Lenovo IdeaPad U260 Review

By on May 16, 2011
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One of the best looking notebooks.

Good: Beautiful design, Nice trackpad and decent performance, Excellent screen
Bad: Less than stellar battery life, Can get a bit hot and noisy at times
Price: AED 2999
* The price is the Suggested Retail Price at the time of review. Please call a retailer to confirm the latest price for this product.

Specs-wise, the IdeaPad U260 is a bit on the weak side, however, this isn’t really a notebook that you’ll be using to play the latest video games or render your 3D models on. The model we received featured the Intel Core i3 U380 Ultra Low Voltage CPU that runs at 1.33GHz but the retail version will have a Core i5 470UM running at that same clock speed. Our unit was equipped with 4GB RAM out of which 3.80GB is usable- the rest is taken by the integrated Intel HD graphics. For storage, you get a 320GB hard drive of which, 30GB is reserved for recovery.

One of the best things about the Lenovo IdeaPad U260 is the screen. It’s 16:9 aspect ratio 12.5 inches is slightly smaller than your 13″ portable laptops yet bigger than with their 10.1 inch screen found on most netbooks making it an almost perfect size. I also loved the face that the screen is not glossy which is a sacrifice many manufacturers make just to get more vivid colors on the screen.

Although the U260 is extremely quiet in operation, it can get a bit hot when pushed to the limit. Lenovo has built grills on the back of the base and at times, you can feel enough heat through them to make the laptop a bit uncomfortable in your lap. The unit can also get a tad bit noisy during heavy load.

Performance on the IdeaPad U260 is decent if you realize that this is a ULV based notebook meaning its designed more for portability than performance. The following chart compares the U260 to some of the other notebooks/netbooks.

Overall CPU 3D Hard Drive
Lenovo IdeaPad U260 573 1399 190 400
HP Pavilion dv3 1195 2989 352 694
HP Pavilion dm1 342 645 180 631

From the table above, we have compared the IdeaPad U260 to the HP Pavilion dm1 which is priced at AED 1,999 and is a mixture of a netbook and a notebook as well as the HP Pavilion dv3 which is a full featured notebook priced at AED 2,499. The IdeaPad sits between the two as far as performance is concerned.

On the software side, Lenovo bundles the freaky Veriface Login utility that allows the webcam on the device to “read” your eyes and log on automatically without inputting the password. This works well as long as you are not in a low-light area but certainly scares the hell out of me . Look at the following screenshot.

Also bundled are a suite of Lenovo applications like DirectShare that lets you share and sync files with another computer over WiFi as well as Security Suite that protects your data. McAfee Antivirus is also present to protect your laptop against viruses and malware. On the fun side, Lenovo bundles oovoo- a video chat and conferencing utility.

Lastly and probably the least important aspect of the IdeaPad U260 is the battery life- we barely got anything over three hours on it and even on standby, it would lose battery faster than many other notebooks we have recently looked it. I use the 11″ Apple MacBook Air on a daily basis which is also based on a ULV CPU and is thinner and lighter than the U260, yet offers over five hours on every charge.

Overall, the Lenovo IdeaPad U260 is a very well designed laptop that not only looks beautiful but also feels solid in its construction. It’s not the fastest performer, but it isn’t intended to be. It’s great for everyday stuff like creating documents, surfing the web and emails but not one you’d use for playing video games or render 3D models. Priced at AED 2,999 it is quite competitive for a notebook with a premium design.

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Abbas Jaffar Ali is the founder of and a blogger, geek and self-declared tech pundit who can't stop talking about technology. Find him on twitter as @ajaffarali

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