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back to article Lenovo IdeaPad U410 14in Ultrabook review

As a MacBook Pro owner, and yet a fan of the ThinkPad range since the early IBM days, it would be easy for me to assume Lenovo's new IdeaPad U410 Ultrabook fills the gap as the ultimate middle ground model. Indeed, it's a ThinkPad descendant that looks like Lenovo desperately wants an Apple lawsuit. Lenovo IdeaPad U410 …

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more reviews like this please

laptop with fairly decent performance but let down by everything else not sure it even deserves the 65% but it's a good start. Poor reviews for their products are the best way to get through to manufacturers that this isn't what people are after.

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Re: more reviews like this please

Only if poor reviews translate to poor sales will the message get through.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: more reviews like this please

wtf? No. this review is poor. I don't want a review that says 'well its not a mac'.

They make a £650 laptop targeting a specific price and you lot all complain that it isn't upto idevice standards.. please asshats go home, this is a perfectly sensible machine for £650 and its got good performance for the money also. really for £650 I cant work out why it only scored 65% if it were the same price as an idevice then you'd have the right to complain that it was cheap and plasticky. But it's a computer after all, not an ornament, you really should be reviewing its computering ability not just its sheek-ness...

Please remember not everyone feels the need to follow the iherd, this may well be the ideal machine for someone who wants good performance for not a lot of cash.

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Re: wtf? No. this review is poor

I thought so too... The arrogance is so thick... Not to mention he seems to support the patent on rectangles with rounded corners.

Why is the guy waxing on about a stupid Macbook, while reviewing a budget beater? It looks nothing like one, unless you have the coarsest of perceptions...

A thing worth criticizing: For being a cheap plastic bomber at £650, there should have been some money left for a slightly better display, given that Sony will sell you a T13 model made from all aluminum and magnesium alloy with the same CPU for very little more.

But of course, TheReg reviews never actually do measure the screens for color space, contrast, illumination, black value or viewing angles. So the reviewers always end up just blabbering unfounded personal impressions, that are meaningless to the 90% of people that don't happen to share matching prejudice and individual perceptions.

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Re: wtf? No. this review is poor

Why? Because it is a sad Macbook clone. Seriously. You can't see that?

I'm all about cheap Laptops. My Next Laptop probably WON'T be a Macbook Pro, I PLANNED on a Lenovo running Linux. "Apple soldering down the ram and gluing in the BATTERY will have me in the market for something else when I retire my 2012 13 MBP in three years."

But, I'm hoping when I get there they have something that's better than a fake plastic Macbook. This is just sad.

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No nub?

To me, one of the major attractions of Lenovo laptops has been the "nub" mouse control. Without that, it holds very little interest to me.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: No nub?

Funny... the last two work laptops I have had had a stupid "nub" mouse. First thing I did was pull the rubber thing off it, so I could at least type properly without hitting every time I went for whatever key it was sticking out between...

best thing I can see about this Lenovo is that the Ctrl & Fn keys are the right way round... the piece of junk I have now is a pain in the a......

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Re: No nub?

Worst than that, my nub just fell off. Followed shortly by the N key. Then my unit started doing random back-to-bios reboots. When I took it to tech support, I find lots of Lenovo laptops having issues.

In short: thinkpads aren't what they used to be.

Come back IBM! All is forgiven.

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Low res screen

Ugh a stupid 768 high screen; it'll be like using a letterbox. That's fine on an 11" screen, but 14" should be at least 900 if not more.

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Re: Low res screen

exactly, and it's glossy too!! stopped reading at that ...

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Re: Low res screen

Glossy and low res... Even Apple have started to listen with their new iMacs being 75% less shiny!

Now you know why St Jobs wore the black turtle neck - it was the only thing which didn't reflect in his silly shiny screens!

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Lenovo, read!

Fails:

Plastic-y build

Short battery life

1366x768

Solve by:

Using some aluminium or magnesium

Package it better internally to fit some slim battery packs in

1440x900

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FAIL

Re: Lenovo, read!

Wish I could edit.

Because now I've seen the trackpad.

Who in their right mind puts a "clickpad" on a Windows machine? The only, and I mean the ONLY good version of this I've ever seen is the one on a Mac, in OS X.

I want separate buttons, always.

