CNET First Look
Lenovo IdeaPad S12If you're looking for a comfortable Netbook with a 12-inch screen, theLenovo IdeaPad S12 feels comfortable and light--but it's no ultra-lowvoltage laptop.
[ MUSIC ] ^M00:00:03 >> [Scott Stein:] Hi, I'm Scott Stein, senior associate editor with CNET.com, and this is the Lenovo IdeaPad S12 netbook. Now some of you as school begins again will be looking for a low-cost, affordable netbook. These Atom-processor running-often machines that are small, usually about ten-inch screens, and you've seen them advertised everywhere for about three hundred, four hundred dollars. The Lenovo S12 has a 12.1-inch screen, but actually under the hood is a netbook. It actually runs an Atom N270 processor that's the same that runs in their S10-2 netbooks that are currently on sale for about 350 dollars. Now the S12 sells for 499. So, you may ask, why should you upgrade to a twelve-inch netbook? Well, the advantage for the extra price is a keyboard that's full-size. This will feel as large and as comfortable as any laptop keyboard, which is great because a lot of times when you're typing on a netbook, you're using a sort of slightly shrunken down keyboard that can feel like you're living in a doll house. Also the track pad and the buttons are really nice and responsive, and the twelve-inch screen, which has a larger resolution to it, is greater for viewing web pages or Office documents without feeling a little cramped. Now it's important to note that the Lenovo IdeaPad S12 will later this year have a version that's powered with an Nvidia Ion processor that's going to provide a big graphics boost and HD video-playing boost to this laptop. It's going to turn into a really different machine, and we're excited to try it out. But this is not that version. This is a version that just has basic netbook innards: 160-gigabyte hard drive, 1 gig of RAM. Port-wise the S12 doesn't really carry that many surprises. There are three USB 2.0 ports, VGA out -- there is an Express card slot which is nice in case you want to plug in any peripherals like a 3G modem card. That's about it. No optical disc drive and no additional ports, certainly no HDMI. This is a bare-bones netbook, but it's nicely designed, it's pretty sleek, it has a sort of a ThinkPad-type look to it. And there's a six-cell battery that pokes out of the back a little bit, but it gives you some pretty decent battery life. Other than the main keyboard, which has nice, large shift keys and some directional arrows over here, there are a few quick-launch buttons on the top. There's a button that will start a splash top OS that will launch faster than your regular Windows XP. However, it's not that much faster that it's going to pop on every time you press it, but it's nice if you want to quickly browse the web or able to check out a photo or some music. There's also a few dedicated volume buttons over here. There's also a quick access button for Lenovo's one-key data backup support. The IdeaPad S12 comes in black or white, and it comes in this sort of glossy exterior which you can see unfortunately does collect some fingerprints, but comes in this funky polka dot pattern design that's also on the S10-2 line. In short, what you've got with the IdeaPad S12 is a pretty lightweight, pretty bare-bones netbook that's larger. 12-inch screen. If you need that, and if you want a larger keyboard, and you can afford 499, it's hard to do much worse. But be aware, there are CULV low voltage processor-based thin and light laptops around this size that go for about 800 dollars. So if you want to pay a few hundred more and get pretty improved performance, that's another direction you might want to look at. I'm Scott Stein, and this is the Lenovo IdeaPad S12. ^M00:03:26