LG S1 Review

by Reads (4,257)

Introduction

The LG S1-M001A9 is a great laptop and I would consider it as a portable desktop replacement. It features a great high resolution 15.4″ screen that consists of a X1600 256MB video card. The laptop also features a glossy piano black paint on the lid and glossy white paint around the keyboard.

*Note: Most pictures are high resolution, click on the thumbnail and then expand the image.











Specs:
Processor: Core Duo 2.16GHz (2MB-T2600)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows XP Professional
Chipset: Mobile Intel 945PM Express
Memory: 2 X 1024MB DDR2 (667MHz)
Hard Drive: 100GB (SATA) 5400RPM
Optical Drive: Super Multi DVD-DL
Audio: SRS TruSurround XT, SRS WOW XT, 5.1CH Dolby Digital, XTS Pro, 24bit High Definition, Stereo Speakers (3W), Internal-MIC
Input/Output: 3USB, VGA, RJ11, RJ45, S-Video, IEEE 1394, Mic-in, Line-in(S/PDIF), Headphone, *IR Receiver (for a remote control)
AC Adapter: 90W
Dimensions: 358.8 X 264.4 X 31.7 mm
Weight: 2.82 Kg (with a standard 6cell battery)
LCD: 15.4″ WSXGA+ (Matte)
Graphics: ATI X1600 256MB (up to 512MB HyperMemory)
W-LAN Antenna: Dual Hexa-Band Antenna
Wireless: Intel Pro/Wireless 3945ABG (802.11a/b/g)*
Modem: 56kbps Modem
LAN: Gigabit Ethernet
Bluetooth: BlueCore 4
Security: Fingerprint, TPM, HDD Security
Keyboard: Full Size 99 Keys with a Numeric Keypad
Pointing Device: Touchpad with Scroll Function
Memory Card Slot: 5-in-1 (XD/SD/MMC/MS/MS Pro)
PC Card Slot: ExpressCard/54 or PCMCIA Type II
Standard: 6Cell (Li-Ion)
Optional: 9Cell (Li-Ion)

Screen
There is little flex in the lid if you press reasonably hard. There is no rippling in the screen, no matter how hard you press into the LCD. There is a slight sound of creaking when you touch the bezel around the LCD but it is nothing one should worry about.









Viewing Angles (Pics of Horizontal and Vertical Angles to CRT)
The viewing angles are amazing; you can easily fit 1-5 viewers on a movie.
The horizontal viewing angles are great, anywhere from 130-150 degrees with
minimal discoloration. The vertical viewing angles are good, about 70-100degrees with minimal discoloration.















Brightness
The screen looks great, it reminds me of the ASUS Z70va. The brightness is good, however I would have prefered it if it can go even brighter as there are only nine brightness
settings. I also wish there were more levels, so that it could go darker when needed.

This picture shows the screen at full brightness.


This picture shows the screen at the lowest brightness.



Backlight
The backlight is nice, there is very minimal light leakage. There is little leakage at the midpoint of both the top and bottom of the screen. Since the light leakage is very minimal, you will not be able to notice it during movies and gaming.

This picture does not accurately show the minor light leakage, due to the glare from the flash and lighting in the room. Nothing to be conerned about.


Overall Display
Overall, I am quite pleased with the display. Furthermore the scaling ability is very good. The scaling on the desktop exhibits no blurring of the text or icons. In games the scaling does not seem to harm performance at all. The games looked great at 1076×768, 1280×768, and as 1680×1050.

Keyboard
Flex
If the keyboard is pressed very hard there’s very little flex. However, since flex is not exhibited under normal use and the keys have a reasonable travel distance, there should not be any concerns.





Sound
There is a click sound to the keys but it is not very loud. In a library setting it would not be too noticeable. I find the click sound to be satisfying to know that you have pressed a key. The keys are very soft and are easy to use.

Ergonomics
The keyboard feels perfect. Moving from a desktop keyboard to the LG S1 keyboard is easy, and one big plus is that the ctrl key is in the correct position. Using CTRL + V/C are easy to use since the FN key is placed to the right of the CTRL key.

Furthermore, there is a mini num pad that can turn on by using the num lock key. The num pad also feels great to use. This is one additional feature that many would be grateful for. In addition, the insert, delete, home, end, page up, page down keys are right above the num pad and is very easy to use.

