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Lenovo IdeaPad S10-3t hands-on: It’s no iPad killer

Lenovo IdeaPad S10-3t 3With the iPad inspired tablet season well underway, Lenovo has released its new IdeaPad S10-3t in the hope of snatching some early sales before Apple’s magical tablet hits the stores.

The IdeaPad S10-3t is definitely a different beast to the Apple iPad, with Lenovo throwing the guts of a netbook into a convertible tablet chassis.  There’s an Intel Atom N450, a 250GB hard drive and the usual webcam and assortment of ports.  This makes the IdeaPad S10-3t more akin to a traditional Windows convertible tablet than a dedicated iPad style tablet device with a honed OS.  At the risk of reaching the end of this review in advance, therein lies the critical flaw of the IdeaPad S10-3t; it runs Windows 7, which works great in netbook mode and disappointingly in tablet orientation.

Lenovo IdeaPad S10-3t 1In netbook form the IdeaPad S10-3t provides a typical experience with a decent if unspectacular keyboard, overly small trackpad and satisfactory performance for the genre.

Things get more interesting when you flip the screen around and turn the IdeaPad S10-3t into a tablet.  To Lenovo’s credit the company has installed a finger friendly large icon overlay on top of Windows 7 Starter providing access to music, photos, videos, eBooks and a scribble pad.  The screen feels adequately responsive although I have a feeling the iPad’s translation of finger flicks to screen input will be measurably superior, based upon the current iPhone experience.

Separately there’s also BumpTop which offers large icon shortcuts to the likes of Facebook and some internal Lenovo IdeaPad S10-3t 6applications such as Acrobat Reader.  Unfortunately the finger friendly interface ends there.  Pressing the Facebook icons launches Internet Explorer and the experience then becomes an exercise of pecking for tiny Windows 7 buttons which were designed with a mouse pointer in mind.

On the plus side at $499.99 the IdeaPad S10-3t is not much more expensive than a typical netbook, so the premium being asked for the tablet plus netbook functionality is acceptable.  Ultimately though I’m unconvinced that the tablet aspect of the IdeaPad S10-3t is actually useful.  It adds weight to the overall unit, which makes it heavier than a typical tablet and heavier than most netbooks.  Meanwhile desirable tablet functionality is limited by the lack of depth in the tablet interface which Lenovo has valiantly built, as actions such as Internet surfing are challenging.

Neil Berman

www.theonbutton.com

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Mar 18, 2010 - Posted by | Reviews | , , , , , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. Neil,

    I agree that the S10-3T is not an iPad killer. The system that Lenovo ships you comes with lots of bloatware and because of it the default S10-3T is slow. However I’m a tech guy and like to go into details and optimize systems. The S10-3T is actually very usable and responsive once you optimize it. Doing a clean install of Windows 7 does the trick.

    Now there are a lot of S10-3T owners out there and your system doesn’t have to suck, you can optimize it and make it better. It will take some effort but it’s doable. I created a blog to help – http://www.lenovos103t.com

    I know this not an iPad kiler, but it does cross over with the iPad quite a bit on many functions. So yes you can compare them and that’s what I’m doing. Every few days I update another blog in which I share which one is better at doing 1 thing. http://www.s103tvsipad.com for those interested. I try to be as honest about it and not be too biased.

    Jesse B Andersen
    Technology Enthusiast

    Comment by Jesse B Andersen | Jun 21, 2010 | Reply


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