This Intel Atom based netbook won't be breaking any speed records, but it performed more than adequately for normal activities. Windows startup took less than 30 seconds and internet browsing, word processing, and even photo editing tasks were downright "snappy." While the 3D graphics benchmark numbers aren't particularly impressive, it's important to keep in mind that netbooks are not designed for playing computer games. The S10 and similar netbooks are mobile internet portals and productivity tools for getting some quick work done without needing to carry a giant laptop.
PCMark05 measures overall system performance (higher scores mean better performance):
|Lenovo IdeaPad S10 (1.60GHz Intel Atom, Intel GMA 950)||1,446 PCMarks|
|Acer Aspire One (1.60GHz Intel Atom, Intel GMA 950)||1,555 PCMarks
|ASUS Eee PC 901 (1.60GHz Intel Atom)||746 PCMarks
|MSI Wind (1.60GHz Intel Atom)||N/A
|ASUS Eee PC 900 (900MHz Intel Celeron M ULV)
|HP 2133 Mini-Note (1.6GHz VIA C7-M ULV)||801 PCMarks|
|HTC Shift (800MHz Intel A110)||891 PCMarks|
|ASUS Eee PC 4G (630MHz Intel Celeron M ULV)||908 PCMarks|
|ASUS Eee PC 4G (900MHz Intel Celeron M ULV)||1,132 PCMarks|
|Everex CloudBook (1.2GHz VIA C7-M ULV)
|Sony VAIO TZ (1.20GHz Intel Core 2 Duo U7600)||2,446 PCMarks|
|Fujitsu LifeBook P7230 (1.2GHz Intel Core Solo U1400)||1,152 PCMarks|
|Sony VAIO VGN-G11XN/B (1.33GHz Core Solo U1500)||1,554 PCMarks|
|Toshiba Portege R500 (1.2GHz Intel Core 2 Duo U7600)||1,839 PCMarks|
wPrime processor comparison results (lower scores mean better performance):
|Notebook / CPU||wPrime 32M time|
|Lenovo IdeaPad S10 (Intel Atom @ 1.60GHz)||127.172 seconds|
|Acer Aspire One (Intel Atom @ 1.60GHz)||125.812 seconds
|ASUS Eee PC 901 (Intel Atom @ 1.60GHz)
|MSI Wind (Intel Atom @ 1.60GHz)
|ASUS Eee PC 900 (Intel Celeron M ULV @ 900MHz)
|HP 2133 Mini-Note (Via CV7-M ULV @ 1.6GHz)||168.697 seconds|
|ASUS Eee PC 4G (Intel Celeron M ULV @ 630MHz)||289.156 seconds
|ASUS Eee PC 4G (Intel Celeron M ULV @ 900MHz)||200.968 seconds|
|Everex CloudBook (VIA C7-M ULV @ 1.2GHz)||248.705 seconds|
|Fujitsu U810 Tablet PC (Intel A110 @ 800MHz)
|Sony VAIO VGN-G11XN/B (Core Solo U1500 @ 1.33GHz)||124.581 seconds|
|Sony VAIO TZ (Core 2 Duo U7600 @ 1.2GHz)||76.240 seconds|
|Dell Inspiron 2650 (Pentium 4 Mobile @ 1.6GHz)||231.714 seconds|
3DMark06 comparison results:
|Lenovo IdeaPad S10 (1.60GHz Intel Atom, Intel GMA 950)||N/A
|Acer Aspire One (1.60GHz Intel Atom, Intel GMA 950)
|Sony VAIO TZ (1.20GHz Core 2 Duo U7600, Intel GMA 950)||122 3DMarks|
|HP dv2500t (2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T7300, NVIDIA GeForce Go 8400M GS 128MB)||1,055 3DMarks|
|Sony VAIO FZ (2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T7300, Intel X3100)||532 3DMarks|
|HP dv6000t (2.16 GHz Intel T7400, NVIDA GeForce Go 7400)||827 3DMarks|
3DMark03 Graphics Performance Benchmark (higher scores indicate better performance):
|Lenovo IdeaPad S10 (1.60GHz Intel Atom, Intel GMA 950)||569 3DMarks|
|Acer Aspire One (1.60GHz Intel Atom, Intel GMA 950)
|MSI Wind (1.6GHz Intel Atom, Intel GMA 950)||589 3DMarks
|Lenovo ThinkPad T60 (2.16GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T4400, ATI X1400 128MB)||4,622 3DMarks|
HDTune for built-in Hard drive:
Speakers and Audio
The speakers on the IdeaPad S10 are reasonably impressive for a budget netbook. While the two tiny stereo speakers located on the front edge of the netbook produce good volume levels with minimal distortion and acceptable range, it's worth mentioning the somewhat odd placement.
