October 8, 2008

Review: Lenovo IdeaPad S10

It’s mid August and I’m out on the Internet shopping for a netbook as a birthday gift for my mother-in-law. I came across a 15% off deal from Lenovo.com on their IdealPad S10 netbooks. When ordering from their website, I saw that they have different colors. There is the traditional black on black, red on white, blue on white, pink on white and white on white (you get the idea). It wasn’t easy picking a color but it turns out that most of the colors are not out yet. Also, my discount code limited me to the red on white model S10 42312du. So okay, I added it into my shopping chart and checked out. I selected ground shipping and expected the netbook to arrive in two weeks or so, perfect for the birthday.

Two weeks gone by and I had yet to see any packages from Lenovo. I checked online and the shipping date has been changed to 9/16. I had to break the news to my mother-in-law that her gift is still being built and it looks like a month out. From time to time, I would check the shipping status and saw no change. I had also read posts from other people who was also waiting for their IdealPad S10 just like me and some are reporting a two-month wait! The demand for this things has gotten so bad that Lenovo’s site stop taking orders. (They are back for sale as of this review.) I didn’t bother calling to yell at a Lenovo rep as I know these things are selling like hot cakes and there also seems to be a supply chain issue. Also, I believe Lenovo is a big enough company and I trust that they will delivery. As 9/16 came along, I checked the status again. Now the shipping date has changed to 10/3. So I let my mother-in-law know that it’s being pushed back a little more as the anticipation kills me. I started to think, wow, maybe I should had ordered TWO! On 10/6 it arrived. Lenovo was nice enough to upgraded my ground shipping to 3-day UPS – didn’t even have to call and yell at them.


Specification S10 42312DU – List Price $439.00

From checking on Lenovo’s website I see that they have a white on white for $399. As far as I can tell, the model I got that retails for $39 more is just for the paint job.

Intel ATOM Processor N270 Single Core ( 1.60GHz 533MHz 512KB )
Windows XP Home Edition
10.2 WSVGA AntiGlare TFT with integrated camera 1024x600
Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 950
512 MB PC2-5300 DDR2 SDRAM 667MHz
80GB HD 5400 rpm
Broadcom 11b/g Wi-Fi wireless Battery
3 Cell Lithium-Ion
2.64lbs



Packaging/Shipping

I was a bit surprised when got the packaging. The IdealPad S10 was shipped in its original box, the boxes that shelving or storage. The sides of the original box were not taped together so anybody that come in contact with it can pull apart the flap and see (even touch) the inside (the netbook). Lenovo should have shipped it in a brown shipping box. Luckily, netbook didn’t get damaged from the shipping process. Although on one side of the box, I can tell somebody had stuck their fingers into it and pulled on the flap to look inside as it was creased in the middle of the flap. Inside the netbook sits between two foam sleeves and next to it is a box that contains the power adapter and the battery.


Unboxed

At just over 2 ½ lbs this 10 inch wide screen is a beauty. Like the Apple iPhone 3G, the rounded edges give the IdealPad S10 a very thin feel. The built give a solid feel even as I’m walking around the house with it in one hand. There are 2 USB ports, one on the right and the other on the left side. The power adapter port, VGA out and express card is on the left. Kensington Lock, network, microphone, headphone and a 4-in-1 memory card reader on the right.


Power up

The IdealPad S10 booted up into Windows just like any regular laptop. The first thing that came up after booting was Norton Internet Security. Knowing that this kind of software usually have a trail period, I canceled out and uninstalled it. Then I configured the wireless to connect onto my WiFi network. Installed Firefox, spybot, AVG free, and skpye. Since my mother-in-law is only using this netbook to browse the web and video-chat with remote family and friends, I’m already done with my installs. Though out the process, I was surprised on how fast this little guy is. It felt just as quick as my Centrino Sony laptop and my Dell desktop as it rips through the installs one at a time. The LCD can be very bright and has great viewing angels.

Keyboard

A few things are expected when it comes to the netbook sized notebooks. A smalls keys and the lack of an optical drive. Although smaller, the keys on the IdealPad S10 are responsive and gives a good finger feel, but there are two keys that I struggled with as they are shiffted out of place. The number “1” key and the right “shift” key position will take some time to get used to.

Verdict

Since the introduction of ASUS Eee PC, computer manufactures rushed to jumped onto the bandwagon. Although this may be had been trend, Lenovo seems to have put together a winner. Built solid and speedy and priced to sell. The Lenovo IdealPad S10 is $30 below the MSI Wind and if you forgo the color options, it’s only $399 making it one of the least expensive netbook in the market. If you do not mind the 2 ½ hours of battery life from its 3 cell battery then this is the netbook for you! Hopefully down the line, Lenovo will make an extended battery to compete with ASUS’s 5 hour – 6 cell battery.

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