IdeaPad plus touch. Since the advantages of Windows 8 only really come to the fore with a touchscreen, Lenovo installs this operating system on its U410 Touch. The IdeaPad is rather conservative otherwise.
The IdeaPad U410 features ultrabook virtues like an energy-efficient processor, good aluminum casing and solid equipment including a touchscreen. Compared with the former non-touch IdeaPad U410, the price has increased by 100 Euros (~$133) to 800 Euros (~$1062), which is within the range of entry-level ultrabooks featuring a touchscreen. Although Lenovo boosts the computing power a bit and installs Nvidia's 710M dedicated graphics solution, the main distinctive feature remains to be the touchscreen. We checked whether other differences have sneaked in compared with the precursor.
The look of the IdeaPad U410 Touch is appealing. We encounter pleasant curves, a matte display lid and a lot of aluminum after unboxing the laptop. The large touchpad dominates the casing's lower part. In return, the chiclet keyboard makes a slightly cramped impression but largely corresponds to ultrabook standards, with a few exceptions.
At first glance, the IdeaPad U410 Touch looks are unobtrusive and high quality. The casing's inward curved sides make an elegant impression and ensure glances of anticipation. Although the casing is not completely made of aluminum, its color is based on this light metal.
The display proved to be a bit stiff to open. It was also unclear which side had to be opened when used for the first time. Opening the screen with only one hand was also difficult and when it was opened, it wobbled a bit. However, the screen stayed in position in routine use. Although the display's opening angle is not as wide as in some ThinkPad models, an angle of 145° should suffice in most cases.
The display could be a bit more rigid. However, we approve of the display's slim look although that likely prevents a higher stiffness. No fault was found in the touchscreen's surface in comparison with the precursor.
The casing itself is sufficiently rigid but the keyboard yields in the center when higher force is applied. This is however complaining on a high level especially since the U410 Touch can be easily picked up at a corner and carried around.
The non-removable battery inside the IdeaPad U410 Touch cannot be removed or replaced without effort or loss of warranty. There is no maintenance cover.
Ultrabooks only sport the minimum of ports? Lenovo proves this wrong and installs an exemplary collection of various ports in its U410 Touch. Although it lacks now rare ports, such as Firewire and eSATA or even more scarce ones like Thunderbolt, the most crucial interfaces are available.
A total of four USB ports can be found. On the casing's one side, there are two USB 2.0 and there are two USB 3.0 on the other. The USB ports are spaced adequately and even bigger peripherals do not interfere with each other. The microphone / headphone combo jack beside the USB ports is one of Lenovo's specialties and only headsets that feature one plug can be connected.
The casing's right side sports the integrated microphone, which has been placed far enough away from the fan, the SD card reader, the HDMI port and the RJ45 port. The latter regrettably only supports 10/100 Mbit. The power socket finishes off the well-equipped right side. The IdeaPad does not feature security by way of a Kensington lock.
Following the current trend, Lenovo omits an analog VGA port. Consequently, the HDMI port has to be used for presentations with an external monitor.
While Lenovo installs a state-of-the-art Centrino Wireless-N 2230 Wi-Fi module from Intel that supports 802.11 b/g/n, which makes theoretical data speeds of up to 300 megabit per second possible at least in the 2.4 GHz band, the selected cabled network is surprising. Here, Lenovo relies on 10/100 Mbit-LAN rather than the modern Gigabit LAN. Thus, the Realtek chip considerably slows down network operations and does not really fit the rest of the laptop's impression, particularly since the precursor used Gigabit LAN.
The limited Wi-Fi range is just as displeasing (counterpart station: Fritzbox) so that connections over two stories were very unstable in the test. The signal strength was sufficient on the same story as the Wi-Fi router although it was separated by a wall.
The manufacture shows its generous side in short range communication and equips the laptop with Bluetooth 4.0; the adapter comes from Intel.
