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Lenovo's IdeaPad U310 and U410 Ultrabooks start at an inexpensive $699, weigh a little more than the competition


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If there's one thing we don't like about the Lenovo IdeaPad U300s, it's that it's missing an SD slot, and starts at $1,200 -- a steep price when you can find many an Ultrabook for under $1,000. (Okay, that's two things.) And while the company isn't ready for a complete do-over just yet, it's clearly trying to fill some gaps in its lineup: the outfit just introduced the 13-inch IdeaPad U310 and the 14-inch U410, which will start at a relatively inexpensive $699. On paper, the IdeaPad U310 bears a strong resemblance to the U300s we reviewed two months ago, with 4GB of RAM, 1366 x 768 resolution, an eight-hour battery, Intel Wireless Display and a choice of Intel Core processors. But, it adds an extra USB 3.0 port, along with that all-important memory card slot. In exchange, you'll have to make some tougher choices regarding storage: you can opt for a 500GB hard drive or an SSD that tops out at 64GB of space.

The 14-inch IdeaPad U410 offers more of the same, though instead of Intel's integrated graphics offering, it packs an NVIDIA GeForce 610M card with 1GB of video memory -- unsurprising, given that the new ThinkPad T430u Ultrabook also has discrete graphics at a similar price. All in all, not too shabby for $700, though the trade-off for the extra ports and lower price is some extra padding: the 13-inch version tips the scales at 3.7 pounds, versus 2.95 for the U300s. (The U410 weights 4.2.) Then again, when these go on sale in May, we suspect they'll be plenty light for students looking to get a jump on back-to-school shopping. For now, we've got hands-on shots below and some impressions after the break.

Gallery: Lenovo IdeaPad U310 | 4 Photos

Gallery: Lenovo IdeaPad U410 | 4 Photos

Gallery: Lenovo IdeaPad U310 hands-on | 13 Photos

We got a few minutes to check out the U310 and U410 in person, and we're delighted to say... we've seen this design before! What we have here is the same book-inspired profile, comfortable keyboard and expansive trackpad we first saw on the U300s. What's more, the gain in thickness really isn't that noticeable, and even if it were, we wouldn't have minded much, given the affordable price and addition of an SD slot. Even the step down in materials isn't that big a demotion. No, this isn''t an all-aluminum design, but the palm rest, made of a plastic-glass fiber blend, still feels surprisingly solid.

All told, we left our hands-on feeling more excited about these laptops than we thought we would: they feel almost as luxurious as the U300s and are nearly as thin, but cost less and add a feature we sorely missed the first time around. Who knows? Maybe the second time is a charm for Lenovo.

Sean Cooper contributed to this post

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Lenovo Rings in 2012 with Colorful, Slim, and Powerful New IdeaPad Laptops and IdeaCentre Desktops
CES 2012, Las Vegas – Sunday, January 8, 2012: Lenovo (HKSE: 992) (ADR: LNVGY) today announced an exciting lineup of new consumer laptops and desktops at the 2012 International Consumer Electronics Show, providing a variety of PCs to suit every computing need, style desire and palette preference, with the debut of new colors including Peony Pink, Electric Blue and Ruby Red.

New laptops in the IdeaPad U Series, Y Series, S Series and Z Series provide a full spectrum of styles, colors and performance for every consumer – from mobile professionals to students and everyone in between. New models of IdeaCentre desktops range from the performance K Series to the space-saving multi-touch IdeaCentre B Series All-In-One (AIOs).

"Our new lineup of consumer laptops and desktops for 2012 reflects our commitment to deliver bold products that set the standard for innovation and style in consumer technology," said Peter Hortensius, senior vice president, Product Group, Lenovo. "But as technically innovative as these products are, we are more than ever focused on fun. With improved sound and entertainment capabilities on the inside and unexpected candy-colors on the outside, we believe that these new consumer devices will help deliver the complete computing experience that individual customers are seeking."

