Home / News / Laptop News / Lenovo Unveils First Ion Powered Netbook

Lenovo Unveils First Ion Powered Netbook

Gordon Kelly


Lenovo Unveils First Ion Powered Netbook

Despite Intel's moaning nVidia's Ion platform does mark a significant step forward for budget desktops and netbooks. So following the arrival of the former in the shape of the Acer Aspire Revo it's nice to finally see the latter...

Lenovo is first to herald an nVidia loving netbook in the shape of the 'S12', a 12.1in machine with WXGA (1280 x 800) native resolution and LED backlit panel. Integration of Ion - which is based around a GeForce 9400M GPU - enables the S12 to handle full 1080p High Definition playback so helpfully you'll find an HDMI output along with the usual VGA. Also worthy of note is a 100 per cent full size keyboard which should please heavy typists.

Away from this things become more standard with a 1.6GHz Atom CPU, 1GB DDR2 RAM, WiFi, Bluetooth, an ExpressCard slot, 4-in-1 card reader, Ethernet and 3x USB slots. Hard drive choices include 160GB, 250GB or 320GB but sadly no SSDs while there's also an optional six cell battery allowing up to six hours of use.

Should you bizarrely wish to bypass Ion, Lenovo will be offering the S12 with Intel's basic GMA 950 integrated graphics but with prices starting from a very reasonable $449 (£283) you'd have to be one beer keg short of a dorm party to entertain such an idea.

The Lenovo S12 will go on sale in GMA 950 form in June with the Ion edition arriving during the wonderfully imprecise timeframe of "later this summer".


Lenovo UK


May 26, 2009, 9:40 pm

This is what I've been waiting for! It looks promising, but I'd be interested to see what the other manufacturers come up with.

Without wishing to sound pedantic, I don't understand how it can be 1080p high def with a vertical pixel count of 800, or is this a simple typo?

But the most important question of all - with no optical drive, how do I install BF2?

Andy Vandervell

May 26, 2009, 9:49 pm

What it means is that the machine can decode 1080p video (i.e. to a TV), but the screen (as you point out) is not Full HD.


May 26, 2009, 10:02 pm

Am I right in thinking that Ion doesn't support x86 code? I presume that means it comes with some form of Linux?

Andy Vandervell

May 26, 2009, 10:17 pm

No, it does support x86. You're probably thinking of ARM.


May 26, 2009, 11:22 pm

@Hallainzil: Despite the similar small scale name to the Nano and Atom, the Ion isn't a processor but a motherboard chipset for the Atom.

It looks like it could be popular, I'll be interesting to see what the rest of the specs are (screen coating, weight, price for the 6-cell ion version etc.)


May 26, 2009, 11:55 pm

Correct me if I'm wrong, but the hd video acceleration provided by the gpu is a little codec/software sensitive, yes? Does that mean support for everything from mkv's to hd quicktime, or just blu-ray compliant mpeg4?

Can anyone elaborate on this? Doesn't this make the Ion platform's HD support a little fiddly for the average user?


May 27, 2009, 12:08 am

Add a touchscreen and ssd and I'm sold. Loving the price (apparently $50 (£30)price hike for Ion - at that price you'd be crazy not to opt for it).

@ChrisC when I first looked at getting a netbook I though the same thing:

a) get an external optical drive and then a no disc hack from the internet

b) download the game from a website

c) wait for the inevitable Ion powered eee 1004DN (eee 1002 with a disc drive - though its 10 inches)

As a side note wait for June to decide as thats when all the good stuff is being announced


May 27, 2009, 3:44 am

Shame its from Lenovo though...I have had bad experiences with that company. I tried buying one of their business line notebooks a year ago and when I got it the screen had several dead pixels, finger prints, and scratches on it. I tried getting a replacement right away and the woman for customer service said they would gladly replace it but then when I sent it in they called me back and said they wouldn't give me a new one because it didn't meet the required number of dead pixels. I asked them to just replace the screen then and they said they would...if I was willing to cough up another $750 for parts and labor after I just paid $1400 for what should have been a brand new machine. So then I asked for my money back and it took me another 7 weeks of angry phone calls to get them to agree to give me a refund, and then another 3 weeks on top of that to get them to agree to drop the 15% restocking fee.

Dell and Samsung make much better products and have much better customer service. For those of you who want an Ion based netbook I'd suggest waiting until a better company makes one.


May 27, 2009, 4:30 am

@ Wesley

The problem is that your experience probably will depend almost entirely on whatever rep you dealt with. Service quality differs wildly, depending on what mood they happen to be in. As I've had some awful experiences with Samsung and some good.


May 27, 2009, 5:01 am

@GherkinG - I had the exact same thoughts. I *guess* it will only be successful at native BR decoding and not x264 (unless you use CoreAVC which can delegate Cuda decoding to the GPU). Otherwise, for the remaining codecs, I suppose the machine will be CPU limited. MKV is, as you know, just a container and should not be affected, given the appropriate splitter is in place.

@Gordon... Only a *cough* full review (when available)will do mate!

"until later this summer" .. I will just have to keep wiping my chin ;)


May 27, 2009, 12:57 pm

Well since I had to call them back atleast 45+ times I'd say that a large percentage of their customer service staff is quite terrible because I got stuck with a different person almost every time and each time it was a bad experience. I've always found that Dell has the absolute best customer service of any PC brand I've dealt with, on the few occasions that I had to call them they were always very pleasant and willing to do whatever they could to make things right.

comments powered by Disqus