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Lenovo IdeaPad S10 review: Lenovo IdeaPad S10

Lenovo IdeaPad S10

Dan Ackerman

Dan Ackerman

Editorial Director / Computers and Gaming

Dan Ackerman leads CNET's coverage of computers and gaming hardware. A New York native and former radio DJ, he's also a regular TV talking head and the author of "The Tetris Effect" (Hachette/PublicAffairs), a non-fiction gaming and business history book that has earned rave reviews from the New York Times, Fortune, LA Review of Books, and many other publications. "Upends the standard Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs/Mark Zuckerberg technology-creation myth... the story shines." -- The New York Times

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4 min read

Those who follow the ever-growing Netbook market have been waiting for one conspicuous straggler to arrive. Lenovo's IdeaPad S10 Netbook was announced way back on August 4, but only started shipping in late September.


Lenovo IdeaPad S10

The Good

Includes ExpressCard slot; decent keyboard.

The Bad

No SSD hard drive options; unimpressive battery life.

The Bottom Line

Lenovo's "me, too!" entry in the Netbook sweepstakes, the IdeaPad S10, gets the price and features right, but falls behind on battery life.

Our review unit has an Intel Atom CPU, 1GB of RAM, and a standard 5,400rpm 160GB hard drive, as opposed to the smaller SSD hard drives found in many other Netbooks (including Dell's recent Inspiron Mini 9). The starting configuration is a bit cheaper, offering 512MB of RAM and an 80GB hard drive for $439, while our upgrades (which are not currently available on Lenovo's Web site), should come in about $550.

Price as reviewed / Starting price $550 / $439
Processor 1.6GHz Intel Atom N270
Memory 1GB, DDR2 SDRAM 533MHz
Hard drive 160GB 5,400rpm
Chipset Mobile Intel 945 Express;
Graphics Intel GMA 950
Operating System Windows XP Home Edition SP3
Dimensions (WDH) 9.9x7.3x1.0 inches
Screen size (diagonal) 10.2 inches
System weight / Weight with AC adapter 2.7/3.4 pounds
Category Netbook

We liked the chunky, squared-off design, and the IdeaPad S10 is a little thinner than Asus' thick 10-inch Eee PC 1000. There's a decent-sized keyboard (for a Netbook), which doesn't feel the need to knock out a row of function keys or mess around too much with the standard layout (we're looking at you, Dell). The touch pad is marginally smaller than the one on Dell's Mini 9, but we liked the slightly textured surface on the S10, which kept our fingers from dragging, as can happen on overly glossy touch pad surfaces.

We were also very pleased to see an ExpressCard/34 slot, which is rare on smaller systems, but very useful for adding after-market extras, such as a mobile broadband modem. Speakers, usually an afterthought on Netbooks, were located under a grill that runs along the front lip of the system. One should never depend on tiny speakers like this, but the volume was at least loud for basic YouTube purposes.

The 10.2-inch wide-screen display has a 1,024x600-pixel native resolution, which is standard for 9- and 10-inch Netbooks, and not too far removed from the 1,280x800-pixel resolution common in most laptops up to 15 inches.

  Lenovo IdeaPad S10 Average for category [Netbook]
Video VGA-out VGA-out
Audio headphone/microphone jacks headphone/microphone jacks
Data 2 USB 2.0, SD card reader 2 USB 2.0, SD card reader
Expansion ExpressCard/34 None
Networking Ethernet, 802.11 b/g Wi-Fi, Bluetooth modem, Ethernet, 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
Optical drive None None

With Intel's now-standard 1.6GHz Atom N270 CPU, specifically designed for low-power Netbooks, the Lenovo S10 is not going to match up with Lenovo's normally high-powered business systems or deliver the same level of performance you'd get from even an inexpensive Core 2 Duo. Still, for Web surfing, e-mail, and working on office documents, which is 90 percent of what most people do on their laptops anyway, the S10 performed about as expected, closely matching the Asus Eee PC 901 and MSI Wind in our iTunes performance test.

With impressive battery scores from Lenovo's mainstream laptops, we had high hopes for the S10's battery, even though it's of the smaller 3-cell variety. Unfortunately, the battery lasted about as long as other 3-cell Netbooks we've tested, such as the MSI Wind, coming in at 2 hours and 13 minutes on our video playback battery drain test. Dell manages to get more than 3 hours out of the Mini 9's 4-cell battery, while Netbooks with 6-cell batteries, including the Asus Eee PC 1000, lasted for more than 5 hours.

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 year of on-site service costs an extra $49, while three years of at-home service is $159.

Apple iTunes encoding test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
Lenovo Ideapad S10

Video playback battery drain test (in minutes)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Lenovo Ideapad S10

Find out more about how we test laptops.

Lenovo Ideapad S10
Windows XP Home Edition SP3; 1.6GHz Intel Atom; 1,024MB DDR2 SDRAM 533MHz; 64MB Mobile Intel 945 Express; 160GB Western Digital 5400rpm.

Dell Inspiron Mini 9
Windows XP Home Edition SP3; 1.6GHz Intel Atom; 1,024MB DDR2 SDRAM 533MHz; 64MB Mobile Intel 945 Express; STEC 16GB SSD.

Acer Aspire One
Linpus Linux Lite v1.0.2.E; 1.6GHz Intel Atom N270; 512MB DDR2 SDRAM 533MHz; Mobile Intel 945GME Express; 8GB solid-state drive.

Asus Eee PC 901
Windows XP Home Edition SP2; 1.6GHz Intel Atom; 1,024MB DDR2 SDRAM 400MHz; 128MB Mobile Intel 945 Express; 12GB Phison solid-state drive.

MSI Wind U100-002LA
Windows XP Home Edition SP3; 1.6GHz Intel Atom; 1,024MB DDR2 SDRAM 400MHz; 128MB Mobile Intel 945 Express; 80GB Western Digital 5400rpm.

Sylvania G Netbook
Linux; 1.2GHz VIA C7-M; 1,024MB DDR2 SDRAM 533MHz; VIA UniChrome Pro IGP; 30GB HDD.


Lenovo IdeaPad S10

Score Breakdown

Design 8Features 9Performance 7Battery 5Support 6
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