I try to keep my work and home life on different computers. It doesn’t always work, but that’s the idea anyway. The problem I find is that, every time I’m away from home (which is when I get most of my blogging done), I find myself carrying around two laptops and, even without any peripherals (power adapters, etc.), that’s 4.5kg of luggage. Any sensible person would use an external hard disk for one of the workloads but… there you go…
I’ve been watching developments with small form-factor PCs (so called “NetBooks”) for a while now and over the weekend I took the plunge. Tomorrow morning I’m expecting a delivery of a Lenovo IdeaPad S10 to slip in my bag alongside the Fujitsu-Siemens S7210 that I use for work.
So why did I choose the Lenovo?
- In terms of build quality, my IBM ThinkPad is by far and away the best notebook PC I’ve ever had (better than the various Toshiba, Compaq, Dell and Fujitsu-Siemens units I’ve used – and certainly better than my Apple MacBook) – I’m hoping that Lenovo have continued that quality as they’ve taken on the former IBM PC business (the reviews I’ve read certainly indicate that they have).
- I want to use this NetBook with Windows 7 – and I know it can work (this is the model that Steven Sinofsky showed in a keynote at Microsoft’s 2008 Professional Developers Conference).
- I was impressed with Windows 7 running on Paul Foster’s Acer Aspire One, but the keyboard is just too small for my fat fingers.
- The Lenovo S10 has a PC Express Card slot (so it should work with my Vodafone 3G card – and yes, I know I can get a USB version but I’d need to convince my employers of the need for an upgrade, which would not be an easy sell when they give me a perfectly good laptop with a PC Express Card slot to use…).
- I also seriously considered the Dell Mini 9 (especially when they mis-priced it on their website for Â£99 last week – incidentally, the resulting orders were not fulfilled) but I’m not convinced that using a pre-release operating system on a solid state hard drive is really a good idea – I could easily kill the drive within a few months. Meanwhile, the Lenovo has a traditional 160GB hard disk and the 10.2″ screen (rather than 9″) translates into more space for a larger keyboard without noticeably increasing the size of the computer (for those who still want a 9″ model, Lenovo have announced an S9 but I’ve seen no sign of it in the UK yet). Another option that I discounted was the Samsung NC10 – which has a better battery and one more USB port but no PC Express Card slot.
- The equivalent Asus and Acer models may be less expensive but the big names (IBM, Dell, HP as well as Samsung and Toshiba) are all reducing their prices – and by waiting for the reduction in the UK’s VAT rate to take effect the price was Â£292.25 for the S10 at eBuyer with free shipping (although I paid another tenner for next-day delivery).
I’m sure my sons will be amused when yet another computer appears on my desk (my wife may be slightly less so…) but I’m thinking of this as an early Christmas present to myself…
Here are some of the posts that I found useful before deciding to buy this PC:
- APC Mag first look: Lenovo IdeaPad S10 netbook.
- Lenovo enters the mini-notebook market with the IdeaPad S10.
- Windows 7 light enough for netbooks, Lenovo S10 specifically.
- Ars@PDC: Steven Sinofsky on Windows 7 and netbooks – Ars Technica interviews Steven Sinofsky about running Windows 7 on a netbook.
- Windows 7 pre-beta on the Lenovo IdeaPad S10.