A look in the U410 Touch's box is disappointing. There is not much more than the laptop, the power supply, instructions and a thin cover. This cover does not replace a laptop bag but is more a protective sleeve with a Velcro fastener. It is thin and not very robust, but it is at least useful for preventing scratches during transportation when no adequate bag is available.
The IdeaPad U410 does not feature a docking station port. Since the battery is non-removable, there are no larger optional batteries offered as accessories.
As so often the case in ultrabooks, there are no maintenance covers or other openings on the IdeaPad U410 Touch's underside. The laptop can nevertheless be opened. Lenovo's as usual very informative website reveals that several screws are hidden underneath the feet. However, opening the device results in warranty loss and not much can be replaced anyway.
According to Lenovo's website, the U410 Touch comes with a 24-month manufacturer's warranty. There are no signs of possible warranty upgrade on the German page in contrast to the US pages where a three-year warranty including on-site service is offered.
The chiclet keyboard in the IdeaPad U410 cannot compete with the first-rate typing feel of many ThinkPad models. As is common for smaller laptops, it is a bit cramped but not annoying with a little practice. We only object to the very small backspace bar a bit. The typing feel of the very clearly arranged keyboard is good. The F-keys are mapped with two functions so that additional pressure on the ultrabook's FN-key triggers the second row of functions, i.e. volume control, brightness and the usual multimedia keys.
Only the power button is illuminated; a handy keyboard backlight is not installed. Nevertheless, the good typing feel outweighs the lower comfort. The keyboard in the U410 Touch is very good for ultrabook conditions.
The keyboard yields particularly in the center and conveys a spongy feel to fast typists. In return, the keyboard is agreeably quiet and has a pleasant pressure point.
The touchpad in the U410 Touch is agreeably large and consequently comfortable to use. Its touch surface is continuous and the mouse buttons at the lower edge are not felt when brushing over it.
The buttons are actually unnecessary since the entire touchpad has been implemented as a left mouse key. It is enough to tap a finger on the pad to trigger a click. A right key click is detected when it is pressed with two fingers, which is clever and convenient. Users can also use the two buttons at the touchpad's lower edge for right and left clicks if preferred.
The pad's surface has a lightly roughened texture but features a sleek and pleasant feel. Using the touchpad is easy and only rarely lets the user want a real mouse. The user will not even miss the TrackPoint of ThinkPads owing to the well-conceived and first-rate touchpad.
The pad also supports multi-touch gestures and implements them reliably. Pinch-to-zoom and two-finger scrolling are easy to perform on the pad although these gestures would actually be better on the touchscreen that gives the laptop its name.
Readers who are familiar with Lenovo's name-giving policy know that the U410 Touch indicates a 14-inch screen size and touch function. The installed screen is a mid-range model. Due to the TN screen's extreme viewing angle dependency, it is not suitable for graphic designers and it does not support professional color spaces. The screen's contrast of 718:1 is acceptable but it has problems with rendering true colors. The screen also shows a very intense bluish cast.
The U410 Touch also lines up in the 14-inch ultrabook mid-range with its resolution of 1366x768 pixels. That is understandable considering the price of 899 Euros (~$1194). Other manufacturers demand a steep surcharge for their higher-resolution models, such as the Zenbook UX31A or Alienware M14X with a resolution of 1600x900 pixels. HP's Folio 13 can also be seen as a contender. It plays in the same price range but does not feature a touchscreen.
Lenovo has done a great job with the ultrabook's touch capabilities. Up to 10 touch points are detected simultaneously and very reliably. Windows 8 rewards the user of a touch-capable device with a considerably more pleasant experience. The Modern UI start desktop is a lot less fun with only the mouse and we catch ourselves using our finger more often than the touchpad to open applications or even sometimes to use them.
The good contrast of 718:1 is a definite plus. Particularly when compared with the U410 non-touch model (modest 161:1); Lenovo has made a gigantic leap in the right direction. On the other hand, we cannot praise the viewing angle stability. The user should not deviate too far from the ideal angle since the pictures fade or invert.
