Lenovo IdeaPad U110 Mini-Review

Back in January at CES, Lenovo unveiled the IdeaPad line and its seriously fashionable ultraportable: the Lenovo IdeaPad U110. The system, which snagged our Best of CES Award in the notebook category, went on sale earlier this week and finally arrived in our offices to many oohs and aahs this morning. I left the notebook at my desk for a few moments and came back to my colleagues checking out what we think is one of the most stylish ultraportables we have ever seen (Full review here). Unique Design As you will see in our video, I am calling this machine the “little red corvette” (yes, I know what Prince intended the song to be about). Our $1,899, 2.4-pound U110 is clad in cherry red, but it is also available in a shiny black. The aluminum-alloy top cover on the U110 features a notched surface pattern, called Tendril, that is just eye-catching. The engraved Tendril pattern also creeps its way to the bottom of the notebook and under the hood into the system’s hidden, touch-sensitive buttons which lie across the top of the keyboard. The “piano painting wavy keyboard,” as Lenovo calls it, is ultra-glossy and very comfortable. However, the slippery keys and touchpad are going to take some getting used to. The whole system is very glossy, as you can see in our pictures. It was hard to take shots of the system without a lot of reflection bouncing off of the screen and keyboard. Sleek LED-Backlit Screen For an 11.1-inch screen, the frameless display is impressive. My short time with the system shows that the screen produces good vertical and horizontal viewing angles. In fact, it’s so glossy that I could check my teeth for food in its reflection. The system also uses LED-backlit technology that should save on battery life and energy, just as we saw with the comparable ASUS U2E. The 1.3-megapixel webcam, located on the top of the screen, supports the system’s facial recognition capabilities. I expect the facial recognition software to perform just like we saw in the IdeaPad Y510, with which I had no problem logging into the system and my e-mail using my face. Lots of Extras The U110 includes a host of connectivity, including a 6-in-1 memory card reader, 3 USB 2.0 ports, VGA, headphone and microphone jacks, Ethernet, modem, Mini-PCIe slot, and ExpressCard slot. Taking a look around the system’s ports, you’ll immediately notice the lack of an integrated optical drive. However, Lenovo packages the system with an external Dual Layer CD/DVD recordable USB-powered drive. The system also came packaged with an extra four-cell battery (in addition to the seven-cell main battery) and a carrying case. Slow Boot Up, Solid Performance Our configuration came with a 1.6-GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor, 2GB of RAM, and a 4,200-rpm 120GB hard drive that kept us moving at brisk pace while we were listening to music in Windows Media Player 11, surfing the Web, and writing this post in Microsoft Word 2007. The system’s boot time is a bit slow at a minute and 20 seconds. [Editor's Note: Our originally reported boot time was incorrect]. All in all, this ultraportable looks to be a stellar, luxurious PC. Click here for a full review that includes our benchmarks and more info. [flv:/flvs/LenovoU110.flv 320 240]



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  1. Mike Cane Says:

    First correction: It is NOt the “little red corvette.” I’ve already nicknamed it and my nicknames stick, dammit: It is the Little Red Riding Hood computer.

    OK, now back to read the rest of the article… so jealous!!

  2. D.C. at Small-Laptops.com Says:

    I may have missed it in the video (my audio was garbled for a few minutes of the video), but was there any flex as far as the display? It just seems awfully thin, but I’ve been a big fan of the X-series (even after IBM sold the ThinkPad line to Lenovo), and I’ve been impressed with Lenovo’s laptops so far.

  3. Charles Says:

    Re: LED backlight, why do you assume that LED’s get battery life than a CCFL? So far as I can tell, battery life is similiar. As I understand it, the push towards LEDs has more to do with eliminating the somewhat complicated DC up-conversion needed for the CCFL, smaller size, more consistent lighting, and a larger range of backlighting.

  4. Mike Cane Says:

    My PC got sick, then I got sick, so it’s taken a second day for me to see all the video…

  5. Mike Cane Says:

    OK, just saw the video. Was it encoded correctly? The run time is double the actual length!

    Would it be possible to add this to the typing test?

    What did you think of its keyboard vs the hp Mini Note?

    Does the reflective keyboard make it sometimes difficult to see the letters?

    How does the 7-cell battery attach? Does it raise the unit or stick out the back?

    If money was no object, would you prefer this over the hp Mini Note?

    Keep up the great work!

  6. Jooboo Says:

    Well, looks REALLY good. The only huge drawback is Vista. Does anybody knows if it has an option for good, old XP? Because if XP is avaliable, this little fella is on top of my list for a subnotebook. It’s light, it’s stylish (i hope other color options are avaliable, something darker would be nice), it has all you need – even external DVD is included. And a price is acceptable.

  7. Mike Cane Says:

    @Jooboo: There’s one in black available.

    What I don’t understand at all is why the specs for the black one list a *faster* HD than the red one! Is that a typo? Can you guys at Laptop confirm this and if it’s true, ask why they did something dumb like that?

    I don’t know if XP would even work on it. It seems to me, from the video, Lenovo put extra drivers in there for things. Like that light-up display of buttons. But yeah, XP on it would be absolutely *killer*.

  8. jake Says:

    it’s too gaudy , cheap sense of flashy case, it ‘s slow and expensive as with all thinkpads , it is over rated just becuase of IBM legacy.

    get a acer 2920g if you love a power in compact case.

    get a HP 2710p if you need a pro mobile lappy.

    get a toshiba R500 if you need a long lasting battery and LED LCd in lightest package.

    http://www.notebookjournal.de/top10/subnotebooks

    these are all better than this flashy, gaudy 2 k toy.

    in case , you never seen the Acer , check out the below link.

    http://www.notebookcheck.net/Review-Acer-Aspire-2920-5A2G16Mi-Subnotebook.9051.0.html

  9. Rosario Peles Says:

    You can not believe how long ive been googling for something like this. Went through 10 pages of Yahoo results couldnt find diddly squat. First page of bing. There this is…. Really gotta start using that more often

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