Review: Lenovo IdeaPad U260 -- One Sexy Notebook

Review: Lenovo IdeaPad U260 -- One Sexy Notebook

Summary: It's not often you can call a notebook "sexy", but it's an adequate description of the Lenovo IdeaPad U260 I am evaluating. The U260 is the thinnest and lightest Windows notebook I have used.

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It's not often you can call a notebook "sexy", and never one by Lenovo, but it's an adequate description of the IdeaPad U260. The U260 is the thinnest and lightest Windows notebook I have used, and the bronze casing looks and feels nice. Lenovo has taken pains to make the U260 easy to grab and go, and in the few weeks I have been using it I find it's the notebook that gets the most mobile usage in my work.

Hardware

The case is available in two colors, clementine orange and mocha brown. Both colors look stylish and professional, and complement the magnesium alloy casing. The 12.5-inch display is an unusual size for a notebook, and keeps the profile of the U260 very low. The multitouch trackpad has a glass coating that makes using it a tactile delight.

Specifications:

  • CPU: Intel Corei5-470UM; 1.33 GHz
  • Memory: 4 GB DDR3
  • HDD: 320 GB; 5400 rpm
  • Display/Graphics: 12.5-inch (1366x768) anti-glare; Intel HD Graphics; VGA webcam
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi (b/g/n); Bluetooth 2.1+EDR
  • Ports: 2-USB; HDMI; Ethernet; VGA; 3.5 mm audio combo in/out
  • OS: Windows 7 Home Premium, 64-bit
  • Battery: Li-Polymer; 4-cell (integrated into case)
  • Dimensions: 12.5x8.0 x0.7 inches. Weight: 3 lbs.

Using the U260
Working with the U260 is simply a delight, it feels great in the hand and the light weight make it the notebook to grab for quick sessions. It has good horsepower under the hood and handles all typical tasks with ease. Video playback is quite good, and the display is usable in bright sunlight. The viewing angles are decent, too.

The keyboard on the U260 is a typically good Lenovo keyboard, although the right shift key is smaller than the one on the left. Lenovo has employed unique technology in the keyboard, as it is spill resistant and "breathes". Air enters the case through the keyboard to keep the thin components with air circulation for good cooling. The U260 doesn't run hot as a result, even being so thin.

The multitouch trackpad has a glass coating that makes it easy to use, with the fingers gliding smoothly over the surface. The two mouse buttons beneath the trackpad are well-placed and work solidly. There is no hardware button to turn the trackpad off for those who prefer to use an external mouse.

Lenovo has included its face recognition software for logging into the U260 via the webcam. There is an assortment of crapware such as Norton software that is a pain to remove if it's not wanted. There is also a strange Smiley dock that runs at startup by default that doesn't add much value and will likely be removed by most users.

The Achilles heel of the IdeaPad U260 is the battery life, as the Li-Polymer battery is sealed in the unit to keep the size down. The 4-cell battery is providing 3.5-4 hours of real-world usage, and less for intensive tasks such as streaming video. This relegates the U260 for usage around the house or quick outings, but road warriors will not be pleased. Lenovo has included one of the smallest power adapters with the U260 that I've seen with full notebooks, no doubt a concession to the need to carry it even for day outings.

Summary

The Lenovo IdeaPad U260 is a good solution for those who don't require long work sessions away from a power outlet. The notebook is attractive and enjoyable to use, while able to handle tasks that will give netbooks a hard time. The stylish U260 is currently available from Lenovo configured as reviewed for $899.

Topics: Lenovo, Hardware, Laptops, Mobility

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9 comments
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  • U260: It's a nice wreck to dive...Oh this is about a laptop

    My Bad ]:)
    John Zern
  • RE: Review: Lenovo IdeaPad U260 - One Sexy Notebook

    I fear this is kind of pointless; a thin and light notebook making it for great portability but an awful battery life by todays standards. Those two things are rather contradictory.

    I think I will stick with the 13 inch MacBook Air, thin, light, portable, powerful and will run for 7 hours.
    GuyOnTech
    • RE: Review: Lenovo IdeaPad U260 - One Sexy Notebook

      @GuyOnTech The battery is indeed heart breaking. Looked the perfect colour for Ubuntu... Oh well.
      jeremychappell
  • RE: Review: Lenovo IdeaPad U260 - One Sexy Notebook

    There are other notebooks out there that would work better than this, HP's recent Pavilion dm1z for one.
    lgpOnTheMove
  • Bad battery and not enough USB ports

    Two big deal breakers for me. I find myself crippled with 3 USB ports - I'd prefer 4, but 3 is the absolute minimum.

    And the 3.5 hr battery would be ok if you could carry a spare, but without that option, no way.
    Daniel Breslauer
  • RE: Review: Lenovo IdeaPad U260 - One Sexy Notebook

    If I wanted a crappy keyboard in an ultralight laptop I would go with the MacBook Air. The Ideapad line from Lenovo is substandard at best. Most people need a laptop that can actually survive travel.
    putty.master
  • RE: Review: Lenovo IdeaPad U260 - One Sexy Notebook

    Not a bad try but I'll stick with my ASUS UL.....
    Better specs and performance with 10hr battery.

    Lenovo - try again.... sorry
    rhonin
  • RE: Review: Lenovo IdeaPad U260 - One Sexy Notebook

    Yeah, if your a pimp.
    james347
  • Smaller and lighter: Sony P and X series

    Obviously you don't get enough to review!
    Patanjali