It should not be much of a surprise that the sRGB color space is missed by far considering the price and performance range. The U410 Touch only achieves 36.61% of the sRGB color space. Professional graphic designers should instead look at a laptop like the ThinkPad W520, although it definitely cannot be called a handy, take-along device.
The screen's reflective surface is not only due to the touch function. The precursor already annoyed the outdoor user with reflections. A glossy screen would generally not be a problem if the screen would outshine the reflections with corresponding brightness. This is not the case in the U410 Touch; its maximum brightness is only 196 cd/m² and is thus just enough for very shadowy places or indoors at best. Barely anything can be seen on the screen on sunny days.
We cannot praise the viewing angle stability. The user should not deviate too far from the ideal angle because the pictures fade or invert otherwise. It is enough to work with the ultrabook when the screen is opened to a normal extent on the train but not to show pictures or videos to several viewers.
Lenovo offers the IdeaPad U410 Touch in different configurations but they all have ULV CPUs from Intel's Ivy Bridge production in common. The 899 Euro (~$1194) ultrabook that we are testing features Intel's Core i5-3337U with a clock of 2x 1.8 GHz and up to 2.7 GHz via Turbo.
Since not only the processor is responsible for the (subjective) performance of a laptop, but also the storage device used has a part to play, Lenovo installs a 24 GB SSD beside the conventional 500 GB HDD. It can be used for personal applications to an extent but it primarily serves as a cache. The IdeaPad U410 Touch does not achieve the power of an ultrabook with SSD-only but comes surprisingly close to that in frequently used applications.
Although the U410 Touch is not apt for games, intricate image editing or HD video editing with these technical specs, office use is easily possible.
System information: Lenovo IdeaPad U410 Touch-59372989
Intel specifies the processor with a TDP of 17 Watts and it contains Intel's HD 4000 graphics solution. In contrast to the less expensive i3 models, the i5-3337U can clock up to 2.7 gigahertz on one core via Turbo and thus accelerate single-thread applications.
The CPU also copes well with multi-thread applications due to the Hyperthreading feature and additional Turbo levels. The two physical cores are displayed as four in the operating system and improve their capacity owing to Hyperthreading. The installed processor subjectively has an agreeable speed in routine use. However, the CPU is not as suitable for computing-heavy applications such as video editing.
We did not ascertain throttling even during full load. The Turbo mode evidently works reliably. The processor clocked with up to 2.6 gigahertz during load but we could not max out the maximum Turbo. In return, low load reduced the clock in the different energy-saving modes of the CPU as expected.
The IdeaPad U410 Touch's system performance, ascertained using PCMark Vantage and PCMark 7, is not outstanding. As expected, systems based on the same CPU but that only use an SSD score better. Systems that completely lack an SSD do not perform as well. Lenovo's cache solution only provides limited advantages in the benchmark. Better scores would ultimately be achieved if we were to run PCMark several times in succession because caching can then first be maxed out.
Although the SSD was occasionally used in our scenario, it did not lead to exceptional results. Devices such as Sony's Vaio SV-T1511M1E/S, which also features a hard drive and small SSD, score even better than the U410 Touch.
Nevertheless, the subjective speed is decent and sufficient, at least with regularly used applications. It is proven time and again that SSD caching is not a solution for benchmarks but for routine use.
A higher price per gigabyte is still demanded for SSDs than for hard drives. Consequently, many ultrabook manufacturers waive on an expensive flash memory in favor of a less expensive hard drive, particularly in the mid-range. Only a few gigabytes of flash are implemented in order to wake up the system faster in single cases. Lenovo proves to be more customer-friendly. Caching software uses the small 24-gigabyte SSD storage in the IdeaPad U410 Touch to speed up the 500-gigabyte hard drive.
