Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Lenovo IdeaPad U160 review

An 11.6-inch laptop with a Core i7 processor. Does the Lenovo IdeaPad U160  really need more of an introduction than that? Believe it or not, the ultrathin laptop you're peering at above isn't much larger than a 10-inch netbook, but instead of packing underpowered parts (ahem, Atom) its got one of Intel's most powerful ultra-low voltage processors. For $1,149, the U160 is meant for highly mobile power users, but also those with a portable fan and a bag that can fit a few extra laptop batteries. click read more

Look and Feel

The cover design isn't entirely off putting in black – in red, it's a bit more obvious. It measures only .9 inches thick and weighs 3.2 pounds.
In terms of build quality, the U160's plastic chassis feels quite a bit more solid than Acer's 11.6-inch Aspire One 721. The U160 has two USB jacks, an USB / eSATA connector as well as sockets for HDMI, VGA, Ethernet, microphone and headphone sockets. It also has a four-in-one card reader.

Keyboard,Touchpad and Screen
The touchpad is quite small. Measuring by 2.4 by 1.5 inches. The pad is still smooth, though the two mouse buttons are a slightly mushy. Still, it's much better than being stuck with a stiff single bar like that on the Eee PC 1018P.The IdeaPad S10-3t, the vertical viewing of the 11.6-inch, 1,366 x 768 resolution display.

Performance and Battery Life
The U160 is without a doubt the most powerful 11.6-inch laptop we've ever toyed with thanks to its 1.20GHz Intel Core i7-640UM processor and 4GB of RAM (the Alienware M11x  comes close, but it was then powered by a Core 2 Duo processor). Every day use was still snappy and our typical routine – simultaneously running Firefox with over ten tabs open, Tweetdeck, Microsoft Word, Trillian, Skype and iTunes.

On the graphics side of things, the rig's Intel GMA HM55 HD was nimble enough to handle both 720p and 1080p video (local and streaming). It also managed to plow through World of Warcraft at a decent 27fps. The integrated GPU isn't quite as fast as AMD's integrated ATI Radeon HD 4225, which has been coming standard on other 11.6-inch laptops like the Acer Aspire One 721 and HP Pavilion dm1.The 48Wh battery managed to keep the system afloat for only 3 hours and 10 minutes.

The U160 comes loaded up with some Lenovo utilities, but compared to some of the recent laptops we've reviewed from ASUS, the preloaded software isn't all that bad. We do have to say that Lenovo's "Smile Dock" which can be launched by clicking on that little creepy smile icon on the desktop is one of the least helpful docks we've seen lately – it's full of shortcuts to Lenovo utilities, e-mail, Weatherbug, etc. At least you can search the web directly from the panel.


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