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Laptops Reviews
15,670 Reviews

Lenovo IdeaPad S10-3t review

£399.38 inc VAT

Manufacturer: Lenovo

Our Rating: We rate this 2.5 out of 5

The Lenovo IdeaPad S10-3t is a netbook with a multitouch touchscreen.

The Lenovo IdeaPad S10-3t is a netbook with a multitouch touchscreen.

But while a netbook is great for simple tasks such as browsing the web, writing documents, listening to music or watching standard-definition videos, it just doesn't have enough CPU power to smoothly run a touchscreen. On the Lenovo IdeaPad S10-3t, the overall user experience can be very frustrating; the problem is not only a lack of grunt, but a poor software implementation as well as a far from ideal screen design.

Lenovo Ideapad S10-3t tablet features

The IdeaPad S10-3t is a tablet-convertible netbook, which means you can use it as a regular netbook, or rotate and flip the screen to use it as a tablet. The screen's hinge rotates both ways and you can press a button to change the screen orientation depending on the way you are holding the netbook. There is also an accelerometer that works in conjunction with Lenovo's screen rotation program to automatically switch the screen view.

It sometimes takes a while for the Lenovo IdeaPad S10-3t's screen to be redrawn when the netbook is rotated and it's definitely not as quick at rotating as the Apple iPad. The program also showed signs of being buggy; there were a few times when the screen orientation didn't always revert back to normal when we returned to regular netbook mode. This was frustrating as we had to convert to tablet mode again and then back to netbook mode.

Using the Lenovo IdeaPad S10-3t in tablet mode will be a source of frustration in itself. Lenovo has installed Windows 7 Starter Edition, which lacks the tablet PC features that can be found in Windows 7 Home Premium and above. This means that extra software has been installed to provide the touch functionality and gesture support that's required to navigate the screen.

Unfortunately, you don't get an integrated on-screen keyboard to work with, which is vital for entering web addresses and passwords, not to mention using social media sites! You can get around this by typing ‘osk' in the Windows 7 search bar and launching the operating system's on-screen keyboard application. However, this version of the keyboard can not be summoned by pressing on an input field; you have to launch the application, leave it open on your taskbar, and switch to it manually when you need to enter text. It's a cumbersome solution.

Because the Lenovo IdeaPad S10-3t ships with Windows 7 Starter, it doesn't have the same touchscreen functionality as it would if it shipped with Windows 7 Home Premium. That means the on-screen keyboard has to be used manually. Unfortunately, Lenovo also doesn't supply its own on-screen keyboard software to get around this issue.

Lenovo doesn't supply a pen with the Lenovo IdeaPad S10-3t. The screen is capacitive, which means you can only use your fingers to click links, write notes and scroll windows. The far edges of the screen can be a pain to navigate as the screen is not flush with the bezel. The bezel around the screen is approximately 2mm thick, which makes it hard to get a good chunk of your finger onto the scroll bar. At a resolution of 1024x600 on a 10in screen, you have about 4mm of width to work with. Sometimes it's easier to scroll a page by using your left index finger, as you can get more flesh onto the scroll bar. You could use a two-finger gesture to scroll web pages, but unless there is a lot of white space you'll end up selecting chunks of the page instead.

Trying to scroll on content-heavy web pages will often lead to a non-responsive web browser as there simply isn't enough grunt in the Intel Atom N450 CPU to process the page and the touchscreen input; touchscreen input itself consumed up to 44 percent of the CPU when we were browsing, so when we loaded up a page that took up around 50 percent of the CPU the whole system slowed to a crawl.

Without a pen, links can be hard to click on. You'll have to use the pinching gesture to zoom in on a page to make the text bigger. The pointing gesture also requires white space to be effective, and even then it didn't always work first go. In fact, all the gestures were very unreliable throughout our tests.

You could say that using the touchscreen on the Lenovo IdeaPad S10-3t is a pain rather than an enriching experience. The lack of native touchscreen features in the operating system, coupled with a slow CPU and only 1GB of RAM, makes the overall user experience slow and frustrating. Furthermore, the lack of an easy-to-use on-screen keyboard makes browsing the internet in tablet mode virtually impossible. About the only thing the tablet mode is good for is reading ebooks. There is a dedicated touchscreen interface for viewing photos, listening to music, watching movies and writing notes, but it's quicker to do all those tasks (save for the writing of notes) in regular netbook mode using your regular photo viewer and media player.

NEXT: as a netbook >>

Lenovo IdeaPad S10-3t Expert Verdict »
Lenovo IdeaPad S10-3t Scores 9.3 out of 10 based on 4 reviews
1.66GHz Intel Atom 1GB DDR2 RAM
10.1in TFT touchscreen, 1024x600
250GB 5400rpm, Secure Digital (SD)
Finger Operated Touchscreen, Touchpad, Buttons, Keyboard
Built-in Microphone, Camera
Slot For Cable Lock, Tablet Form Factor, Convertible, Power Supply
D-Sub, Headphone Jack, Microphone Jack, RJ45, USB 2.0
Wireless 802.11n, Bluetooth, Wireless 802.11b, Wireless 802.11g
rechargeable Li-Ion battery
  • Overall: We give this item 5 of 10 overall

Overall, the Lenovo IdeaPad S10-3t seems more of a proof of concept than anything else. As a tablet, it’s not fun to use and it will have a negative impact on your productivity. Things could be better if Windows 7 Home Premium was installed, but the hardware also needs some tweaking. A screen with edge-to-edge glass would make scrolling a lot more comfortable and responsive; a trimmed-down hinge design would probably allow for a deeper palm rest and larger touchpad; and a webcam at the centre of the screen would make it possible to use the netbook for video conferencing. It’s clear that netbooks with touchscreens aren’t prime-time material yet.

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