Up Close with Lenovo’s IdeaPad S10, One Sweet 10-Incher

Update: Check out out full review of the Lenovo IdeaPad S10 here. Just after recovering from seeing the Lenovo IdeaPad S9 on display, I was able to spend some quality time with Lenovo’s 10-inch mini-notebook, the IdeaPad S10. Given that this is the system that will be released in the U.S. and that the unit was in working order, I was psyched to put the netbook through its paces. Priced at a competitive $429, the Lenovo S10 is a 10-inch mini-notebook to reckon with. Simple, Stylish Chassis As you would expect from Lenovo, the S10 has a classic look. The all-matte notebook has a black lid with a Lenovo logo in the corner. The lid picks up some fingerprints but is nothing like the fingerprint-prone cover of the Eee PC 1000H. When I picked up the 2.4-pound netbook, it felt extremely light—much lighter than the 3.4-pound Eee PC 1000H. I was able to slide it into my bag easily (in my attempt to steal it from the very patient Lenovo representative). The S10 has the usual ports, including VGA, Ethernet, mic, and headphone and a 4-in-1 card reader. Unfortunately it has only 2 USB ports. This probably isn’t a deal breaker, but it would have been nice to have the standard three. Lovely, Spacious Keyboard Just like the S9, the keyboard on the S10 is extremely spacious and a match made in heaven for touch typists. I had no mistakes when typing in Web addresses, and the keys felt solid. There was also no bend to the keyboard. Oddly, however, the page-up and -down buttons are placed on the top row of keys. The touchpad is a bit small for a 10-inch system. However, navigating the desktop felt smooth and there is a dedicated scroll bar. The touchpad also supports multi-touch gestures. Zooming in on pictures and Web sites by pinching my fingers on the pad worked without a hiccup. The right and left click buttons had a nice feel to them but produced loudish clicking sounds (not as loud, however, as the Sylvania Netbook g Meso‘s). Wide 10-Inch Screen The 1024 x 600-pixel, matte 10-inch screen on the S10 is easy on the eyes (the S9 I saw seemed to have a glossy screen). The real estate was there to keep Internet Explorer open along with Windows Media Player. Above the screen is a 1.3-MP webcam. Early Performance Thoughts I couldn’t get the S10 to connect to the Net because of poor connectivity in the conference hall, but I was able to get a glimpse into the performance of the mini-notebook. Its 1.6-GHz Intel Atom processor, 512MB of RAM, and 80GB 5,400-rpm hard drive booted Windows XP Home in less than 45 seconds (see the boot video below). There were no hang-ups when opening applications including Internet Explorer, Windows Media Player, and Adobe Reader. Early Thoughts The Lenovo IdeaPad S10 left a good taste in my mouth. I walked away from my 45 minutes alone with it only wanting more time with it. The solid manufacturing quality, along with its spacious keyboard, indicate that as a piece of hardware the S10 is one of the best. However, it is too early to make a call on the S10 until we see some solid benchmarks and battery life scores. Hands-On Video [flv:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IjD2iAGIxfg 480 360] Boot Video [flv:/flvs/lenovo-s10-boot.flv 480 360]

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  1. Paul Says:

    Very nice.

    Is that black&white model going to be for sale? Or is that just a test unit

    I may be the odd man out, but I like that design.

    Only problem is I would want the 1GB version with 160GB HDD and 6 cell battery. Until that config is available I’ll stay with my EeePC 1000H. But the S10 may end up replacing it. Not quite sure yet.

    The more powerful graphics card is a nice plus, since I do like a few games sometimes. However the loss of a USB port is unfortunate, as I do sometimes use all 3. But rarely, and that could be remedied with a mini USB hub.

    Review the S10 ASAP please! :) Looks like a winner so far.

  2. Pierre Lecourt Says:

    Nice pictures,

    Can you tell us if the S10 comes with a X4500 graphic chip or with a GMA 945?


  3. Yoob Says:

    I cant seem to find info anywhere on upgradability on RAM. Everyone states 512MB but not if it can be expanded to 1.5GB or more.

  4. Michael Says:

    That was a pretty tame review. The fugly color scheme and 512mb of ram are deal breakers for me. That is no Wind Killer.

  5. smallcomputing Says:

    I disagree on the keyboard being perfect for touch typists when it has the small, oddly placed right shift key, but it looks like they utilized space well otherwise.

