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Thin, semiprofessional: IdeaPad U350 reviewed

If you're searching for a great-looking thin-and-light at a good price, the Lenovo IdeaPad U350 bridges the gap between personal and professional--but its design is more successful than its horsepower.

Thin, light, nicely designed: the IdeaPad U350. Sarah Tew/CNET

While it's hard for us to put design over performance when looking at a laptop, products such as the Lenovo IdeaPad U350 make it a little easier. As another entry to the growing field of affordable CULV thin-and-lights, the compact and really great-looking U350 is Lenovo's MacBook in terms of design. Lighter than it is thin, the Pentium U2700 processor-packing machine is clad in minimal silver and black and aims to keep a stylish low profile. And while the U2700 processor is both low power and low performance by Core 2 Duo standards, this thin-and-light is perfectly capable of running Windows Vista and mainstream applications.

At a starting price of $629 ($749 for our configuration), the U350 is less affordable than a 12-inch Netbook like the Lenovo IdeaPad S12, while it is not as expensive as some professional-grade thin-and-lights such as the Lenovo ThinkPad T400s. And in that sense, it's a success.

While we'd like to see this same design with a more powerful processor and better battery, it's another valid alternative to the MSI X340 and Acer Timeline 3810T for those looking for a lightweight laptop but who don't require an optical drive or significant graphics.

Read our full review of the Lenovo IdeaPad U350.