Just last week Intel was all "Hey! Thin, light and cheap laptops are the next big thing, TRUST US!" The Lenovo IdeaPad U350, a $650, 13.3-inch ultrathin notebook, is exactly what they were talking about.
Intel and Lenovo's concept makes enough sense: take those ultrathing, ultra-expensive notebooks like the MacBook Air, Dell Adamo or VooDoo Envy and sacrifice a little performance, a little weight and a little thinness to bring the price down. After all, they're already sluggish, so why not? What makes it genius, though, is how this compromise manifests itself. It turns out, these mild design and performances compromises knock a tremendous sum off the price.
The U350 is a sub-1-inch-thick, 1.6kg 13.3-inch notebook which, aside from its thin profile and conspicuous lack of an optical drive, is a fairly standard piece of notebook hardware. You can get just about anything you want in one of these guys—Core 2 Solo, Pentium ULV or Celeron processors; up to 8GB of RAM and up to 500GB of storage—but after a while you'll start to lose the price advantage that makes it attractive in the first place. It'll be around that $US700-$US800 pricepoint that the U350 shines. Available from July, full press release and spec sheet below. [Lenovo]
IdeaPad U350 Laptop
Display: 16:9 aspect ratio, 13.3 inch LED, HD 1366 X 768
Processor: Intel ultra low voltage CPUs and small form factor chipsets: Intel® Core 2 Solo SU3500 (1.4G, 800 MHz, 3 MB), Intel® Pentium® SU2700 (1.3G, 800 MHz, 2 MB), and Intel® Celeron 723 (1.2G, 800 MHz, 1MB) processors. Mobile Intel® GS40 and GS45 Express Chipset.
Graphics: Mobile Intel® GMA 4500M and Mobile Intel® GMA 4500MHDMemory
Memory: Up to 8 GB DDR3 800/1066 MHz DRAM
Hard Drive: Up to 500 GB 5400 rpm
Battery Life: 10 hours with 8 cell, 5 hours with 4 cell
Connectivity: Ethernet 10/100/1000m/Intel WiFi Link 5150 1 X 2 AGN, Intel WiFi Link 5100 1 X 2 AGN, non-Intel wireless b/g/Bluetooth
Other: 1.3 megapixel camera, ambient light sensor technology, multi-touch touchpad, Dolby Sound Room/two 1.5 watt speakers, Active Protection System, Ambient Light Sensor, VGA ports, 4-in-1 multicard reader, Dolby Headphone, VeriFace 3.5, Quick Start
Software: VeriFace 3.5, Vista Home Basic/Home Premium, OneKey Rescue System
IdeaPad U350 Laptop
Lenovo is pushing the envelope on design to bring consumers ultra-thin, ultra-light and ultra-loaded PC technology. Encased in a sophisticated sleek silver shell, the IdeaPad U350 laptop starts at 3.5 pounds and measures less than one inch thick1. While thin and light to the touch on the outside, Lenovo loaded the PC inside with the latest entertainment and computing features to enhance and simply users' digital worlds. A 16:9 aspect ratio high definition 13.3 inch LED panel and an HDMI connector allow users to fully enjoy watching movies or other multimedia in high definition.
The IdeaPad U350 laptop also packs in several unexpected features, such as Ambient Light Sensor technology, borrowed from the IdeaCentre desktop line. This technology automatically adjusts the screen's brightness when in different lighting environments for the best picture quality. Also, Dolby Sound Room complements the video experience by providing a high quality surround-sound audio experience. And with VeriFace facial recognition technology, they can make their face their password for easy log in. A camera also comes in handy for video messaging or making Skype calls using the laptop's WiFi connectivity2.
The laptop's entertainment features are powered by a backbone of computing technologies, including choices of Intel Core2Solo and Pentium ultra low voltage processors, up to 8 GB high speed DDR3 memory and up to 500 GB of hard drive storage. The technologies help users to do more, faster, such as burning DVDs, compressing and opening documents and enjoying smoother, more realistic gaming. For high reliability important to individual business users whether on the clock or off, Lenovo borrowed a component of ThinkPad laptop design with the Active Protection System. This helps protect data by temporarily stopping the hard drive if the laptop should fall. The IdeaPad U350 laptop also comes with OneKey™ Rescue System to help recover data if it becomes corrupted in just a few simple steps.