Lenovo IdeaPad U110: 11.1″ Ultraportable

Lenovo IdeaPad U110

Display Size: 11.1″
Pixel Format: 1366 x 768
Backlight: LED
GPU: Intel GMA X3100 (VGA Out, 256MB shared)
CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo L7500 1.6GHz 4MB L2 Cache 800MHz FSB
HDD: 120GB 4200RPM (32GB – 64GB SSD optional)
Optical: External DL DVD
Webcam: 1.3MP
Connectivity: 10/100 Ethernet, WiFi (Intel 4965AGN), Bluetooth (optional)
Input: USB 2.0 (3), FireWire, 6-in-1 Multicard Reader, ExpressCard, Audio In/Out
Weight: 2.4lbs (4-cell battery)
Thickness: 0.72″ to 0.88″
Availability: April 2008
Price: $1899 (base)

Image Courtesy: Notebook Review

$1899. Sounds a bit expensive. Although not an apples-to-apples comparison, Apple’s MacBook Air with a 13.3″ LED backlit LCD goes for $1799. Of course, Lenovo did have to shrink things a bit more to squeeze everything into a box that houses a much smaller LCD at just 11.1″ diagonal. Up to a certain point, smaller is more expensive. But the interesting thing is that Sony’s exceptionally small TZ series notebook PCs also start at $1799.98, which is about $100 cheaper. Does Lenovo think that it’s got something more special than a comparable Sony?

Well, to be fair, the IdeaPad U110 has a faster processor than Sony’s TZ: 1.6GHz vs. 1.2GHz. The MacBook Air sports a 1.6GHz CPU too. The IdeaPad U110 is also lighter than the TZ: 2.4lbs vs. 2.7lbs. Bear in mind that the 4-cell battery lasts just 2 hours whereas the TZ lasts 4.5 hours with the standard battery. Personally, I like the look of Sony’s TZ ultraportables better and wouldn’t spend more money on an equivalent Lenovo box. Notebook Review has a great review of the IdeaPad U110 and the pictures show a very glossy unit. I’m not sure if I like it since my fingerprints will be all over the unit; on the keyboard as well!

The 1366 x 768 pixel format is interesting. The aspect ratio is actually 16:9, different from most others that are 16:10. All of the MacBooks (regular, Air and Pro’s) are 16:10. Most of Dell’s and HP’s offerings are 16:10 (1280 x 800, 1440 x 900, 1680 x 1050, 1920 x 1200). I personally don’t like 1366 x 768. Although it is 16:9, what good is it? I don’t see a ATSC tuner included. I don’t see a built-in DVD player. Even if the DVD player was built-in, most DVD titles are not 16:9. Even movies downloaded from iTunes are not 16:9. So what’s the deal with 16:9 on a notebook? This question applies to Sony’s 11.1″ TZ series as well.

Update 2008.05.03
Engadget has posted up some unboxing and hands-on pictures of a black Lenovo IdeaPad U110. As mentioned earlier, the IdeaPad U110 is very glossy and is not limited to the screen but the keyboard, palm rests, and pretty much everything else.

Lenovo IdeaPad U110

Update 2008.05.04
Engadget has updated information on the IdeaPad once again. The IdeaPad seems to be an impressive piece of work. I must comment on the design as I think it is very unique and there might be a lot of design-centric folks out there who would really appreciate it. Engadget calls it “floral swirl’ and it is beautiful (image below). The design theme “flows from the top lid to the underside, all the way to the smattering of touch controls…”

Lenovo IdeaPad U110

Engadget also confirms that the IdeaPad U110 has too much gloss resulting in it being a “fingerprint magnet”. There are two very interesting features about the LCD. First, the LCD reclines quite a bit, much more than say the LCD of Apple’s MacBook Pro. Also, there is no latch to clamp the LCD down; maybe there is a magnetized mechanism to keep it closed? I don’t know. You can read a whole lot more about the IdeaPad U110 at Engadget. There’s even a video.

Source: Engadget, Notebook Review

[tags]11.1″, 1366 x 768, 16:9, Lenovo, Notebook PC, Ultraportable[/tags]

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