The term “netbook” is new to the computer lexicon and a lot of cool models have been showing up identifying themselves as such. Most of these scaled down laptops are running the Intel Atom processor (@1.60GHz), have 512MB-1GB of memory, somewhere between a 40-160GB hard drive, screens that range in size from just over 8 to just under 12 inches, a three or six cell LION battery and either Windows XP or a Linux based OS – all in around a 3+/- pound package.
I first noticed the ASUS EeePC and despite its obvious shortcomings in some areas really liked the idea of a small flexible computer that I could use to check email and surf the web. I thought a computer like this that was limited in what it could do but still functional would be a great. Yes – I know I could have gotten an iPhone, Blackberry or Handheld/PDA and had the same type of connectivity in my pocket but that wasn’t exactly what I wanted. My current phone can do some of that and more than two minutes staring at a two inch screen is too much.
In determining what netbook I wanted I found myself looking for a combination of a really good screen and something that had at least some potential for me to upgrade if I needed. I also wanted small and lightweight but not so tiny I may as well have gotten a PDA. In looking at various models at TigerDirect I also learned that some models are built a little more sturdy that others – I knew for a sub $500 laptop (most well under $350) there had to be a sacrifice somewhere and I found it. There were several models that wouldn’t have survived the wear and tear of being opened and closed 1000s of times a year, thrown in and out of backpacks and suitcases or even dropped once. These models were removed from the running. At the end of the day I really liked the look and feel of the Lenovo S Series. The S Series has three models the S10, S10-2 and S12. All three units have very similar specs under the hood (Intel Atom 1.60GHz, 1GB Memory, 160GB HD) and between a 10 and 12 inch screen (Guess which as which size?). After reading more than a few reviews I decided the redesigned S10 – the S10-2 was the way to go. It came in at under 3 pounds (2.65 – smallest of the three), had a six cell battery and was considered by most to be extremely durable.
My first impressions of the S10-2? So far so good. The keyboard is a little on the small side and I have large fingers – at first this was a problem. I am adapting and very glad I didn’t get the smaller S10 that other people with normal sized hands complained about. The screen is crystal clear and easy to read at a 1024×600 resolution. Some things fall off the bottom of the screen but so far it hasn’t been painful when they do. Windows XP runs on it very well – and yes – I did select XP over a Linux model. Here’s why – a) Linux is free and can be installed easily b) I wasn’t sure if my Mobile Broadband card would work with just any old Linux distribution and didn’t want to waste being able to use the computer in the car (no – not when I am driving). It does have a Quick Start Instant-on feature that pulls up what must be some light OS because it loads instantly. Anyway – more reports as I continue to work on the machine – feel free to post questions.