LG S1 Review (pics, specs)

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The LG S1 laptop is a 15.4″ widescreen Core Duo notebook that won the prestigious Red Dot design award for its looks.  The S1 under review is configured with a 2.0GHz Core Duo processor, ATI X1600 graphics card, 100GB hard drive and 1GB of RAM.


LG S1 (view large image)

LG XNote S1 Specs:

  • Processor: Intel Core Duo T2500 2.0GHz processor
  • Screen: 15.4″ WSXGA (1,680 x 1050), Fine Bright Technology (glossy screen)
  • Graphics: ATI Mobility Radeon X1600
  • RAM: 1GB (667MHz, dual channel) supports up to 4GB
  • Hard Drive: 100GB SATA, 5400RPM
  • Optical Drive: Super Multi dual Layer
  • Wireless: 802.11b/g, Bluetooth (BlueCore 4)
  • Slots: 5-in-1 card reader (XD/SD/MMC/MS/MS Pro), PCMCIA Type II
  • Ports: 3 USB 2.0, VGA/Monitor out, Modem, Ethernet, S-Video, FireWire, Mic-in, Line-out
  • OS: Windows XP Pro
  • Weight: 6.21lbs
  • Product Page: LG XNote S1 Product Page (Korean), LG XNote S1 Product Page (English)

This S1 laptop was ordered over the web from H Y Group, an Israeli online catalog that deals mostly with selling Korean imported LG Electronics goods (English version of site).  The notebook was ordered and delivered in Israel – it arrived imported from Korea approximately two weeks after the order was placed.


A view of the actual setup of the S1 under review here (view large image)

Build Quality and Design

The LG S1 was awarded with a 2006 German “Red Dot” design award, a quote from the award description of this laptop:

“The 15.4-inch wide screen S1 Express Dual notebook boasts a glossy piano-black design. It sports outstanding multimedia features with Intel Centrino Duo Mobile Technology, and the latest video (ATI Mobility Radeon X1K series) and audio technology.

It also provides the maximum level of security with an embedded security chip called TPM and a fingerprint reader. The S1 Express Dual notebook PC is expected to set the standard for cutting edge notebook PC design thanks to its Red dot Design Award 2006.”


The lid is a beautiful piano black, but it is prone to picking up finger marks (view large image)

The design IS spectacular — it is a beautifully designed laptop and the “piano black” colour shines.  It emits a sort of blue sparkle under lights, which makes it even better looking.  The down side is that the top of the laptop is very sensitive to finger prints and shows every place it was touched.


LG S1 keyboard layout (view large image)

The keyboard is well built with a full 99-keys, including a dedicated number pad — a very unique feature in a 15.4″ screen laptop.  However, the spaces between the keys looks a bit too big and I fear this area cause it to collect a lot of dust in the keyboard in the future.


(view large image)

The touchpad is well located at the bottom of the keyboard, it provides a top to bottom scroll function, unfortunately there is not side to side shortcut scrolling.  It also appears to me that gaps here might prove a problematic area for collecting dust.

The notebook casing is plastic, but not a cheap type of plastic as it feels very strong and the screen doesn’t bend easily at all.  The only thing I’m really missing from a design and build perspective is that there is no latch to hook the screen to the body with, I feel that would provide a more secure closing mechanism.


LG S1 lid view (view large image)

Overall the LG S1 laptop feels very solid, more solid than any Toshiba or Sony I have used before, but not as solid as an IBM ThinkPad that I have used.

9 out of 10

Screen and Display

This LG S1 computer comes with a WSXGA 1050 x 1680 resolution screen with “Fine Bright Technology”, which just means a glossy screen finish.   Although I have heard many good things in the past about LG’s screen quality, I have seen better screens than this one.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s nice and does a good job, but it looks a bit dark overall and is not as good as some Sony laptop screens I have viewed.  However, I should mention it is a WSXGA screen which are known to be not as good as the WXGA screen panels that LG offers in its notebooks.  On the plus side with WSXGA compared to WXGA, the higher resolution offers a huge amount of desktop real estate and it’s very comfortable to work with it on heavy graphics and 3D.  When using 3D games, the display and graphics is helped greatly by the ATI X1600 256MB graphics card that came with my S1 notebook.

