Heat and Noise
The U260 has a single-fan cooling system with a heat exhaust at the rear of the chassis. At idle, the notebook feels warmer than most of the 11-inch and 13-inch notebooks we've tested in the last year. The fan noise is also louder than most notebooks at idle. The fan switches between off and on at idle and runs at full blast whenever the system is even slightly stressed. The exterior temperatures proved to be more of a concern than the fan noise during our synthetic benchmark tests. Few modern ultraportbales generate exterior temperatures above 100 degrees Fahreheit after 15 minutes of benchmark tests in our lab but the IdeaPad U260 reached a temperature of 110 degrees ... more than enough to be uncomfortable on your lap.
The U260 has a custom-formed 4-cell Li-Polymer battery. This is essentially the same battery tech used in the Apple MacBook Air but the battery in the IdeaPad U260 doesn't fare as well in terms of overall battery life. With the Windows 7 Balanced power profile active, 70% screen brightness, wireless active, and refreshing a web page every 60 seconds, the U260 lasted 3 hours and 27 minutes. This is a rather unimpressive amount of time considering the fact that we're starting to see more and more 11-inch and 13-inch notebooks that can last more than six or seven hours.
Battery life test results (higher scores mean better battery life):
I have to confess feeling a bit conflicted while writing this review. One one hand I honestly believe this is the most attractive consumer laptop that Lenovo has ever produced. More to the point, the IdeaPad U260 is one of the nicest feeling notebook PCs I've had the pleasure of using.
On the other hand, the U260 is plagued by design compomises, weak performance and a price tag that makes most average consumers ask, "Why not buy a MacBook instead?" The combination of the average Intel Core i5 processor with a slow hard drive and weak Intel integrated graphics translates into less than impressive performance across the board. The lack of high-speed ports, an expansion slot, or a media card reader means consumers can't take advantage of the newest, fastest external storage options and have to buy accessories like USB card readers to use this notebook with their digital cameras.
At the end of the day the Lenovo IdeaPad U260 is a gorgeous laptop that grabs your attention at first glance and then makes you lose interest after you take a closer look. For the current street price of $999-$1,199 it's hard to recommend this over a similarly priced MacBook Air or MacBook.
Software & Support
* Ratings averaged to produce final score
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