Keyboard and Touchpad
The keys on the IdeaPad U260’s keyboard, like other Lenovo IdeaPads I have tried, are flat or nearly so, versus the nice bevel common to Lenovo ThinkPads — necessary to help provide a thin-as-possible profile. The arrow keys are at the bottom right, and the HOME/END/PageUp/PageDown keys are a column at the right of the main body of keys. The top row of keys is ESC, F1 through F12, PrtSc, and Delete, with nearly all of these, the arrow keys and the right-hand column doing the standard double duty with Function (FN) key meanings as well.
The typing portion of the keyboard (i.e., excluding the right-hand column of Home/End/Page-Up/Page-Down keys) is 10 inches compared to 11 inches on a standard desktop keyboard. Lenovo says it’s a “full-sized keyboard,” but my measurements, arithmetic and typing (I’m a 60+ word-per-minute touch typist — on a full-sized keyboard) disagree.
This makes the keyboard more than adequate for prolonged text entry or other keyboarding, but takes a little more thought and attention to touch-type without making too many errors. If I were going to be doing lots of typing (which my work entails), I’d consider a different machine — but if this was the machine I had to work on, it wouldn’t be a serious impediment.
Typing on the keys is quiet. The feel is good, especially given the thinness of the machine. The touchpad is large and responsive, and the touchpad buttons are good-sized — half an inch by 1.5 inches each. Unlike its ThinkPads, Lenovo IdeaPad do not have the little red “eraser-nub” pointing stick in the middle of the keyboard.
According to Lenovo the keyboard has a “breathable surface” that helps the notebook stay cooler while maintaining “spill resistance.”
Screen and Speakers
The IdeaPad U260 has a 12.5-inch 16:9 HD widescreen display with 1366×768 resolution. That’s big enough for much of what I’d do, like Office and web activity, while keeping smaller views open of IM buddy lists. The display has an anti-glare coating, and the machine includes an Ambient Light Sensor that “automatically adjust[s] screen brightness based on ambient light conditions.”
Display circuitry includes Intel Clear Video tech which Intel claims enhances video playback with sharper images. The display quality is quite good, for everything from web browsing and Microsoft Office through watching HD movie trailers. The display has an LED backlight panel to help with battery life.
The U260’s two speakers provide decent sound, good enough for listening to Pandora or Spotify or NPR for “background work radio.” The sound is, unsurprisingly, “bright” — high on treble, not much bass.