The guts of the Lenovo IdeaPad S12 are virtually identical to the IdeaPad S10 that we reviewed back in 2008—1.6GHz Intel Atom N270 CPU, 1GB DDR2 RAM, 160GB HDD, and integrated Intel GMA950 graphics. The difference is the body. At 11.4 inches wide, this is one of the largest “netbooks” we’ve ever tested. The S12 has a 12.1-inch WXGA screen with a 1280x800 native resolution—far superior to the netbook-standard 1024x600, and much more usable. The glossy screen is impressively bright even at low LED-backlight levels.
The S12’s keyboard features large, comfortable keys and is a joy to type on, although as usual, Lenovo has mixed up where the Ctrl and Fn keys should be. The glossy black patterned lid and matte-black ABS frame make the S12 one of the best-looking and best-constructed netbooks we’ve ever tested, although the battery is a little wobbly and the lid is a fingerprint magnet. Both RAM and hard drive are easily accessible and upgradeable.
Lenovo continues to flesh out its line of Windows 7 powered PCs, this time by adding a handful of IdeaPad laptops and IdeaCentre desktops built around the newly released OS.
On the mobile front, Lenovo unveiled a trio of laptops -- IdeaPad Y550P, U150, and U550 -- with the Y550P probably being the most appealing to power users. Why? Because it's the only one of the bunch to use Intel's Core i7 platform. Like the Y550, the U550 also comes in a 15.6-inch form factor, but drops things down a notch with an Intel Core 2 Duo processor. And the U150 is aimed at the ultra-portable crowd. As such, it measures just 13.5mm thick and weighs a little under 3 pounds.
None of the new desktops sports Intel's Nehalem architecture, but the Lenovo H230 does make a strong pitch to penny pinchers. Starting at $300, Lenovo says consumers will have a range of HDD and DDR3 configurations to choose from. Those looking for a bit more oomph can step up to the K300, which is built around Intel's Core 2 Quad platform and includes an option for RAID. Rounding out the desktop solutions is the B500 all-in-one, which is also built around Intel's Core 2 Quad line.
Lenovo has let it be known that every single ThinkPad laptop and ThinkCentre desktop PC will come with Skype already installed.
"If you're fortunate enough to get your hands on a Lenovo ThinkPad or ThinkCentre for your home or office, be sure to keep an eye out for Skype," said Peter Parkes, Skype's chief blogger.
That's great news for private equity firm Silver Lake Partners, who bought a 65 percent share of the company last month and would like nothing more than to see Skype's market share continue to grow. While terms of the Lenovo deal have not been disclosed, there's a reason why software companies pay tidy sums to have their apps come pre-installed on OEM systems.
As for consumers, you can view it as another piece of bloatware to be nuked after first firing up your new PC, or a handy pre-install of an app you may already use anyway.
Nvidia's Ion platform has gotten off to somewhat of a slow start, but that's starting to change thanks to Acer, Lenovo, and Zotac, all of which have recently launched Ion-based mobos and nettops.
Relative newcomer Zotac (founded in 2006) just launched its Ion-based ITX-F motherboard series for use in nettops. And in a nod to the power of customer feedback, the company's new 'F' series also sports a PCI-E x16 expansion slot.
"Zotac always listens to user requests for features. End users loved our Ion ITX series motherboards, but some requested PCI Express expansion. We listened and thus the Zotac Ion ITX F series was born," said Carsten Berger, marketing director, Zotac International. "Our engineers managed to integrate PCI Express x16 expansion without sacrificing any of the award-winning features either."
Acer, meanwhile, recently released its AspireRevo AR1600-U910H nettop with an Intel Atom 230 processor (1.6GHz) and Nvidia Ion LE graphics, and it streets for under $200.
Finally, Lenovo has jumped on the Ion bandwagon with the launch of its IdeaCentre Q110 nettop here in the States. Priced twice as much as Acer's cut-down model, Lenovo's version comes with the same Aton N230 processor, but uses the regular Nvida Ion graphics chip.
If this were the Old West, Lenovo would be the gritty cowboy boasting the fastest draw in town. Challengers, both new and old, would step up and challenge the gunslinger to a shoot out, and at some point, Lenovo would likely fall.
