Lenovo IdeaPad U260 review: Lenovo IdeaPad U260

The Core i5-470UM CPU is one we've seen before, in the Dell Vostro V130. The Vostro is a similarly sized 13-inch laptop with an appealingly thin portable frame, but poor battery life. The IdeaPad U260, though boasting a better battery life, doesn't fare all that much differently. Intel's CULV processors aren't to be confused with their similarly branded standard-voltage siblings. While a "normal" standard-voltage Core i5 is great for most everyday use, the lower-performing, energy-saving Core i5-470UM CULV in this laptop feels sluggish on boot-ups, and though it will perform most everyday tasks well (and far better than any Netbook), including HD video streaming, its benchmark speeds lag well behind most mainstream 13-inch laptops. If you consider the IdeaPad U260 an ultraportable, it will likely exceed your expectations as a computer. If you consider it a full-fledged laptop, you may be disappointed.

The IdeaPad U260 has integrated Intel graphics, which allow for basic casual games and HD video playback, but won't satisfy anyone looking to edit or create high-res videos or play more graphically intensive mainstream games. This laptop doesn't yet feature Intel's new Sandy Bridge processors, which offer more-robust integrated graphics.

Multimedia multitasking test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
Lenovo IdeaPad U260

Adobe Photoshop CS3 image-processing test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
Lenovo IdeaPad U260

Apple iTunes encoding test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
Lenovo IdeaPad U260

Video playback battery drain test (in minutes)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Lenovo IdeaPad U260

Annual power consumption cost
Lenovo IdeaPad U260
Asus U35Jc-A1

Juice box
IdeaPad U260 Average watts per hour
Off (60%) 0.4
Sleep (10%) 0.63
Idle (25%) 9.84
Load (05%) 29.15
Raw kWh number 36.97
Annual energy cost $4.20

The Lenovo IdeaPad U260's battery lasted 2 hours and 42 minutes using our video playback battery drain test, and that's hands-down the biggest disappointment on the U260 overall. We've never been wild about the battery-life savings or lack thereof in this past generation of Intel Core i-series ULV processors, but in an ultraportable this size we'd expect, at the least, 3 hours-plus of battery life--ideally, more like 5. Using the U260 at CES 2011, the battery life represented the biggest downfall to our productivity.

Lenovo includes a basic one-year warranty with the IdeaPad U260, which can be extended up to three years for an additional $99 on Lenovo's Web site, or with accidental damage protection for an additional $299. Lenovo's site offers helpful and easy-to-navigate documentation, and a toll-free 24-7 phone number is easy to find.

System configurations:

Lenovo IdeaPad U260
Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit); 1.33GHz Intel Core i5 U470; 4096MB DDR3 SDRAM 1,066MHz; 64MB (Dedicated)/1696MB (Total) Intel GMA HD; 320GB Hitachi 5,400rpm

Asus U35Jc-A1
Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit); 2.4Hz Intel Core i3 M370; 4096MB DDR3 SDRAM 1,066MHz; 1GB Nvidia GeForce 310M + 64MB (Dedicated) Mobile Intel GMA MHD; 500GB Seagate 5,400rpm

Dell Vostro V130
Windows 7 Professional; 2.26GHz Intel Core i5 U470; 4096MB DDR3 SDRAM 1,333MHz; 64MB (Dedicated) Intel GMA HD; 500GB Western Digital 7,200rpm

Acer Aspire TimelineX 1830T-68U118
Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit); 1.46GHz Intel Core i7-680UM; 4GB DDR3 SDRAM 1,066MHz; 128MB (Dedicated) Intel GMA HD; 500GB Western Digital 5,400rpm

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Quick Specifications See All

  • Resolution 1366 x 768 ( HD )
  • Installed Size 4 GB
  • Color mocha brown
  • Weight 3 lbs
  • Graphics Processor Intel HD Graphics
  • CPU Intel Core i3 380UM / 1.33 GHz
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