May 13, 2009, 2:36 PM — It might not look like a major development, Lenovo announcing an incremental update to the IdeaPad S10, dubbed the IdeaPad S10 (High Capacity). However, it sends a message: Namely, that Lenovo takes netbooks seriously--and believes that it delivered a truly awesome model the first time around (it did). That doesn't mean the original S10 was perfect. The S10 (High Capacity) brings a slight refresh with a few bits and bobs that make it an even better deal than before.
Performance-wise, I didn't expect to see a difference. After all, it's running with the same N270 processor, 1GB of RAM, and a 160GB hard disk sitting under the hood. It's also got the same 10.2-inch screen and the same 1024-by-600-pixel resolution. What I can't suss out is why this machine scored a 37 in WorldBench 6 while the original notched a 41. On the bright side, it does have gumption. The 6-cell battery in our review unit powered the device for a little over 5 hours.
It's a hair thinner (it now measures 9.8 by 7.7 by 1.4 inches) and more than a pound lighter (at 2.4 pounds, down from 3.6 pounds), and it has a couple of nips and tucks that I noticed straightaway. The two-tone colors pop like a good sports coupe while the unit retains its solidly-built netbook frame. And the keys are a bit bigger, though the machine weighs less (thanks to the big "L" for making the left-shift key a little longer). While the keyboard is very comfortable to tap on, how about flipping the function and control keys? It's a major pain to keep hitting the wrong one.
Something that really should have been changed, but wasn't, is the touchpad. The designers go to all this trouble to expand the keyboard, but my fingers are almost rebelling against me for even thinking about trying to use that touchpad. It's about as small as the the original Asus Eee PC's. Oompah Loompahs say, "That's tiny!" So if you happen to have big sausage-y adult-man hands (like me), you're potentially in for a world of hurt.
But it's not all doom-and-gloom. (Especially if you have dainty digits.) The updated S10 also has a fairly robust, praiseworthy software package. VeriFace Recognition III security software carries over from previous IdeaPads and ThinkPads, so bully to Lenovo for including it here. And the OneKey Rescue software that I saluted in the original S10 is back. It's pretty handy--if pretty basic. You can create full or partial backups inside of a couple clicks (after tapping the shortcut button above the keyboard).
Lenovo Idea Central is a news reader and glorified series of rotating ads in a customer-friendly interface. You might find some use in it--I didn't. What I did find fairly useful: The QuickStart application. Don't want to boot into Windows? You get rapid access to a handful of applications such as Skype, Web browsing, a photo manager, and a media player.
Not half bad considering that these updated machines start at $349 (our test unit, complete with a six-cell battery, sells for $409 as of 5/11/2009).