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Published January 31, 2011
The front of the IdeaPad displays no buttons or LED lights. I liked how the lid hangs over the front just enough to let you get a good grip when lifting the screen. On the right side of the system is a USB port, HDMI port, Ethernet Jack, VGA jack and power connector. The back of the system is featureless, save for the small exhaust fan vents. On the left is a locking slot, USB port, headphone / microphone jacks and the Wi-Fi switch. Noticeably absent from the system is an optical drive and card reader. At this point, the optical drive is almost a legacy device and worth excluding on an ultraportable machine, but I certainly would have liked a card reader.
On the bottom of the computer are four rubber feet and several hex-style screws that make removing the bottom cover a bit more troublesome than grabbing a standard screwdriver. It's worth noting that the battery is non-removable and housed under the cover. This configuration, paired with the lack of optical drive, results in a very slim and uniform chassis. There are no slopes or slants near the rear of the system where a bulky battery might be found on other systems.
Opening the lid we discover the 12.5" HD matte screen. Those who are not big supporters of glossy screens will certainly appreciate this anti-glare offering. An integrated webcam / microphone can be found above the display. Rubber bumpers are located on either side of the display to prevent damage to the screen when the lid is closed.
The spill resistant keyboard on the U260 is a thing of beauty. I am happy to find that Lenovo has "correctly" positioned the Ctrl and Fn keys at the bottom left of the layout. This had been a common concern of mine on other Lenovo offerings.
The entire keyboard is inset slightly and outlined by a glossy black plastic. The chiclet keys are a real pleasure to type on. For the most part, Lenovo did well with the keyboard layout but some improvements could have been made.
Some keys, such as Backspace and the left Tab, have been shortened to fit the allotted space. Lenovo could have lessened this by expanding the edges of the board out further to the right and left like they did on the ThinkPad X100e.
I also wish Lenovo included a backlit keyboard on this system. This would make typing in low light situations much easier, although it may have been omitted to support Lenovo's spill resistant feature.
Across the top of the keyboard is the power button, various LED activity lights and the OneKey Rescue system button. If the operating system cannot be loaded, while the computer is powered off, press this button to enter the Lenovo OneKey Rescue system and recover the system to the factory state, or a previously-generated restore point. The button is recessed so you won't accidentally press it while the computer is in use.
The smooth glass touchpad is one of the best I've used in terms of comfort and accuracy. The pad is the perfect size – large enough to be functional yet not so large that your palms interfere with the touch function.
The two mouse click buttons feel just as good as other Lenovo units I have tried but seem more solid. The buttons have a quality tactical feel and don't wobble from side-to-side.
The leather wrist rest is another key feature of the U260. Not only does it look and feel great, but it doesn't seem to retain / generate heat like a traditional plastic piece would.
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