Do Netbooks need to be even slimmer now?

Lenovo's newly announced IdeaPad S10-3s makes us wonder if the iPad's gone and changed the expectation for weight class in a portable computing device.

The Lenovo IdeaPad S10-3s: Is thinner better? Lenovo

Quick: Think about your favorite Netbook. Now imagine what could make it better. Did "be even thinner" make the list?

Lenovo's quiet update to the Lenovo IdeaPad S10-3, a product we recently reviewed, is even slimmer than before. Called the S10-3s, it shaves its profile down to 16 millimeters. The funny thing is, we already found the existing S10-3 to be more compact than the Lenovo IdeaPad S10-2, albeit a bit thicker.

True, smaller portable gadgets are generally better (unless you're a Nintendo DSi XL or an iPad). But among all of our heart's desires for Netbooks, longer battery life and faster processors are the real killer apps. Netbooks are pretty small already.

Is something else going on with this announcement? Perhaps slimmer, more-portable computing devices that weigh even less are indeed being requested, even expected. In an era of ever-more-capable smartphones and a new tweener device in the iPad that's thinner and lighter than nearly any Netbook, perhaps Netbook manufacturers are feeling the heat to shrink those devices even further. Despite evidence to the contrary from other manufacturers, who seem to be abandoning smaller-screened Netbooks, maybe "thin" is a more important quality in a computer than "small-screened," although the S10-3s will have both.

Available in mid-April starting at $379, the S10-3s offers the same Atom N450/470 processor and general keyboard arrangement we're otherwise familiar with. Sadly, it looks at first glance like it kept the track pad we weren't wild about.

Read our review of the Lenovo IdeaPad S10-3.

Read the full CNET Review

Apple iPad (16GB)

The Bottom Line: The Apple iPad is the first affordable tablet computer worth owning, but it won't (yet) replace your laptop. / Read full review

Read the full CNET Review

Lenovo IdeaPad S10-3 (black)

The Bottom Line: The Lenovo IdeaPad S10-3 is a marked improvement from its predecessor, the S10-2, and is one of the most compact yet comfortable Netbooks we've seen. However, it costs more than Netbooks with similar features. / Read full review

About the author

Scott Stein is a senior editor covering iOS and laptop reviews, mobile computing, video games, and tech culture. He has previously written for both mainstream and technology enthusiast publications including Wired,, Men's Journal, and Maxim, and regularly appears on TV and radio talking tech trends.



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