Also, no gigabit ethernet? What the hell is this, the 90s?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Lenovo, read!

no problem sir, this will be £899 for you sir, shall I pack it up for you? And, should you wish to add an extended battery option, which will add up to 10 hours* of working pleasure, the whole package comes, nicely wrapped, and with a free mouse worth up to £25**, to a reasonable £1099.

* oh, come on, you know what the "up to" really means, no need to pretend you are being careful by reading all 23574 pages of our T&T....

** sigh, you MUST be new here, aren't you? OK, this mouse is one of our carefully selected line of Lenovo-labelled rodent input devices, carefully engineered to deliver optimum performance, etc, etc. Which would otherwise cost you a fiver online, including free p&p, if you were bothered to look, but since you're here...

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Re: Lenovo, read! Re:1440x900

I reckon 1440x900 would still be a piss-take at this price. We have 5 inch phones at 1,920 x 1,080 on the horizon.

The best product differentiation Lenovo could come up with is a decent resolution screen, though I reckon Torben Mogensen is right - a nipple mouse is a Lenovo must.

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Re: Lenovo, read! Re:1440x900

Its amazing how few laptops have a middle 'mouse' button under their touchpads. Pressing both buttons at the same time to simulate a third doesn't really work for me.

Why not add a couple more buttons whilst they are at it, one for zoom for example. And what it is it with sacrificing the left hand edge of the touchpad for a scroll area? Why not dedicate a scrollwheel or second smaller touchpad for scrolling? Okay, thats a half rhetorical question- the answer is cost, and that the people who would most appreciate it will be reaching for their own mouse anyways. Still, I liked the belt-and-braces approach of older Lenovos: nipple and touchpad (with buttons above and below it, including a scroll rocker), and some models even have a pen driven digitiser too!

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Pint

Re: Lenovo, read! Re:1440x900

No, the answer is it would end up looking like an Alienware laptop.

A swift two-finger scroll to you!

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Megaphone

Re: Lenovo, read!

...and add a Kensington lock port while you're at it. It's only a few millimeters. You have room.

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Re: Lenovo, read! Re:1440x900

Yeah, my Precision M4440 has a real middle mouse button. Actually useful.

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Re: Lenovo, read! Re:1440x900

*M4400, not that it mattered.

And yes, 1440x900 still wouldn't be hot compared to the things we're getting now, but I mean as a minimum.

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Re: Lenovo, read! lol

I cannot help but think that doing that WOULD incur the wrath of Kha... Umm, Apple. Hehehehe

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Anonymous Coward

2 x usb 3.0 ports, good

considering it's a 100% increase on most, if not all other laptops.

decent ram.

decent processor

decent price

....

and the rest, er... total fail. Well, if this was a 400 squid job, I might consider it as a replacement for my current, cheap but also decent laptop. Lenovo brand, as it happens. But, as it serves us well... no need to replace it :)

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Ethernet

Wow, an ultrabook that has an ethernet socket! At the same size as a full-size HDMI socket! Not having to carry around stupid adaptors (that you invariably lose) just to give you these essential connections is good news. I just wish more ultrabook designers would do the same. Stupid adaptors.

But what has happened to the once amazing build quality of ThinkPads?

Also how on earth can they expect 9hrs of battery life from a full-sized laptop? My Asus 1005HA-P netbook is the only computer I've ever owned which has got anywhere close to its quoted battery life. In fact it's exceeded it at 10hrs quite often and is still churning out a good trans-atlantic flight's worth (plus associated airport faffing time) even at 3 years of age.

My final gripe is with laptop resolutions in general. I used to have an Asus beast, bought in 2003-2004, which had an awesome resolution of 1680x1050 and it was brilliant packing so much screen into that space.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Ethernet

Yep, to get decent resolution on an 'Ultrabook' it seems that you have to buy a an Asus Zenbook for around $1,300.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ultrabook partial table of Ultrabook models.

To get it on a 'bloody thin and light laptop that doesn't carry Intel's trademark' you have to spend lots of money, some high end Sony VAIO or a Bootcamped Apple should do it. Even Lenovo's W series mobile workstations top out at 1920 x 1080.

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Ping Shaun Dormon

Why not pass this comment thread to Lenovo, and let us know their reply?

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Not a Thinkpad

Thinkpads are synonymous with quality, durability and usability, this is just way of the mark.

