After a week of owning a netbook, I have to say it’s one of the best things I’ve ever bought. I’ve spent much of the time hacking at it to get it the way I want it. It works perfectly in both Ubuntu and XP. I’ve not had a single problem with the wireless network either at home or work (both use WPA encryption). The connection to my Belkin N1 router has worked flawlessly. I’m very glad about that because a netbook isn’t much use without the ‘net.
You can use it anywhere; the sofa, the kitchen, even sat on the bog if you’re so inclined! You can stick a few movies on the hard drive. I’ve got season 7 of The Shield on there for when my wife’s watching Holby City. Even better, it’s now running a MythTV Frontend, so I have access to live TV and all my recorded programmes from any room in the house. Or even the garden when the weather gets better! Myth works brilliantly in this configuration. A proper mini-me media centre on your lap.
Downsides? It’s maybe a little plain and functional looking in matte black, and it still picks up fingerprints. The keyboard takes a bit of getting used to. A couple of the keys are annoying, especially in the Linux command line, (it requires 3 keypresses to get a pipe, for example). The battery life could be better.
I guess the most disappointing thing is the bootup time. Bootchart says 48 seconds, but that includes connecting to a wireless network and obtaining a DHCP address, which can take 10 seconds. However, from power-on to Firefox it’s more like 80 seconds. Not bad, but hardly “instant on”. I’ve optimised it as much as I can without getting in really deep and compiling my own kernel etc. I still think the 160GB hard drive was the better choice over a smaller, faster solid-state. Bootup times may be worse, but improved write speed and having the space for 2 operating systems plus a few DVDs has to be worth it.
On the whole, though, I think the Lenovo was a good choice in a crowded market. XP comes in handy, even though I use Ubuntu most of the time. The hardware works flawlessly under Linux. The big disk is great. Bluetooth is an added bonus, giving the option of a headset for Skype and a mouse with no dongle. Something to play with in the future. Plus, at the moment, you’d be lucky to pick an S10e up for £30 more than I paid! Nice one, Dabs.