For the most part, the Lenovo IdeaPad S10 is your standard netbook. It’s small, lightweight, and sturdy and runs on Intel’s Atom platform. We like that our review unit shipped with a 160GB 5,400rpm hard drive—as opposed to the small budget SSDs found in some netbooks. We also like the S10’s sturdy hinge, bright matte screen, and decent-size keyboard. It’s not the roomiest keyboard we’ve ever seen on a netbook; it’s bigger than the Asus Eee 901’s cramped quarters, but slightly smaller than those found on the MSI Wind or Acer Aspire One.
Because of the S10’s small chassis, we found that our palms hung off the end of the machine, making it uncomfortable to use for long periods of time—like when writing this review. And like the MSI Wind, the Function and Control keys on the S10 are reversed, which we hate.
We’re also not thrilled by Lenovo’s decision to ship this machine with just two USB ports instead of three, the standard on nearly every other netbook. Worse, the ports are on opposite sides of the case, so some external drives that require multiple connectors, like our OWC Mercury OnTheGo, are left cold.
The S10 offers some small surprises in terms of performance. We ran our standard netbook suite (described in full in our December 2008 netbook roundup feature) and found the Lenovo S10’s Photoshop scores best in class, beating the MSI Wind and Acer Aspire One by nearly half a minute, and coming in at less than half the time of the Asus Eee 901’s abysmal run.
Like the other netbooks, the S10 wouldn’t play Quake Live, but it had no problems displaying H.264-encoded video. In our battery-rundown test, the S10 performed as well as the other three-cell netbooks we’ve tested, shutting down at just a hair under two hours.
The S10 shows a lot of promise, and its style and performance are nothing to sneeze at. At $470, it’s a serious challenger to the $500 Wind and even boasts twice the hard disk space. But two USB ports are one too few. And we still maintain that the $350 Acer Aspire One offers the best price/performance ratio in netbooks today.
Lenovo IdeaPad S10
Nice bright matte screen, roomy hard drive, decent looks.
Only two USB ports, and they’re on opposite sides of the machine.