I have a 6 year old T43p at home that is still used daily, 14" matte screen, 1400*1024 resolution with 2 Gb of ram and it runs W7 like a dream. ( I have changed the disk twice and the charger twice though.)

I have dropped it several times, its a little scraped and bashed up but the keyboard still functions like new and it is a wonderfull machine to work on.

I really dont beleive that this "Non Thinkpad" will live up to the same abuse.. ( Ok I paid a lot more for the T43p but it is a true Thnikpad).

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Windows

Re: Not a Thinkpad

"I have dropped it several times, its a little scraped and bashed up but the keyboard still functions like new and it is a wonderfull machine to work on."

Depending on the nature and demands of 'work' just a reminder that second hand thinkpads, T4x, X60, X200 can be purchased from the well known auction site for a ton plus or minus.

My X200s cost a ton and a half including delivery, is a dual core with integ graphics, runs just about any Linux (CentOS, Fedora, Debian, Ubuntu) with kernels newer than about 2.6.18 ish and does just about all the stuff I need (light graphics, office, web, bit of R). Probably not video editing. Everything works, including the Fn buttons.

I did a T60 with retail Windows 7 for my sister, it is chugging away nicely with Security Essentials and 1Gb RAM. She does Office and web/email.

The Tramp: not for windows, just don't like spending money....

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Linux

Does Linux run on this ? IBM are normally famous for Just Working with it.

If the SSD 'can't be used for storage' just call it a 'cache', much clearer.

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Curiously, my first Linux experience was helping a mate install Mint on an old classic Thinkpad he'd been donated. Quickly reading up on SUDO etc, it all went fairly smoothly, except for the audio- apparently they used obscure sound hardware, according to the forums, and a few things needed to be done in a specific order, IIRC. It took us the rest of the afternoon, but the eventual 'Tada!' test noise was very satisfying.

More recently, I've only used Ubuntu on a few machines, all very novice-proof, except one machine requiring some added text at start-up. If only the applications didn't have such silly names and gave you a clue as to what they did! The naming scheme sits between charmingly quirky and frustrating.

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SSD

How does the 32Gb SSD help the system performance? Does it appear as a drive letter in Windows?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: SSD

It's a cache, as stated in the article.

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Anonymous Coward

looks like an acer aspire one

Primarily,

I would suggest anyone buying one to also buy an external usb dvd burner drive, a case to protect all these parts, an extended battery from stock 4 cells to 8 or 12 cells (I don't see them out there yet) and also I would buy a second drive (same size as the one you are going to use) and a usb to harddrive conversion hardware and a clone software, clonezilla or acronis. I would make sure I had this worked into the initial cost, because it doesn't give you disc's and it doesn't have a disc drive. If you want to keep your work longer than three years without formatting you need to clone it.

IF that SD card is going to be a boot drive then you better have a way to clone that SD chip as well.

Secondary,

a usb mouse, an external speaker (charged by usb), upgrade from home to pro, stardock windowblinds (productivity layout), and classic menu - stay away from windows 8 - it's not a TOUCH!

dual-boot XP/ debian or win7/debian is the ticket.

Other than that, this is an insane amount of horsepower under a thin little hood. I'm not so sure people buy these because they "cost less" as opposed to being so small and mobile, which is what I was after. I really must insist you get an external USB DVD burner it really does simplify things. Plus it really helps to have an external DVD drive to burn off a professional CD set of photos, to share with media after an event. You can publish online, and simultaneously be burning a CD for someone standing right there waiting.

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Novatech

For cheap but hopefully not so nasty, please can we have a review of the Novatech "nFinity" ultrabooks, as previewed way back in March? The me-too-resolution screen would seem to be the only downside to the specs, and quite possibly liveable with for the sub-£500 asking price. TYVM.

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Re: Novatech

and they will sell it to you without an OS!

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Getting better

At least they're only asking £650 instead of £950 for a machine of this spec. I'd still like to see a better res screen, so 1440 X 900 or 1440 X 1024 as alluded to above for that T43. This is a lot better than a budget £400 jobbie, even if they've saved money by using lower cost materials. By the time it reaches ebuyer I'd hope it will come come in sub £600. I could be seriously tempted for one as a replacement for this 4 YO Macbook.

Now that Apple's 13" Macbook will be about £1500 I suspect there will be more interest in the ultrabook market - if they can contain price growth and fit decent screens.

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