In January last year, I was very impressed with the EEE PC. It was revolutionary – an affordable, portable mini laptop that allows you to do things that you regularly do on a normal laptop.
But there were a few snags about it. Though the keyboard was small, I was still able to adjust. It was the tiny 800 by 480 screen resolution, making it uncomfortable – I had to scroll numerous times in many larger sized resolution websites.
As much as I love the entire philosophy of Linux, Xandros in the EEE PC gave me issues such as not allowing me to do live streaming on ustream.tv and it was extremely hard for me to install additional software. This was a big deal for me. When I finally am able to install the program, I could not even see some programs as a whole due to the resolution.
Nevertheless, EEE PC was very popular and still useful for many people. And since then, it was the start for the churning of more improved netbooks like the HP Mininote, the Acer Aspire, the MSI Wind – It was interesting to note that the specs and the cost rivals each other.
It was confusing at which netbook to choose. (By the way, isn’t it annoying to want to have a hands on try at computer shops only to see that its all password protected?) Fortunately for me, I was given a chance to purchase the Lenovo S10 at a discounted price.
I was very excited to finally have it in my hands in mid December.
Since then, the S10 has been a very trusty and useful companion.
At first glance
The S10 is slightly heavier and bigger than the EEE PC. However, amazingly it could still fit in my handbag ensuring portability.
On the sides of the S10, it is pretty standard – two usb slots, one SD card reader, a slot for network cable, a PCI express slot, a jack for audio and microphone as well as VGA port to connect to the monitor.
Left hand side of the Lenovo S10
Right hand side of the Lenovo S10
Although the keyboard is not as large as a regular laptop, it allows me to touch type comfortably. The only issue that I had is that there are certain oddities when trying to reach certain keys such as the tab key as well as the right shift key.
Awesome wallpaper from Smashing Magazine
One feature that I think that Lenovo is famous for, is the red trackpad in the middle of the keyboard. However, there is none in the S10, which could be a big issue that many Lenovo fans would not like. That is not a big deal to me, but on the other hand I am not fond of how very loud the left and right click buttons are.
The Lenovo S10 next to a X41 ThinkPad
Using the S10
At first boot up, I did a quick configuration for Win XP before going to the all familliar desktop and then I was good to go with my daily rituals of gmail, twitter, plurk, facebook and other social networking sites. Speedwise, it was the same as using a regular laptop, however, it slows down when using more graphics intensive websites such as Pet Society or Volvo Ocean Race.
The webcam that comes on the S10 might not be as fantastic as say, the Logitech Quickcam Fusion, but it is still pretty decent in taking pictures, and most importantly, it is able to do live streaming on ustream.tv when I am in the mood to do a broadcast on a whim. Still, I would have liked a program where I could do silly things like in the image below.
Picture stolen from Claudia.sg
But what I am very excited about is the bluetooth function in the S10. I could transfer pictures from my Samsung Innov8 straight into the S10 without the need for cables, use Cart’s Motorola bluetooth headset – it was just fantastic to multi-task, being able to walk around while talking to my mum back in Singapore or listening to youtube videos.
Installing programmes in the S10
Me, being myself, I would not be satisfied without a few core programs that I need. So far, I have installed CoreFTP, Chrome, VLC media player, Windows Live Messenger as well as Skype – which functions beautifully.
(By the way, you might be interested in 72 freeware application for your PC)
I enjoy image editing and although I am more used to Photoshop, I doubt that it would be compatible with the S10 as it is resource intensive, thus I’ve given GIMP a try instead. But I am having issues with GIMP crashing when I try to update the font list, however, I think that its due to it being beta rather than the S10 itself.
This is how GIMP looks like on the S10
In the past two months I’ve been using the S10, all that I have to say is that I love my S10! Though it might not be as powerful as a regular desktop or laptop it has been such a lifesaver for me. I would probably not be able to keep in touch with the people back in Singapore, would probably not be able to do social networking, would probably not be blogging this entry even.
Do you like my laptop skin by the way? I got it from Sim Lim. I think its quite expensive though.
Which is probably a good excuse for me to start blogging more.
P.S Oh, and I heard news from Sylvia that the price for S10 has dropped from $799 to $650!
Updated August 2009 : I decided to install Ubuntu Netbook Remix on the S10 today. Applications work well and seem to run faster on it as compared to the XP Operating system. I quite like it. But the only issue with it is that linux does not seem to support video broadcasting, hence streaming on ustream.tv is not possible.
The inbuilt microphone doesn’t work either. So, skype is useless to me. Meh!
Also, when you do any changes to the partition on your drive, the One Key Recovery button (the orange curved arrow button) will not work. And since Lenovo does not include a recovery cd, nor does it provide it online, trying to get it back to factory settings would be very difficult.
I guess I am stuck with Ubuntu
Sidenote : I’m waiting for my main computer, the HP Touchsmart to arrive here from Singapore. I just hope that it arrives in one piece.