In the modern era, Lenovo doesn't have to worry about catching a bullet between its eyes, but it will have to back up its claim of having the fastest Windows 7 boot-up and shutdown times. According to Lenovo, its ThinkPad notebooks and ThinkCentre desktop PCs for businesses load Windows 7 up to 56 percent faster compared to booting XP or Vista.
The company also said its IdeaPad and IdeaCentre consumer PCs certified for "Windows 7 Lenovo Enhanced Experience" will load 33 percent faster and shutdown 50 percent faster than hardware that's not certified, even if using identical components. How is this possible? Through BIOS tweaks, Windows 7optimizations, special onboard hardware drives, and a rewritten power manager, Lenovo says.
Although, earlier this year, the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology mandated that the vaguely named “Green Dam Youth Escort” web filtering software be bundled with all new PCs, including the imported ones, it later postponed the July 1 deadline before eventually scrapping its edict last month.
However, it is still mandatory for those administrating public use computers to have Green Dam Youth Escort installed on such machines. But one unnamed Chinese high school is said to have flouted the government’s order by deleting the software from its computers. It is not often that China offers obeisance to outside pressure.
While netbooks are getting all the attention these days, Lenovo thinks the desktop can get a piece of that small-form-factor low cost action. They released the C100 all-in-one widescreen desktop computer starting at $399.
The Lenovo C100 features an 18.5in (16:9) flat-panel driven by the Intel GMA 950 chipset. They packed in 160GB hard drive and 1GB of RAM all powered by the Intel Atom 330 dual-core processor. It also rocks four USB ports, integrated DVD burner, webcam, speakers and a microphone crammed into a 2-inch deep profile, rivaling some LCD monitors.
It stands to be an impressive computer product at a seriously low price point. Dion Weisler, vice president of Business Operations at Lenovo brags it’s “Packed with cool experiences and available at a very affordable price, the C100 expands Lenovo’s consumer offering for the fast growing all-in-one market segment.”
Obviously not for the hardcore gaming enthusiast, but these machines have their purpose. Would you buy one?
When we last visited the Lenovo Thinkpad T400s, we gave it a relatively good score based on its sleek, black matte chassis, its comfortable ergonomic keyboard and its reliable on-the-go specifications, which included a 128GB SSD. Now, the T400s has had a minor overhaul in hardware (including a touchscreen LCD) and software and we were lucky enough to get some hands-on playtime with the still-in-beta SimpleTap multi-touch software.
It took some time for Lenovo to jump on the netbook bandwagon, but now that it has, the OEM is next looking to dive into the nettop sector. As such, the company announced plans to release a trio of new models designed for home users.
First up is the Lenovo IdeaCenter D400 home server. The cubish rig boasts support for up 8TB of storage with the ability to mix and match different brands and capacities of hard drives. According to Lenovo, they can also be added or removed while the D400 remains running. It will come with five USB 2.0 ports, including one that is front-mounted, and an eSATA port.
Next up are the Q100 and Q110. Both PCs measure just 0.7 inches thick, which according to Lenovo makes them the thinnest nettops yet. The Q100 comes with an Atom N230 processor, 1GB of RAM, a 160GB hard drive, and Windows XP, while the Q110 ups the ante with Nvidia's Ion platform, 2GB or RAM, a 250GB hard drive, and Windows Vista.
Look for the D400, Q110, and Q100 to all start shipping in September for $$500, $350, and $250 respectively.
If you’ve got a Lenovo laptop with a battery that’s providing sub-par performance, you just might be eligible for a free replacement.
The batteries in question don’t present any fire or safety hazard, so there’s no reason to worry about your health – the folks at Lenovo are simply looking to make nice. “Irreparable damage” and “battery cannot be charged” error messages from the Power Manager or Message Center are the main indicators that you have a bad battery.
If you’re not sure, but you have a ThinkPad R60, R61, T60 or T61 with battery FRU part numbers 42T4546, 42T4566 or 92P1141, and/or a model X60 or X61, with battery part numbers 42T4550, 42T4567, 42T4568, 92P1169, 92P1173, 93P5028 or 93P5030, it’s suggested that you should run the Battery Diagnostic Tool (available here), to find out if you need to swap it out