Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Lenovo Netbook first impression

If you're in the market for a small and ultra-portable laptop, consider a netbook. These laptops are small, typically having a 9 or 10 inch screen, light (less than 3 lbs) and very affordable, starting at less than $300.

At that price I decided to get one to take with me on the road. It was a choice between a Dell Inspiron Mini or the Lenovo Ideapad S10. The Dell Inspiron Mini was my initial choice because they're very light (2.28 lbs.) and they were recently on sale at the Dell Outlet for $279. This would come with Windows XP, 8 GB solid state hard drive and 512 MB RAM. I almost hit the buy button when I decided to continue shopping around and went to the Lenovo site where I saw the Ideapad S10 which comes with a regular 80 GB hard drive, 10 inch screen and on sale at $349. After reading some reviews about both netbooks I decided to get the Lenovo (the reviews mentioned the Lenovo build felt more solid & durable and the larger hard drive was going to be worth it).

It arrived in 2 days and if I didn't see the shipping label from Lenovo, the size and weight of the box fooled me to think this was another book order from Amazon. After opening the box and attaching the battery I was up and running in minutes. Since this runs regular Windows XP, no surprises here. It recognized my wifi network immediately and I started browsing on Internet Explorer. I wanted to test out how slow (or fast) this computer really is with its Intel Atom processor. So I went to YouTube, Vimeo, Akubo, Picasa and it was fast. No problems at all. I also installed Skype (it has a built-in webcam), uninstalled Norton (replaced it with AVG) and installed MS Office (this I had to do through a flash drive because it doesn't have a CD/DVD drive).

At this point I was pretty impressed. The build feels solid and the fast performance doesn't feel compromising in any way. Of course I haven't tried loading up photoshop and I'm not sure I will, but looking at the task manager, the Intel Atom is a hyper-threading processor so you get some of the benefits of a dual-processor.

I also loaded up Rhapsody and Verizon VZAccess Manager. So last Saturday on the way up to PA, I plugged in my blackberry to the netbook via USB, fired up Verizon VZAccess Manager, connected to the internet, started Rhapsody, chose an album to play and connected an audio cord from the netbook to my car's Aux input and for the next hour and half driving up I-83 we were listening to music from my Rhapsody account, online, on the road. Pretty cool!

I will be taking this netbook on the road with me and my guess is when my clients see it, they will want one for themselves.

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