Most netbooks have very little to say for themselves aside from "I'm a netbook" and "so am I". Yet, despite sharing most of the elements that comprise all netbooks - an Intel Atom processor, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, a 10.1in screen and a 160GB hard drive - Lenovo's IdeaPad S10e does at least have one unique feature; as well as Windows XP, it has an "instant-on" Linux operating system.
It's called Lenovo QuickStart, but this is slightly misleading since it's essentially a re-branded version of DeviceVM's well known Splashtop software. This has a small component embedded into the BIOS that allows it to boot more or less instantly from the moment you hit the power button - in the case of the S10e it's around five seconds. Based on Linux, it offers very basic functionality, comprising a fully-featured web browser, a photo gallery, a music player, instant messaging and Skype chat.
Combined with the power, flexibility and familiarity of Windows XP, on paper the IdeaPad S10e delivers an ideal balance of functionality. Such a combination has, after all, been much sought after by netbook communities for a while now.
Unfortunately, while the idea is sound, in this instance the execution leaves something to be desired. Sure enough when you hit the power button you're quickly presented with options, but actually loading the web browser, for instance, takes around 40 to 50 seconds. This, as we quickly discovered, is barely faster than booting into Windows itself and obviously puts a dent in the instant-on credentials.
Other features, such as the music player, photo viewer and instant messaging client are more successful in the speed stakes. However, another issue is an insane level of sensitivity in the touchpad when using Lenovo QuickStart. You can't adjust this sensitivity, either, so you'll simply have to make do with it. Ultimately, though it's not without merit, the implementation of this feature means it isn't quite the killer feature Lenovo no doubt hoped it would be.