Lenovo makes some terrific laptop computers. When the company bought the ThinkPad brand from IBM ( IBM) a few years back, I was hoping that it would keep up the former owner's high standards. In short, it has. Lenovo has actually improved the ThinkPad laptop line-up and, at the same time, added its own branded line of laptops with different features. Everything I've been privileged to test since the takeover has been great. That's why I was so excited when Lenovo announced its version of an Asus Eee PC killer.
Lenovo calls the mini-notebook the S-10 "Ideapad." The first thing that differentiates the Ideapad from other small laptops is all the colors. In addition to glossy black or white, the Ideapad will also be sold in glossy pink, blue and red enclosures. If the "S" in S-10 stands for small, then the number 10 stands for the size of the screen. Actually, it's a 10.2-inch (diagonal) WSVGA, AntiGlare, TFT screen with an integrated, i.3 MP camera (1,024 by 600 pixels). The laptop's brain consists of a 1.6 GHz Intel ( INTC) Atom N270 Single Core processor. There's also an Intel Graphics Accelerator 950 chip inside, too. The computer has 512 MB of SDRAM (expandable up to 2 GB), an 80 GB hard drive (expandable to 160 GB), Microsoft Windows XP Home operating software, a 4-in-1 memory card reader. Ethernet, 802.11b/g Wi-Fi and Bluetooth complete the list. The S-10 measures 9.85 by 7.2 by 1.08 inches and weighs 2.3 pounds in its lightest configuration. A three-cell rechargeable battery is standard (figure as much as three hours of constant operation before needing recharging). There's a larger, optional six-cell battery pack that weighs more and offers nearly double the battery life. Built-in stereo speakers are a nice touch.
The Ideapad's keyboard is terrific. I expect nothing less from Lenovo. ThinkPad keyboards are my favorite. In this case, it's 85% the size of a standard computer keyboard. I didn't take out a ruler to measure but I can tell you it's very easy to touch-type on it. Although I've been testing the S-10 for only a few weeks, I've fallen in love with it. It does everything I need a small, portable laptop to do - and it does it very, very well. It feels like a precision piece of gear and everything seems to work exactly as described (not always a given in this line of work). The only minor feature I can honestly say I don't like is the little light above the keyboard that blinks every time the hard drive is being accessed. That LED light is blue, which I personally find annoying. I'd rather it was red, orange, yellow or green. I I could put a piece of tape over it. On the other hand, you might prefer the blue light. As you can, tell there's not much to complain about. The basic white S-10 mini-laptop can be ordered on the Lenovo Web site for $399. Add $230 for the red model. Other colors as well as additional hardware configurations should be available soon. Overall, I can highly recommend Lenovo's S-10 Ideapad as a great little laptop being sold at a reasonable price. It could give the Eee and Dell's ( DELL) new mini a run for the money. Apple ( AAPL), are you listening? Highly recommended.