    I also missed that it uses the X4500 when I first saw them listed on Lenovo’s site, so I’d really like to see how these handle HD video.

    I’m also not sure that the loss of one USB port is a big deal. These small things aren’t meant to be powerhouses, and maybe it’s just my own use of my Eee PC and Aspire one, but I’ve never needed more than two USB ports.

    That hinge, by the way, looks somewhat similar to Acer’s (Aspire One).

    On the whole, I’m a little more excited about the S10 than I was a few days ago. I may have to get one and see how it compares. :)

  6. arit Says:

    Is there a possibility of getting to know if FN/CTRL keys are switchable via bios settings? And any pictures of the bottom side to see if ram could be easyly upgraded? Overall, sort of want :D

  7. Taren Says:

    is it a PATA or SATA HDD?

    is there easy access to the RAM, HDD?

    is the 6-cell battery available?

  8. john Says:

    thanks ordered one.

  9. douchebag? Says:

    Can you upgrade the RAM ? Is the other ram socket closed off?

  10. DougC-3 Says:

    The matte finish is a big plus to me. I persuaded a Circuit City dept. manager to let me open an Acer Aspire 1 box, and the unit came complete with a huge palm smudge straight from the factory :)

    Isn’t there going to be a completely black one, including keyboard? I think I’ve seen a picture of one somewhere.

    I will gladly take the included ExpressCard slot over the missing USB port–might need it for broadband connectivity.

  11. Mike Cane Says:

    Very interesting. Does the keyboard have hard feedback like the Asus 1000?

    This will probably have better in-store distribution than the Wind, no shortages. But the question for me is: Can Mac OS X run on it? So far, the MSI Wind is the one to beat on that score.

  12. sk Says:

    I actually have a couple of questions, the lenovo press info didn’t say too much.

    Is the RAM slot two dimms or just one?
    Is the screen LED or not? Some places don’t say LED?
    I don’t need Bluetooth much, but does it have it?
    and MOST IMPORTANT, what is the BATTERY LIFE like?

  13. jay Says:

    called Lenovo about this. Here is the info from their rep.

    RAM is upgradeable. They do not have the 1G version. You have to do it yourself. It supports upto 4G.
    HDD is 1.8 inch SATA and replaceable
    6-cell battery is not available yet. battery life with 3-cell is 2.5 hrs.

  14. sk Says:


    yea i called and got some info as well, most of it not too good.

    ram upgrade, good!
    hdd replaceable, good!

    SSD options, no info yet

    BATTERY LIFE IS HORRIBLE. my eee 900 gave me at least 4-5 hours, and the new 901 offers 8 hours.

    also asked about return policy and they won’t take it back under any circumstances according to them. they will just “fix it” and give it back to you. i usually like to have the ability to know that if i buy something that just doesn’t work or is practical, that i can return it.

  15. Abbie Says:

    Lenovo offers the IdeaPad S10 netbook in two configurations, with one having 512 MB of memory and an 80 GB hard drive and the second configuration having 1 GB of memory and a 160 GB hard drive. For use as a secondary PC, it has some good features and a low price; I don’t think it’s that bad an offering and both configurations should be capable of accomodating most users’s needs such as being able to connect to the Internet, check and write emails, listen to music and perform basic applications.

  16. Kola Says:

    As it was said here (http://www.notebooks.com/2008/08/20/ideapad-s10-demo-video/) 6-cell battery will apparently jut out one inch from the back edge, IMHO this will spoil such a good design noticeably.

  17. Orange Says:


    Humm, hello?! Maybe you should stop and think a minute before posting stupidities. Maybe you should compare battery life using batteries of the same rating? The numbers you quoted for eee 900/901 were with 6-cell batteries.

  18. dave Says:

    If you look at Lenovo’s Hong Kong site, the S10 can be supplied with a 1G Ram (2x512MB) and a 160GB harddrive. No info on price, though.
    See http://www-07.ibm.com/lenovoinfo/hk/ideaPad/sSeries/

  19. sk Says:

    @ Orange
    Sorry I upset you??

    I didn’t notice that the default battery configuration was a 3 Cell, so that would make sense as to why the S10 only offers 2.5 hours. And yes the EEE PCs are 6-cell, i don’t think they offer 3-cells.

