Business notebook maker, Lenovo, finally releases a laptop with some sex appeal (albeit not yet in the UK). In fact, the supersvelte Lenovo IdeaPad U110 is about as flashy as ultraportable PCs get.

Somewhere between the fire engine red, laser-etched lid and rugged rubbery base coating of our review model, the Lenovo IdeaPad U110 becomes a bonafide MacBook Air rival.

Just like the Mac maker, Lenovo forges a fashion-forward design that'll fit in just about any bag. It weighs 1.3kg with the 7-cell battery. It measures 274x196x18mm. The Lenovo IdeaPad U110 also packs in a reasonable offering under the hood - well, reasonable by an ultraportable's standards.

A 1.6GHz L7500 Core 2 Duo Intel CPU and 2GB of RAM run the show a little faster than Apple's Air. In WorldBench tests, the Lenovo IdeaPad U110 scored in the middle of the pack with a performance rating of 65 while the thin-and-light MacBook lagged with a 57.

The reasonably roomy 120GB hard drive in the Lenovo IdeaPad U110 spins at a pokey 4200rpm. If Lenovo ponied up for a faster hard disk, we can only imagine what that would've done for its performance score. On the bright side, the scored a respectable (if average) battery life - lasting four hours, 38 minutes on a charge.

Interestingly, the ThinkPad X300 also beat the Air by the same margin in our performance tests. The difference being that Lenovo's business-class offering also manages to squeeze in optical and solid state drives (and, yes, it's also more expensive as a result).

The Lenovo IdeaPad U110, on the other hand, follows Apple's lead by eschewing an internal optical drive. The rugged, rubberized sidekick matches the durability and design of its laptop mate. It plugs into one of the three USB 2.0 ports. Yep, the easy knock against the Air: the Lenovo IdeaPad U110 also makes room for a FireWire port, PC Express and SD card slots, ethernet jack and VGA out.

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