After a rather awful experience with Lenovo’s sales and customer service department, I’ve decided to give up trying to get my hands on a Lenovo IdeaPad S10. But Liliputing reader and tipster Lee  Fairbanks received his IdeaPad today. And he’s written a fairly detailed article with his first impressions.

In a nutshell, it looks like the build quality is excellent, and the machine performs surprisingly well with just 512MB of RAM. There are a few oddities. For example, the computer can only recognize up to 2GB of RAM. Since 512MB is soldered to the motherboard, that means if you stick a 1GB stick in the available RAM slot, the laptop will report that 1.5GB of memory is available. But if you use a 2GB stick, the IdeaPad S10 will only recognize 2GB total.

Lenovo also seems to have implemented a rather unique hard drive partitioning scheme. While it’s nice to have a system recovery partition that lets you restore your PC to factory default setttings, it seems a bit odd to make that partition larger than the partition that’s actually available to the user. But I’ll let Lee tell you all about that in his own words. Check out his first look post, complete with a small photo gallery, after the break.

Lee Fairbanks says:

Packaging

The S10 comes in a rectangular box, inside a partial cardboard sleeve. Minimal packaging inside – mostly just two foam blocks holding the laptop chassis. There is a box with the battery AC adapter. The AC adapter is really tiny and comes with a full cord – unlike the EEE ones that have the wall plug built in. Three cell battery is teeny – as expected since it’s essentially 3 AA batteries.

Build quality

Feels well made. Screen doesn’t flex when moved, hinges feel solid. Keyboard is tiny – but keys feel decent. Mouse button is two separate buttons – is quite clicky. Black color is done in a matte finish and isn’t bad for fingerprints.

Ports

Layout of the power connector in the middle of the left hand side is odd. I’d prefer it to be in the left rear – but that is where the heat vent is. Two USB ports, which should be plenty considering the system. This is the only netbook I know of with an express card slot – which should really help if you have a mobile broadband card.

This machine is *much* faster then I had expected, given the Atom processor and 512 megs of ram. I can’t wait to see how fast it is once I get it set up the way I like and start tuning it. Also no dead pixels! I admit I’m a bit obsessed, as it’s the first thing I check for.

Software load

I’m going to have to reformat – they not only put in a recovery partition they gave it over half the drive space! the C drive is 29.4 the D/Recovery one is 38.1 GB. Also there is 6.8 GB in a third partition! Machine does not have a restore CD either – so I’ll have to make one using Nlite. Loading IE gets me both the MSN toolbar and the Norton AV Phishing toolbar. Not like I use IE for anything other than downloading Firefox, but something to note. Acrobat reader 8 is there, along with the Onekey Recovery utility.

In terms of crapware this machine isnt too bad. It comes with Norton Internet Security in a 90 day trial form. It is annoying at first boot – because the Norton window pops up almost fullscreen and the “Next” button is partially cut off. I guess as netbooks evolve they will learn to resize splash screen windows to 600 pixel high displays.

BIOS

Wow – there is literally nothing here. no options whatsoever except setting a admin password or changing boot device order. This is bad for me – since I work at a place that makes you disable your wireless card if you bring an outside laptop in. Edit: You can disable the WLAN, but not the camera from the BIOS.

RAM

The machine comes with 512 MB built into the logic board. There was much internet speculation on the max it would support… It turns out the answer is 2GB. I added a 2gb module I swiped from another machine and it now reads as having 1.99 gigs of ram (2GB minus the “Integrated 950 Graphics” memory. It dosen’t see the last 512 megs – I guess that is as much as the chipset can address. The ram was easy to add via the bottom panel. The hard drive was in the same location and it looks like it would be simple to upgrade.

Heat/Fan

Fine so far – hadn’t gotten the chance to max it out yet but so far the fan has not kicked on.

thanks Lee!

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14 replies on “First look at the Lenovo IdeaPad S10”

    1. Thanks, Garamond. These links will help if I decide on the S10 and give me a starting point when I repartition my Lenovo 3000 N100 as well.

  1. I suppose people can always use some partition magic software to resize instead of reinstalling from scratch no?

    1. yes, except you’d still have to wipe the data from the recovery partition, which is almost 80% full. There is always some risk of data loss, and the redistribution often takes HOURS. Partition Magic is a very useful tool to have, in any case. It’s usually the first thing I install.

      1. So it sounds like the recovery partition can’t be preserved while changing or adding other partitions, without just copying it elsewhere and then moving it back?

        Do you think the free Partition Logic is a safe or comparable alternative to Partition Magic? (Looks like neither of them is intended for Vista.)

  2. Very informative. I can’t believe they give you no choices in the BIOS. Hope to hear more when you have had some time using it.

    1. Just realized it will let you disable the wireless card but not the camera. I must have missed that. That’s what I get for writing a quickie review with a bad cold. Sorry guys. There still arent hardly any options there though.

  3. Were the two extra partitions hidden and, if so, how did you unhide them?

    Would it be a major production to retain the recovery partition and also have dual boot partitions with XP and linux?

    1. The D drive was visible from My Computer. The 7GB partition was only available from Device Manager.

      Since it did’t come with a restore disk there is a way to make yourself oe out of a Windows install using Nlite. I’ve ever done it – but a co-worker says it isnt hard.

      Your other choice would be to wipe the other two partitions ad use somethig like Partition Magic to resize the space.

      1. Thanks for the information. My bigger Lenovo laptop has the one-button recovery partition, but only the C: drive shows up in the device manager, and I’ve been concerned that Lenovo recovery partitions could be wiped out while repartitioning.

  4. I want to add one thing on the fan – now that I’ve had some time to play with it I do have the fan kicking in – especially when I have a lot of disk IO.

  5. What a strange configuration for the memory, hardly consumer friendly with the 512mb soldered in.

    Looks like a solid enough release for Lenovo though, thanks for the info, top stuff!

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