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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.