The SSD automatically stores frequently used files and thus helps speed up the system particularly in often used applications. However, the software dubbed ExpressCache needs a bit of time for this. The ultrabook boots faster after four or five system startups and programs load much faster after a few starts.
Benchmarks can also record SSD caching but they have to be started several times in succession for this. HD Tune's score, averaging 80.8 megabytes per second, corresponds to the initial HD Tune start.
Overall, the IdeaPad U410 Touch's scores are as expected. Systems without an SSD cache are subjectively slower. However, a system completely lacking a slow hard drive would be better - but also more expensive.
Depending on the application field, either Intel's CPU-integrated HD 4000 or Nvidia's GeForce 710M takes care of graphics. The latter is only enabled via Optimus when required so that desktop programs and many office tasks are performed by Intel's chip.
Although the current 700 naming of the 710M suggests cutting-edge performance, it is only a refresh of the older GF117 Fermi GPU. This chip, still manufactured in a 40 nm structure width, features 96 shader units. The GPU accesses the generous 2 gigabytes of DDR3 RAM via a narrow 64-bit memory interface. Graphical miracles should not be expected because the memory bandwidth is only 14.4 gigabytes per second and the texture fill rate is 12.4 gigatexels per second. In this case, DX11 support is nice but not significant.
The 710M computes a bit faster than Intel's HD 4000 so that many games can at least be played quite smoothly on the U410 Touch using low details and the native resolution of 1366x768 pixels. Compared with the 610M installed in the non-touch U410, an evident speed gain is noticed. This is not surprising since it only features 48 shader units in contrast to 96 shader units in the 710M. The 710M is consequently more suitable for an occasional game although other ultrabooks sport a much faster graphics unit. Overall, the GeForce 710M's performance level is just a bit higher than a GeForce 620M and just below a 630M.
Intel's iGPU copes well with rendering (HD) videos, YouTube and other undemanding applications. A dedicated graphics chip looks better on paper or in commercials and now even a few games can be played fairly smoothly even in medium details with the 710M.
The performance of the dedicated 610M GPU installed in the precursor disappointed us. This looks different with the U410 Touch. Nvidia has supplied the 710M with a lush bonus of shader units, which is noticed in the gaming benchmarks.
Despite it all, the 710M is not a gaming graphics chip but it makes casual games more possible than with the precursor. Particularly shader-unit dependent games, such as Anno 2070, benefit from the twice as many execution units. The 710M clearly defeats the 610M in this game at a low entry level. Ultrabook strategists should not venture beyond medium details because it then gets very jerky.
The graphically very undemanding FIFA 13 runs better and the racing game GRID 2runs quite well, although it is not enough for high details here.
The 710M and consequently the U410 Touch do not cope as well with modern tracks like Company of Heroes 2. The game can only be played in low details and with a lot of goodwill.
At least the question about the sense of a simple dedicated GPU beside an HD 4000 no longer arises. Apart from the much weaker drivers of Intel's GPU, the 710M now also has a clear lead in real performance.
The IdeaPad U410 Touch's noise development is agreeably restrained. Although the fan always spins, it only produces a quiet whir particularly when idling and which is barely audible in routine use.
The fan first speeds up slightly during full load and the laptop is very audible with an absolute maximum of 40.7 dB(A).
The hard drive is also of the quiet sort and is only heard during longer copy actions, but only when the ear is held just over the keyboard.
31.3 / 31.2 / 32.8 dB(A)
35 / 40.7 dB(A)
30 dB silent
40 dB(A) audible
50 dB(A) loud
min: , med: , max: Voltcraft sl-320 (15 cm distance)
The IdeaPad U410 Touch's temperatures are very good and low over the entire device. The surface temperature in the wrist rest area does not exceed 36.1 degrees Celsius (96.98 Fahrenheit) even during load. The rear heats up to over 40 degrees (104 Fahrenheit) in the area of the vent but it never gets unpleasant. Users who like to wear shorts when working with their ultrabook will be pleased about this.