Touchpad





Heat
The touchpad is the first thing to get warm. It starts off cool, but gets slightly warmer as you use it more and more. This heat does not make me feel uncomfortable when using it.

Smooth movement
The touchpad has a grainy feel to it, and it is very responsive. However the touchpad area is a little small compared to my liking and I find myself touching the edge of the pad quite often.

The scroll up and down works perfectly, also there is a horizontal scroll which is a built in feature of the touchpad. So if you had to scroll horizontally, this function is located at the bottom of the touch pad area. However this makes the touch pad a little smaller.

Buttons
The touchpad buttons are very responsive, you can press it from anywhere and it will be responsive. The sound of the buttons makes a firm click sound that is not too loud. The buttons are also coated in a white glossy paint which makes them feel smooth.

Sound System
Speaker Location
The speakers are comfortably placed at the front which is a good thing because the sound is directed to you. There are 2 speakers located at each side of the front. The sound is better than most laptop speakers because of the audio technology within the laptop. The features are SRS TruSurround XT, SRS WOW XT, 5.1CH Dolby Digital, XTS Pro, 24bit.

Using my headphones were great, everything sounds perfect, nice bass and treble.
Fortunately these jacks were placed on the right hand side. They are also color coded for ease of use. The speakers do turn off when you place the headphones into the jack.

Sound Quality (Treble and Bass)
The sound is actually quite decent; the volume is quite loud and is good to view movies in. The treble which is mainly sound effects and voice sounds are very good for a laptop. However the lack of bass is still prevalent in this notebook.

Build Quality
Hinges
There is a noticeable amount of flex on the hinges; however this does not hinder the ability of the hinges holding the screen. There is very little wobbling of the screen, when your moving the screen.

The hinge also has the black glossy piano paint. The hinge design allows the screen to be pushed all the way to the back, which is nice.

Wrist pads Flex and Creak
Both left and right palm rests have a little flex, the feel of the palm rests are nice because of the glossy white paint on the plastic makes things very smooth. There is no evident creaking.

The overall build quality is good, the screen bezel and lid are durable and good looking. They keyboard is definitely one of the biggest pros to this laptop, the quality and the num pad is just a pleasure to have. The touch pad is also quite decent but rather small.

Heat and Noise
Where are the warm spots?
The touchpad is the first thing to start to get warm, but it never gets too warm. The Left palm rest only gets warm if you are doing hard drive intensive work. Most of the time the left palm rest is relatively cool.

The left side of the keyboard gets warm but not uncomfortably. If you look at the picture of the keyboard, you will see the words,”S1 Express Dual” this entire spot gets warm, but not hot enough to burn. This is under intensive tasks, like games and installation.

Generally the entire right side of the laptop is perfectly cool, including the right palm rest, right side of the keyboard and above the keyboard.

Where does the noise come from?
Noise is not a problem here; this laptop is extremely quiet you don’t hear anything while gaming. I had to put my ear against the vent to hear a slight “whirr” sound. Noise will not be a problem, including in a library setting. There are two vents, one located at the left hand side further to the back and another at the back left corner. Both of which have no sounds coming out of them.

The heat that comes out of the 2 vents is warm to hot in terms of feeling. Fortunately, it is still not warm or hot enough to burn your finger if you were to touch the vents, even while gaming or intensive tasks.

Processor and Performance
The dual core processor is very fast, and is able to do a lot of tasks. I ran SuperPi 2 million while installing COD2 and it finished in 1 minute and 26 seconds, compared to running SuperPi 2 million alone at 1 minute and 13 seconds. This shows how beneficial the 2.16GHz and 2GB of ram is. Plus it shows how awesome the performance of this system is. Multi-tasking is a breeze for this system.

I used BootlogXP to get how fast the system boots, it completed the boot in 85 seconds which is reasonable because of the amount of startup programs needed for the laptop to run flawlessly. Everything you throw at it is done with ease.

Input and Outputs Ports


The back of the laptop has, S-Video out, Kensington Lock port, Battery Pack, Modem, Gigabyte Ethernet, Vent, A/C Adapter Plug.


