As Lenovo's mighty ThinkPad army continues to lead the charge for their business notebook portfolio around the globe, let's not forget that the Chinese company has more than just executive armaments to offer. Released in April, the arrival of the U110’s form factor should be foxy enough to set many hearts a flutter.
All things considered, this smallest IdeaPad member from their U-series would make an almost perfect conduit between larger notebooks and netbooks. Framed at 11-inches, the ultra-portable U110 comes swathed in burnished black or red and laser etched with "tendril textures" upon its aluminum alloy top.
Even better yet, the base as well as the battery comes with pointy rubberized stands to prevent this precious notebook from skating around smooth tabletops. Further keeping in step with its Oriental essence, the heat vents below are also carved with Chinese-esque motifs.
As much as we love the rugged and beautiful exterior, the U110 transforms into Mr Hyde once the lid is flipped open. The glossy keys and palm rest may appear chic at the onset, but glossy has never been the fingerprint's best friend…
Display wise, the LED-backlit screen has a nice showing of vibrant colors and comfortable viewing angles on its native widescreen resolution of 1,366 by 768 pixels. In order to pull off a "frameless" display however, Lenovo has added another layer of gloss over its panel which makes the screen substantially reflective. Eco-warriors won't be too pleased either to know that its lamps contain mercury.
Moving downwards, the row of veiled orange LED buttons running along the top of its keyboard acts as the multimedia control center that requires just the lightest of touches. Also, the unit comes with facial recognition features as part of Lenovo's consumer lineup via the VeriFace security feature for accessing passwords and can be set to high sensitivity levels that even factor in the face's angle and distance from the notebook's integrated web camera for access!
The U110 uses a slightly older chipset together with a low-voltage Santa Rosa L7500 1.6GHz processor which as corroborated by our PCMark Vantage result of 1,999 marks, proves that the L7500 CPU isn't carved out for blazing fast performance but more for endurance. However, it's still a shade more efficient than the ultra-low voltage U7600 CPUs used by the 12.1-inch NEC VERSA S9100 (1,843 marks).
In terms of stamina, the U110's 7-cell battery lasted for two hours and a half; 30 minutes shy of the VERSA running on 6-cell batt. Surprisingly, the U110 did fine on 3DMark06 with a score of 584 marks given its integrated Intel GMA X3100 GPU.
At S$2799, this classy IdeaPad might appear to mobile warriors as a rather expensive proposal, but let’s not forget that Lenovo is throwing in two batteries (4 and 7 cell) as well as an external DVD multi-burner drive into the mix to blunt the impact.