    But what’s interesting is that the EEE pc batteries don’t seem to have to stick out wit ha 6-cell config. Despite the S10 having a larger body, it needs to stick out an inch to accommodate the 6-cell. Now I gotta decide whether to have a oddly proportioned S10 with more battery or the standard one.

  20. Booshack Says:

    Having a 1.8 inch harddrive, this is FAR from a wind killer. Factor in the 512 mb ram and you really have a dud. Also, crappy review. You like the “original” plastic chrome hinge desing that looks like a copy of the eee 1000?

    Lenovo had a great chance here. They could have made a premium netbook with classic thinkpad looks and build quality, throwing in a nice MLC SSD. They didn’t even give it a 2.5 inch harddrive like the wind, that is just pathetic.

  21. Leon Says:

    Amy Parkin: Thank you for choosing Lenovo Chat service, this is Amy, sales ID ZQ7. How may I be of assistance today?
    Customer: Hi! I am on your website…If I try to look at the S-Series Ideapad, it does not let you press the “configure & buy” button
    Customer: S10
    Amy Parkin: I am sorry but we have sold out of the S10 series.
    Customer: oh! ok….when will they be back on your site again?
    Amy Parkin: I am sorry we don’t have that information.
    Amy Parkin: I would say about a month or two
    Customer: ok…i will check back..thanks!!!

  22. dave Says:

    Leon, lol! Amy must be drinking some kind of tea.
    It is not sold out. It is that webpage. If you go through other ways, such as selecting computer by price, you’ll find the “configure & buy” button.
    Still, I would certainly not put ID ZQ7 on the purchase form. If she is supposed to help you track your order, who knows where will it end up.

  23. Leon Says:

    Unfortunately, it’s real. The site now says:

    Due to high demand for the new IdeaPad S10 netbooks, we are currently unable to take new orders. Be the first to learn when IdeaPad S10 netbooks are back in stock.
    Lenovo will email you when they are available.

  24. Leandro Paparelli Says:

    Hey guys
    I already ordered mine to replace the Asus Eee PC 900
    Im really into upgrade the memory and change the HD for a solid state one
    so I have two questions:
    1) are you guys sure that it gets up to 4 G of ram? cause I I though that it was 2 G!
    2) are you guys sure that is an SATA 1.8″ HD? cause I I though that it was a 2.5″ IDE HD!
    Thank you!

  25. Rich Says:

    MSI Wind 6-cell, Lenovo S10, Dell E4200, E4300, E-Slim, etc., etc., etc.

    More UMPC’s with Unobtanium 2 processors and vapor-ware LiIon batteries.

  26. ryan Says:

    I really like it. I’m still not sure what I want to do with my money though; there are really a lot of choices for us now. MSI, eeePC, Lenovo, Acer, HP, Dell, …. wonder when apple will make an Inexpensive ultraportable. I’d like to see a 10 inch macbook with multitouch trackpad and an Atom processor for around this price. I’ll wait for a bit and see what is out before the holidays and then make my choice. Peace out everybody and happy net-surfing!

  27. Rich Says:

    The “back-door” link (through the order-by-price link) at Lenovo.com for the S10 disappeared yesterday, Sept-1-2008.

  28. Rommel Says:

    When is the S10 arriving here in Dubai? The Acer Aspire One and Asus are selling like hot cakes.

  29. TheHoldSteady!! Says:

    @ryan: “…wonder when apple will make an Inexpensive ultraportable.”

    How about the Twelfth of Fraking NEVER? Apple’s business plan is selling overpriced crap to underthinking sheeple – that will never change.

  30. M Says:

    Acer Aspire One’s new $399 160HDD(expandable with the extra SDHC slot) 1G RAM 6-Cell batt. 3usb ports = better bang for the bucks only lows comparing this is the 8.9″ vs 10″ display

  31. N Says:

    8.9inch screen vs 10inch is a big difference. Aspire One’s build quality is also not as good, and has wierd touchpad button layout.

  32. f-off Says:

    hey ryan:

    u waiting for a 10″ netbook with a multi touchpad……ahhh. its already here, the asus 1000h.


  33. Anonymous Says:

    what if something happened and l have to reformat the computer, does it have a notebook? what about the office and xp?

