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HolidayBuyer's Guide

Lenovo launches new Ivy Bridge U310 and U410 ultrabooks

Up for sale this week, Lenovo's 13.3-inch U310 and 14-inch U410 are the company's newest additions to its lineup of light and thin laptops.

Lenovo's new U410 ultrabook.
Lenovo's new U410 ultrabook. Lenovo

Lenovo has unveiled two new laptops in its latest attempt to shake up the ultrabook market.

The IdeaPad U310 and U410 ultrabooks come equipped with the latest Intel Ivy Bridge chips, offering a choice of the Intel Core i3, i5, or i7 processor.

The U310 (PDF) comes with a high-definition 13.3-inch 1,366x768 pixel screen. Weighing in at 3.75 pounds, it offers up to seven hours of battery life. Buyers can choose between a conventional hard drive with as much as 500 gigabytes of space or a solid-state drive with up to 32GB. An optical USB drive is also part of the package. Memory can go as high as 4GB.

The integrated video graphics are courtesy of Intel's GMA HD 3000. Connections include two USB 3.0 ports, one USB 2.0 port, an HDMI port, and a reader for SD and MMC cards.

The retail price for the U310 starts at $749.

The beefier U410 (PDF) offers a high-definition 14-inch 1,366x768 pixel screen. This ultrabook weighs 4.19 pounds but offers up to nine hours of battery life. Hard drive choices range from a 1TB conventional drive to the 32GB SSD. And buyers can opt for as much as 8GB of RAM.

The graphics also raise the bar with an Nvidia GeForce 610M card with 1GB of memory. Otherwise, most of the other specs are similar to those of the U310.

The U410 kicks off with a price of $799 for the basic model.

Lenovo is also touting the integrated speakers of both machines, equipped with Dolby Home Theater for better sound quality. The Intel Wireless Display (WiDi) technology can wirelessly display videos and other content on a big screen. The U310 and U410 are optimized with Lenovo's Enhanced Experience 3 to enable faster bootups and quicker returns from sleep mode.

Both models will be for sale on Lenovo's Web site this week. Later this month, the two will reach the shelves of major retailers across the U.S., the U.K., Germany, Russia, India, China, and Japan.

Lenovo is one of many vendors promoting ultrabooks as the latest concept to woo computer buyers. With PC sales hurting, the industry is pushing the light and thin appeal of ultrabooks as one way to revive business.

"Ultrabooks are an industry game changer that shift not only the way people think about laptop design, but also how much performance technology can be packed into such a thin and light device," Peter Hortensius, president of Lenovo's Product Group, said in a statement.

Hortensius believes that ultrabooks will benefit from price drops and the launch of Windows 8.

"We are bullish on where these kinds of products will go," Hortensius said, according to Computerworld. "They will come in the sub-$800 category so they will be much more affordable."

Ultrabooks should also take advantage of some of the new features and capabilities in Windows 8, leading Hortensius to believe that customers will gravitate toward Windows 8-enabled ultrabooks.

"Historically when you look at transitions, consumers switch quickly because they want the latest and greatest," he added, according to Computerworld.