GCN LAB REVIEW: NETBOOKS

IdeaPad ideal netbook for budget conscious

Lenovo IdeaPad S10-2's low cost and light weight make it a good value for those watching their wallets

Netbooks in this review

Netbooks prove worthy of a second look
The Lab tests six netbook models and finds they have outgrown their low-grade reputation.

Dell Latitude on the go
The Dell Latitude 2100 offers extra portability options at a smart price for students.

Fujitsu designed to shine
Fujitsu M2010's bright screen and impressively loud speakers make it a good choice for multimedia use.

HP Mini but mighty
HP Mini 5101's enhanced communications features make it ideal for wireless or LAN networking.

IdeaPad ideal for budget conscious
Lenovo IdeaPad S10-2's low cost and light weight make it a good value for those watching their wallets.

Sony Vaio netbook a multimedia power
The Sony Vaio W-series is a bit pricey at $500, but it has a lot of extra features and would do well for a user who deals with multimedia on a variety of devices with different types of storage.

Toshiba's Mini is the class of the netbook field
The Toshiba Mini NB205 N210 delivered the best performance at the lowest price, and easily won the Reviewer’s Choice for this roundup.

The Lenovo IdeaPad S10-2 is a good general-use netbook that comes at a great price. At 10.25 inches by 7.75 inches by 1.75 inches, it is one of the smaller units we reviewed. And at 2 pounds, 12 ounces, it is the lightest in the roundup.

We found the IdeaPad’s keyboard layout to be comfortable, using nearly all of the unit’s width. However, the touchpad was one of the smallest in the review, making it sometimes difficult to get the cursor to go across the screen in one stroke. However, the interface as a whole was easy enough to work with.

One unique feature of most Lenovo laptops and netbooks is the QuickStart button, which is marked QS and situated above the keyboard. By pressing it, you can skip the normal bootup and go to the Lenovo QuickStart Menu — a collection of common tasks, such as working with photos or Web browsing, all laid out on a dashboard that is vaguely reminiscent of Mac OS X. Exiting QuickStart begins the regular Windows XP bootup.

We’re not certain how useful this would be in a typical office setting, but for a user who performs the same tasks every day, it might be just the thing.

The Lenovo’s 160G hard drive should be sufficient to hold a typical user’s files. Although its display screen was reasonably bright, it was more prone to glare than most of the others in the review.

Although the IdeaPad had an Intel Atom N270 processor, which has a slightly slower clock speed than the N280 found in most of the others, it pulled out a score of 252.1 in our performance benchmarks. This puts it squarely in the middle of a mostly tight grouping.

Unfortunately, it clocked only 2 hours, 35 minutes in our unforgiving battery life test, making it the first to fall. Although this should be enough time to perform most remote tasks, there were other netbooks in this review that lasted significantly longer.

Lenovo has set the price for the IdeaPad S10-2 at $364 as configured for our review. That is a good price for what you get. This netbook would do well in an environment where money is an issue and every ounce of weight matters.

Pros: Lightest in review, good performance.
Cons: Screen prone to glare, small touchpad.
Performance: A-
Battery life: B-
Ergonomics: B
Portability: A-
Features: B
Value: A
Price: $364

Lenovo, 866-968-4465, www.lenovo.com

About the Author

Greg Crowe is a former GCN staff writer who covered mobile technology.

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