Mobile working needs another gadget which is handy and suitable enough to carry our job away from office. The gadget that I would like to share my experience with is Lenovo IdeaPad S10. Knowing this gadget is not the latest models from Lenovo and we had a plan to upgrade to a latest netbook, and our choice of netbook is still from Lenovo’s family. Let’s have a sharing experience from the user’s and why this model and upcoming upgrade will benefit your mobile working.
Build and Design.
The design of the IdeaPad S10 is unsurprisingly similar to other netbooks we've seen, but Lenovo has managed to include a few pleasant surprises. The exterior is covered in white "pearl-like" plastics with a slight glossy finish. The interior keyboard and palmrest surfaces are covered with matte white plastics with reasonable durability and only a minor bit of flex around the palmrests when you press firmly on those surfaces.
What first appears to be a giant beefy hinge for the 10-inch display is actually the 3-cell battery with a small hinge on either side of the tiny laptop. Overall, the look is quite nice, but the white plastics do give this netbook a slightly "toy like" appearance. That is unfortunate since, as we are about to mention, the S10 is a remarkably capable ultraportable laptop.
The build quality of the IdeaPad S10 is extremely solid for a subnotebook of this size and weight. The construction is mostly plastic but all of the plastics feel strong enough to handle being tossed around inside a book bag.
In terms of upgradeability, the S10 is much easier to upgrade than many netbooks currently on the market. Some of the netbooks we've seen to date require complex disassembly in order for you to get to the storage drive, system RAM, or wireless cards. Even worse, some other netbooks have slots for upgrades but no connections on the motherboard so it is impossible to upgrade them. This is not the case with the S10.
Most low-priced, full-size notebooks currently on the market feature poorly built keyboards that show significant flex/bounce when typing pressure is applied. Thankfully, most netbooks have remarkably firm keyboards due to the fact that the chassis is so small there isn't much empty space inside the notebook for the keyboard to flex or bounce
The keyboard on the IdeaPad S10 is less cramped than what we've seen on most 7-inch and 8.9-inch netbooks, but the S10 keyboard is still extremely compact. Most touch typists will probably need some time to figure out proper finger placement on the keyboard in order to avoid making typos. Again, this is nothing new for netbooks, which usually require you to use a "hunt and peck" style of typing rather than traditional touch typing methods. Bottom line, this keyboard isn't designed to be used as a primary/main computer. For users who are considering the S10 as their "main computer" in their home or office, a full-size external keyboard and external mouse are recommended.
The touchpad design, while smaller than a traditional laptop touchpad, is surprisingly nice for a budget netbook. The touchpad in our review unit was a Synaptics touchpad with excellent sensitivity, responsiveness, and smooth tracking. The touchpad buttons are located in the correct position and have nice, deep, well-cushioned presses with a satisfying "click" when pressed. A nice addition to the touchpad was support for Synaptics multi-touch gestures which allow you to do things such as zoom in or zoom out simply by "pinching" or "spreading" the touchpad with your fingertips.
The matte 10.2" WSVGA (1024x600) AntiGlare TFT display on the S10 is nice and vibrant with rich colors and good contrast. The white levels are very clear and the matte surface prevents glare and reflections which help make the screen easier to read outdoors under bright sunlight.
Horizontal viewing angles are good, so you and a friend won't have trouble watching a movie on the 8.9-inch screen at the same time. Vertical viewing angles are acceptable, but colors do tend to become darker and slightly inverted when viewed from below.
Port selection was pretty impressive on the S10 compared to other netbooks, with the standout features being an ExpressCard slot for additional expansion and built-in Bluetooth for using an external mouse and keyboard without needing to sacrifice one or more of the two USB ports.
In fact, if there isn't much to complain about here other than the fact that the S10 has only two USB ports. However, if we had to choose between a third USB port or an ExpressCard slot and Bluetooth we will gladly sacrifice the third USB port.
Performance and Benchmarks
This Intel Atom based netbook won't be breaking any speed records, but it performed more than adequately for normal activities. Windows startup took less than 30 seconds and internet browsing, word processing, and even photo editing tasks were downright "snappy." While the 3D graphics benchmark numbers aren't particularly impressive, it's important to keep in mind that netbooks are not designed for playing computer games. The S10 and similar netbooks are mobile internet portals and productivity tools for getting some quick work done without needing to carry a giant laptop.