Since the speakers are located on the front edge of the notebook the sound isn't being directed up and toward the user when the S10 is used as a laptop. In fact, our staff usually refers to laptop speakers with this type of placement as "crotch speakers" because the speakers are directing sound to your waist rather than your ears. Given the compact design of the S10 there weren't many other places for the speakers to go, but we'd like to see a different speaker location on next year's model.
The headphone jack on the S10 works well with the three different brands of earphones I used during the test. No static or other noise was noticed through the jack besides imperfections in the audio source itself.
Heat and Noise
As we continue to see in our labs, nearly all of the Intel Atom-based netbooks produce a reasonable amount of heat while running. The IdeaPad S10 remained on par with the competition in this regard. Even under normal conditions such as surfing the web, typing documents, or downloading email attachments, exterior temperatures peaked above 100 degrees Fahrenheit after more than 25 minutes of use. Granted, this level of heat isn't horrible by any means, but it might be a little uncomfortable on your lap after an hour.
The hottest spot on this netbook was the area around the hard drive and RAM. The external temperature readings below (listed in degrees Fahrenheit) were recorded while browsing the Web and running two HDTune tests in a row after approximately 30 minutes of use:
In terms of noise, our review unit of the S10 remained quiet during most of the testing period ... except during graphics benchmarks. When the relatively weak integrated graphics were stressed during our review the internal cooling fan kicked into high gear. The fan noise wasn't horrible by any means, but it would be loud enough to get a teacher's attention in a quiet classroom. Again, this only happened when stressing the S10's graphics, so it shouldn't be an issue for casual web browsing.
Under normal use, backlight at 100 percent and using wireless for web browsing and watching several streaming videos at 75 percent volume, the S10 managed to deliver three hours and 43 minutes of battery life. This is similar to what we've seen from Atom-based netbooks with 3-cell batteries, so there isn't much to complain about here. However, as we've said in the past when reviewing other netbooks, these tiny laptops would make excellent mobile companions if they just had an option for a 6-cell or 8-cell battery for all-day use. In any case, lowering the screen brightness and turning off the wireless card should provide enough battery life for prolonged use with the 3-cell battery.
Is the Lenovo IdeaPad S10 the best netbook currently on the market and the best value for your dollar? Well, the answer isn't simple, particularly considering the way that new netbooks seem to arrive every week. The S10 does several things right that we wish more manufacturers did with their netbooks.
First, Lenovo was smart enough to realize and ExpressCard slot is important if you want to make a netbook useful. The ExpressCard slot gives you the option of adding more USB ports, Firewire, eSATA, or any number of other ports to the S10. More importantly, the ExpressCard slot makes it easy to add a broadband modem to the S10 so that you can stay connected to the internet anywhere with cell phone reception.
Second, the S10 has built-in Bluetooth. Frankly, we're amazed that every netbook doesn't come with built-in Bluetooth since it allows you to connect devices to the netbook without using one of the USB ports.
Last, but certainly not least the S10 combines the surprisingly capable Intel Atom processor with a standard hard drive. While budget SSDs are nice, most consumers can't get over the limited storage capacity of SSDs and that is why hard drives still have a place in netbooks.
On the other hand, the S10 still suffers from some of the same limitations as other netbooks: relatively high temperatures, small battery, and a cramped screen and keyboard.
Ultimately, the Lenovo IdeaPad S10 is a great ultra-portable laptop priced below $500. However, if you're willing to put up with a bulkier notebook then it's still possible to find a computer with more features and performance for almost the same price on sale.
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