Tactical Advice

Big Benefits

Its small size and long battery life makes the Lenovo IdeaPad S10e a good fit for workers on the move.
This story appears in the September 2009 issue of BizTech Magazine.

Netbooks are big these days because of their tiny size and even smaller price tag. Lenovo has a solid contender with the S10e. This netbook offers decent horsepower, a small footprint and has great battery life. It may not be for everyone, but the S10e is a solid computer worth considering.

End-User Advantages

It is hard to explain, but the Lenovo S10e just feels right in your hands. It is a very simple yet sophisticated design and very light weight, at only three pounds. This is not the lightest netbook on the market, but there’s less than a one-pound difference among most of the netbooks available today. The six-cell battery stands out a bit in the back of the netbook, but I believe Lenovo designed it this way to provide an angled look.

The S10e comes with an Intel Atom 1.6 gigahertz CPU, which provides a great balance between performance and battery life. The 10.1-inch LED screen has a resolution of 1024x576, not the standard 1024x768. Most programs should work with this unusual resolution, but some may not.

The Lenovo S10e comes with Windows XP Home installed on it. I wiped that out and installed Windows Vista 64-bit, Windows 7 64-bit and Ubuntu 9.04 Desktop 64-bit. The netbook ran wonderfully on all three operating systems. Ubuntu and Windows 7 make a decent bump in system performance. Lenovo does not offer a Linux-based operating system for the S10e, but I hope they do in the future. This could lower the price even more.

Why It Works for IT

In the IT environment, the S10e offers a number of advantages. First, the size of the unit is a tremendous convenience for technicians in the field, who usually carry a large notebook and a bag full of tools, possibly some spare parts and a few other items — a pretty hefty weight to lug around. Having a three-pound netbook with a five-hour battery life is a big win.

There is never a need to repair the netbooks. The hardware support warranty is simple: If one breaks, just send it to Lenovo and they will send you a brand new one (just make sure you keep your hard drive so you don’t lose your data). And the S10e is affordable and sturdy enough to serve as a loaner for users who are having their main computer repaired.

Disadvantages

The Lenovo S10e netbook has many great features, but also a few disadvantages. The small screen size might be a problem for someone who has difficulty reading small type, and the small keyboard might be inconvenient for users with large hands.

The S10e’s number-one bottleneck for performance is the 160 gigabyte hard drive. The 5400 RPM Serial ATA drive is great for battery life but really puts a dent in performance. No notebook should have a 5400 RPM drive these days, but if performance is an issue, the drive can be easily replaced.

The Lenovo S10e also does not support the latest 802.11n wireless standard. With the world going wireless and many companies converting to a primarily wireless infrastructure, having the fastest wireless access available should be a priority. The netbook also comes with only 1GB of memory. No computer should be running with less than 2GB of memory, so I suggest that if you purchase the S10e you consider an upgrade.

Justin Dover is network administrator at Harpeth Hall School in Nashville, Tenn.
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