As I mentioned earlier, I picked up a Lenovo S10 over the weekend… I wish I had a short answer on how it is, but between getting used to a new processor, form factor, and beta OS… well, there simply isn’t a short answer to the question. But one thing is certain:
It’s full of win.
The S10 I got come with 1GB of RAM and a 160GB HDD. Seem a little off balanced? Yeah, I thought so too… it also came with a single core Atom with-what-I-believe-to-be HyperThreaded processor and a 10.2″ display. Coming from a 15.4″ screen Lenovo and a 13.3″ MacBook, this is a big difference in form factors. That said, how is it holding up?
Size – I’m typing this post on it, mostly to see if it can be a notebook-replacer or simply an add on. I keep mistyping the 1 because it’s the left most key on the number row – `~ is up on the row with the F-keys. Weight-wise, it’s phenomenal. Less than three pounds, easily. True, the MacBook didn’t feel much heavier, but it simply was. I would consider the bigger battery too but time will tell on that – it’s a pricy bugger.
Keyboard – feels good. Layout is OK. Learning curve is all.
Battery Life – hard to tell because of all of the installing and the raw and untweaked Windows 7 drivers, but I believe that I’ll get 2-3 hours of usage with a Balanced power scheme, WiFi on, and the screen brightness down to minimal.
Heat – anyone that has ever heard me talk about a notebook knows heat is a huge deal for me. My Lenovo T61p and MacBook have been good with regards to a minimal amount of heat. The S10 is so-so with it. The underside isn’t remarkably hot, but the wrist rests are getting toasty after 30 minutes of light usage. HDD is on true, but I think it’s more WiFi heat than anything else. We’ll see how it holds up.
Windows 7 – a must have. XP looks so… bleh, next to Vista or OSX but neither OS would do well on this netbook. OSX is… well, a bootleg, for lack of a better term. Often a version behind and always requiring a hacked driver with unofficial support – not my cup of team for an OS I pay cash for. True, Windows 7 is in beta and may have the same worries around support for an unsupported OS, but Windows 7 will be supported after launch… it’s pretty snappy speed wise, it shows off Areo on my Intel Graphics 950 chip, and has been remarkably stable.
What was missing in getting Windows 7 Beta working?
– Before getting into Windows 7, I first wanted to cover my bases about getting back to a clean state if I needed to… since I didn’t get any recovery discs from Lenovo in the box, I went ahead first made a copy of the Drivers directory on the D: drive by hand and then ran a system backup using Lenovo’s tools… this way, I can get back to XP if I need to, ya? Ya. C: is the OS, D: is the backup software and drivers.
– Installed via an external DVD drive but I’ve heard you can make a USB thumbdrive for booting purposes… that was easy.
– After installing there was one lone missing driver. This is the Lenovo Power Manager device that needs a driver. You can use the included XP one from D:\drivers\Energy_Management – install that the device driver is picked up. This also gives you an application for Power Management – I’m not using that right now but I’ve found that you need to give that Admin rights and I don’t think I need it anyway – time will tell on that.
– Another thing that I wanted installed was an updated mouse driver so that I could turn of Touchpad tapping… for that I went to http://www.synaptics.com/ and got the Vista driver. Works well (which is good because the XP version on D: does not).
– Aero? Yep, it supports that, especially if you leave it on the balanced power setting. You also have the option of flipping to non-Aero mode to save even more power… very nice touch.
– Sound controls sorta work sometimes. Can’t tell you why but Fn + RightArrow and Fn + LeftArrow don’t impact the volume most of the time. I’ve seen it happen once or twice and I even remapped one of them to Mute, just to have a direct path to it since there’s no hardware for it. This I write off to out of date drivers.
– Other devices: everything else worked out of the box but there was a little question about the built in SD reader… been OK for a number of hours now so no worries; I think a driver got outta whack. Another thing that surprised me was the WiFi card – I think it defaults to 802.11b. Either way, I’ve opted to let it scale up to 802.11g, because I want the speed – that too can cause some more heat.
– Extra AC Adapter? It’s cheap, so thats a no braining.
– More RAM? This is an interesting one. There’s 512MB on every S10 and one SODIMM socket. On my model, I had a 512MB SODIMM pre-installed, giving me 1GB RAM. Every bit of documentation that I’ve seen says that the max for the S10 is 1.5GB RAM, and I’ve found that to be sorta true. Even though I can put a 2GB chip into the socket, the maximum the machine can see is 2GB due to the nature of the chipset in the S10. Opting to go for 2GB instead of 1.5GB, I bought the bigger SODIMM and put it in. Took a total of four minutes, all said and done.
As it stands right now, I’ve got 64% left on the battery and it tells me that means around 2:20 left on the single charge. No idea if that’s accurate but if it is, I’ll be getting more than just 2 hours outta it, since it’s been on for about an hour now.
Cannot wait to get Windows 7 on this machine with a full bevy of drivers from Lenovo – should be an incredible machine once that’s done.
Like I said: full of win.