IdeaPad U310 and U410 - Ultra Laptops for Style and Performance
Lenovo is expanding its Ultrabook portfolio following the recently announced IdeaPad U300s, with the IdeaPad U310 and U410, two "ultra" laptops with attractive price points. Powered by the Intel Core Processor family, these thin and light performance laptops include Ultrabook versions with 64GB SSD drives for caching data, and versions with up to 500GB Hard Disc Drive (HDD) storage. Both versions feature ultra-responsive performance with fast boot times and quick resume from sleep thanks to Lenovo's Windows 7 Enhanced Experience tuning. The PCs also features other smart elements including Lenovo Smart Update which automatically updates mailbox, instant messaging and social media messages even in sleep mode, with up to eight of hours of battery life.

The ultra slim and light U310 and U410 are ideal for any and all mobile needs, weighing 3.74lbs (1.7kg) and 4.18lbs (1.9kg) and measuring only 0.7" (18mm) and 0.83" (21mm) thick respectively. For optimal visuals when consuming or creating content, the U310 has a 13.3" HD 16:9 display featuring Intel® GMA 3000 HD graphics, while the U410 features NVIDIA® GeForce® 610M 1GB graphics. Weaving fun into a stellar computing experience, the U310 and U410 come with Intel® Wireless Display (WiDi) Technology for wireless use on any big screen. Created with today's fashion savvy consumer in mind, the U310 and U410 are available in an array of fun colors including Aqua Blue, Cherry Blossom, Graphite Gray, Ruby Red, Sapphire Blue and Spearmint.

IdeaPad S200 and S206 - Say Hello to the Fashionable Mini Laptops
Lenovo introduced two mini laptops to fill the computing needs between the netbook and the notebook. The IdeaPad S200 and S206 are lightweight and super thin, without sacrificing computing excellence. Making mobile computing even more convenient, the S200 and S206 comes with a large 11.6 inch HD widescreen and are just 0.81 inches (20.7mm) thick and weigh 2.8 pounds (1.3kg). These slimmer-thanever mini laptops also showcase design details beyond the standard netbook including, a high-quality tactile finish and Accutype keyboard with individual rounded keys.The S200 comes with an Intel® Atom dual core processor and up to 32GB SSD storage, while the S206 features an AMD dual core processor. Created to be an ideal travel companion with up to 4 hours of battery life, these mini laptops allow users to get online in seconds and run basic apps without starting Windows thanks to the Lenovo Quick Start 'instant on' function. Additional features include an integrated 0.3M HD Webcam for seamless video chatting and Web calling, and 802.11b/g/n Wi-F. Select models also have integrated Bluetooth® capability. As a lightweight solution for Web browsing, both mini laptops are available in the following bold hues – Cotton-candy Pink, Crimson Red, Electric Blue, Graphite Grey and Pearl White.

IdeaPad Y480 and Y580 - Laptops for Ultimate Entertainment
For a high-performance laptop capable of handling intensive multimedia applications, look no further than the new IdeaPad Y480 and Y580. Powered by the Intel Core Processor family, these new Y Series 14" and 15" full HD display laptops satisfy the highest level of graphics and processing performance when working on intensive multimedia and gaming, featuring up to NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX660M 2GB GDDR5 graphics. Entertainment abounds with Dolby Home Theatre V4 enhanced audio, JBL® designed speakers and OneKey™ Theater II for one-touch audio-visual optimization providing clearer, brighter images and richer audio. The Y580 also supports back-lit keyboard and HD camera with night view. With an optional TV tuner and Intel® Wireless Display (WiDi) Technology users can take the advanced multimedia features to the largest screen in the house for an unbeatable and completely immersive experience.

IdeaPad Z580, Z480, Z380 - Stylish and Colorful Laptops
Striking the right balance of value and performance, the new IdeaPad Z Series laptops fit the bill perfectly. With the latest processor and graphics technology options, the Z Series laptops are ideal for multimedia tasks and are available in a range of dazzling colors – Amber Orange, Apple Green, Cherry Red, Coral Blue, Graphite Grey, and Peony Pink.

