We’ve been excited about the Lenovo IdeaPad S10 ever since it was announced in August. True, the 10-inch netbook has a lot of specs we’ve seen before: a 1.6GHz Atom Processor, a 5,400rpm hard drive, a 3-cell battery, and Windows XP Home. But, looking first at photos and then at a pre-production model on display at the August Intel Developer’s Forum, we were smitten with the system’s sleek design. So when a review sample arrived at our office this morning, we couldn’t wait to film our unboxing and post our initial observations. Update: Check out our Full review of the S10 >> Contents of the S10 Box We should start with the disclaimer that we received our unit from Lenovo PR who received it directly from Shanghai, China. Hence, we can’t say for certain if the final retail packaging and box contents will be exactly the same for those who buy theirs through retail, but the package contents looked final. In our box were:
Notably absent were two things you often see included with Netbooks: a carrying case and a recovery disc. Fortunately, the system comes with OneKey Rescue software installed which you can use to create your own recovery disc. However, we wish Lenovo had included a disc, for those users who crash their systems before they get a chance to burn their own. For more details, check out our unboxing video and other first impressions of the S10 below.
Size and Weight We immediately compared the Lenovo S10 to two other 10-inch netbooks we have in-house: the ASUS Eee PC 1000H and the MSI Wind. We noticed right away that the S10 appears to be thinner than both. Obviously in the picture below, a lot of the thickness difference can be attributed to the fact that our MSI Wind and Eee PC 1000H both have 6-cell batteries, while the S10 we received has only a 3-cell. At 2.6 pounds, the S10 weighs exactly the same as the MSI Wind with 6-cell battery, but .6 pounds less than the 3.2-pound Eee PC 1000H.
Battery size isn’t the only thing keeping the S10 svelte. Lenovo has done a great job of slimming everything down and, like the Wind and several other netbooks, the S10′s lid sinks below its base so it’s easy for users to look over the screen and see others. This sunken screen design is particularly useful in classrooms and boardrooms where eye contact and facial visibility are necessary.
Keyboard and Touchpad We haven’t had a chance yet to put the S10 through our touch-typing test, but at first glance, the keys seem to have a good tactile feel and appear just a little smaller than those on the MSI Wind and Eee PC 1000H. Unlike some other netbooks — the Dell Inspiron Mini 9, for example — the apostrophe and hyphen keys are in the right place. However, like the Eee PC line, the right Shift key is positioned to the right of the up arrow key, a bad habit we wish netbook makers would stop. The touchpad is rather small, but responsive. We love the touchpad buttons, which have just the right amount of sensitivity and are separated into two discrete units. Ports: Too Few USB? The IdeaPad S10 has a pretty standard set of ports, including Ethernet, VGA out, microphone, headphone and 4-in-1 card reader. Unlike some cheaper systems, the S10 does have an ExpressCard slot, which presumably you can use to add a mobile broadband card. Somewhat controversially, Lenovo has opted to include only two USB ports, rather than the usual three we see on most netbooks. However, we really don’t know why you’d need more than two on a secondary system like this.
Good Speaker Placement Unlike other manufacturers who put the speakers either on the bottom where they are muffled or on either side of the screen where they fatten the lid, Lenovo has found the perfect place for the S10′s speakerbar: the bottom lip of the front of the system. We have yet to test out the audio, but have high hopes for this placement: it certainly looks good. Buttons and Lights Above the keyboard, the S10 has a few buttons and lights you’d expect and one surprise. Along with the power button, Wi-Fi on/off button, hard drive, caps lock, and num lock lights, is a button with a little arrow on it that activates the OneKey Recovery System software. If you hit this button when the system is powered down, it will boot directly into the OneKey software. In fact, users might want to be careful about hitting this button by accident with the system off; it won’t restore your system without asking, but you will have to wait for the program to load before you can cancel and shutdown again. Still, this is a really nice touch and something we haven’t seen on other netbooks.