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Lenovo IdeaPad S10e - Lenovo IdeaPad S10e

Andy Vandervell

By Andy Vandervell



Our Score:


User Score:

Outwardly, the S10e lacks any discernible visual flair, but this isn't to say it's ugly - simply understated. Aside from the silver plastic accenting on the end of the hinge section, the S10e has an almost ThinkPad-esque air to it. Mind you, this is partly due to its all black finish and should you want something a little more exciting, a red and white version is also available.

One thing that's rather good about this design is the complete absence of glossy plastic. This makes the S10e less vulnerable to the usual proliferation of fingerprints and grease, though the smooth finish on the lid can become a little tainted in this regard. It is also one of the best made netbooks you're likely to find. Its squared-off, simple design and good quality plastics are very reassuring and opening up the upgrade compartment reveals a very well secured hard drive, though there's no other protection beyond this.

This sense of solidity is continued in the keyboard. Keys don't have a tremendous amount of travel, but what is there is perfectly adequate and the key action as a whole is crisp, firm and provides plenty of tactile feedback. Likewise, though the keys themselves are arguably slightly smaller than on, for example, the Samsung NC10, they're not small enough to cause any real problem.

Regrettably, the same things can't be said of the keyboard layout. Things start badly when we spotted the Fn key lurking outside the Ctrl key; a throwback to the ThinkPad range that still sports this irritating facet. However, where ThinkPad's can get away with this by dint of familiarity (they've been like that since the beginning of time) there's less reason for it on a netbook - a device meant for consumers familiar with a different layout.

Other annoyances include the half-height Return key and the right-Shift key that's been reduced in size and placed to the outside of the Up cursor key. This, as is the case on the Eee PCs, is a constant irritant when typing, since you regularly find yourself moving up a line rather than creating a capital letter.

All three of these issues are, to our minds, fundamental problems that have a significant impact on typing speed and accuracy for anyone used to conventional keyboard layouts. Given that Samsung's NC10, MSI's Wind and, to a lesser extent, Asus' Eee PC 1000 do these things better, it's a key point of difference.

This is also true of the screen, though it's less a fundamental problem than an oddity. Why? Because despite having the same 10.1in dimensions found on most 10in netbooks, the screen resolution is actually 1,024 x 576, rather than 1,024 x 600. This isn't a massive difference, but when you don't have many vertical pixels to play with in the first place, losing a few more could be an issue.

It's worth noting, too, that the screen has a glossy high-contrast finish. This lends it a slightly more colourful and rich appearance, but will always be an issue when outdoors or viewing from an angle. Apart from this, however, the screen is very good, proving every bit as sharp and bright as any other netbook we've seen.

Tony Walker

January 26, 2009, 7:37 am

I can't understand Lenovo. One the one hand they seem to have preserved the quality of the IBM Thinkpad range in the face of what most people (including myself) though would happen to the brand. On the other, under their own brand, rather than leveraging the design and quality of the Thinkpad bods and building a formidable name for themselves in portables, they seem content to wheel out average (I'll be kind) stuff like this.

Whilst here may I remind peeps that the Samsung NC10 keyboard is NOT good. Wind U100 yes, Asus 904HD yes, Acer Aspire One 9.9" yes. I'm the person using the IBM PS/2 "Legend" as his keyboard.


January 26, 2009, 1:59 pm

I'm intrigued, Tony, what exactly isn't good about the NC10 keyboard?


January 26, 2009, 3:53 pm

I'm typing this exactly on NC10's keyboard, and I just can't get why it's not good. Speaking of layout, the only disadvantage are "`" and "}" keys that are a bit smaller--I use them heavily when typing in Russian, but otherwise it's just perfect.

As for the Lenovo's keyboard, "`" over 1 & 2 is a solid "no".

(by the way, my beloved TR, at least in User Control Panel internationalized nicknames do not work well enough: "Hi &#1051;&#1080;&#1089;." Plus, i have to re-login just too often ><)

Tony Walker

January 26, 2009, 8:57 pm

No feedback. Feels like one of those cheapo ٟ.50 keyboards you can buy. To be accurate whilst I type I need active feedback. The models I quote (tested the same day as the Samsung) all seem to have this, certainly the Wind (I own the Advent 4211 version and can confirm this one long term).

And for those who've never used one, the IBM PS/2 desktop keyboard really is the ultimate keyboard. The comfort, feedback from the keys and the accuracy with which I can type on it will probably never be beaten.


March 20, 2009, 12:18 am

To me this is the most beautifully designed netbook, but reading this...ah, well, you can't have everything perfect. I have some questions, I heared that the screen has some flex to it and that the fan is loud so If someone could answer me if this is true, and just a quick one about the new MSI WIND, does it have that "loosy" screen as the previouse one?

Kevin Leah

March 26, 2009, 8:06 pm

As an owner of and s10e, I agree with this review. I would add the following.

1. No Recovery Media - It doesn't come with a recovery disk and unlike the original s10, you can't create one. You have to rely on the recovery partition.

2. The 598 vertical resolution is more of a pain that just being 2 pixels short of the standard 600. I have already come across 2 applications that refuse to install if the resolution is less than 600. (there are ways around the problem though)

I previously owned an Acer Aspire One with it's silly mouse button location, and I much prefer the S10e.

I got mine for 𧷣 with 2 GB RAM and it does every thing I need from a netbook - I expect it to have flaws when compared to a proper laptop (I have a MacBook Pro).

One of the reasons I choose the s10e over other netbooks is it's good compatibility with Apple OS X Leopard- however, with the lack of a recovery CD, I haven't been brave enough to try it yet!


June 24, 2009, 8:56 am

I got this netbook couple of weeks ago and love it. No issue with keyboard except useless Home key on the left. F11 recovery does work but will recover to original factory state only. This has been normal shipping procedure for new PCs (no media). However my HP desktop has app to burn recovery dvd; Lenovo could've provided same for usb. Also Win XP has recovery console that can be installed here (you'll 2 entries in MBR)

I am in Canada & paid equivalent of 200£ for 1gb model with 6 cell battery (5 hrs) & bought 2gb memory on ebay for about 20£. BTW it boots for 2 gb (and not 2.5 as reviewer states). Takes less than 5 min to upgrade. Also this memory is faster than Lenovo original (768 mhz vs 667). Also bought antishock sleeve on ebay.

Lenovo support is constantly updating software & drivers so check it out if something doesn't perform as expected.

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