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Lenovo Ideapad S10
The slim portable design is unmistakably very 'netbook'. The S10 doesn't have much to distinguish itself from the competition at first look. It's pretty regular-sized at 9.8 x 7.2 x 1.2 inches and is as light as one would expect, at around 2.6 lbs with the 3-cell battery. That said, there are a few things about the Ideapad that are instantly appealing.
First of all, the semi-glossy ivory finish looks very classy and is also fingerprint-resistant, unlike the highly overrated piano finish. As much as I dislike the keyboards used in netbooks, the keyboard in the S10 is close to full-size. Sure, I faced a few teething issues here as well (like pressing the 'S' key instead of 'A' while typing), but this was, comparatively, a lot easier to get used to.
While the keyboard is definitely a piece of good news, the touchpad proved quite a surprise. In a Lenovo laptop, especially one that's fun-sized, I expected (more like hoped) to see a trackpoint instead. The trackpoint could have been easily placed inside the keyboard layout itself, ensuring easier and more accurate navigation than any touchpad. But that's not to say that the touchpad is ineffective. Considering its size, the touchpad proved to be quite adequate. But I really hope Lenovo includes trackpoints in their future netbooks.
The screen is a decently big 10.2 inches (1024 x 600 resolution), which makes it a joy for multimedia functions. A higher resolution would have been great, but since it's a 10-inch job I guess I can't complain.
Instead of a backlit LED screen, Lenovo decided to use an anti-glare TFT display in the S10. However, in all functionality, the screen performed well. Brightness levels go up rather high, to the extent that I was more than satisfied using the S10 at less than maximum screen brightness, even under direct sunlight. The viewing angle too was pretty good — I noticed a slight warmish discoloration only when I got a bit too close to the horizontal extremes.
The screen has a webcam placed on top of it, with the mic located right below the keyboard, which I'm not sure was the best idea. The thing is if I typed anything in between a voice call, my hand would end up blocking the mic or the sound of keystrokes would register in the audio. There aren't a lot of people who type and talk at the same time, but this is a noticeable issue nonetheless.
There's not much that one can say about the speakers on the S10. The sound was exactly as we expected – tinny and sharp. If you want quality, use headphones.
The S10 comes with quite a number of ports, namely:
- 2x USB ports (one on each side)
- 3-in-1 card reader
- ExpressCard slot
- Headphone & Mic jacks
The ExpressCard slot is a great addition; not many netbooks feature it. In fact the S10 is generally quite upgradable. Apart from boosting the RAM and HDD, you can also change or upgrade the Wi-Fi card. The assembler in me can't help but appreciate that.
The internal hard drive is a 160GB 5400 standard 2.5 inch drive. Going with flash memory would have made a difference to the overall weight, but the drive capacity would have been impractically sacrificed.
You don't get much of an option with the operating system – the S10 comes in only one flavor, and that's Windows XP SP3 Home Edition. Throughout my use, I didn't see any hiccup in regular application performance. After installing all the basic applications and codecs, the Windows bootup time stayed close to a very acceptable 35 seconds.
The OneKey Recovery button, a typically Lenovo feature, lets you easily back up your entire partition to an image file and create a bootable recovery disc for system restoration. It's not something you'll use very often, but at least you'll know that someone's watching your back in case the jello hits the fan.
Standard definition videos played just fine at any power setting, while high-definition videos (720p and 1080p) played flawlessly as long as they were encoded in WMV format. I noticed video stuttering with H264 encoded high-definition videos. Trial versions of PopCap games proved to be quite playable on the S10. Of course, in no way can this be a replacement for a desktop machine or even a regular laptop, but you wouldn't find it lacking in performance as a netbook.
As I mentioned earlier, the S10 comes with a 3-cell battery. In our tests the fully-charged battery lasted for exactly 3 hours of intensive net usage through Wi-Fi. If watching a movie, you can expect that to drop a bit. It's pretty much what we were expecting out of a 3-cell battery, so it would be unfair to call it inadequate. Power users should definitely opt for a 6-cell or higher battery at the time of purchase.
Heat generation would not be much of an issue, but with extended use the S10 may get warm enough to make you uncomfortable. Thankfully, the air vent has been placed on the left side of the laptop instead of the bottom, which would have made it awful.
At an excellent budget price of Rs 25,000 (MRP), the S10 is well worth the money you spend on it. It's not perfect, but it performs a lot better (and even has more features) than most of the competition. If you're in the market for a netbook, I'd say you owe it to yourself to give the Ideapad S10 a look.
Lenovo Ideapad S10 Tech Specs
|Dimensions||9.8" x 7.2" x 1.2" |
|Type||Netbook, Budget |
|Processor||Intel Atom N270 / 1.6 GHz, 512KB L2 Cache |
|RAM||1GB DDR2 SDRAM - 667 MHz|
|Hard Drive||160GB, 5400 RPM|
|Graphics||Intel GMA 950 Dynamic Video Memory Technology 3.0 |
|10.2" TFT active matrix, 1024x600 resolution|
|Operating System||Windows XP SP3 Home Edition |
|Price||Rs. 25,000 (MRP)|