3 executive-class laptops: Beauty that's more than skin deep
The skinny on thin notebooks
The Asus U36JC's assortment of ports (especially the USB 3.0 port), its two-year warranty and its adjustable performance settings make it a keeper. Compared to the others, however, it's big and heavy, making it too much of a good thing.
In contrast, the Dell Vostro V130 has a sleek, angular, functional design that comes with a cool leather bag at a very reasonable price. However, it lacks the battery life that I need when I travel.
And while I love the look of the Lenovo IdeaPad U260, its padded wrist rest and its marvelously small and light case, it comes up short on ports.
In the final analysis, none of these three thin machines fully met my needs and aspirations: They were either too big and heavy or too compromised. Unlike Goldilocks, I couldn't find a model that was just right, but the Lenovo IdeaPad U260 came closest to fulfilling my wants and needs on the road.
Test results: Performance, battery life and Wi-Fi range
Ultrathin laptops: Features and specifications
|Processor||Intel Core i5 460M||Intel Core i3 380UM||Intel Core i5 470UM|
|CPU speed /
|2.53 GHz / 2.8 GHz||1.33 GHz / N.A.||1.33 GHz / 1.8 6GHz|
|Dimensions (HxWxD)||0.9 x 12.8 x 9.4 in.||0.8 x 12.9 x 9.0 in.||0.9 x 12.4 x 8.0 in.|
|3.8 lbs. / 4.5 lbs.||3.6 lbs. / 4.3 lbs.||2.9 lbs. / 3.4 lbs.|
|Screen size / resolution||13.3 in. /
1366 x 768
|13.3 in. /
1366 x 768
|12.5 in. /
1366 x 768
|Graphics||Nvidia GeForce 310M||Intel GMA HD||Intel GMA HD|
|Ports||2 USB 2.0, 1 USB 3.0, VGA, HDMI, headphone, microphone,
SD card slot
|2 USB 2.0, VGA, HDMI, eSATA, headphone, microphone,
SD card slot
|2 USB 2.0, VGA, HDMI, combined headphone & microphone|
|Communications||802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, Ethernet, Bluetooth||802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, Ethernet, Bluetooth||802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, Ethernet, Bluetooth|
|Operating system||Windows 7 Home Premium||Windows 7 Professional||Windows 7 Home Premium|
cost for 3 years
|2 years / $120 (from SquareTrade)||1 year / $80||1 year / $80|
Brian Nadel is a frequent contributor to Computerworld and the former editor in chief of Mobile Computing & Communications magazine.
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