Thursday, November 27, 2008

Review: Lenovo S10 — The Best Netbook We've Seen All Year

Never one to let a trend pass it by — even a year or so after it's hit prime time — Lenovo is finally getting into the low-cost netbook game with the IdeaPad S10.

And again Lenovo proves that by sitting back and learning from the mistakes of others it can put together a solid, classic product that ranks among the best in its class.

There are no huge surprises to be found in the IdeaPad S10, but the machine impresses at every turn. It's pint-sized, light (2.7 pounds), and bereft of big power, featuring the now-standard 1.6-GHz Atom CPU and 1 GB of RAM. But dig deeper and you'll find a series of impressive upgrades over the competition: The most visible is a 10.2-inch LCD vs. the 8.9-inch screen that's become the norm on mini-notes. Another modest upgrade puts a 160-GB hard drive at your disposal, the largest among all netbooks we've seen. And you get Windows XP, not yet another Linux of the Month flavor that you'll have to learn from scratch (and thankfully not Vista, which runs like molasses on these machines). Performance isn't great, but compared to the category, it's at the top. At the very least, it's one of the few machines that were able to actually complete our benchmark routine.

Others (like HP) have tried to take netbooks upmarket, ending up with machines that cost $700 and up. Lenovo's last big surprise in store for you is its price: A mere $469, which is on par with many 8.9-inch netbooks and far, far cheaper than most 10.2-inch models and even a little cheaper than Asus's spec-comparable Eee PC 1000H.

We'll take two, thanks! —Christopher Null

WIRED Amazing combination of price and performance. Sophisticated, decidedly non-toy-like styling. Touch-typing is as easy as it gets in this category.
TIRED White laptop, white power brick, black power cable: Epic design fail! Some trouble getting USB hard drives recognized. Sub-two-hour battery life and slightly dim screen are letdowns on an otherwise near-perfect device.

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