Saturday, June 18, 2011

Lenovo IdeaPad U260

The Lenovo IdeaPad U260 is the first ultraportable laptop to feature a 12.5-inch display and is packed with an Intel Core i5 processor. A durable metal body and leather accents add to the premium feel, but is this notebook worth the $1,000 price tag? Keep reading to find out.

Specifications for our review unit of the Lenovo IdeaPad U260 are as follows:

* 12.5-inch HD AntiGlare Display (1366 x 768) with integrated camera
* Intel Core i5-470UM Processor (1.33GHz 800MHz 3MB)
* Genuine Windows 7 Home Premium 64
* Intel HD Graphics
* 4GB PC3-8500 DDR3 SDRAM 1066MHz
* 320GB 5400rpm hard drive
* Intel Wireless Wi-Fi Link 1000
* Bluetooth Version 2.1 + EDR
* Li-Polymer battery
* 1-year warranty
* Weight: 3.05 lbs
* Dimensions: 12.5 x 8.1 x 0.7 inches
* MSRP: $1,199 ($999 street price)

Build and Design
The team at Lenovo is better known for the all-business ThinkPad line of professional notebooks than for designing attractive laptops for consumers. That said, the U260 might just be the best looking Lenovo notebook we've ever seen.

Let's get right down to it and say what many people are thinking; the Lenovo IdeaPad U260 is about as close as anyone can get to building a MacBook in PC clothing. The U260 isn't a carbon copy of the MacBook, but Lenovo engineers took some of the key design elements that make the MacBook attractive -- a Chiclet-style keyboard, a clean-looking design, a thin and light metal chassis -- and put them into a Windows-based laptop.

That said, it's important to give the team at Lenovo credit for a few unique design cues. For starters, the IdeaPad U260 features leather-covered palm rests that are quite possibly the most comfortable palm rests I've ever felt. Typing documents or emails on this laptop feels great simply because your wrists and palms feel like they're floating beneath the keys. Combine the soft-touch palm rests with a durable metal chassis and the attractive "mocha brown" exterior color and you've got one of the best looking Windows-based laptops we've seen in a while. Granted, more consumers would probably like the color of the U260 if it was also offered in more standard colors like black, red and blue, but the available mocha brown or clementine orange exteriors help set this laptop apart from the competition.

Unfortunately, the simple and clean design of the U260 also means that this laptop lacks a number of features you'll find on bulkier, heavier notebooks. For starters, you only get two USB 2.0 ports and no media card reader or ExpressCard slot on this notebook. Two other potential concerns are the fact that the U260 uses an integrated battery (you can't replace the battery yourself) and no easy access panels for replacing the hard drive or upgrading the RAM.

In short, the IdeaPad U260 is essentially stuck the way it is at the time you purchase the notebook. Sure, if you own a set of Torx bits and precision screw drivers you can disassemble the entire notebook to swap out the battery or make additional upgrades, but most consumers are unlikely to go through all that trouble.
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