Another day, another netbook. Even the basic specs invoke a sense of déjà vu — a 10-inCH screen, an Intel Atom Processor running at 1.6 GHz, a three-cell battery, 1 gigabyte of memory, and a 5,400-rpm hard drive. Does the Lenovo IdeaPad S10 netbook flock to the herd, or does it manage to stand out?
Its a bit of both really. The basic design of the S10 holds no surprises, although it is a far cry from the toy-like appearance of the Asus Eee PC 701 which started it all over a year ago. Much like the Dell Inspiron Mini 9, the S10 looks and feels solid — typically Lenovo, which is a good thing to inherit. And with the semi-glossy ivory finish and the matte-steel finish hinges, the S10 looks very classy and minimalistic, almost making some of the other 10-inch netbooks look big and bulky in comparison. The nice bit — the plastic casing is shiny, but not glossy, and it resists fingerprints. Enough of the highly overrated piano finish, I say. The clean lines almost remind me of a shrunk down MacBook and the blue status lights and colour-coordinated wire mesh cover for the speakers makes the Lenovo looks far more future proof than the already dated looking designs of some of the other netbooks.
Now for most, an area of concern for netbooks tends to be the keyboard and mousepad — if you cant use them easily, youre not going to be using your netbook much, will you? At 85 per cent of full size, the S10s keyboard is more spacious and comfortable than those found on most 9-inch netbooks, but it isnt good enough to topple the MSI Wind from its top spot in this department. If youre a touch typist, you will need time to acclimatise your hands to the smaller keys. Most of us expect to hunt and peck around on netbooks in any case, so your mileage may vary if you expect to do a lot of typing on this. In such a case, may I recommend an external keyboard and mouse – kinda defeats the purpose of the netbook, if you ask me. The touchpad is well-sized for a netbook, and tracks well across the surface. A trackpoint a la the ThinkPads would have been nice though.
The matte 10.2 WSVGA (1024x600 pixel) AntiGlare TFT display on the S10 is nice and vibrant, and you get rich colours and good contrast. The matte finish on the screen glare and reflections, which help, make the screen easier to read under bright sunlight. So is it just a pretty looking netbook? Well, it does pack in a 160 GB, 5400 RPM hard disk, and 1 GB of RAM running at 667 MHz, so theres plenty of power under the hood for most netbook needs and Windows XP chugs along just fine on the S10. From browsing the Internet on Firefox to working on Microsoft Office, transferring files over Bluetooth and listening to music over Wi-Fi, or even watching a movie, the experience was very good. Should you wish to add more power, the S10 is fairly easy to disassemble and upgrade. Plus, it also comes packed to the gills with USB, VGA-out (for projectors and external screens), a multi-card reader, and even adds built-in Bluetooth and an ExpressCard slot for additional connectivity.
Its not without its flaws, though. It runs hot, so Id recommend only short sessions of use on the lap. The three-cell battery lasts a bit under three hours, so keep that in mind if you intend to use it a lot outdoors (or invest in a 6-cell battery!). An additional USB port wouldn't hurt, either.
In the end, its a sleek addition to the burgeoning pile of netbooks already out in the market, and if you care particularly for the Lenovo brand, it can be had for a reasonable price, and its well worth the money.
Processor: 1.6 GHz Intel Atom N270, 512KB L2 Cache
RAM: 1GB DDR2 SDRAM - 667 MHz
Hard Drive: 160GB, 5400 RPM
Screen: 10.2" TFT active matrix, 1024x600 resolution with LED Backlight
Graphics: Intel GMA 945 Express Chipset Technology
Interfaces/ Connectivity: 2 x USB, 1 x ExpressCard/34, Ethernet, Wi-Fi 802.11g/b, 1.3 MP webcam, speakers and mic, VGA-out, Bluetooth, 3in-1 multi card reader
Battery: 3 Cell Lithium-Ion
Operating System: Windows XP SP3 Home Edition with OneKey Rescue System
Dimensions: 9.8" x 7.2" x 1.2"
Weight: 1.17 kg
Price: Rs. 24,490/-
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