by value)
Lenovo U41-70
GeForce 940M, 5500U, Samsung MZRPC256HADR-000SO
48537 Points ∼4%
Lenovo Flex 2 14
GeForce 840M, 4010U, Samsung SSD PM851 128 GB MZ7TE128HMGR
41150 Points ∼4% -15%
Asus Zenbook UX303LN-R4274H
GeForce 840M, 5500U, SanDisk X300s SD7SB3Q256G
54160 Points ∼5% +12%
Schenker S405
HD Graphics 5500, 5500U, Samsung SSD 850 EVO mSATA 120GB
61010 Points ∼5% +26%

Gaming Performance

Playing up-to-date games on the laptop with some compromises is possible providing that it is a model of the U41-70 with a GeForce graphics card. We measured the frame rates of a few games that are not brand new on the market, but nevertheless load the graphics unit quite a bit. All three random games ran smoothly in the HD resolution using medium graphics settings. Even if not necessarily in Full HD and high details, one of the two will likely be possible.

The action-adventure game Dishonored, for example, still ran smoothly even in Full HD in ideal graphics settings - at least in our benchmark of the introductory scene. Lags were sometimes noticed while playing the game. Therefore, users who reduce some settings will be awarded with a throughout smooth gameplay.

low med. high ultra
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (2011) 41383317fps
Dishonored (2012) 77585027fps
Total War: Rome II (2013) 56504211fps

Emissions

System Noise

Unfortunately, the fan is almost always active even in practical use. The measured lab rates of up to 42 decibels are not excessively high. However, the fan also spins during simple desktop operation, so not only when performance-demanding applications are running. Although it is not particularly loud, the fan's behavior does not exactly fit to an otherwise elegant, unimposing laptop. The same was also observed in Asus' Zenbook. That is likely the toll that Broadwell processors demand. The fan was still quiet in idle mode with the Haswell processors.

Noise Level

Idle
29.6 / 29.6 / 32.4 dB(A)
Load
38 / 42.2 dB(A)
  red to green bar
 
 
30 dB
silent
40 dB(A)
audible
50 dB(A)
loud
 
min: dark, med: mid, max: light   Voltcraft sl-320 (15 cm distance)

Temperature

Stress test
Stress test

The visualization below shows temperatures of up to 44 °C on the casing, but they are still relatively low for a thin metal laptop. Both contenders, Lenovo's Flex 2 14 and Asus' Zenbook UX303LN, reach higher temperatures under load.

We put the hardware under full load in the stress test. The CPU's sensor reported a maximum temperature of up to 92 °C. However, the average is only 86 °C, which is still an uncritical rate. The base clock can at least still be retrieved during full load and thus there is no permanent throttling. The clock, however, sometimes dropped to a lower speed when things got too hot.

Max. Load
 30.2 °C
86 F
44 °C
111 F
43.1 °C
110 F
 
 27.7 °C
82 F
41.5 °C
107 F
35.2 °C
95 F
 
 24.6 °C
76 F
26.7 °C
80 F
29.1 °C
84 F
 
Maximum: 44 °C = 111 F
Average: 33.6 °C = 92 F
28.4 °C
83 F
38.9 °C
102 F
40 °C
104 F
25 °C
77 F
34.6 °C
94 F
39 °C
102 F
24.1 °C
75 F
25.2 °C
77 F
26.7 °C
80 F
Maximum: 40 °C = 104 F
Average: 31.3 °C = 88 F
Power Supply (max.)  52.6 °C = 127 F | Room Temperature 21.5 °C = 71 F | Voltcraft IR-360
(±) The average temperature for the upper side under maximal load is 33.6 °C / 92 F, compared to the average of 30.9 °C / 88 F for the devices in the class Multimedia.
(±) The maximum temperature on the upper side is 44 °C / 111 F, compared to the average of 36.5 °C / 98 F, ranging from 21.1 to 71 °C for the class Multimedia.
(±) The bottom heats up to a maximum of 40 °C / 104 F, compared to the average of 38.8 °C / 102 F
(+) In idle usage, the average temperature for the upper side is 23.9 °C / 75 F, compared to the device average of 30.9 °C / 88 F.
(+) The palmrests and touchpad are cooler than skin temperature with a maximum of 29.1 °C / 84.4 F and are therefore cool to the touch.
(±) The average temperature of the palmrest area of similar devices was 29.1 °C / 84.4 F (0 °C / 0 F).

Speakers

Both stereo speakers are on the sides of the laptop's underside. They produce an acceptable sound quality. When the laptop is on a table, the sound is additionally reflected from the surface, and it is then a bit louder and clearer. An additional subwoofer, which is not found in slim ultrabooks, would be needed for a rich bass. The maximum volume is well-sufficient for filling a whole room with sound.

According to the manufacturer, surround sound that equals a 5.1 system should be possible via Dolby sound optimizer. However, Lenovo has bitten off a bit more than it can chew. The speakers really cannot be compared with a surround system. Users who seek such sound qualities will need to use external speakers.

