Lenovo’s got one of the most good-looking tablet netbooks to date. The IdeaPad S10-3t combines a light weight and small netbook form factor and the performance of the new Intel Pine Trail platform at an affordable price. Check out our full review after the jump.
Lenovo added some eye-candy with the design of the netbook, starting with a wallpaper-style imprint on the lid. They did this with the 2nd iteration of S10-2 before. The glossy finish is still a fingerprint-magnet but the colorful prints somewhat helped hide the smudges.
Unlike most other netbooks out there, the S10-3t (including its sibling, the S10-3) seems wider in terms of physical dimensions. That gives a perception that the display has an aspect ratio of 16:9 instead of the usual 4:3.
With close inspection though, the screen size is almost similar to the regular ones (minus a couple of millimeters in the height). The wider aspect ratio can be attributed to the fact the Lenovo shaved off about a centimeter or two off of the palm rest and added about an inch in the width.
To achieve this, Lenovo had to reduce the size of the trackpad. The left and right clickers were removed and are now integrated into the trackpad (similar to what Apple did with the new Macbooks). However, with the reduced area of the trackpad and the clickers integrated into it, the usability has been affected. Multiple-finger gestures like left-click and drag becomes harder and cumbersome most of the time (an external mouse would be best to remedy this).
In the tablet mode, the S10-3t has a dedicated button on the left side of the panel that allows you to switch the screen orientation (at 90, 180, 270 and 360 degrees). That is paired with two more buttons for sound mute and another one for launching the custom UI. The webcam is placed on the upper right side while the power button just below it along with a power lock. The extra bezel space on the side provides better grip in portrait mode.
Another dedicated button is allocated for NaturalTouch, Lenovo’s custom UI that sits on top of Windows used for navigating thru videos, photos, music and eBooks, among others.
Unlike previous tablet notebooks that have resistive touch screens and require a stylus, the S10-3t has a capacitive one and works just fine with multiple finger gestures. We ran Google Earth on the system and it worked fine. However, there are noticeable lags once in a while (I believe upgrading the RAM to 2GB should help fix that). The 250GB HDD and WiFi 802.11n are already satisfactory to complete the specs.
As for the performance of the netbook, Windows Experience Index gives it a score of 2.3 which is similar to the scores of previous Atom-based netbooks. However, the improvement in the sub-score were more prominent with the graphics performance.
A more complete set of benchmarks are posted here. PassMark did not show much improvements of the N450 CPU compared to the older N280 chip but the numbers on the graphics showed significant increase.
I think the only other disappointment in the unit is the battery life. BatteryBar shows a battery life of around 2.75 hours on a single charge from the 2100mAh Li-Ion battery. I believe there’s a 6-cell or 8-cell battery for this model but Lenovo has not returned back my question on its availability and price.
The IdeaPad S10-3t makes for an interesting netbook primarily because of the tablet form factor and multi-touch screen. Can’t expect much from performance since it’s still an Atom-based system but for the price, Php29,990, it’s well worth it. I’d suggest to bump the RAM to 2GB and look for an option to upgrade to that 8-cell battery pack.