If you were a little underwhelmed by Lenovo’s last mini-notebook launch (the IdeaPad S10-2 which was a minor update to the original S10), the IdeaPad S12 should take your blues away. While this little puppy is a bit on the large side for a netbook, thanks to its 12 inch display, it has one killer feature: This is the first laptop to ship with an NVIDIA ION option.
NVIDIA’s ION platform combines a low power Intel Atom CPU with an NVIDIA GeForce 9400M graphics processor to provide significantly better graphics performance than you’ll get from most Atom-based computers with integrated Intel graphics. You’ll take a small hit on energy consumption and battery life if you opt for the ION chipset, but you’ll also get a computer with enough oomph to play Call of Duty 4.
Up until now, the only ION-based products that had been announced were nettops, or tiny desktop computers. The Lenovo IdeaPad S12 is the first laptop to use the platform, although I doubt it will be the last. The S12 is also available with the plain old Intel 945GSE chipset with integrated 950 GMA graphics. This model should cost about $50 less and get better battery life.
Oh, and if that isn’t enough choice for you, Lenovo also plans to offer a third option in some markets: A VIA Nano processor. But that option won’t be available in the US, at least not at launch.
So to recap, this mini-laptop will be available with either a VIA Nano CPU, an Intel Atom processor with integrated graphics, or an NVIDIA Ion platform that combines an Atom chip with an NVIDIA GPU.
Here’s a rundown of the rest of the specs:
- Display: 12.1 inch, 1280 x 800 pixels
- OS: Windows XP
- CPU: 1.6GHz Intel Atom N270
- Graphics: Intel GMA 950 or NVIDIA ION
- RAM: 1GB
- Storage: 160GB, 250Gb, or 320GB HDD
- Connectivity: 802.11a/b/g/n WiFi options, Bluetooth, Etherent
- I/O: Expresscard slot, 3 USB ports, 4-in-1 card reader, VGA, HDMI
- Battery: 3 or 6 cell batteries for 3 to 6 hours of battery life
- Weight: 3.1 to 3.4 pounds depending on battery
- Dimensions: 11.5″ x 8.5″ x 1.1″
- Price: $449 with integrated graphics, $499 with NVIDIA ION
The Lenovo IdeaPad S12 is expected to begin shipping in July, although it will be on display at Computex in Taipei in June. Until then, you can get your S12 fix by checking out a few hands-on articles from Laptop Magazine and GottaBeMobile.