This review takes a peak at the Lenovo IdeaPad U260 and the Samsung SF510-A01 ultra portable laptops.
Lenovo's IdeaPad U260 is a 12.5-inch ultra-portable laptop that offers outstanding design but some average performance characteristics. You pay a premium for its design, as it costs $1,049. The U260 comes with a standard one-year warranty on parts and labor.
For $1,049, you get the IdeaPad U260 configuration that comes with a 1.33 GHz Intel Core i5-470UM processor. Do not confuse this particular processor with the regular line of i5's from Intel. This is an ultra-low-voltage processor that supposedly offers better battery life. As such, it is a tad sluggish, and not as fast as the standard Intel chips found in other laptops. You can perform normal tasks like web surfing, document editing, multimedia viewing, and some light gaming, but do not expect exceptional speed. The U260 also has 4 GB of DDR3 SDRAM for multitasking power.
Graphics on the IdeaPad U260 are supported by an Intel HD Graphics card. The card will allow you to watch media and play some games, but it is not advanced enough to play more sophisticated games without any issues. Storage is provided by a 320 GB hard drive, which should be enough space for most users' data. Despite its use of an ultra-low-voltage processor, the U260's battery life is not all that impressive. When put under duress, the laptop offers under three hours of usage on its four-cell battery. Laptops in the ultra-portable class are expected to have more longevity, as they are seen as machines ideal for travel and use on the go. For the operating system, you get Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium Edition 64-bit pre-installed.
The feature set on the Lenovo IdeaPad U260 is solid. It does not have an optical drive, but that is due to the sacrifice in size that the ultra-portable laptop makes. It does have a 0.3-megapixel webcam and microphone for video chatting. For fast Internet connections, there is integrated 802.11n Wi-Fi. Bluetooth is also on board for wireless use with compatible devices. Surprisingly, there is no card reader on the U260.
The IdeaPad U260's design is extremely impressive, and by far its best aspect. It's very thin and portable, measuring 12.5 inches wide by 8.1 inches deep by 0.7 inch thick. The laptop weighs just 3 pounds. The U260's lid and sides are coated with an attractive Clementine orange finish that makes the laptop stand out from its dull-colored competitors. The orange accents and lid also mix well with the black interior. The overall texture of the laptop on the exterior and interior is very pleasing as well, and offers a solid grip while toting it around. The 12.5-inch display has a rather uncommon size, but it looks great and produces vivid, colorful graphics. The integrated speakers are decent at best, and struggle to get loud.
The keyboard is spacious and features wide, concave keys. The keys offer solid bounce and are very comfortable to type on. The touch pad is a bit small, but does offer good responsiveness. It also supports multi-touch gestures. Connectivity is underwhelming on the U260. The right side of the laptop features a VGA port, an Ethernet port, a HDMI port, and a USB port. The left side has a headphone jack and a second USB port. More USB ports would have been nice, as would an eSATA port and a card reader, since the laptop's sides seem to have room for more ports.
The Lenovo IdeaPad U260 has some great features, and some that are not so great. The lack of battery life is a shame, especially considering the laptop's use of a ULV processor. Some connectivity is lacking as well. Still, those looking for an ultra-portable laptop with a superb design should take a strong look at the IdeaPad U260.
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