LAS VEGAS--The netbook's not quite dead yet. The Lenovo IdeaPad S200 features a next-gen Intel Atom processor, and it should offer a significantly better experience than previous-generation 10-inch Atom netbooks.
The rise of low-cost 11-inch ultraportable laptops began last year with a wave of affordable computers powered by AMD E-350 APUs. The colorful IdeaPad S200 series does include an AMD-powered version (the S206), but it's the Atom version that bears the most interest for us.
We haven't seen any laptops using the Atom in quite some time, but we imagine that the next-gen Atom N2800 processor should offer an experience more akin to our pleasant experience with the E-350. At least, we hope so: our expectations for quick startup and video playback and graphics on mobile devices are higher than ever.
The S200 and S206 models each weigh 2.8 pounds and are each .81 inch thick. The Atom-based IdeaPad S200 can be equipped with either a 500GB, 7,200rpm hard drive or a 32GB solid-state drive (we're not sure who would pick 32GB of SSD storage). The AMD-based S206--which, according to Lenovo's press release, features up to an AMD C60 processor--only has the hard-drive option.
Other features of note include a USB 3.0 port, USB 2.0, 2GB of RAM, HDMI, and an SD card reader. Bluetooth and WiMax are optional. The stereo speakers are Dolby Home Theater-optimized.
One warning bell: Lenovo claims "over 4 hours" of battery life. Even if that claim isn't inflated, 4 hours hardly meets expectations for a modern ultraportable.
Much like the Netbooks of yesteryear, the IdeaPad S200 series comes in a variety of candy colors. Click the slideshow above to see the spectrum up close. The S200 series will be available in June, starting at $349.