Lenovo intros budget-priced IdeaPad Z series, new U-series laptops

Non-ThinkPad news: the IdeaPad Z-series offers up affordable entertainment laptops, while new U-series machines include upgraded ULV processors from Intel.

The Lenovo IdeaPad U160: an 11.6-inch screen, but the components of a fuller-powered laptop. Lenovo

Beyond the quite well-known ThinkPad line, Lenovo's consumer-oriented IdeaPad series gets slightly less attention. Sometimes it can be hard to pick out differentiating features among IdeaPad lines, but they're generally a pretty attractive, affordable, and well-featured bunch of notebooks.

Furthering the budget side of the IdeaPad brand, Lenovo has announced a new Z series of laptops that angle themselves as affordable entertainment portables, with a starting price of $649.

The IdeaPad Z560 head-on. Lenovo

The three announced models--the 13.3-inch Z360 and 15.6-inch Z560 and Z565--have 16x9 aspect ratio HD screens, Dolby enhanced audio, pre-set OneKey Theater II AV settings for optimized media modes, and new Intel Core i-series processors (up to a Core i7-620M) paired with Nvidia GeForce graphics (up to a GeForce 315M) in the Z360 and Z560, and storage options up to 8GB of RAM and a 640GB hard drive. It sounds good, although we wonder what one would cost with the configurations we'd prefer.

Taking a page from many laptop manufacturers lately, the IdeaPad Z565 offers up an AMD processor paired with ATI graphics (up to an AMD Phenom II quad-core/ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5470), presumably at a lower price. Blu-ray is also available as an option, giving all the ingredients to turn a Z-series IdeaPad into a pretty good media laptop.

The U-series IdeaPads are known for being a bit more austere but stylish, ultraportable with a bit of a corporate feel. The IdeaPad U350, which we reviewed last year, had a great design and a metal finish.

The U160, U460 and U460s have textured aluminum lids, with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and ambient light sensors for controlling screen brightness. The U160 has an 11.6-inch screen and weighs under 3 pounds, but can be equipped with a next-gen Intel ULV processor up to a Core i7-640UM, and up to 4GB of RAM and a 500GB hard drive. It also comes with built-in 3G, but only integrated Intel graphics.

While the U160 has a clean white look inside, the 14-inch U460 and 460s have a brushed-metal design that matches the look in the Z-series and that we loved in the U350. The U460 uses standard-voltage Intel Core i-series processors, while the U460s, like the U160, has a ULV processor.

All of these new IdeaPads will go on sale starting in the near future (June/July).

 

Join the discussion

Conversation powered by Livefyre

Show Comments Hide Comments
Latest Galleries from CNET
Bento boxes and gear for hungry geeks (pictures)
The best tech products of 2014
Does this Wi-Fi-enabled doorbell Ring true? (pictures)
Seven tips for securing your Facebook account
The best 3D-printing projects of 2014 (pictures)
15 crazy old phones from a Korean museum (pictures)