Lenovo IdeaPad U110 Review (Verdict: Short Ride In A Reasonably-Paced Machine)

The Lenovo IdeaPad U110 comes in the wake of America's new obsession with tiny laptops. I could tell you that it's powered by a 1.6Ghz Intel Core 2 Duo processor (4MB, 800 MHz), packing 120GB of PATA storage and up to 3GB of RAM (2 tested), but all you want to know is that it's over half a pound lighter than the MacBook Air and will impress the fellow yupps at Starbucks. Still, if you're interested in seeing if beauty is more than ultra-glossy skin deep, hit the jump to see what I loved and hated about the Lenovo IdeaPad U110.

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gizplus3.jpgThe Decor
The top is a sharp red with tendril textures—actually quite classy in person. Flip it upside-down and you'll see that even the air vents feature a touch of style.

gizplus3.jpgThe Weight
Lenovo's U110 weighs just 1.1kg (and 1.3kg with the larger battery). That's less than 200 grams more than the Eee and, trust me, it's freakin' light. So you know though, 1.3 kg feels way, way heavier than 1.1. The "ohhh" factor is lost with the bigger battery.

gizplusplus.jpgThe Screen
In the past, I've found that the Eee screen was too small for enjoyable use. The HP Mini Note was borderline. Now I've found the perfect size. 11.1" WXGA (1366x768) is just right for comfortable multitasking. And it's LED. Ooooh!

gizplus3.jpgThe Keyboard
I'm digging the keyboard. The Backspace button has been chopped a bit beyond my penchant for typos, but the keyboard is generally spacious enough for sure. And the subtly concave "piano painting" buttons feel excellent to the touch.

giznormal.jpgGlowy Button Things
Touch the panel above the keyboard for a tattoo-like glow of buttons. They offer some hot key support and extra sound control. Looks kinda neat, works kinda crappy.

giznormal.jpgThe Footprint
The 27 x 19.6 x 1.8-2.2 cm dimensions can be tough to picture. That's quite small. Just know that it's officially beyond impulse purse stuffing size.

gizplus3.jpgThe Hookups
Tons of good stuff here: 3 USB ports, FireWire, multi-card reader, Mini-PCIe, Express Card, mic, headphones, Ethernet, and VGA out.

gizplus3.jpgLittle Extras
Lenovo packed in the little details. You get two batteries (4-cell and 7-cell) depending on your desired weight load. You get an external USB DVD drive since it lacks one of its own. Oh, and you get a cloth for the unbelievable smudgetastic glossy finish.

gizminus.jpgThe Speed
The Lenovo U110 is not a speed machine. You can look at Vista's performance rating of 3.5 to draw your own conclusions (3.0 is Aero graphics minimum), or you can know that, more often than not, it can become a bit irritating waiting for programs to launch. It's not a "OMG THIS IS SOOOO SLOOOW" slow, but it is "Boy, I wish Office would load a bit faster" slow.

gizminus2.jpgThe Battery
The 4-cell 1750mAH battery is rated at two hours. In the default "balanced" processing mode, I received less than an hour of runtime from normal use. Since the 7-cell battery is rated at six hours of use, expect only three.

gizminus.jpgVeriFace 2.5
VeriFace scans your face and loads your computer without the need for typing. And it works great...when it works. Booting Vista, a Veriface animation pops up for about three seconds and loads with no problem. But for some reason—and correlation is by no means causation—I found that when waking the computer, VeriFace had recognition problems quite often. You are left sitting there like an idiot, double checking your lighting, positioning and hairdo...realising that maybe you aren't pretty enough to touch this beautiful computer.

gizminus.jpgThe Price
It's US$1899. That's US$100 more than the MacBook Air. For that, many Windows lovers may consider Lenovo's X300. And they'd be right to. EVDO and a solid state drive would be great additions to the U110. And for not much more money, size or weight, you can get that with the X300.

Should You Buy It?
Let's put it this way—it's buyable. It's not the fastest Vista laptop, and if you want any decent battery life you'll lose a chunk of the ultra-sexy form factor. But if you want a fully-capable laptop that's extremely mobile—one that I'd say can conceivably function as your main computer—then sure. Because while the smaller battery's life may be less than optimal, the real purchase-preventer here seems to be the price. And if you don't care, neither do we.

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