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Lenovo unveils more IdeaPad laptops

Thinner and more affordable is the name of the game for Lenovo's consumer-focused IdeaPad line of laptops.

Hot on the heels of the announcement of new ThinkPad corporate laptops for 2012, Lenovo is showcasing its coming consumer lineup, which sells under the IdeaPad brand.

At first glance, these don't appear to be dramatic changes from the existing lineup. With the IdeaPad U300s Ultrabook just recently released, it's probably too much to expect dramatic changes in the short term.The first to hit the market will be the IdeaPad Y and Z series, due for release in April.

The IdeaPad Y480 (14-inch) and Y580 (15.6-inch) are high-power laptops designed for gamers and enthusiasts. They'll come with up to Core i7 processors and GeForce 650M (for the Y480) or 660M (for the Y580) discrete graphics. Also included: JBL speakers with Dolby Home Theater V4.

The IdeaPad Z380, Z480, and Z580 (13.3in 14in and 15.6in, respectively) are colorful, everyday laptops with a variety of CPU and graphics options, up to Core i7 and GeForce 640M. Shipping in May are the new IdeaPad U310 and U410 Ultrabooks.

They're similar in appearance to the U300s we previously reviewed, with a few tweaks. Gone is the SSD, replaced by a standard hard drive with solid state cache. The 14in U410 features discrete Nvidia GeForce 610M graphics, while the smaller 13.3-inch U310 relies on Intel's integrated graphics. Though they are thin, they're a little on the heavy side by Ultrabook standards. The U310 weighs 3.74 pounds, while the U410 weighs 4.18 pounds. Fortunately, they're less expensive as well, with a starting price of $699.

Finally, the IdeaPad netbooks continue in June with the S series. Lenovo's netbooks have gone on a diet, and slimmed down to 0.8 inches thick. The 11.6-inch IdeaPad S200 features Intel Atom processors, while the S206 utilizes AMD's Fusion C60 processor. Lenovo claims only 4 hours of battery life for these laptops, which seems on the low side. At a starting price of $599, I can't imagine many customers wouldn't pay the extra money to step up to the U series.

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