An hour of stress testing via FurMark and Prime95 shows that the ultrabook keeps its clock and can even increase it via Turbo - in the summer and relatively high room temperatures. Considering the very unrealistic maximum load generated by FurMark and Prime95, it is unlikely that the U410 Touch will find the limits of its cooling systems in routine use.
Power Supply (max.) 34.6 °C = 94 F | Room Temperature 23.1 °C = 74 F | Voltcraft IR-360
(±) The average temperature for the upper side under maximal load is 36.5 °C / 98 F, compared to the average of 31 °C / 88 F for the devices in the class Multimedia. (±) The maximum temperature on the upper side is 42.2 °C / 108 F, compared to the average of 36.5 °C / 98 F, ranging from 21.1 to 71 °C for the class Multimedia. (±) The bottom heats up to a maximum of 41.3 °C / 106 F, compared to the average of 38.8 °C / 102 F (+) In idle usage, the average temperature for the upper side is 28.6 °C / 83 F, compared to the device average of 31 °C / 88 F. (±) The palmrests and touchpad can get very hot to the touch with a maximum of 36.1 °C / 97 F. (-) The average temperature of the palmrest area of similar devices was 29.1 °C / 84.4 F (-7 °C / -12.6 F).
Lenovo installs all-purpose speakers but the U410 Touch is not a hi-fi system either. As often seen in this range, the speakers lack richness in sound and bass. At least the speakers do not crackle and squeal.
Speakers connected to the 3.5 mm jack improve this. The headphone out delivers a decent sound, void of unwanted noise or other sound distortions. However, it is a combo microphone / headphone jack; headsets featuring two dedicated plugs cannot be used without an adapter.
With a minimum power consumption of 9.8 Watts and 12.5 Watts using maximum screen brightness, the IdeaPad U410 belongs to the less demanding devices. The rate climbs to a maximum of 44.2 Watts during load.
These rates do not overload the 65 Watt and rather small power supply but it gets very hot under prolonged load. Nevertheless, there are still enough reserves to recharge the laptop when it coincidentally has to calculate FurMark and Prime95.
The standby power consumption is 0.5 Watts and still 0.1 Watts when the laptop is completely shut down.
Off / Standby
0.1 / 0.5 Watt
9.8 / 12.1 / 12.5 Watt
42.1 / 44.2 Watt
max: Voltcraft VC 940
The IdeaPad U410 Touch achieved a runtime of 6 hours and 8 minutes in the Battery Eater Reader's test, which is less than its precursor. The runtime under the "Wi-Fi surfing" test better emulates routine use. The ultrabook lasted for 3 hours and 48 minutes here, which is not an exceptional rate for an ultrabook.
During load using maximum screen brightness, the device only lasted for 2 hours and 17 minutes. Ultrabooks that do not sport a dedicated graphics solution achieve much longer times but they do not supply as much 3D power.
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
Load (maximum brightness)
Is there such a thing as the perfect ultrabook? Maybe, but it is not the IdeaPad U410 Touch. The manufacturer has eliminated a few points of criticism made on the precursor and installs a handy touch feature in the U410, but we cannot really jump for joy yet.
A 14-inch ultrabook is not usually a downright lightweight but we would have appreciated a bit less weight in the laptop bag. Then there is also the outdoor-unsuitable glossy screen alongside its low brightness. The user should therefore avoid places behind windows even indoors.
In return, the SSD cache solution has been pleasantly implemented and can actually speed up the ultrabook in routine use, noticeably when the same applications are used frequently. The pure work speed is agreeable and does not give reason for complaint, which is also due to the i5 ULV processor and the generous working memory. Nevertheless, the user should not perform some processor-heavy applications like video editing or he will have to accept long waiting and processing times. However, this criticism not only applies to the U410 Touch but also is true for almost all ultrabooks.