Left side, there is a Vent, VGA out port, 1x USB 2.0, ExpressCard/54 or PCMCIA Type II, under that is the 5-1 memory card reader.


Right side, Mic-In, Headphone jack, Line in, 1993 fire wire port, Super Multi DVD-DL Rom, and 2x USB 2.0


The front of the laptop has the left speaker, then the latch to open the screen, under that there is the infrared, and then there is the right speaker.



You can see how thin the laptop is of the following pictures using these 3 Canadian coins, the Tooney, Loony, and Quarter.




There are also LED indicators at the front of the laptop which are very helpful.

The first led is AC power on, On/Off, battery on or off, usage, num lock, caps lock, and wireless on and off.

The weight can be seen on the scale, just the laptop itself with the battery pack in, weighs 6.0lbs.


If you add the power brick the weight is now 7.0lbs.



The power brick is 5″ x 2″ x 1″ in dimensions which is rather good when compared to others which can be much larger.



Wireless
The wireless connection worked flawlessly. The Intel Pro/Wirless 3945ABG (802.11a/b/g) is the wireless card in the LG S1. Once the laptop was booted, I only had to make 3 clicks and type a password to get online and surf the internet. The connection strength showed 5 full bars and speeds were great.

There is another feature for the laptop which is Dual Hexa-Band Antenna, this is where two antennas instead of one is located in the bezel of the screen. There is one antenna on either side of the screen. This is suppose to improve wireless connectivity and strength.

The laptop also comes with BlueCore 4, which is for your Bluetooth devices. There’s also infrared which can be used for the remote. The LG S1 has a remote that allows the user to do many tasks in the Direct Media mode using the infrared remote.

Operating System and Software
Windows Version
The laptop comes with Windows XP Pro SP2. When you first boot the laptop, there’s a long LG loading time. LG loads several settings and program settings during this time, which takes roughly 25 minutes to finish, before you can use Windows and start using it.

Included
The software that comes inside the box are LG DVD solution, LG MUI DVD, and LG Intelligent update. Also there’s a LG Recover Disk, and all of this software is already pre-installed on the laptop.



Direct Media
There is a dedicated Direct Media, when the laptop is turned off, you can just press this button and it will load the LG Direct Media interface which will allow the user to view DVDs, Pictures, Songs and more. The interesting thing though, it did load into Windows to do this.

There is a remote control for the Direct Media features and it signals through infrared. LG also provides a blue micro fiber cloth to clean the screen and the entire laptop, I found this quite handy because the laptop can get dirty quickly.

Lastly, there is a fingerprint reader, and the software is preinstalled, I have not tested it, but business users would be satisfied by not having to remember passwords but instead just use their finger to protect their information.

Battery
I conducted battery life test, the settings were, WIFI on, the power mode was on max battery, and I tried various screen brightness levels. When putting the screen to the lowest brightness you can still read everything quite comfortably. The laptop was just doing light tasks like web surfing and typing documents. Just a note, the graphics card did not underclock on this power mode, thus battery life was slightly lower than anticipated.





Brightness Battery
9/9 2 hours
8/9 2 hr: 25 mins
7/9 2 hr: 30 mins
6/9 2 hr: 35 mins
5/9 2 hr: 40 mins
4/9 2 hr: 42 mins
3/9 2 hr: 45 mins
2/9 2 hr: 46 mins
1/9 2 hr: 50 mins

The battery life will average roughly 2 hours and 40 minutes under these settings, however the big thing to consider is that the graphic card was still running at full speed, and that we know underclocking the graphics would give up to another 30 minutes to the battery life.

The battery life of this notebook is okay, but a notebook of this caliber and performance, the graphics card definitely needs to be underclocked while on max battery saving mode.
There is also an optional 9 cell battery, and just estimating it may be able to achieve 4-4.5 hours with similar settings.

Benchmarks
SuperPi
I ran SuperPi 2 million in 1 minute and 13 seconds.
As I previously mentioned above, I ran SuperP1 2 Million and installing Call of Duty 2 and it finished in 1 minute and 26 seconds. I found this to be exceptional because it shows how powerful the system is and how good it is at multitasking.

HD Tune
This measures how well the hard drive performs, and it did okay for a 100GB hard drive at 5400 rpm.


