Review: Lenovo IdeaPad U260

Our score: 3/5
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September 23, 2011 4:37 PM
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Published: September 22, 2011 11:00 PM
By Pierre Anzil / Alexandre Botella
Translated by: Jack Sims
Lenovo has slipped into the gap between 13.3-inch ultras and 11.6-inch laptops. With its 12.6-inch matte panel (1366 x 768 points), weighing 1.38 Kg on the scales and thickness of 1.8 cm, the U260 should be perfect for carrying around on your back.

Impeccable finish but limited connectivity

Ultra slim and with an aluminium and magnesium alloy shell, the U260 is clearly a handsome product. Its shell is covered with a soft rubber layer and ,having tested it, we can tell you that it resists scratches and other marks well. The finish is simply excellent. Well done to Lenovo.

U260_clavier

In spite of being slightly loose, the chiclet keyboard is still nice to use. The keys are well proportioned and well positioned. Keying is supple, agreeable and quiet.
 
The multitouch touchpad is precise. The glide is nice and soft to the touch. The only thing we might fault it for are the click buttons, which are a little too soft for our taste.

Compaq Mini 311cThe webcam is mediocre. Light tones are burnt and the dark blocked and pixelised. It's really only viable as a fallback solution.

Connectivity is on the light side. On the left you get a USB 2.0 port and a headphones/mic mini-jack combo. On the right there's a second USB 2.0 port, two video outs (VGA and HDMI), the power in and an RJ45 (Ethernet) port. There's no USB 3.0, eSATA, DVD rewriter or even a card reader - something of a lack of ambition on Lenovo's part.


The U260's fan is relatively discreet as long as you don't push the components too hard. Even then though, it there's any background noise you won't notice it. Heat is however not as well managed, a problem common to small models. Even without a discrete graphics card this 12.6-inch expels air into your lap at close to 50 °C.

The U260's temperature readings when you push the components hard
Readings taken using a Fluke Ti25 (Distrame) camera
 
U260TouchPad with glass coating

U260_capot Hood


U260_gauche
  USB 2.0 port, headphones/mic combo and wireless connections switch
U260_droite
 
USB 2.0 port, HDMI out, RJ45 socket, VGA out, power in


Processor power: very average performance

With a low consumption Intel Core i5-470UM, the U260 takes on average 50% more time to complete tasks than a model such as the Acer X3830T, equipped with an Intel Core i3-380. While, technically speaking, it can carry out demanding tasks such as 3D modelling, its level of performance makes it more of an office document/Internet browsing model than a multimedia machine.

HD 1080p video playback (Blu-ray equivalent) is a walk in the park for this machine. Although the processor can easily handle this task itself, it is preferable to let the graphics solution handle it. That way, the CPU is freed up and energy consumption falls to keep battery life to a max.

Windows 7 Family Edition 64-bit takes 48 seconds to boot and you'll need to wait another 10 to 20 seconds for the various background applications to start running (antivirus off). It turns off in fifteen seconds.

Gaming: retro-gaming only

While the integrated graphics chipset can decode 1080p videos, gaming is another story. It can barely run a few recent, undemanding titles such as Sims 3, though you will have to lower your graphics options and resolution. Retro gaming is really your best option.

Audio: not impressed

The poor speakers lack power and saturate far too quickly and both the in and out are mediocre, noisy and weak. The audio is really not what you'll be buying this model for!

Battery life: don't stray too far from the power socket

While very compact and light, the U260 isn't however the sort of machine you'll want to carry around with you. 2h15 video playback is far from what you'd expect on such a model and it's a shame that Lenovo has downsized the battery so much.
3/5 Lenovo IdeaPad U260 DigitalVersus 2011-09-23 00:00:00

Pros

  • Compact and well-finished
  • Light (1.5 Kg)

Cons

  • Low battery life (2h15)
  • Low gaming capacity
  • Audio: very poor

Conclusion

Close to the Dell Vostro V130 and nice to look at, this model is ultra-slim and light but lacks enough battery life (2h15) to make it viable to take on long outings. You'll find much more powerful models with longer battery life (Asus U36SD and Acer X3830T) for the same price.

OUR SCORE 3/5
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