Speakers and Audio
The speakers on the IdeaPad S10 are reasonably impressive for a budget netbook. While the two tiny stereo speakers located on the front edge of the netbook produce good volume levels with minimal distortion and acceptable range, it's worth mentioning the somewhat odd placement.
Since the speakers are located on the front edge of the notebook the sound isn't being directed up and toward the user when the S10 is used as a laptop. In fact, our staff usually refers to laptop speakers with this type of placement as "crotch speakers" because the speakers are directing sound to your waist rather than your ears. Given the compact design of the S10 there weren't many other places for the speakers to go, but we'd like to see a different speaker location on their next model.
Heat and Noise
The IdeaPad S10 remained on par with the competition in this regard. Even under normal conditions such as surfing the web, typing documents, or downloading email attachments, exterior temperatures peaked after more than 25 minutes of use. Granted, this level of heat isn't horrible by any means, but it might be a little uncomfortable on your lap after an hour.
The hottest spot on this netbook was the area around the hard drive and RAM.
In terms of noise, our review unit of the S10 remained quiet during most of the testing period ... except during graphics benchmarks. When the relatively weak integrated graphics were stressed during our review the internal cooling fan kicked into high gear. The fan noise wasn't horrible by any means, but it would be loud enough to get a teacher's attention in a quiet classroom. Again, this only happened when stressing the S10's graphics, so it shouldn't be an issue for casual web browsing.
Under normal use, backlight at 100 percent and using wireless for web browsing and watching several streaming videos at 75 percent volume, the S10 managed to deliver three hours and 43 minutes of battery life. In any case, lowering the screen brightness and turning off the wireless card should provide enough battery life for prolonged use with the 3-cell battery.
Is the Lenovo IdeaPad S10 the best netbook currently on the market and the best value for your money? Well, the answer isn't simple, particularly considering the way that new netbooks seem to arrive every week. The S10 does several things right that we wish more manufacturers did with their netbooks.
First, Lenovo was smart enough to realize and ExpressCard slot is important if you want to make a netbook useful. The ExpressCard slot gives you the option of adding more USB ports, Firewire, eSATA, or any number of other ports to the S10. More importantly, the ExpressCard slot makes it easy to add a broadband modem to the S10 so that you can stay connected to the internet anywhere with cell phone reception.
Second, the S10 has built-in Bluetooth. Frankly, we're amazed that every netbook doesn't come with built-in Bluetooth since it allows you to connect devices to the netbook without using one of the USB ports.
Last, but certainly not least the S10 combines the surprisingly capable Intel Atom processor with a standard hard drive. While budget SSDs are nice, most consumers can't get over the limited storage capacity of SSDs and that is why hard drives still have a place in netbooks.
On the other hand, the S10 still suffers from some of the same limitations as other netbooks: relatively high temperatures, small battery, and a cramped screen and keyboard.
Lenovo S10’s specifications:
- 1.6GHz N270 Intel Atom Processor
- 1GB PC2-5300 DDR2 SDRAM 667MHz
- Windows XP Home Edition (SP3)
- 10.2" WSVGA AntiGlare TFT with integrated camera 1024x600
- 160GB 5400rpm hard drive
- Intel GMA 950 Integrated Graphics
- Broadcom 11b/g Wi-Fi wireless and Bluetooth
- 4-in-1 Media card reader and ExpressCard slot
- 3-Cell Li-ion battery
- Size: 9.8" x 7.2" x 1.2" (including feet)
- Weight: 2.64 lbs (with 3-cell battery)
Ø Small and light
Ø Easy to use
Ø Very well built and durable
Ø Easy to upgrade RAM, and hard drive
Ø Comes with Bluetooth
Ø ExpressCard slot offers extra expansion options
Ø Gets a little hot
Ø White plastics give this serious computer a "toy-like" appearance
Ø Only two USB ports
Ø 3-cell battery is nice, 6-cell battery would be better