The U410 is good, is it but good enough to stand out?
Before Intel released the ultrabook standard there were already laptops that we’re close to what Intel would envision, and while some had already gained attention on their own, most were not given any special attention. One of these laptops was the IdeaPad U series, a part of Lenovo’s consumer line-up which had long focused on thin and light design.
I reviewed one of those laptops, the Lenovo U260, in 2010. That 12.5 laptop weighed in at just 3.04 pounds and is – to this very day – among the thinnest and lightest laptops we’ve reviewed at PC Perspective.
Alas, the U260 was not long for this world, but its largest siblings live on. Now we’re taking a look at the U410, Lenovo’s 14-inch ultrabook and the largest product in the U-Series. Let’s see what kind of hardware it brings to this suddenly crowded category.
Well, there are no surprises here, but you shouldn’t have expected any. Intel’s moves to make cool, thin laptops more widespread has ironically robbed them of their excitement. They’re all roughly the same in size and weight and they can all be equipped with identical Intel processors.
This makes it hard for any particular ultrabook – even those with a bloodline that starts prior to Intel’s ultrabook push – to stand out. Let’s see if the Lenovo IdeaPad U410 can conjure some magic.
The day after I received my U410 I took it out for a critical test – the coffee shop jaunt. This involves plopping down among a crowd of other people and seeing if anyone else notices what I’m using.
No one did, but their lack of observation can be excused, as they probably thought I was just another dude with a Macbook Pro. It’s striking how similar the two products look. They both have a silver lower chassis with a black bezel around the display. They both have black chiclet keys. They both have large silver touchpads. And they are of roughly the same thickness.
Of course, there are differences. Lenovo does not offer edge-to-edge glass on its display, for example, and the corners of the chassis are rounded in places the MacBook Pro feels sharp and rough. The U410 offers build quality that is nearly as good, as well. It’s also possible to buy the U410 with colorful lids, though my review unit arrived in gunmetal. On the whole, this laptop actually comes across as a bit friendlier and more usable than Cupertino’s aging Pro.
Examining this laptop’s flanks reveals amazing connectivity for an ultrabook. There are four USB ports (2x 2.0, 2x 3.0) as well as HDMI-out and a card reader. The only annoyance is a combo headphone/microphone jack, but overall, this small laptop packs a lot of functionality.