Review: Lenovo IdeaPad S10-2

To call Lenovo’s IdeaPad S10-2 a modest upgrade to its dazzling IdeaPad S10 would be an understatement. Even Lenovo seems to get this, giving this netbook no model number it can call its own.

To be sure, the S10 Jr. has a few smart updates over its progenitor. It’s the barest bit thinner (but only if you ignore the beefier battery, which now juts out from the base like a digital hernia), and thanks to that oversized power cell, battery life is dramatically improved (to nearly four hours) while still tipping the scales with the same 2.7-pound weight as the S10 Sr.

But the most noticeable upgrade is the brighter LED backlighting in the 10.1-inch, 1024 x 600-pixel LCD, which at last brings the dim screen of the original S10 up to par with the competition. Lenovo also tosses in a quick-boot operating system that’s reasonably successful, though XP boots fast enough to make it somewhat irrelevant.

Other features are largely unchanged: The 1.6-GHz Atom CPU, 1 GB of RAM, and 160-GB hard drive are the same as the original S10. Those specs were fine late last year, and they’re still generally fine today, though we inexplicably had more trouble getting benchmarks to run with the S10-2 than with the earlier model. Overall, however, performance feels about the same as before.

But there’s one last bit of good news, as Lenovo has cut the price of the netbook to $350. Considering the original S10 was $470 at release last October, that’s a deep discount that’s hard to pass up.

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