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Lenovo IdeaPad U450p review: Lenovo IdeaPad U450p

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The Good Long battery life; big hard drive; decent keyboard; on-board DVD drive.

The Bad Graphics chip isn't fast enough for the latest games; screen is quite reflective.

The Bottom Line The Lenovo IdeaPad U450p valiantly tries to straddle the gap between an ultra-portable and a desktop-replacement laptop, but, ultimately, it comes up short.

Visit manufacturer site for details.

6.5 Overall

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Lenovo's IdeaPad U450p is a 14-inch ultra-portable laptop with a rather odd mix of an ultra-low-voltage CPU and dedicated GPU. You can buy our configuration, with an Intel Core 2 Duo SU7300 CPU and 500GB hard drive, for around £600.

Diamonds are a geek's best friend

Perhaps the U450p's most striking aspect is the diamond-shaped texture that's stamped into the lid and keyboard surround. The pattern is made up of plenty of small raised squares and certainly makes a change from the standard glossy finish on most of today's machines. We like it, but some may think it's too busy.

Weighing in at 2.1kg, the laptop isn't all that light by ultra-portable standards. At least it manages to pack a DVD writer into its relatively small frame, though.

Lenovo claims the laptop's 14-inch, glossy display has an anti-glare coating, but, unfortunately, it doesn't work very well -- the screen is quite reflective. When you're using the U450p indoors, you'll find you often have to adjust the screen's angle so that it's not reflecting overhead lights.

Nevertheless, despite using traditional CCFL backlighting, the display is very bright and colours look strong too. It's also capable of producing pretty deep black levels, and this helps pictures and movies to look impressively rich. That said, the 1,366x768-pixel resolution isn't anything special. It does provide enough room to work on two documents side by side, though.

The U450p's keyboard sports traditional tapered-style keys. Although there's some flex when you apply pressure to the middle of the keyboard, it's not very noticeable when you're actually typing on it. The main keys are quite large, so it's easy to achieve a fast typing speed, but some compromises have been made in the case of the other keys. For example, the shift keys are shorter than usual. This seems like an odd decision. The laptop could easily have accommodated a wider keyboard.

Given the laptop's smaller frame, you wouldn't expect it to be overflowing with ports. There's only three USB ports, VGA and HDMI connectors, and an Ethernet socket. Sadly, this means you miss out on the eSATA port and ExpressCard slot that you'll find on larger machines. On the wireless front, 802.11n Wi-Fi is included, alongside Bluetooth 2.1.

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