Lenovo announces their sub $400 mini-notebook: the IdeaPad S10

Joanna Stern reports today in Laptop Magazine that Lenovo will release a new mini-notebook, the IdeaPad S10, later this fall…

Rumors of Lenovo entering the mini-notebook space end here and now. Lenovo officially announced this morning its IdeaPad S10 – a 10-inch mini-notebook running the 1.6GHz Intel Atom chipset. Do we have a MSI Wind or Eee PC 1000H killer on our hands? Quite possibly.

“Two configurations of the 9.8 x 7.2 x .8-1.08-inch and 2.4 pound S10 will be available in the U.S. Priced at $399, one will have 512 MB of RAM and an 80 GB hard drive. The other marked at $449.99 will have 1GB of RAM and a 160 GB hard drive. The specs seem to indicate that the system will support 2GB of RAM so we assume swapping out RAM will be easy.

“Initially the netbook will come preloaded with Microsoft Windows XP. However, Lenovo told us that a version of the S10 running Linpus Linux will be available is other countries.”

$400 for a half gig of memory and an 80GB DD?  That’s impressive for such a featherweight.  Plus, the specs are comparable to my wife’s old Dell notebook, and that computer (with Vista Home Premium on a 1GB configuration) runs just about everything we throw at it: kids Internet-based games and edutainment, DVD movies, video over our home network and Netflix streaming movies.

I wonder if this Lenovo will pass and be able to upgrade to Windows Vista?

With XP, I may not need to, but it would be nice to migrate all our PCs to Vista at home. One, lone XP system remains (with Media Center no less) for testing and dogfood releases.

You do have to wonder if the weight difference is worth the trade off in performance, especially as I saw a Compaq Presario C771US 15.4-in laptop with Pentium Dual-Core CPU, 2GB of memory, a 160GB HDD and DVD burner for $399.99 (after rebates) at a national office products supply chain.  The major duty these PCs take on is productivity — browsing the web, writing reports, taking notes and managing mail. 

At some not-too-far-away point, a major PC brand will near (and even cross) the coveted $299 price point for these diminutive, and interest will take off at an even greater clip. 

I can imagine that we’ll see several back to school deals that feature reasonably price/performance bundles. But with this new Lenovo coming in at less than half the weight of this budget laptop’s 5.71 pounds — and with no rebates to mess with — I can imagine that the $399 price point for these minis is the point at which we’ll see the floor as specs and performance increase.

Now off to my next meeting.  Have a good week.

Tags: Windows, Microsoft, Windows Vista, netbooks, Lenovo.

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