Tablet PCs, as popular as they are these days, do lack one serious feature and that is a good input device. Although wonderful for surfing for information and consuming media, they are not very versatile when it comes to entering information. Like tablets, netbooks are portable devices, but they are also mini laptops that allow you to get some productivity in. Still, they aren’t as easy to relax with as tablets are.
The Lenovo S10-3t 0651-37U 10.1-Inch Multitouch Netbook solves this problem nicely by being both, featuring a swivelling touch screen that converts it between tablet and netbook modes. It’s very easy to get up and running and can be on and operational in less than ten minutes from the moment of getting your hands on it. Thereafter it features snappy enough bootup times as well as Quick Start 2.0 instant on. At startup a range of things will ask to be configured but after that there’s little else to do except uninstall the anti-virus software that comes with it to put in something a little lighter.
The touch screen is of course the biggest draw of this device and while it’s clear it’s no iPad killer, it’s still a very capable display and responsive enough. It does take a little practice, but after that things are great. The windows XP verson of the netbook is bundled with Lenovo’s custom software called Lenovo Natural Touch that provides the iPhone like experience to go along with the touch screen. The software installed has been designed to let you have your iPhone like touchscreen fun, with pinch, zoom, swiping and so forth letting you manipulate things on the screen. A windows 7 version is also available, and that has even better support for touch screens.
The 10.1 inch display has an LED backlight and works in 16:9 widescreen. It features the usual 1024×600 netbook resolution that we all know and love. Nor is it much off the iPad’s 1024×768. It’s certainly easy on the eyes and can be flipped around to provide viewing in horizontal or portrait. Portrait is great for ebook viewing while horizontal is better for surfing.
The rest of the specs are again very normal fare for netbooks. 1.66GHz processor means that it’s not going to be the fastest device in the world. The true test came when trying to play videos on YouTube, which safe to say it passed with flying colours and no stuttering. The 8 cell battery offers 10 hours of life, perfect for the working day. 1GB of memory is all good and well, but it would be great to see manufacturer’s try to up the specs of netbooks a little. The device has an ample 250GB of disk space.
There is an SD card slot so pictures can be easily transferred from camera. This netbook would be a great choice for taking on holiday and using as a reservoir for all the holiday snaps. The touchscreen facilitates make browsing through photos great fun in a very natural way. As with most netbooks don’t expect too much from the speakers. Taking a set of USB powered laptop speakers may be advisable if it’s to be used to watch movies, or play older games. Headphones are ideal if it’s being used as a personal movie player.
As an ebook reader there are a few choices. The most popular would be Amazon Kindle, or Mobipocket (which is also owned by Amazon), Microsoft Reader, or Adobe’s Reader. At 5.7 pounds it’s fairly light and as easy to hold as most books. For reading it may not rival an actual Kindle, but it goes up against an iPad very well.
The keyboard on netbooks are a bit of a touchy subject, as people tend to have very personal feelings about whether the smaller keys are practical enough to facilitate a lot of typing. The Lenovo has a decent keyboard that may seem rather small to those who aren’t used to the form factor of netbooks, but it’s useable. Perhaps not the kind of thing that a writer would want to write novels on, but more than adequate enough for most people’s uses. Certainly it exceeds those of tablet devices.
Overall the Lenovo Multitouch Netbook solves many of the problems inherent with tablet devices and does so without making any drastic compromises. It’s easy to see this as a very strong contender.