The Bottom Line
- Thin And Light Similar To A Netbook
- Solid Performance From Core i5 Processor
- Comfortable Keyboard
- Runs Very Warm Under Load
- Smaller Trackpad With Soft Buttons
- Intel Core i5-470UM Dual-Core Mobile Processor
- 4GB PC3-8500 DDR3 Memory
- 500GB 5400rpm SATA Hard Drive
- 11.6" WXGA (1376x768) LED Backlit Display With VGA Webcam
- Intel GMA 4500MHD Integrated Graphics
- Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11b/g/n Wireless, Bluetooth
- Three USB 2.0, eSATA, HDMI, VGA, 4-in-1 Card Reader
- 11.4" x 7.6" x .9" @ 3.1 lbs.
- Windows 7 Home Premium, Office Starter, McAfee Security Center
Guide Review - Lenovo IdeaPad U160 11.6-inch Ultraportable Laptop PC
Mar 1 2011 - Most extremely small laptops sacrifice performance for portability. Lenovo is trying to buck this trend by using higher performance Core 2010 series for the IdeaPad U160. While it is available with the Core i7 ultra low voltage, the more common model uses the Core i5-470UM dual core processor. This offers solid level of performance that outperforms the older Core 2 models but falls short of a standard Core i3 laptop processor. Still, it is very powerful given this laptop's size. The 4GB of DDR3 memory should help it prevent any slowdowns from running multiple applications.
Storage for the IdeaPad U160 is pretty typical of the $850 ultraportable. It uses a sizable 500GB hard drive that provides plenty of space for applications, data and media files. The drive spins at the more traditional 5400rpm rate so performance is modest. It does not come with an optical drive in order to keep it at a slim .9 inches thick and just over three pound weight. If you do need high speed external storage, the laptop does have a shared USB and eSATA port.
The display for the Lenovo IdeaPad U160 is nothing really all that different than can be found on some larger netbooks. What does this mean? Well, it is fine for casual usage but it has some pretty poor viewing angles making it difficult to use with multiple people. This is especially true for the vertical viewing angles. As for the graphics, it uses the Intel GMA 4500MHD integrated graphics typical for most ultraportables. It has the ability to handle high definition video playback just fine but it lacks any real 3D performance for even casual PC gaming.
In order to keep the relative thin dimensions of the IdeaPad U160, Lenovo opted to use a relatively smaller battery pack. This combined with the higher performance Core i5 processor will likely impact battery life. In video streaming playback tests, the laptop was able to run for a little more than three and a quarter hours before going into standby mode. This is decent considering its performance but is far less than many other ultraportables on the market. It should be also noted that the laptop got quite warm during the continuous usage of testing.
The keyboard of the IdeaPad U160 uses the isolated keyboard layout found on many of Lenovo's consumer branded laptops. Rather than the keys being flat, they have a contour to them that makes them very comfortable and it is nice to see a full sized right shift key. On the other hand, the left control key is set in with a small function key on the outside. The trackpad for the laptop is smaller than many 11-inch laptops which can be an issue. It uses individual buttons rather than a button bar but the buttons are very soft.