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Lenovo IdeaPad S12 -Nvida Ion Review And Price

Lenovo IdeaPad S12 -Nvida Ion Review And Price

Aside from the 12.1 inch, 1280 x 800 pixel display, the defining characteristic of this laptop is the fact that it scraps Intel’s integrated graphics and replaces the chipset with NVIDIA ION. This gives the laptop more than enough power to handle 1080p HD video playback in a wide range of formats – including HD Flash video if you have Adobe Flash Player 10.1 beta installed. The computer also scores significantly higher on 3D graphics benchmarks than a typical Intel Atom netbook with integrated graphics. You’re not necessarily going to want to play bleeding edge video games on the Lenovo IdeaPad S12 with NVIDIA ION, but you shouldn’t have problems running many older games.

The laptop has an Intel Atom N270 processor — the same chip that’s been used in dozens, if not hundred of netbooks released over the past two years. The CPU is capable of handling light weight tasks without much trouble. And it’s reasonably efficient at multitasking. You shouldn’t have any problems surfing the web with a few browser tabs open while listening to music, for example.

Keyboard and Touchpad

The IdeaPad S12 is larger than a typical netbook thanks to its 12.1 inch display. And that leaves plenty of room for a full sized keyboard. I found typing on the Lenovo IdeaPad S12 to be quite comfortable — although I’m still not a big fan of Lenovo’s decision to place the Fn key to the left of the Ctrl key in the lower left corner of the keyboard.

Arrow, Page Up, Page Down, brightness and volume keys are all located in the bottom right corner of the keyboard. But for some reason Lenovo offers some buttons with duplicate functionality in a row just above the keyboard, where you’ll find volume and mute buttons.

The IdeaPad S12 is available in black or white. Both models have glossy lids, although I feel like the black cover shows fingerprints more easily. The case isn’t a solid color though. While it’s kind of hard to spot from a distance, when you look at the laptop up close you see a textured pattern of circles.

On the bottom of the laptop you’ll find two access panels which you can open up to upgrade or replace the RAM or add a PCIe card. One nice thing about the IdeaPad S12 is that unlike many netbooks, it has 2 RAM slots, making it easy to upgrade the memory.

The Lenovo IdeaPad S12 with NVIDIA ION graphics costs about $170 more than the version with integrated graphics. Is it worth the extra price? That depends on how important the extra graphics capabilities are to you. In terms of everyday performance, you probably won’t notice a difference between the two machines. But if you want a model that can reliably handle HD video, Flash video, and some 3D gaming, as well as pump out video to an HDTV via an HDMI port, the NVIDIA ION model is the way to go.

That extra money doesn’t just pay for the graphics processor. This model also has more RAM and a larger hard drive than the model I reviewed last summer. And it ships with Windows 7 Home Premium instead of Windows XP.

But with a starting price of around $599, I can’t think of many reasons to pick up the NVIDIA ION version of the IdeaPad S12 instead of a computer like the Lenovo IdeaPad U150 with an Intel CULV processor which offers better overall performance, even if it doesn’t score quite as highly on graphics benchmarks.


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