  34. Him Leung Says:

    Can anybody help to check if S9 or S10 can support SDHC card ? many thanks !

  35. great little netbook Says:

    they look great – I want one – pink please :)

  36. Chris P Says:

    I just talked with lenovo customer service via their online chat service about the release of a 6 cell battery and this is what was said;

    Please wait while we find an agent to assist you…
    You have been connected to Hanvy Li.
    Hanvy Li: Thank you for choosing Lenovo Chat service, this is Hanvy, sales ID ZN3. How may I be of assistance today?
    Customer: Hello
    Hanvy Li: Hi.
    Customer: Are you ever going to release a 6 cell battery for the s10
    Hanvy Li: Good evening.
    Hanvy Li: No sorry there will be no 6 cell battery for S10.
    Hanvy Li: Only 3 cell battery.
    Customer: ever?
    Hanvy Li: No.

    So I guess i wont be buying the S10 any more. Even my Core Duo Thinkpad has a longer battery life than the intel atom!

  37. Adrian Says:

    wrong, here it is -> http://appserver.lenovo.com.cn/shop/shop_detail.aspx?gdsId=A1100007352
    prob will get one soon, if I can figure it out a person to help/send it to me from China ;)

  38. Vince Says:

    Dumb question – if one buys the S10 now, with the 3-cell battery, can one simply upgrade to the 6-cell once [if] it becomes available? I mean, it is just like any other laptop – one can put bigger batteries in and one doesn’t need to have a different model laptop to do so, right?

    I don’t mind the 3-cell for now, but i would like to buy a 6-cell later; but I am anxious to buy the laptop now, rather than wait for the option for a 6-cell. But I just want to make sure I can upgrade later and all would be well.



  39. Sam Says:

    I’d like to have that info too Vince as I’d buy it immediately if I could upgrade to the 6 cell in the future. The black case S10 will evidently be available shortly, but I can’t tell from the photos that I’ve seen whether they’ve replaced that cheap looking white hinge or not. That was a horrible design choice and I can’t imagine what they were thinking.

  40. Lissa Says:

    Can I install MS Office 2007 in the Lenovo S10? If yes, will it run efficiently?

  41. barry Says:

    …. thank you. Just ordered the black version this morning and hope it doesn’t play “trapeze artist” as my MacBook.

  42. OBwan23 Says:

    i saw on lenovo’s american website that the 1GB ram 160GB harddrive version was retailing at $449, but that’s the 3 cell battery. does anyone know about a 6 cell, not even the hongkong site talks about a 6 cell???

  43. PATF Says:

    WELL I’m sot sure you guys have seen just what this lilttle computer can do, I got mine from c—city and it was in great shape, the first thing I did was installed a game to see how it would run it…well for what it is it did a great job.The video game is called Postal2 ya ya ya..and it has not failed yet , I also installed Adobe Photo Shop CS3..works fine….
    After all that I upgraded to windows pro..make sure you save the driver file on the other partition :)
    installed just fine…
    You guys that trash this lil computer need to understand, its not going to be a power house you might not be able to run monster video games on it its not made for that…….But for the money its a great deal

    Things that I would have liked to see on it..

    1) Bluetooth
    2) Fast ir port
    3) The center pointer that all Thinkpad’s have
    4) A pcmcia card slot

    other then that its a great buy

  44. Guy Jeb Says:

    Here is the info you are really looking for:
    Ram Upgradeable?
    Yes – It does not have dual channel recognition, so might as well stick in that one 2gb so-dim (newegg for less than 25$), with only 2 screws in the back.

    HDD upgradable – Yes, I purchased the cheapest s10 to upgrade later.

    Battery life: Lenovo tech support are idiot Policy quoters:

    “Please wait while we find an agent to assist you…
    You have been connected to Hanvy Li.
    Hanvy Li: Thank you for choosing Lenovo Chat service, this is Hanvy, sales ID ZN3. How may I be of assistance today?
    Customer: Hello
    Hanvy Li: Hi.
    Customer: Are you ever going to release a 6 cell battery for the s10
    Hanvy Li: Good evening.
    Hanvy Li: No sorry there will be no 6 cell battery for S10.
    Hanvy Li: Only 3 cell battery.
    Customer: ever?
    Hanvy Li: No.”

