To Lenovo, there is hope yet for the netbook form factor. Among its recent releases is the Lenovo Ideapad S205, a netbook in skin and size only. At heart, it’s a notebook. Photos by Brian Chua.
- AMD Dual Core E-450 (1.65GHz, 1M L2 Cache, 1066MHz)
- OS: Windows7 Home Basic 64-bit
- Memory: 2GB DDR3 SDRAM
- Hard Drive: 320GB SATA HDD
- Screen: 11.6 WXGA HD (1366×768 default resolution, adjustable)
- Graphics: AMD Radeon HD 6320M
- Networking: 10/100 Ethernet, Lenovo b/g/n, Bluetooth
- Camera: 0.3 MP
- Ports: 3 usb 2.0, RJ45, HDMI, 6 in 1 card reader, VGA, Mic, headphone
- Weight: 1.48 kg
- Battery: 6 Cell Li-lon (2 to 3 hours)
- Price: Php 19-20k at Villman
- Fits in almost any bag: you can bring this anywhere. Very light, despite the seeming bulky thickness.
- Good keyboard, despite the size.
- Suprisingly good sound, for a small thing.
- Dedicated switch to turn off WiFi, to save on battery and shorten boot up time.
- Fast-enough boot and resume-from-sleep, despite not having an SSD.
- Small charging unit, unlike the heavy brick chargers of older, bigger notebooks.
- Acceptable viewing angles for a small screen. Sharing cat videos in public is good.
- Sturdy, despite the predominantly plastic case build.
- Very silent fan.
- Negligible heat under the left side of the unit, except for memory and graphic intenstive use (big files and videos).
- Plays 720p and 1080p videos with only slight choppiness. Good for video marathons on your lap or on your belly while lying down in bed (as long as it’s plugged in).
- Good-enough keyboard makes for comfortable IM sesions, writing sessions, endless chats on Facebook.
- Surprisingly responsive trackpad, despite the size (I thought I would hate it significantly at first). Limited multi-touch on tiny trackpad is possible, but nowhere as responsive as on iOS.
- Lenovo One Key Recovery feature, so corrupt program files won’t be a problem.
- Price – 18k. Comes with Windows 7 Home Basic and MS Office 2003.
- Small screen, you may have to bump up the fonts or the resolution. But that might limit the number of rows and colums you’ll see on a spreadsheet, or prevent a whole-page view on a document from being useful.
- Keyboard not backlit, so either you get a USB-powered lamp, or get used to pulling down the screen to light up the keyboard. (Or avoid typing in the dark altogether.)
- Slightly compromised keys – length of tab key shortened, Function key placed where Ctrl is normally found (making cut, copy, paste unintuitive), arrow keys are awkward.
- Playing videos significantly shortens battery life.
- Not for graphic-demanding games.
- Sometimes delayed response from multitouch gestures on trackpad. For example, two finger scrolling up and down on a website or document can be slow to respond. Better use the right side “scroll” on the trackpad. Horizontal scrolling doesn’t usually work. Pinching in and out zooming are slow on images. Better use a mouse when doing heavy document and spreadsheet work.
- Font smoothing and anti-aliasing remains bad, as is often the case on Windows 7. If you’re used to smooth and crisp fonts on iOS or Mac, it’s a problem.
- Generally zippy performance can deceive you into thinking you can close the lid and stash the unit away, as you would on a MacBook Air or on an SSD-ultrabook; wrong. You need to wait for the faint whirring sound to stop and for all the blinking lights to die down, before packing the notebook away. Otherwise, it won’t save and you might lose data or some settings.
- Two and a half hours of battery life during testing. Not bad – I was expecting worse. Battery life can be “lengthened” by turning off WiFi, dimming down the screen brightness, turning off sound, and killing some background processes manually. But who’s got the time and training to do that?
- Anti-Virus reminder-pop-ups are annoying, recommend uninstalling.
- Bloatware on desktop indisguishable from legit and helpful programs. You’ll have to explore to find out (who’s got the time?)
- Pop-up message for boot process to be optimized would be helpful if only the boot process was actually sped up by such optimization. I optimized twice, but the booth time remained under one minute.
- It’s really the small form factor plus the chance to work on MS Office and the 18k price that are the allures of the Lenovo Ideapad S205. But these come with a caveat: you need to get used to the small keyboard, tiny screen, and short battery life. Because of the screen size, spreadsheet work and document layout can be frustrating, especially since the Func key is where the Ctrl key should be. Going fullscreen on typing, videos, and surfing is recommended.
- I can’t dismiss the Lenovo Ideapad S205 because, despite the compromises (i.e., small screen), and because of those compromises (i.e., the small screen forces fullscreen and full focus on sing task), I like it. I also know half a dozen people who’d love to bring this anywhere and get some work done. But make no mistake, this tiny work horse is not for everyone.