Hands-On with the Lenovo IdeaPad S10-2

ideapads10-2leadNotching 3.5 stars, Lenovo’s original IdeaPad S10 was a solid netbook but it had its drawbacks, including a cramped keyboard and a standard three-cell battery. Lenovo wasn’t ashamed to admit its shortcomings and fixed both of those main issues in its new IdeaPad S10-2.  For $349.99 the newest netbook on the block looks to make the competition shudder. We had some time to play around with the S10-2 a few weeks ago and came away impressed; check out our impressions and video of the system in action below. The S10-2 differs most from its predecessor in looks. It has a rounder look and, according to the company, is .4 pounds lighter and .1 inches thinner. Instead of the matte lid of the original, it has a glossy cover (available in black, white, pink and gray) with adorned with a repeating pattern that looks strikingly similar to Target’s Bullseye. Surrounding the system are 3 USB ports (the first only had two), a 4-in-1 card reader, VGA and a head and mic jack. Lenovo nixed the Expresscard/34 slot of the original S10. The real difference also comes in ergonomics. Lenovo has increased the size of the keyboard deck. Not only is the pitch of the keys wider but the right Shift key has been enlarged and placed below the Enter key (the original had a shrunken Shift key that was to the right of the up arrow). We found the keyboard to be firm and void of any flex. Not only should typing be easier on the new netbook, but so should navigating the desktop with the touchpad. The multi-touch trackpad has been expanded and there are dedicated right and left mouse buttons. ideapads10-2c The 10.1-inch display is now glossy and has a 1024×600 resolution (as we noted in our video a higher resolution screen may become available at a later date). Along the top of the bezel, a 1.3 megapixel webcam will allow for video calling but also using Lenovo’s VeriFace software to log into the system with just your mug. We expect similar performance to the first IdeaPad S10 with the S10-2 considering the 1.6GHz Intel Atom N270 processor, 1GB of RAM and 160GB hard drive have gone untouched. All versions of the S10-2 will come standard with a six-cell battery which should provide over four hours of runtime. Lenovo improved upon its already solid netbook with its s10-2, but also dropped the price to be in line with many other netbooks on the market. The $349.99 netbook is exactly what any second generation product should be – remarkably improved and even more affordable. Stay tuned for our full review. [flq:bc76449e88004e5f9d757f68c9d522f3]

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  1. Ray Says:

    As one of those proverbial early adaptors of the original S10, I have mixed feelings about v2. On the one hand I envy the new keyboard, trackpad, and built-in 3G (ideal in the Philippines because network carriers here sell USB-based 3G adaptors with a plan, so now all one needs is the SIM); but I’ve grown attached to the idiosyncracies of my unit and rue the loss of the Express/34 slot even though I’ve never used it. If Lenovo Philippines offers another contest to win an S10-2 I’d be the first to join.

  2. Strudel Says:

    I’ve also owned the original S10 pretty much when it became available and I agree with Ray’s assessment of the S10-2.

    One of the reasons why I went with the original S10 was because it didn’t have an annoying glossy lid and glossy screen like so many other netbooks. While the overall redesign is still decent, it’s sad to see Lenovo joining the shiny/glossy craze that’s been taking over the notebook scene lately.

  3. Aezok Says:

    I’m so happy I bought my S10. This newer model is unimpressive, the new design is extremely ugly! How did they go from the original to this? I mean sure, I know, looks aren’t everything… but I mean other than the looks this thing hasn’t improved at all. They keyboard layout looks way to cramped now. However, I can see why they took that road as many people need the right shift key. The 720p display is the only good upgrade I can see and should of been the default resolution for netbooks to begin with. Am I the only one to really HATE this newer model?

    ps. Windows 7 RC runs amazing on the original S10. Everything works from a fresh install.

  4. James Says:

    A nice upgrade (smaller, lighter, better keyboard, plus 3G). But Lenovo should have gone with the S10’s matte screen, rather than the S10e’s glossy screen.

  5. vmarks Says:

    Not good enough. The keys need to extend all the way to the edge, not be surrounded by top-case-frame. They have the space available and don’t use it.

    Extend keys all the way to the edge, shrink the shift, tab, enter and delete keys slightly and increase the width of every other key.

  6. Leo Says:

    Any fan noise??

  7. Fanfoot Says:

    Huh. So they got rid of the ExpressCard slot which was really the only distinguishing characteristic of the original. And the new one looks pretty cheap looking. I don’t see how this one is any different than the last, e.g. unlikely to gather much interest against the throng of better/cheaper netbooks from the other vendors.

