It's hard to say which one of the systems I liked best. The U110 for its portability? The Y710, because of the sort of multimedia workhorse that it is (with its giant screen), albeit in a notebook form factor, or the Y510: a notebook that has many of the Y710's features but that is significantly more portable than its 17-inch sibling.
One thing is for sure. The U110 (pictured left) represents Lenovo's biggest departure yet from the ThinkPad formula that has so strongly influenced all of Lenovo's notebooks -- consumer or business-oriented -- since Lenovo took over the ThinkPad brand from IBM. Perhaps the most noticeable difference (once the lid is open) is the U110's keyboard. Gone is the traditional ThinkPad-esque keyboard that, for nearly two decades has set IBM and Lenovo's notebooks apart from the rest of the pack. In its place is a keyboard with a shiny black finish that's perfectly flat to the touch as you drag your fingertips from one key to the next.
The U110 has a full complement of ports as well as a multicard slot for taking a variety of flash memory form factors. Unfortunately, it was so new (having just showed up from China), Lenovo competitive analyst Matt Kohut (shown in the video) couldn't tell us what its price is or give us a spec sheet.
Perhaps lifting an idea or two from Apple's MacBook Pros, the Y510 and Y710 have 1.3 megapixel cameras built-in to their lids at the top-dead center location, just above the display. One technology this enables is a face recognition-based biometric security solution that, much the way fingerprint readers are used, will grant the user access to the system based on a successful scan of the user's face. During the briefing, Lenovo officials said they tried to fool the system by having two people sit next to each other during the biometric registration process so as to implement something similar to a dual-key nuclear launch system (two people each with one key before a launch could happen). It didn't work. It needs one face.
In addition to the 17-inch display that goes up to 1440x900 in resolution, the nearly 8-pound Y710 can be configured to have Intel's 2.50Ghertz Core 2 Duo T9300 processor and 500 Gbytes of hard drive space. The Y510 weighs in at 6.4 pounds and can be configured at the high end with Intel's 1.83-Ghertz Core 2 Duo T5550 processor and 250 Gbytes of hard drive space.
Both systems feature a 4-speaker/1 sub-woofer (under the system) based Dolby Home Theater sound system (yikes!).