Disclaimer: Longer-than-necessary explanation of my love-affair with Lenovo proceeds actual relevant information
I’ll be the first to admit that I was more than pleasantly surprised by Lenovo this summer. After graduating from college and getting a job, I figured one of my first major purchases would be a Macbook Air. I grew to love my 2007 Macbook Pro while in college, but speed and processing power had come a long way in 4 years. Wanting a small but capable laptop for daily use, the Macbook Air was my obvious ultraportable choice given my recent history with Apple. Though one thing kept me from buying the Macbook Air, and I am now as pleased as can be with that choice: Amazon and Microsoft began running a promotion for a free new Xbox 360 with purchase of a qualifying Windows 7 PC. I needed an Xbox as well (as much as anyone can ever really need any piece of tech), seeing as my previous model experienced the infamous Red Ring of Death months before graduation. Instead of paying $1200 for a Macbook Air and $200 for the Xbox, I decided to get the Lenovo IdeaPad U260 for about $800, and that meant Amazon would also send me an Xbox. That also meant I would be saving about $600. For $600 I thought, I could put up with using Windows as my primary OS for the first time since 2006. Fast forward 9 months, and I can now say that I am, at least for the moment, a Windows user. And with the upcoming release of Windows 8, I can’t foresee that changing anytime soon.
This is the model and color of my IdeaPad. I love it! I actually prefer the flat laptop chassis of older (2007 and before) Macbooks to their newer, unibody design. Aesthetically, I prefer my hinged electronics to closely resemble a book. This Lenovo definitely fits the bill. Also, the sleek, brown aluminum shell actually stands out and remains classy in the sea of grey aluminum and black plastic that dominates the laptop arena. Windows 7 is a great operating system that seems to have taken many of its newer usability and layout elements from a page in Apple’s OS X playbook. Lenovo also does a great job of cramming plenty of power and speed in their ultraportables, so really, Lenovo and Windows 7 embody much of what I love about Apple, in a more affordable package. Other than battery life (which is admittedly lackluster at less than 3 hours) the Lenovo IdeaPad U260 is a near dead-ringer for the Macbook Air, boasting similar performance, and nearly identical size, weight, and thickness. That’s right, this Lenovo is as thin as the Macbook Air (though Apple tapers the edges of the Air to make it appear thinner than it is)! And when their newest IdeaPad comes out towaard the end of the year, Lenovo hopes to go two steps further by including Windows 8 on the devices and making their Screens double as a touch-screen tablet.
Windows 8 hasn’t even been finished, and already Lenovo is aiming to be the first manufacturer to release it on a tablet or PC. It turns out, they’ll use just one device to get there. According to The Verge and Mashable, Lenovo plans to introduce their IdeaPad Yoga, a 13-inch laptop that doubles as a touch-screen tablet by folding the screen away from the keyboard. Some sources estimate that the Yoga will be ready to ship on the day Windows 8 launches, which is likely sometime in October. Both articles mention that the IdePad Yoga will likely feature an Intel computer chip, and not an ARM chip like those found in most tablets. Additionally, as the Yoga is an Ultraportable as well as a tablet, the device appears to feature many more connection ports and options than standard tablets. With the consumer preview of Windows 8 out in the wild, many have focused on the dual-input nature of the operating system. Using mouse clicks or touch-based gestures, users have options when it comes to using Windows 8. When you think about how Windows 8 is really an OS for both tablets and computers, it only makes sense that someone would be releasing a device that fills both roles. Lenovo is hoping to be the first to sell a Windows 8 tablet or computer, and I hope to be one of the first to buy one. Look for a used Lenovo IdeaPad U260 to hit ebay about a month before the Yoga drops. I want to be ready on release day. Here is a video from The Verge when they got to check-out the Yoga in person at CES 2012.
The edge-to-edge glass, 1600 x 900-resolution panel can support up to ten points of input, and was very responsive to swipes from the sides to pull up the Windows 8 charms. That speedy touch performance is also aided by the Core i7 processor inside. Since the Yoga is a full-fledged laptop as well, it will be powered by Intel’s third generation Core processors, which will obviously be out by the time Win 8 is ready.