Lenovo yesterday announced its 12.1in netbook, the IdeaPad S12, which will enter the Australian market in December and have a starting price of $799.
It's Lenovo's third-generation netbook, following on from the IdeaPad S10 and the Lenovo IdeaPad S10-2. Because of its larger screen and less cramped keyboard, it will be a much easier netbook to use than the earlier, 10in models. Lenovo's product and marketing director, Chris Kelly, says that the IdeaPad S12 has "a completely new form factor, making mini-computing easier and refining value in this market".
There will be various configurations available, including the IdeaPad S12 (2959-46M), which will run NVIDIA's ION graphics platform. The IdeaPad S12 (2959-46M) will also feature an Intel Atom N270 CPU, 2GB of DDR2 SDRAM (it will support a maximum of 3GB), a 320GB, 5400rpm hard drive, a webcam, a memory card reader, a 6-cell battery and Windows 7 Home Premium (32-bit). It will cost $999. Unfortunately, it won't have 802.11n WiFi, nor Gigabit Ethernet, so you'll have to make do with 802.11g and 10/100 Ethernet. You also get Bluetooth.
The IdeaPad S12 (2959-46M) will ship with an HDMI port, which will allow high-definition content to be played on a big-screen TV. The NVIDIA ION graphics and HDMI port target this model more towards the multimedia user, and our tests of previous ION-based netbooks, such as the HP Mini 311, show that this platform provides up to 15 times the graphics performance of a typical Intel-based netbook, making it ideal as a video playback device.
This model will have a multitouch touchpad, which will allow users to take advantage of Windows 7's gesture support when viewing photos and browsing Web pages.
The IdeaPad S12 (2949-4CM) will come with Intel GMA 950 graphics and cost $799. This model will have the same Intel Atom N270 CPU but feature a different supporting cast: it will come with a smaller 160GB, 5400rpm hard drive and only 1GB of RAM (it will support a maximum of 2GB). You still get a webcam, Bluetooth, a memory card reader, a 6-cell battery and 10/100 Ethernet, but it will be better than the ION model in the wireless networking department — it will feature an 802.11n controller. This model will also come with a multitouch touchpad, so you can install Windows 7 on it and get the most out of the built-in gesture support.
Most importantly, the IdeaPad S12 (2949-4CM) will have an ExpressCard slot, which should make it an attractive proposition for anyone who wants to use an add-in 3G card, for example.
The IdeaPad S12 will be available in black, have a starting weight of around 1.5kg, and be 3cm thick, making it very portable. The native resolution of the 12.1in screen will be 1280x800.