  8. Salleh Says:

    i love my Lenovo S10 and this -2 model improved a bit. i wish lenovo release it soon here in the philippines in cheaper price.

  9. Netbooker Says:

    The new one 3G is cool. Why have an express card slot anymore it is 3G ready with SIMM upgrade. This is much better for battery, and ease of use?

  10. Netbooker Says:

    I do not understand all of the complaining, if you like the original buy it. There are only 1,800,000 hits to purchase the original S10e…

  11. Nique Says:

    Still waiting for an intensive laptopmag review for the s10-2! :)

  12. Gregory Schneider Says:

    Here are the actual tech specs for the Ideapad S10-2: http://www.lenovo.com/psref/pdf/ipbook.pdf (see pages 16-17). There have been some “confirmed” reviews stating that this model will offer built in 3g – not so. Also, you can see the weights of the different models depending on the battery size. Does anyone have a picture of the book with a 6-cell battery? This review says it comes standard with the 6 cell – is that what’s pictured above? If it protrudes more it could ruin the aesthetic of the netbook.

  13. Jay Says:

    I just put in an order for the new S10-2. Appreciate your help/advice and exprience on the following:

    – Virus protection s/w to install
    – Upgrade options – memory/ram etc.
    – dvd/cd player via an external device
    – must have s/w (if possible free downloads)

    Thank you so much!!

  14. Alejo Says:

    Hello

    Answering to JAY here.

    I have bouht a bigger laptop from Lenovo (G 530) very sturdy and all black; and tried installing the latest Ubuntu (Jaunty or 9.04) 9 means year 2009, and 04 means april.

    Everything went fine, and took less than 20 minutes. No virus problems anymore, never.

    Do not forget Lenovo products were sold before by IMB which has exellent Linux hardware support, and that trend seems to go on today.

    Of course, there is no CD/DVD player on these little things. You just need a USB Key. Once you finished downloading the Ubuntu CD (or buy whith a magazine), you will need a small program called “UNETBOOTIN” It runs on Windows.

    Unetbootin turns your USB Key into a full bootable operating system. You will need at least a 1Gig USB Key. Plug your key, turn your Lenovo S10-2 on, and press F2 to choose “start from USB”.

    This way you can try Ubuntu on your Netbook without installing anything. You can judge the system by yourself and not from hearsay.

    Yours truly
    Alejo

  15. BigKumaDog Says:

    I also had the S10 very nice upgraded with RAM, Bluetooth, 9-cell battery, and N wireless. I now have the new S10-2 and love it the smother design feels better when laying around and kicking it while surfing the net. The keyboard is a treat no more miss hiting the enter and shift key while typing and the Quick Start key is pretty cool. The S10-2 no longer has any RAM soldered to the mobo which was a plus as the Atom Processor will only recognize 2GB max and if you max it out 512MB would just be wasted. The third USB is another plus while the missing express card 34 is a minius but I never used mine but the added 3G and SIM’s slot is what I really wanted but found out that as of yet there is no 3G mini-pci card that it will recognize also it wouldn’t recognize the N-wireless card I had in my S10. Seems that there will need to be a BIOS flash to allow you to upgrade your mini-pci banks. So far I maxed out the RAM installed an extra set of antennas for when there is a 3G card and intalled a Titan 128 SSD hard drive. I’m very happy with my new S10-2 now I have to figure how to upgrade for bluetooth.

  16. Jake Says:

    I have just recently ordered the S10-2 and I am looking forward to it. I can understand why owners of the original S10 might feel a bit let down by Lenovo. Lenovo should have found a way to treat their early adopters better. That being said, the S10-2 looks like a much better product. Yes, the design is not so classy, and I will have issues with the glossy screen, but when compared to other netbooks and even the original S10 this is clearly a better product. The only legitimate complaints I have heard or read from S10 owners were: the shift key, the 3-cell battery, and the single “rocker” mouse button. All of these have been fixed. Hence the new release.
    I will update in a few weeks with my opinions as an owner.

