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June 14, 2008

New Laptop

Filed under Computers, Gadgets, Reviews


I got a new laptop last week. It is a Lenovo IdeaPad 110. Lenovo was previously IBM's laptop division responsible for ThinkPads.

The main reason I went with this one is how light/small it is and it still has a good keyboard. It weighs less than 2.5 pounds and easily fits in my backpack.

I am writing this from a restaurant. I have been running with the extended battery (comes with a regular and extended standard). I've been here for more than 2 hours and my battery indicator says I can go for another hour. I haven't done any tweaking to conserve power, so I could probably go longer. With the settings I have on now, the computer is very responsive and the screen is nice and bright.

I am using my AT&T Tilt's Bluetooth connection for Internet access.

It has a very unique/engaging look...which is very important around here when you have to do battle with all the Apple-fanboys.

The face recognition (via integrated web cam) login works surprisingly well, as long as the light is decent. At first I thought this would be a gimmick, but I rarely type my password anymore. As soon as I sit in front of my laptop, it logs me in. You also have the option to use your face for Internet passwords, which is very handy.

I got my laptop from J&R. I bought it for $1999, which was $100 more than what you get if you order from Lenovo directly. Currently, you can't configure the laptop. However, the version from J&R has integrated Bluetooth and 3GB of RAM (Lenovo's site is selling 2GB of RAM with no Bluetooth). Bluetooth is critical for me because I expect to use it for my Internet connection and I don't want to deal with add-on cards. The extra RAM is nice, but I don't actually need it for what I'm doing

So far, I love it.

I plan on using it for email, Internet, blogging, and a C# project I've been planning for a while.

Here is a video to get an idea of what it looks like. It definitely draws attention.

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Comments (8)


I have the same setup, an IBM Thinkpad (which got sold to and became Lenovo) with an AT&T Tilt for Internet access and I have never been disappointed. The battery life has been consistently great. The main selling point was the keyboard. I need that tactile feedback when I type; I need keys that pop back up under my fingers with the right degree of return pressure, not ones that I have to hunt and peck with. The Bluetooth is essential. I had never heard of the face recognition before--sounds pretty neat but I would be afraid it would go haywire and not recognize me when I needed it to (I assume there's a typed password option as backup).

The thing is maybe 4 years old now and it's still great. I don't know why I'd upgrade at this point, as it keeps humming along. The only thing I don't like about it is the placement of the speakers (on mine, underneath the front lip of the keyboard) but it's minor and I bought a pair of USB speakers from Logitech for $50 or so that work really well in the rare cases that I think I need them. I invested in a good leather carrying satchel from Lenovo and couldn't be happier.


I wonder if you could print out a large high res picture of your face, and use it to access your laptop.

Here's a blog post about trying to fool the software via photos...in short, it doesn't work.

I wonder if you could enroll a face printout and login with the face printout or your real face?

I was wondering if you raise one eyebrow and lit your face from below, would it log you in as your evil twin?

I wonder how it can tell between a photo and the real David Lenihan. They look so alike, especially to a webcam. My guess is it must be looking for movement... that blog post mentioned something about eye tracking, so maybe it uses that. So now I want to know, will it log you in if you keep completely still? And conversely, can you fool it by showing it a video of yourself?

I assume one of the first things the software looks at are specular highlights to give it a clue as to whether its a flat image or a 3D object.


You could easily make "specular" highlights by putting some clear plastic over the picture's eyes. That guys blog also says he tried a fully glossy photo, which would likely not work because in front of a computer monitor the entire thing is going to be reflections. I wonder if this new image replacement of dave could completely replace dave as a human.

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