Lenovo IdeaPad U400 Notebook Review

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Introduction and Specifications

The thin-and-light market is seriously heating up, and with CES 2012 just around the corner, Lenovo's hoping to sneak some sales in during the last few weeks of the 2011 holiday season. The IdeaPad U400 is a sleek, sexy machine, understated from top to bottom and aimed at mid-range buyers who have never had so many options. You can't really call this an Ultrabook (you'll need to ogle at Lenovo's IdeaPad U300s for that honor), but it's still super slick. And in its roomier 14-inch weight class, you actually have fewer options to pick from.  We're happy to see Lenovo continuing to serve this in-between market actually.

The U400 is machined from a single slab of aluminum. This unibody approach has become more and more popular in recent years, but Lenovo has truly exceeded in producing a stunner in design. As far as PC notebooks go, there may be none more stunning than this on the market. As for internals, it offers mid-to-high range specifications, utilizing Intel's latest line of Core i3, Core i5 and Core i7 CPUs, up to 8GB of DDR3 memory and an optional AMD Radeon HD6470M GPU. Speaking of specifications, here's a look at what's inside our test machine:

Lenovo's 14" IdeaPad U400
Specifications and Features (as tested)
  • Intel Core i5-2430M @ 2.40GHz
  • 6GB of DDR3 RAM at 1333MHz
  • 14.0" LCD (1366x768); LED backlight, glossy
  • AMD Radeon HD6470M (1GB) + Intel HD Graphics 3000
  • Western Digital 750GB (7200RPM) Hard Drive
  • 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi
  • 8x CD/DVD Burner
  • 1.3MP webcam
  • HDMI output
  • USB 3.0 x 1
  • USB 2.0 x 2
  • Bluetooth
  • Intel WiDi
  • RJ-45 (Ethernet 10/100/1000)
  • Headphone / Mic Input Jacks
  • Chiclet Keyboard
  • Stereo Speakers
  • 4.36 Pounds
  • Non-Removable 4-Cell Li-ion Battery (54WHr)
  • 340x230x22.6mm (Dimensions)
  • Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit)
  • Price (as tested): $879.99
  • Price (starting): $879.99
  • 1-Year Warranty

Perhaps most interesting here is just how premium the U400 looks and feels. It's surprising actually, that this notebook is priced and specified like a mid-range machine. In a way, we wish Lenovo offered this very hardware with higher-end specs, a higher-res display, etc. But on the other hand, we're just happy to see Lenovo is taking design seriously, integrating a premium fit and finish into a machine that's squarely aimed at mid-range buyers. Of course, looks are only half of the story; is the entire package worthy of consideration this holiday season? Let's dig in and find out.

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