Lenovo IdeaPad S 12


A 1O-inch nerbook may be fine for occasional use, but for prolonged typing or a lot less browser scrolling, you wan t at least a 12-inch screen. The 12.1- inch, 1,280 x 800 LCD in Lenovo's IdeaPad SI2 is a vast improvement over the more cramped 1 O-inch competition. The netbook's fuller keyboard is more usable, and it ships with the common specs you'd expeCt for Windows XP Home. At $449, it's a good deal for a functional ultramobile that is neither exceptional nor disappointing. The standout fearure of this S 12, though, is its VIA Nano UL V platform, our nrst serious challenger to the Atom­opoly. We threw PCMark05 and Pass­Mark's PerformanceTest 7 at the SI2 and an OCZ Neutrino based on the ubiquitous Atom N270. Despite the Neutrino having a slightly higher CPU clock (1.6GBz vs. the Nano ULV2250's l.3+GHz) and 2GB of 667 MHz DDR2 compared to the Lenovo's 1 GB, the SI2 clearly emerged as the better performer.

  The PCMark CPU Test Suite composite was 4% higher for VIA In PassMark's 3D Graphics Mark, VIA's inte­grated Chrome9 graphics crushed Intel's GlvIA 950, 89.6 to 20.9. Overall, the com­posite PassMark rating finished at 359.4 for the 12 and 183.8 for the Neutrino. The price to pay for VIA's superior per­formance is in battery life. Preferring a real-world test to the usual "abso I ute longest runtime" approach, we started with Lenovo's lowest power profile and kept adding whatever was necessary to

continuously view a stream from I-hilu at 50% screen brightness. The system shut down at 2 hours 57 minutes-not great but still acceptable for heavy hotspot usage. Ultimately, we had to give the S 12 a fair rating for being a fair netbook, but with VIA's platform undercutting the Atom equivalent by $50, the Nano itself is a great value in this space .


by William Van Winkle


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