    Just buy one off of E-bay from a guy from Hong Kong. Only 70$, but do you really want to walk around with a fat battery butt on the back?

    It can run almost any operating system too.

    Those who complain about this machine arn’t looking for a netbook, their looking for a laptop powerhouse workstation replacement. This is better for school or work documents, not Visual Studio’s programming and Fall out 3 gaming.

    Also, it does support SSD Hard drives, but why spend an extra $300 for a 16gb(way less storage) to go 20 seconds faster?

    MS office 2007 – Yes can install and run effectivly

    SDHC – Yes it accepts it (http://forums.lenovo.com/lnv/board/message?board.id=ideaPad&thread.id=3966)

    Leandro Paparelli – It will take up to 4GB, but make sure you have a windows OS that will allow for it. XP is a x32 which means it won’t recognize higher than about 3gigs. if you have vista, or xp x64 it will see it.

  45. ahw Says:

    how does the webcam work?
    im on my s10 now and i cant figure out the software needed for the webcam to work

  46. isai Says:

    i love s10 it is way elegant and classic not to mention its a mini but very survivor it simply compliments
    may u find peace when u finally have the lenovo ideapad s10 urself more power to all xxx

  47. jack parler Says:

    Can you provide more information on this?

  48. armando Says:

    dude this thing is the best. i have 160gb 1gb ram and its the best. i even have vista ultimate on it. working like a charm. webcam is pretty easy to use all you need to do is go to my computer and thats it. i have an sd card for ready boost. does anyone know how much ram i could add to this?? im a heavy gamer and want to use it as a gaming laptop.

  49. Greg Says:

    Our company is thinking about buying these for those of us who are on the road all the time. Reviews of other machines indicate that Microsoft Office is unable to run on them. What about this one?

  50. Jeff Gordon Says:

    Greg: I’m an MBA student at the University of California, Berkeley. A number of my classmates are using netbooks including the Lenovo S10, Acer Aspire One, and Asus Eee PC 1000H as their primary laptops on campus. They use Microsoft Office 2007 to write lengthy papers, reply to e-mails, manage their calendars, prepare presentations and crunch complex financial models.

    I’d say without hesitation that netbooks will be up to most any task a typical office can throw at them. The bigger concern for your staff might be the size of the keyboard and screen, but don’t worry about the processor’s ability to handle Office.

  51. armando Says:

    yes i run microsoft office 2007 on this s10 of mine it takes like 30 seconds to load up, but thats it, the rest flies!! run photoshop and some games, games sometimes lag, but its okay.

  52. Firestorm Says:

    Mugen Power – compant known for years for really good battery quality is offering 7800mAh battery for S9/S10: http://shop.eten.hu/mugen-power-lenovo-s10-7800mah-extended-replacement-battery-p-517.html

  53. Curious Says:

    Ok I have someone who is wanting to trade me a Lenovo s10 for my acer aspire 3415 which I currently have vista business on. How well does this netbook run with any form of vista?

  54. Curious Says:

    Ok I have someone who is wanting to trade me a Lenovo s10 for my acer aspire 4315 which I currently have vista business on. How well does this netbook run with any form of vista?

  55. jeff Says:

    S10 suite me well, running xp home with 160 gb h/d & 2gb of ddr2 ram, the only disappointment was S10 here in Malaysia being service by CSA not IBM…..wonder why?

  56. Britton Owen Says:

    Can anyone recommend a site for step by step instructions how to install MS Office 2007 on my new machine? Thanks!

  57. billy Says:

    You would need an external cd/dvd drive to install office from a cd.

  58. joe Says:

    Hello, How do you reformat this S10 laptop? My daughters computer is really mess up. Lots of pop ups.. Please advice. Thanks!

  59. MikeTheIntern Says:

    I actually have this laptop and its fairly well for college students like myself but the only hiccup I have is that it
    doesnt have a CD Drive and it cant play many downloaded games. I find that the requirements for the simplest game are just a tad too much for this laptops capabilities. No maplestory or wonderking for me :((

  60. jj carsten Says:

    bought lenovo u150 ideapad for xmas. Got delivery in Jan by feb it was making all kinds of grinding noise and heating up sent back to factory. Factory replaced hotsink and returned to me. It no longer makes noise but computer operates eract. Worst computer I have ever had. I would never recommend

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