updated 08:35 am EST, Thu January 3, 2008
Aiming directly at the same retail space dominated by the likes of Acer and HP, Lenovo today introduced its new IdeaPad line of notebooks. The company claims to borrow the build quality of the ThinkPad series but adds that the new range has features just for home users: every model has touch-sensitive media controls, Dolby Home Theater audio processing, and a facial recognition system that uses a built-in webcam for security and other features. The IdeaPads' construction is also unique among home notebooks: each has a "frameless" display that lets the LCD run nearly to the edges of the bezel, allowing the PC maker to place a large screen in a relatively small space.
The series is headlined by the 17-inch Y710. It focuses on gaming with programmable keys, an optimized directional keypad, and a four-speaker system with a subwoofer; it also boasts the strongest performance of the collection with up to a 2.5GHz Penryn-era Core 2 Duo, 2GB of memory, and an ATI Mobility Radeon HD 2600 for video. The system will hold up to 500GB of hard drive space across two disks and has the option of a Blu-ray combo drive. It should ship in February at a base $1,199.
In turn, the 15.4-inch Y510 is pitched at a wider audience that wants the media features without the accompanying cost. It too shares the more elaborate four-speaker setup and comes with 2GB of memory but uses a newly introduced budget 1.83GHz Core 2 Duo to drop prices without compromising too much on performance. It should ship first, arriving by the end of this month for $799.
A final model, the U110, is one of the few home-oriented ultraportables on the market. The 11-inch system weighs just 2.3 pounds and measures just 0.7 inches deep; Lenovo has yet to supply full specs but notes that the computer will have the option of a solid-state drive as well as a conventional spinning hard disk. More details should be ready closer to the U110's estimated April shipping window.