Energy Management

Power Consumption

The U41-70 only consumes 5.7 watts as long as the dedicated GeForce graphics card is not enabled. The Zenbook requires a few watts more although it sports almost the same hardware and Lenovo's Flex 2 14 with weaker hardware even needs over twice as much.

The maximum power consumption is around 50 watts and places our U41-70 roughly on the same level as the Zenbook. The included power supply's maximum of 65 watts is also sufficiently sized. However, it is relatively heavy with 345 grams. Power supplies of other models are a good 100 grams lighter.

Power Consumption
Off / Standbydarklight 0 / 0.1 Watt
Idledarkmidlight 3.2 / 5.6 / 5.7 Watt
Load midlight 35.8 / 50.3 Watt
 color bar
Key: min: dark, med: mid, max: light        Voltcraft VC 940

Battery Runtime

Idle battery life
Idle battery life
Wi-Fi battery life
Wi-Fi battery life

The laptop battery lasts for over 9 hours in flight mode using minimum screen brightness. However, that is almost too low even in absolute darkness and therefore barely useful. The actually very good idle runtime puts that back into perspective a bit.

The closer to real-world use Wi-Fi test is more significant. However, the U41-70 only runs for not quite four hours with an Internet connection, medium brightness, and active browser. That is not quite enough for an ultrabook. Schenker's S405 with the same CPU lasts an hour longer here, and Asus' Zenbook UX3030LN with the same CPU and an identical GPU lasts even far more than 8 hours. We would have expected more from a battery with a capacity of 48 Wh. Even the smaller battery in Lenovo's Flex 2 14 manages better runtimes.

Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
9h 04min
NBC WiFi Websurfing Battery Test 1.3
3h 53min
Load (maximum brightness)
1h 40min
Battery Runtime - WiFi Websurfing 1.3 (sort by value)
Lenovo U41-70
GeForce 940M, 5500U, Samsung MZRPC256HADR-000SO
233 min ∼9%
Asus Zenbook UX303LN-R4274H
GeForce 840M, 5500U, SanDisk X300s SD7SB3Q256G
530 min ∼20% +127%
Schenker S405
HD Graphics 5500, 5500U, Samsung SSD 850 EVO mSATA 120GB
301 min ∼11% +29%

Pros

+ Decent casing
+ LAN port
+ Swift SSD
+ Dedicated graphics card
+ Decent keyboard

Cons

- Short battery life
- Mediocre screen
- Fan almost always on

Verdict

In review: Lenovo U41-70. Test model courtesy of Campuspoint.
In review: Lenovo U41-70. Test model courtesy of Campuspoint.

Less is more. Of course, Lenovo has not reinvented the genre. Except for the configuration of the U41-70 with updated hardware, the refresh of the U lineup has not added anything new. It does not have to, anyway. Not everyone needs a touchscreen in an ultrabook. Some users even prefer a matte screen over a perpetually reflective one. That was still found in Lenovo's IdeaPad U410.

Lenovo also offers multiple versions of the U41-70. It is available in black, silver and red, with or without a dedicated graphics card, and with either a hard drive or an SSD. The user can select the device according to personal preferences and needs.

The U41-70 makes an impression of a powerful, overall balanced laptop void of bells and whistles. The up-to-date CPU-GPU combination in the spec sheet already points to that. If it were not for some minor drawbacks that will have to be accepted: The screen is at most mediocre in terms of brightness and reproduction quality. Also, the ultrabook's battery life is slightly disappointing. Thus, the user should always check if it is not possible to dim the screen or disable Wi-Fi when on the move.

The U41-70 provides Gigabit LAN via an RJ45 port, which is only possible with an adapter in many ultrabooks. The swift SSD, decent input devices and solid casing quality are also compelling.

However, Asus' Zenbook UX303LN is better in almost all aspects - but it also costs approximately 200 Euros (~$222) more. Buyers who can or want to invest that will be better served with the Zenbook. Lenovo's Flex 2 14 is far less expensive, but it only sports an i3 CPU. Users who do not need more power will only have to spend 600 Euros (~$666). The U41-70 is a price-performance compromise of both devices.

Lenovo U41-70 - 03/09/2016 v5
Manuel Christa

Chassis
90 / 98 → 92%
Keyboard
85%
Pointing Device
89%
Connectivity
47 / 81 → 57%
Weight
68 / 20-67 → 100%
Battery
74%
Display
79%
Games Performance
64 / 85 → 75%
Application Performance
76 / 92 → 83%
Temperature
93%
Noise
84 / 95 → 88%
Audio
73%
Camera
44 / 85 → 52%
Average
74%
81%
Multimedia - Weighted Average

Pricecompare

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Archive of our own reviews > Lenovo U41-70 Notebook Review
Manuel Christa, 2015-07-27 (Update: 2018-05-15)