Lenovo S10-3T Netbook Review

I recently bought a Lenovo S10-3T convertible tablet/netbook PC on a great deal through best buy.com. Its primary purpose was as a reading/programming tool on my commute. It has the Intel ATOM 1.66 GHz processor, 1GB RAM, and a 160GB hard drive. Read more for impressions.

The first thing I did after getting the netbook was put Ubuntu 9.10 netbook edition on it (though I resized the windows partition to a smaller size). It took a while to get things in order (and am still getting things in order), but overall almost all functions of the netbook are operating with Ubuntu. The touch screen works (see here for details), though currently only as a single touch screen. I am hoping that splashtop decides to release the evdev driver for it soon; otherwise I may have to spend the time writing another one.

The netbook is very responsive under Ubuntu netbook, even rivaling my desktop for some things. With the 160GB hard drive, I should be good on space for a while, especially with web projects taking up the majority of my user space. It also functions great as a web reader, using httrack to download web pages to review on the train. I do wish that the memory was 2 gigs, but it is expandable to 2 gigs.

The keyboard took a while to get used to, and I still am getting used to it...the keys are about 90% size seemingly of a full keyboard, but are positioned in odd places for some of them (like the delete key was moved to the far right hand top of the keyboard). The speed and feedback is great though, and the smaller footprint makes it easier to type even with someone sitting next to me on the train. With a full development stack and ubuntu operating system, working on projects is very easy. If I am standing I can still read some websites or tutorials or ebooks I had downloaded by turning it into its tablet form.

The screen is bright with a seemingly small 1024x600 resolution. For the size of the 10" screen though, the resolution is fitting. Reading a book is not as nice as reading it on my old Sony reader that I lost, but will do for an hour on the train. I just don't think I would sit down with it for multiple hours or use it to read much on a flight.

The one thing I don't understand about the netbook is how Lenovo can ship it with Windows 7 and be happy with the quality. I booted into it (looking into quickstart and the touchscreen drivers, as well as to play), but it seemed utterly unresponsive. I would do something and wait minutes for a response sometimes. It took over an hour just to download and install a 250 meg quickstart file, despite having a very fast connection and the download only taking about 5 minutes. If you are going to buy a netbook of this processor speed and memory size, I would highly suggest dumping windows first thing or installing an older version like XP. Ubuntu netbook is much more responsive and powerful for what a netbook is meant to do.