Lenovo's IdeaPad S10 was one of the most popular netbooks for a variety of reasons. Its business-friendly tools, ExpressCard slot and reasonable price all made it a great option for consumers or corporate users. We previously complained about the S10's battery life, but Lenovo recently added a six-cell battery, which fixes the problem. Now, another revision is available which effectively replaces the S10 -- the IdeaPad S10-2. This new model sports some physical changes -- most good; a couple bad -- but keeps the same general components at a reduced price of about £260.
As far as the main body goes, the S10-2 is thin -- in fact, you probably wouldn't want it to be any thinner. Unfortunately, while it closes up into a neat package, the six-cell battery protrudes from the back and hangs off the rear hinge like a laptop riser that can't be put away. Maybe it's the netbook's new slender dimensions, but the dangling battery seems more intrusive than usual. We'd love to see the battery folded into the chassis in future versions. As it is, it's just plain unsightly and also gets in the way of packing the netbook flat into sleeves or cases. It does, however, make for a good stand on a desk.
With a matte-black interior and keyboard, a glossy 10.2-inch screen, and a smudge-collecting glossy black exterior with a black-on-black polka-dot pattern, the design seems to fall between the business and consumer stools.
The keyboard is comfortably responsive and has good travel, but it still feels small compared to a full-size keyboard. The multitouch Synaptics trackpad is adequate and has average buttons beneath it, but getting finger-scrolling to work is a frustrating exercise. While the keyboard has been improved with full-size shift keys and a larger, wider set of tapered keys, it still doesn't approach the comfort of a Lenovo ThinkPad keyboard, or even the HP Mini 110's fuller-size keys.
A quick-start button above the keyboard launches a Splashtop Linux-based instant-on operating system if pressed when the netbook's off. The functionally limited Web browser, music player, photo viewer, Flash-based game player, and Skype/chat options are decent, but still take time to boot up, although less time than it takes to boot Windows XP. We'd prefer to put XP in standby and just resume when needed. When not running Splashtop, the quick-start button can be customised as a hot key to launch apps within XP.
The 10.2-inch widescreen display has a 1,024x600-pixel native resolution, which is standard for 10-inch netbooks. The new glossy screen looks stylish, but attracts light much more than the S10's. Video, including 720p clips, looks clean and bright, though. Stereo speakers are positioned on the bottom of the S10-2, which makes them sound muffled. They'll suffice for basic listening, but we recommend using headphones.
One thing that made the S10 stand out was the inclusion of an ExpressCard/34 slot. It's sadly omitted from the S10-2's connection options. Maybe space had to be made to account for the thinner size, but taking away extra connectivity is never a good thing. The rest of the S10-2's port options, including three USB 2.0 sockets, are standard for netbooks.
Standard netbook performance
The S10-2 performed averagely in our benchmark tests, mainly because it has the same Intel Atom N270 CPU that nearly all netbooks do. For email, chatting, office-productivity tasks and basic media playback, the S10-2 works perfectly well. Facial-recognition security software and OneKey data back-up add some business-friendly applications to the package.