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.

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19 replies on “Lenovo launches IdeaPad S12, NVIDIA ION graphics optional”

  1. So many interesting 12-inchers on the horizon!

    The MSI U200 12″ will be expensive ($700), but that buys you a Penryn Core 2 (single?) ULV processor.

    The Lenovo 12″ will be moderately expensive ($450-$500), but will have Ion graphics as an option.

    The Acer 11.6″ will be cheap ($379), but will be hobbled with the 1.33 GHz Z520 processor.

    Tough choices ahead!

  2. all laptops – netbooks, notebooks, subnotes and desktop replacements – should have bezels that thin, or thinner. i’m interested.

    1. That’s thin? I’d say it’s at best reasonable.

      For thin, check out Thinkpad X61 (which, accidentally, shows what…Lenovo really can do)

  3. So close lenovo, and yet so far.

    I am a happy owner of an S10e.

    Why 12.1″ 16:10 screen, why oh why?!?!

    A smaller 11.6″ 16:9 screen would be a far better choice.

    Other than that total show-stopper, i like the following:
    > nVidia Ion
    > Via Nano option
    > Small chassis (relative to screen size)
    > Lenovo build quality

    However, providing a notebook screen as well as only a flush-fitting 3-cell battery makes this no good for me.

  4. Ion chipset = yummy. Lenovo = dubious quality. Still… it’s an Ion based big-netbook. Can’t decide if I want it or not.

  5. Why did they have to mock me by getting all the insides right and then royally screwing up the aesthetics? They made it look like some crappy plastic toy! The S10 was perfectly designed it had everything I love about Lenovo, but now it looks even worse than HP’s hideous Mini 1000.

    I want to choke all the focus groups they made that convinced them that glossy and patterned was the way to go with this.

  6. Finally HDMI on a netbook! Now can someone please make this in a 9 or 10 inch form factor?

    1. HDMI on a netboook is not new. The Dell Mini 10 has it. I think there have been others.

      1. It is new. The Dell mini 10 and the Asus N10 are the only ones with it to my knowledge, and both of those suck.

  7. :drooling: OMG this is what I wanted in the first place when I got my s10e. Curious on the battery performance and heat signature with the Ion chip. I might go for the Nano CPU as it seams to be both better performance and heat wise… but I’ll get one of ’em for sure 😀

  8. About time. Only slight grumble would be that there isn’t more than 3 USB ports (can’t Ion support six?) but it’s a minor niggle.

    Can’t wait to see a real power consumption comparison with a 901/100x.

  9. The weight is pretty impressive for a 12 incher. I wonder how the 6-cell battery will look.

    1. They’ll do the trackpoint one artificially placed in Thinkpad line, much pricier, not really cheaper than X61.

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