Lenovo IdeaPad S12 Washington DC

We have an Ion platform-based netbook--Lenovo's IdeaPad S12 in Washington. Or, at least, we will have it as of mid-August. Lenovo premiered its new 12.1-inch tweener netbook today, and it closely resembles the S10-2. But what lies under the hood probably matters more to you, so let's tackle that right up front.

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Lenovo IdeaPad S12

Lenovo IdeaPad S12 We have an Ion platform-based netbook--Lenovo's IdeaPad S12. Or, at least, we will have it as of mid-August. Lenovo premiered its new 12.1-inch tweener netbook today, and it closely resembles the S10-2. But what lies under the hood probably matters more to you, so let's tackle that right up front.

Inside the box, you get a 1.6GHz Atom 270 CPU partnered with an nVidia Ion GPU. That GPU gives you boosted video performance on the S12's 1280-by-800-pixel screen, the ability to run frostier-looking versions of Windows, and the ability to play games. (But you already knew about all those Ion features , right?)

The S12 will come with 1GB of RAM, a 160GB hard drive, and a six-cell battery that spokespeople say will last 6 hours. It also offers an HDMI video-out. Other than that, the S12 comes equipped as you'd find most other netbooks, with three USB ports, a four-in-one card reader, a 1.3-megapixel Webcam, VGA-out, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth on-board.

Lenovo IdeaPad S12 black

The machine also offers a multitouch touchpad, a full-size keyboard, and a QuickStart feature that launches users directly into a Linux shell for a few basic needs (Web browsing and Skype, for example)--and it crams everything into a 3.7-pound, 1.14-inch-thick shell. Not too shabby.

Though folks have been focusing on the Ion hoopla, don't lose sight of the fact that Lenovo also plans to offer a Via Nano version (with a 1.3GHz Nano 2250 and Chrome 9 HC3 graphics) outside the United States, as well as a straight-up "regular" Atom flavor (N270 and GMA 945 graphics) stateside. The only differences between these units are the price and the release dates. The Ion-based S12 will sell for $499 in three months; the Nano and Atom machines will be available soon and sell for $50 less ($449). So for anyone who just can't wait, there's hope.

Now, compare the Lenovo machine with the AMD Athlon Neo-based HP Pavilion dv2 I've been so fond of lately. Personally, I can't wait to see how the $749 not-quite-a-netbook compares to this $500 machine. The only benchmarks I have to go on for now are the Ion hands-on tests we performed with a proof-of-concept box a few months back. For some real-world results, we'll have to wait a little longer.

Lenovo IdeaPad S12 white And speaking of waiting, let's not forget Intel's recent revelations about Pinetrail, the next-gen Atom CPU. Last week, Intel told of its plan to shrink the Atom down further from three to two chips, making the CPU and memory controller merge. That two-chip architecture promises higher processor performance, increased graphics capabilities, and lower thermals (more efficiency all around). I guess we shouldn't exactly count Intel out of this game just yet.

It goes without saying that the end of 2009 could get pretty interesting.

Click here to read article at PC World