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Lenovo Unveils ION-based S12 Netbook

Lenovo has launched the first ever 12.1-inch Netbook with a Nvidia Ion graphics subsystem, all for less than $449.

One might doubt the S12's categorisation as a Netbook. After all, apart from the "ageing" Intel Atom N270 processor, it has almost the same configuration as Apple's new 13-inch Macbooks.

The ION-based graphics from Nvidia - which is based on the 9400M motherboard GPU - will ensure that you can play relatively recent games at decent rates and with 10 times more oomph, the company claims that HD H264, VC-1 and MPEG-2 won't make the S12 break a sweat.

Expect 4 to 5 hours worth of working time with a six-cell battery. Other Specifications of the device include that fantastic 12.1-inch screen with a 1280x800 pixels, 1GB RAM, a 160GB hard disk drive, Windows XP Home, a 1.3-megapixel webcam, multitouch trackpad (yes!), HDMI port, 3 USB ports and a full size keyboard.

If that's not enough, you will sure be overwhelmed by its connectivity options; WiFi (b/g only), HSDPA capabilities and an ExpressCard slot. Lenovo has also bundled in its proprietary VeriFace, OneKey Rescue System and Linux-based Quick Start environment. Only niggle is the weight, at a hefty 3.7 pounds.

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Our Comments

Lenovo has struck a great price/performance point. If the S12 is available in the UK for around £350, it will be a sure seller. The 12.1-inch screen and the Ion graphics subsystem are, as it stands, above the rest of the competition including the newly released Samsung NC20.

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Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.