Review: Lenovo IdeaPad S10 takes on Aspire One and Eee PC

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Review: Lenovo IdeaPad S10 takes on Aspire One and Eee PC

A good netbook with lots of storage, but battery life keeps it from being great

If the Lenovo IdeaPad S10 had come along 6 months ago, we probably would have crowned it the best little netbook around. But after having seen the likes of the Eee PC 1000H and the HP Mini 1001TU, the Lenovo comes off looking a little second-best.

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Lenovo's S10: A vision in white, and largely smudge free

Take, for example, the connections -- the latest Eee models come with 3 USB ports, while the S10 has just two. Although it includes an expresscard slot, it has no Bluetooth. The trackpad is tiny compared to the HP Mini 1001TU, and its white blocky design is nowhere near as attractive as the Aspire One or HP Mini -- although it is reminiscent of the lightweight, but considerably more expensive, NEC S9100.

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Only two USB ports, and no Bluetooth, but there is expresscard

The big plus for the S10 is the hard drive -- at 160GB, that puts it at the top of the netbook pile for storage. Only the Aspire One offers as much hard disk space. Otherwise, the specs are as expected: 10.2in 1024x600 screen, 1GB RAM, 1.6GHz Atom processor. It’s built solidly and can probably withstand hefty knocks and bumps with ease.

Sadly, the battery life is the big drawback for the Lenovo. We should qualify up front, however, that our battery testing had a few hiccups where the S10 was concerned: we were unable to change the power management settings, meaning that in order to run our light use test, we had to touch the trackpad every five minutes to ensure that the machine didn't sleep.

This may have shortened the battery life -- the S10 earned a paltry 2hrs 19mins in our light use test -- but for the heavy use test we were able to run it without any tweaking and still only recorded 1hr 49mins. Those results are the poorest we've seen for a netbook.

Despite our misgivings over battery life, the S10 performs as well as any other netbook, and its ease of use is superior to smaller Eee PCs -- lifting it into the same kind of usability as the Wind or the Aspire One.

The keyboard is spacious and responsive, and although the trackpad is far smaller than we’d like on a 10in netbook, it’s serviceable and feels natural to use.

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Top marks. We've seen some poor Netbook keyboards in our time, and this is not one of them

Conveniently, there’s a trackpad on/off switch above the trackpad in deference to the fact that most people will prefer a mouse – a nice touch we’ve seen on only two netbooks to date.

Overall, though, it's a product that's just not as competitive as it needs to be against the range of current netbook.

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