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Sprint selling Lenovo IdeaPad with built-in 4G for $200

The Netbook's heavily subsidized price locks buyers into a standard two-year contract -- and WiMax, a technology that's on its way out.

Screenshot by Lance Whitney/CNET

You can now grab a 3G/4G Lenovo IdeaPad for only $200 courtesy of Sprint. But don't forget that you'll be locked in for two years, that it's a Netbook, and that Sprint's 4G flavor of choice is WiMax.

The IdeaPad S205s will cost $199.99 after a $350 instant price drop and a $100 mail-in rebate through a reward card. Sprint is selling the heavily subsidized Netbook at its various retail stores and online outlet.

Lenovo's IdeaPad offers a dual-core 1.33GHZ processor, 2GB of memory, an 11.6-inch 1366x768 HD LED widescreen display, a 250GB hard drive, Windows 7 Home Premium, five-hour battery life, and other features.

Saving $450 seems like a good deal for such a beefy device. But when you factor in other details, the deal may not quite hold up.

You'll, of course, have to kick in the usual monthly data charges for the two-year life of the contract. That's a given.

But consumers should be wary of locking themselves into a technology that's on its way out. Sprint had long been a proponent of WiMax, but even Sprint now accepts that the 4G battle has been won by LTE. The carrier itself recently announced plans to build its own LTE network starting next year.

So why buy a device -- a Netbook, no less -- with a technology that has little future, especially one you'll be stuck with over the next two years?