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Lenovo's IdeaPad U260: A MacBook Air Challenger?

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With the impressed oohs and aahs surrounding the recent release of the redesigned MacBook Airs, it was inevitable that more manufacturers would release their own slimmed down laptops.

Last week we saw Sony release an 11.6in version of its Vaio Y Series, and today Lenovo has announced its 12.5in IdeaPad U260. The U260 seems to land right in the middle of the 11.6in and 13.3in MacBook Airs that were released recently and shares quite a lot of the features of those machines. One feature it does not share however is the high price tag. The IdeaPad U260 , which will go on sale in the US initially, will begin at $899 (£565) - slightly cheaper than the 11.6 MacBook Air which starts at £849 and a whole lot cheaper than the 13.3in model which begins north of £1,000.
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According to the press release from Lenovo, the U260 was “inspired by the silhouette of a classic leather-bound journal.” Now we’re not sure what the silhouette of a classic leather-bound journal looks like but whatever inspired the design it seems to have worked as it is a good looking machine. The 12.5in screen gives users a 16:9 aspect ratio with a screen resolution of 1366 x 768.

Weighing in at about 3lbs it is heavier than the 11.6in (2.3lbs) and 13.3in(2.9) MacBook Airs. It is also slightly thicker at 0.71in compared to 0.61in for the Airs and is made from a one-piece magnesium-aluminum alloy frame. The U260 also has a glass touchpad which supports multi-touch capabilities such as pinch-to-zoom – again very similar to the Airs.
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Under the hood, the U260 can be powered by either an i3, i5 or i7 Intel Core processor making it seem more powerful than the Airs running the older Core 2 Duo technology. The difference here though is that while the Apple devices were boosted by state-of-the-art Nvidia GeForce 320M graphics chipsets the U260 is stuck with Intel’s in-house HD integrated graphics.

The U260 has no optical drive, two USB ports, no SD card slot and comes with 4GB of RAM as standard. The U260 can be configured with up to 320GB of hard drive storage or up to 128GB of SSD flash-based storage. The battery life claimed by Lenovo is up to 4hours which compares poorly to well over 6hours for the Airs. It comes in the rather strange sounding colours of Clementine Orange and Mocha Brown.

While there are a number of drawbacks to this slimline laptop, the enticing price point – well below the most basic MacBook Air – will appeal to a lot of people, whether or not the U260 can live up to the performance of the Airs.

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