The Z series comes with smart features like the Intelligent Touchpad for easy scroll, zoom and rotate functions, and the Lenovo OneKey® Rescue System for simple data backup and recovery. For a superior entertainment experience, the Z Series come with OneKey® Theater II for one-touch audio-visual optimization for clearer, brighter images and richer sound, and up to NVIDIA® GeForce® GT640M 2GB graphics with DirectX®. Available with screen sizes of 13.3, 14, or 15.6", these laptops come with a backlit LED HD display (1366x768), 16:9 widescreen, integrated DVD reader or Blu-ray Disc™ drive and HD graphics support. HDMI output and Intel Wireless Display (WiDi) Technology allow for easy
enjoyment of all multimedia on a large screen.

Lenovo G480, G580, G780 - Affordable, Essential Laptops
In addition to the other new laptops, we announced new laptop models in our G Series. The three new G Series laptops G480, G580 and G780 14", 15.6" and 17.3" HD screens, OneKey® Rescue System for simple data backup and recovery, and Veriface facial recognition, offer durable build quality, smart Lenovo technologies and basic multimedia functions at an affordable price.

IdeaCentre B540 and B340 - High-Performance Touchscreen AIOs
The digital home gets a sleek upgrade with the new IdeaCentre B Series AIO desktops. The B540 uniquely combines a 23 inch full HD frameless screen with state-of-the-art multi-touch and optional 3D vision for a truly powerful and interactive entertainment experience. Powered by the Intel Core Processor family and supporting an adjustable VESA mount, it provides a rich entertainment experience anywhere in the living room. The IdeaCentre B540 also features superior graphics technologies for a great gaming experience with up to NVIDIA GeForce® GT 650M 2GB graphics with DirectX® 11.

Featuring a compact design suitable for any room of the home, the B340 comes with a 21.5" full HD touch-screen display and Lenovo IdeaTouch for an enhanced range of touch-optimized multimedia applications. Along with the B540, the B340 can optionally be configured with OneKey® TV - a unique function to turn the desktop screen into an HD TV at the click of a button, making it easy to switch between TV and PC modes with the picture-in-picture (PIP) function. Users can even watch TV without powering on the PC as the TV hardware is independent of the PC itself. These new AIOs come integrated with entertainment features, such as the Lenovo High-Sense (720p HD) Webcam for high-quality video chats, and a DVD reader or Blu-ray Disc™ drive, making them a great PC for the family.

IdeaCentre K430 - Performance and Upgradeability
The new IdeaCentre K430 traditional tower desktop takes performance and upgrade capabilities to new heights with powerful processing, optional dual graphics support and twin hard drives along with massive memory and storage. It packs a powerful punch with super-fast processing powered by the Intel Core Processor family and up to 32GB of DDR3 memory. For extreme gamers and those that need intensive multimedia support, the IdeaCentre K430 does the job with high-performance dual graphics cards featuring NVIDIA SLI or ATI CrossFireX technology and optional twin hard drives in a RAID0 configuration.

With the K430 users have plenty of storage space with its huge capacity of up to 4TB HDD and up to 128GB SSD storage. The K430 also comes with a custom designed portable 500GB hard drive complete with a Universal Storage Module (USM) interface dock on the front of the PC for convenience that is compatible with other USM portable hard drives. The energy-efficient Power Control Switch with three color-coded speed options, lets users choose between turbo, auto and cool running modes based on the computing load.

Lenovo H520s - Slim, Easy-to-Use Desktop
The new Lenovo H520s offers a slim solution for home computing, at half the size of a standard desktop PC. The H520s combines affordability with a great range of entertainment and processing features, plus Lenovo Assistant – a simple new interface that helps organize favorites, clean history and junk files, and manage the PC's network connections and energy consumption settings.

Pricing and Availability
The new IdeaPad U Series laptops will be available beginning in May from $699.
The new IdeaPad Z Series laptops will be available beginning in April from $599.
The new IdeaPad S Series laptops will be available beginning in June from $349.
The new IdeaPad Y Series laptops will be available beginning in April from $899.
The new Lenovo G Series laptops will be available beginning in June from $399.
The new IdeaCentre B Series AIOs will be available beginning in June from $699.
The new IdeaCentre K430 tower will be available beginning in May from $599.
The new Lenovo H520s desktop will be available beginning in June from $499.

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