8 out of 10

Sound

The S1 laptop comes with a 5.1 “SRS TruSurround” High Def card for 3-dimensional sound.  While the sound card is top notch, the speakers are disappointing — the sound is flat and cut off very low.  However, the store I bought it from gave me LG’s surround headset as a bonus  which makes it a pleasure to watch a movie or play a game on this notebook.  I have also bought Logitech’s X-530 speakers to use with it and these speakers work perfectly and provide great sound.

8 out of 10 (the head set adds .5 to the score)

Performance

Now we are talking!  As an industrial and 3D designer this is the reason I bought this laptop — it is equipped with the high end Intel Core Duo T2500 processor, 1GB 677 MHz of RAM, the ATI X1600 graphics card I mentioned before and a 100GB 5400 RPM SATA hard drive.  This machine is amazing for performance!  Personified, it does everything with a smile.  Plays DVDs and scans for viruses at the same time with no problems, 3D design programs complete tasks in a heart beat.   I ran 3DMark 2005 on this laptop and the results were somewhere in the 4,200 3DMark range (a very good score).

Notebook 3DMark 05 Results
LG S1 (2.0GHz Core Duo, ATI X1600 256MB)  4,200 3D Marks
Apple MacBook Pro (2.0GHz Core Duo, ATI X1600 128MB)  2866 3D Marks
Alienware M7700 (AMD Athlon FX-60 Nvidia GeForce Go7800 GTX)  7,078 3DMarks
ThinkPad T43 (1.86GHz, ATI X300 64MB graphics)  727 3DMarks
Asus V6Va (2.13 GHz Pentium M, ATI Radeon Mobility x700 128 MB)  2,530 3D Marks
Fujitsu n6410 (1.66 GHz Core Duo, ATI X1400 128MB)  2,273 3DMarks
HP dv4000 (1.86GHz Pentium M, ATI X700 128MB)  2,536 3D Marks
Sony VAIO FE590 (1.83GHz Core Duo, nVidia 7400 128MB)  1,950 3DMarks

 

The only average performance component in this notebook is the hard drive — with only 5400 RPMs it feels a bit slow relative to the rest of the components sometimes.  A 7200RPM hard drive would have been sweeter.

13 out of 10 (and it would be 15 if it had a 7200 RPM hard drive)!

Noise

The LG S1 comes with a 3-speed quiet fan and a cooling system.  The noise is hardly noticed even under usage of heavy applications such as when playing movies or doing 3D gaming.

10 out of 10

Heat

The fan and the cooling system are quiet and work very well to keep the notebook cool. The bottom doesn’t heat to a disturbing level at any time.  The far right corner gets warmer at some points, but it’s usable on your knees the whole time.

9.5 out of 10

Accessories and other Options

The LG S1 comes with a nice array of ports, slots, and other options.  Here’s a quick rundown of other “stuff” I got with this notebook not mentioned anywhere else in the review:

  • X16 Multi DVD drive
  • Card Reader – 5 in 1 including Sony’s Memory Stick Pro
  • Remote Control – full control on the “Direct media” software – DVD, TV or Music
  • Fingerprint Reader
  • WiFi with dual antenna (802.11 b/g)
  • BlueTooth (Blue Core 4)
  • USB hubs – 3 total, 2 on the right, one on the left
  • 1 year of international Warranty and another 2 in Israel

10 out of 10

Battery and Power

The 6 Cell Li-Ion battery supplied with the laptop was surprisingly long lasting – 2.5 to almost 3 hours surfing the web using Wi-Fi or 2 – 2.5 hours of DVD playing or gaming.  The 9 cell battery was not available to test.

Battery Miser comes with the laptop to help configure and improve your battery life and makes a very good job of this.

9 out of 10

Overall

After checking the market for a while before buying this laptop I have came to a conclusion that this is probably the strongest 15.4″ laptop out there.  After using it for a little while I’m pretty sure I was right: this laptop has no big weaknesses and the only part that I would truly like to see improved is the screen brightness.  It’s a perfect desktop replacement.

9.5 out of 10 overall


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