  17. James Rintamaki Says:

    I just got my S10-2 the other day, and it’s VERY similar to the S10 — I like that the touch pad is larger and the buttons are not as loud or “clicky”. I’ve been able to push out a little over 5 hours with normal use (web browsing, with wifi on obviously) which I felt was pretty good. And though it technically is thinner, slimmer, etc than the S10 – it’s very hard to tell (see pics here: http://www.jrin.net/2009_06_24/lenovo-ideapad-s10-2-hands-on-review )

    @Gregory Schneider, the 6 cell sticks out as much as the s10 and look almost exactly the same (see the above link for pictures)

  18. Paul Says:

    So, when will the S10-2 finally be available in the UK? Time goes by so slowly…

  19. BigKumaDog Says:

    There is a female connector under the keyboard directly under the A key of the keyboard when keyboard is removed. Does anyone know what that connector is for? Hoping a future bluetooth addition but the connector is larger than the S10’s bluetooth cables connector.

  20. Erwin Says:

    I was able to acquire one S10-2 for my wife yesterday. This little devil rocks! This one is already capable of doing a bluetooth connection. Once you have activated the software it already install the driver. I was able to pair my phone to this laptop and made good transfers. Can even use Internet connection using my phone as my modem via bluetooth connection. I haven’t tried just the SIM card yet if it will work here in the Philippines because ISP here are using USB devices to run the SIM for broadband connection but will try when I get back home.

  21. Sean Says:

    I own them both and prefer the S10 for a number of reasons. First, I can add any mini PCI card to the S10. The S10-2 has the BIOS lock that Lenovo uses with other portables … you can only buy a card from them or you have to edit the BIOS or card firmware ID. Buggers. Second, there is a boat load of pooware on the S10-2 that I did not notice on the S10. Third, the drivers for the S10-2 won’t allow me to set the resolution to 1024×768 .. and move the screen up and down as the S10 will allow. This is a driver issue since it WILL allow you to do this right after you install the drivers but before you reboot. Once you reboot it the maximum resolution is 1024×600. It isn’t just aesthetics for me, I use one site that won’t run at all on the lower resolution.

  22. Paul Says:

    My guess is that Lenovo doesn’t care about releasing the S10-2 in the UK. The same goes for the T400s.

  23. BigKumaDog Says:

    Well to my total disgust just found out that the rear SIM slot is just for decoration on my S10-2. There is no reader installed on the motherboard, wow so even after I found a card that the locked BIOS would accept I’m stuck without 3G. Strange they give you a mini-pci socket for broadband modem but no reader on the motherboard just a slot with a SIM symbol, so you can put a SIM card in there so that it could just flop around unti it possibly short something out. So BEWARE don’t buy the S10-2 if you think you aregoing to be able to have internal 3G unless yu can find the right SIM reader with the correct pin out and you are good at soldering your SOL. Well look like thiswill be the last Lenovo I’m going to buy I upgraded my S10 to the S10-2 to get an extra USB port, lost the 34 PC card slot, lower res. display, pain in the @$$ BT upgrade and a locked BIOS. So if you are thinking of upgrading from a S10 to the S10-2 don’t do it it’s not worth it you gain little and lose a lot.

  24. Rick Says:

    Love this laptop. I originally bought it for my 15 year old daughter. She liked it but said the screen was too small to play her online games. I have been traveling (FedEx pilot) with it for over two months. It has been great. The mouse pad is fine. I prefer a wireless mouse though. I just ordered a 2GB RAM chip to speed it up. This was not necessary. It is just something that I do to all of my computers. I did disable several of the startup programs.

  25. Bitoy Says:

    what are the onlines games it can support and tested?

  26. rea Says:

    could somebody help me how will i released the sim from the slot because it get inside totaly and thres no button to released it. andhow thesim will work as well using lenovo s10-2

  27. EON Says:

    HI REA, i also faced similar prob with stuck sim, called the callcenter but its vain to do so. warning! to all, do not attempt to insert sim as it go all the way inside to god knows to what . i damaged my sim while taking it out with a thin pair of clipper. for those planning to buy do keep in mind first get the complete info how to use sim, and that this netbook gets too heated up on conti. use for more than an hour and mine started hanging and i had to run the restore prog. now i feel any regular laptop with small screen say 11” or 12” and dvd drive would have been better and plan to change.

  28. alok Says:

    I bought it for a nothing. It is a great laptop in terms of connectivity,mobility and battery life.
    keyboard strokes are not that smooth but its fine, I can play a few games also like counter strike 1.2, age of empires 2, hitman 1 and 2 NFS underground 1. It’s great with MS office, autocad 2008, and 3ds max. It’s worth the money spent.

  29. Mike Says:

    I can’t seem to get Maplestory or Age of Empires III to run. Getting error “Initialization failed. Direct 3D initialization failed. Possible causes: old or corrupted graphics driver. Direct 3D improperly installed. Hardware acceleration disabled. Starting the application with the workstation locked. Please check file log for more information.”

