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Lenovo IdeaPad S10-2 review: Lenovo IdeaPad S10-2

Lenovo IdeaPad S10-2

Scott Stein Editor at Large
I started with CNET reviewing laptops in 2009. Now I explore wearable tech, VR/AR, tablets, gaming and future/emerging trends in our changing world. Other obsessions include magic, immersive theater, puzzles, board games, cooking, improv and the New York Jets. My background includes an MFA in theater which I apply to thinking about immersive experiences of the future.
Expertise VR and AR, gaming, metaverse technologies, wearable tech, tablets Credentials
  • Nearly 20 years writing about tech, and over a decade reviewing wearable tech, VR, and AR products and apps
Scott Stein
5 min read

Lenovo's IdeaPad S10 Netbook was one of the most popular budget mininotebooks for good reasons: its business-friendly tools, ExpressCard slot, and reasonable price all made it a great option for consumers or corporate users.


Lenovo IdeaPad S10-2

The Good

Slimmer design, lighter chassis, and lower price than previous model.

The Bad

Ugly, protruding battery pack; no ExpressCard slot.

The Bottom Line

Lenovo's popular IdeaPad S10 Netbook has been slimmed down and its price reduced, making it a better Netbook--as long as you can live without ExpressCard.

When we last visited the S10 in May, the addition of a six-cell battery fixed our gripe about the short battery life of the previous version. Now, another revision is available that effectively replaces the S10--the S10-2. This new model has some physical changes--most good, a couple bad--but keeps the same general components at a reduced price. It's a better deal than previous models, but you'll have to live without one key feature.

As far as the main body goes, the S10-2 is thin: so thin, in fact, that we'd be hard-pressed to want anything thinner. However, while the Netbook closes up into a neat package, the six-cell battery protrudes out the back and hangs off the rear hinge like a laptop riser that can't be put away. Maybe it's the Netbook's new thinness, but the dangling battery seems more intrusive here. We'd love to see that battery folded into the chassis, somehow, in future versions--it's just plain unsightly and also gets in the way of packing the Netbook flat into sleeves or cases. It does, however, make for a nice stand on a desk.

With a matte-black interior and keyboard, a glossy 10.2-inch screen, and a smudge-collecting glossy black exterior with a black-on-black polka-dot pattern, the design feels a bit lost between business and consumer. It also looks a little more like an Acer or Asus than a "pro model" Netbook, if we can use such a term.

The keyboard is comfortably responsive and has good travel, but the feel is still shrunken-down from a full-size keyboard experience. The multitouch Synaptics trackpad is adequate and has average buttons beneath it, but getting finger-scrolling to work is a frustrating exercise. While the keyboard has been improved with full-size shift keys and a larger, wider set of tapered keys, it still doesn't approach the comfort of a ThinkPad keyboard, or even the HP Mini 110's fuller-size keys.

A quick-start button above the keyboard launches a Splashtop Linux-based instant-on OS if pressed when the power's off. The functionally limited Web browser, music player, photo viewer, Flash-based game player, and Skype/chat options are decent, but still take time to boot up (although less than booting XP). We'd prefer to put XP in standby and just resume when needed. When not running Splashtop, the QS button can be customized as a hot key to launch apps within Windows XP.

The 10.2-inch wide-screen display has a 1,024x600-pixel native resolution, which is standard for 10-inch Netbooks. The new glossy screen looks stylish, but attracts light much more than the S10's. Video, including 720p clips, look clean and bright, though. Stereo speakers are positioned on the bottom of the S10-2, projecting sound but sounding muffled because of their positioning. They'll suffice for basic listening, but we recommend headphones.

One thing that made the S10 a standout was the inclusion of an ExpressCard/34 slot. It's sadly omitted from the S10-2's connection options. Maybe space had to be made to account for the thinner size, but taking away extra connectivity is never a good thing. Three USB 2.0 ports are your only options for connectivity without it. This means it'll be harder to connect a 3G modem, for instance. The rest of the S10-2 port options are Netbook standard, though nothing to write home about. We hope in the future Lenovo turns things around by adding connectivity instead of taking it away.

The Lenovo S10-2's performance was average on our benchmark tests, mainly because it has the same N270 Atom that nearly all Netbooks do. Some processors, such as the AMD Via, perform faster, but the S10-2 doesn't underperform for its category. For e-mail, chatting, office documents, and basic media playback, the S10-2 works perfectly well. Facial-recognition security software and OneKey data backup add some business-friendly applications to the package.

Juice box
Lenovo S10-2 Average watts per hour
Off (60 percent) 0.47
Sleep (10 percent) 0.58
Idle (25 percent) 6.74
Load (5 percent) 15.64
Raw kWh 24.59
Annual energy cost $2.79

Compared to the IdeaPad S10's six-cell battery, which lasted 4 hours and 1 minute on our video playback test, the S10-2 gets 4 hours and 17 minutes on the same number of cells. While that's a very good battery life (actual battery life will be even longer with basic Netbook use), laptops like the Asus Eee PC 1005HA outperform it by a considerable margin (and only cost $40 more).

Lenovo includes an industry-standard one-year parts-and-labor mail-in warranty with the system. A variety of extension options are available and upgrading to a second year of mail-in service costs an extra $49, while three total years of service is $129.

Multimedia multitasking test
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)

Jalbum photo conversion test
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)

Apple iTunes encoding test
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
Acer Aspire One AOD250

Video playback battery drain test (in minutes)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)

System configurations:
Lenovo Ideapad S10-2
Windows XP Home Edition SP3; 1.6GHz Intel Atom N270; 1024MB DDR2 SDRAM 667MHz; 128MB (Shared) Mobile Intel GMA 950; 160GB Western Digital 5400rpm

Asus Eee PC 1005HA
Windows XP Home Edition SP3; 1.66GHz Intel Atom N280; 1024MB DDR2 SDRAM 533MHz; 224MB (Shared) Mobile Intel GMA 950; 160GB Hitachi 5400rpm

Acer Aspire One AOD250
Windows XP Home Edition SP3; 1.6GHz Intel Atom N270; 1024MB DDR2 SDRAM 533MHz; 224MB (Shared) Mobile Intel GMA 950; 160GB Seagate 5400rpm

HP Mini 110
Windows XP Home Edition SP3; 1.6GHz Intel Atom N270; 1024MB DDR2 SDRAM 533MHz; 128MB (Shared) Mobile Intel GMA 950; 160GB Seagate 5400rpm

Toshiba Mini NB205
Windows XP Home Edition SP3; 1.6GHz Intel Atom N270; 1024MB DDR2 SDRAM 800MHz; 128MB (Shared) Mobile Intel GMA 950; 160GB Toshiba 5400rpm

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Lenovo IdeaPad S10-2

Score Breakdown

Design 6Features 6Performance 7Battery 7Support 7