3DMark05 = 3902
The score was great because it is using stock LG drivers, no overclocking.


3DMark06 = 1769
Once again stock LG drivers and no overclocking.


Games
Call of Duty 2
The graphics are amazing, at native resolution, medium to max settings with 4x AA.
The game also sounds great too, no bass though. Text on the screen looks perfect too.


Scaling the game to 1280×768 the game was noticeably smoother, with max settings and it did look good.


F.E.A.R.
This game is very playable at 1400×1050 and medium settings, and the game looks amazing. It was very fun to play at those settings.


I then decided to drop the resolution to 1024×768 and then set most settings to max with AA and the game was playable and it looked extremely realistic. Once again the scaling was perfect.




Need For Speed: Most Wanted
This game definitely takes a toll on the machine, the game is playable at 1024×768, and the graphic settings are all high to max. The game looks great and it is very enjoyable. The scaling of the game worked well, however this game is very demanding on the graphic card and if one were to use a higher resolution, you would need a better video card.



Oblivion
This is also another very demanding game, and it is playable at native resolution, but comes at a sacrifice of graphic settings. The settings were relatively medium and 4x AA. The game did look great.



I then set the resolution at 1280×768 and pretty much maxed out the graphics and the game was silky smooth with amazing graphics. This is amazing and many people will appreciate how much this graphic card can output.

Customer Support
I have fortunately not have had any problems with the laptop, so I cannot comment on how good their service is. I did call them regarding warranty questions and other questions regarding the LG P1 and S1, and their customer service is okay. I made 3 calls, and 2 calls turned out great, where all my questions were answered and the other call the lady just didn’t know what she was talking about.

However, it seems they try to help no matter what. Also the first time I called, they couldn’t answer my questions but then another person called me 2 hours later giving me full details about everything regarding laptops. I would have to say all in all their customer service is above average.

Pros:
Screen <- Excellent viewing angles, able to scale well,
X1600 <- Great performance, mid range gaming solution
Dual Core <- Excellent performance, no slow downs
Sata HD <- Uses a 5400rpm SATA hard drive.
Port Layout <- I liked the layout of the ports
Quality <- decent build quality, very little flexing
Heat <- this is one cool laptop, only the right side gets warm under intensive tasks
Noise <- What noise? It barely makes a sound doing anything.
Speakers <- The speakers have good treble and audio features.
Wireless <- Worked well without a hitch, 3 clicks to start working.
Keyboard <- Nice, features a num pad, keyboard feel almost desktop like
Fingerprint Reader <- A nice feature. Many will like, including business users.
Bluetooth <- BlueCore4 which is enhanced Bluetooth 2.0, for wireless devices.
Looks <- Piano black paint, and white glossy paint, one of the best looking laptops.

Average:
Touchpad <- Responsive, but the touchpad area is rather small.
Thick <- 1.4″ thick in the back, still comparable to other 15.4″ laptops
Big <- the laptop is not bulky, but comparable to other 15.4″ laptops
Weight <- It weighs ~6.0lbs and 7.0lbs with the power brick
Remote <- Direct Media remote control, it is just nifty, and may be of some use.

Cons:
Speakers <- No bass was evident despite all the audio technology in the laptop.
Screen <- May not be bright enough for some users
Battery Life <- 6 cell, only get on average 2 hours and 40 minutes (GPU needs to be underclocked)
DVI <-There is a lack of a DVI port; this may deter users who need it.
Value <- it is expensive ~$2700 Canadian, ~$2600 US, but packs a lot of punch!

Rating:
I would rate this notebook 8/10; good, by using the above pros, average, and cons of the laptop.

Conclusions
Overall this laptop is definitely good, a little pricey for some. The performance is great, and I would consider this to be a portable desktop replacement. For those who move around a couple of times a week, and want power under the hood, this notebook is for you. If one needs more battery life, there is an optional 9 cell battery for business users, and some school users. I would definitely recommend this laptop to anyone looking for the pros listed above and don’t mind paying for it.

 This review is done by Akhil Parujanwala, a notebook reviewer at www.MilestonePC.com


LEAVE A COMMENT

0 Comments

|
All content posted on TechnologyGuide is granted to TechnologyGuide with electronic publishing rights in perpetuity, as all content posted on this site becomes a part of the community.