    Everything seems to be up to date. I can’t figure it out. Anyone got ideas?

  30. Jupstejuho Says:

    So I’ve got this Lenovo IdeaPad S10-2 netbook in my hands right now, I got it on Christmas. This is a great netbook, indeed! Althought the battery life is not as good as in, for example, the Samsung NC10. The keyboard is great! This model has Intel Atom N280 1.66GHz processor (not the traditional N270 that was mentioned in the video) AND unfortunately, though this has 10.1″ screen, it has only 1024 x 600 resolution. My sister has an Acer Aspire ONE D250 and it also has a 10.1″ screen but with 1280 x 720 resolution which is MUCH BETTER than this small 1024 x 600. It is a bit annoying because even a YouTube video cannot fit in the screen without zooming the page out a bit. I have heard that there are 720p resolution models available out there of this netbook. Well, it seems that I unfortunately got a non-720p one. I guess I can still live with it ;), this is still a great netbook. If you have any questions regarding this netbook model, feel free to contact me by e-mail.

  31. trikia Says:

    My SIM got stuck inside Lenovo too and I really need to use my laptop and mga SIM. Tried calling the hotline and it failed to give me quick options or any help.

    Will it be safe to use the laptop even if the SIm is stuck inside?

  32. Jake Says:

    I have never heard of IMB. Are they are as good as IBM before they sold their crappy Deskstar hard drive that forced them to sell their hard drive business to Hitachi? I was hesitant in buying Lenovo since it’s basically a rebranded IBM laptop division that is now run by a Chinese company. Being that Acer, Asus, MSi, ECS, Gigabyte make good and reliable laptops I suppose it would not hurt to buy a Lenovo. Still I really do like the Gigabyte netbooks..not too crazy about the price. For a similar configuration as the S10-2 expect to pay about $150 more. But then you get a bit more robust software.

  33. mpalac Says:

    Is a possible and how to enlarge (expand) preload C partition (4GB solid state drive its to small), without reinstalling Windows on my Lenovo Ideapad S10e? D partition have 160 GB hard disc drive.

  34. ichigo Says:

    yes you can ! :) you just need to download and install partition magic :D it’s more easy and convinient rather that doing it manually with dos prompt :)

    mpalac Says:
    March 14th, 2010 at 9:57 pm

    Is a possible and how to enlarge (expand) preload C partition (4GB solid state drive its to small), without reinstalling Windows on my Lenovo Ideapad S10e? D partition have 160 GB hard disc drive.

  35. vivien Says:

    My sim card is stuck too! OMG how manysim cards have this netbook swallowed. I tried to extract with tweezers and managed to push it evenfurther in, to the point where i can’t see it at all. I just use the netbook anyway. And because this machine gets so hot, the black paint on the back of it is very easily scratched or wiped off. I have a very unslightly netbook now. How the hell do we remove the sim card?

  36. Benjo Says:

    I have my sim card stuck inside my s-10. How do i remove my sim card? can lenovo provide free service for the removal of the sim card? This is by right the fault on lenovo side as this is considered a maufacturers and designer fault. And now we consumers have to bare for their mistake?! This isnt fair. I have searched through and there are many forum regarding this problem. What is lenovo going to do with this problem? Let me know… If the management of lenovo is reading this please do something about your product and service. Get your act together!!!

  37. Alyssa Says:

    I have a s10-2 that I won right after Christmas, it works great, except I have no idea how to make the web cam work! I mean, I can find it for chat, and veriface, but is there a way for me to just record something to post online???

  38. K. T. Bradford Says:

    Alyssa, try looking in your start menu for a webcam program. Maybe it’s Cyberlink? That’s one we typically find on netbooks. You can also download free programs that can access the webcam for recording.

    For those of you with SIM card problems, have you tried contacting Lenovo directly?

  39. Tbooze Says:

    how do I increase the screen resolution of my S10e

  40. Very Pissed Gamer Chick Says:

    I got this netbook for Christmas and omg it’s great. But I’m having a problem where when I remove my headset and a very loud noise comes out of this very small laptop. I unplug the jack and BLEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP. I think it’s feedback r something. I’m not happy because I really want to play my mmo’s, but I can’t if I DON’T HAVE SOUND!

  41. ricky Says:

    im pissed, i cant restore myy s10-2…..i cant use the one key recovery!!

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