Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Lenovo IdeaPad S206 - A Bit Underpowered

I am very fond of Lenovo laptops. IBM Thinkpads were know for their keyboards, and after acquiring IBM, Lenovo continued this tradition. So I look at each new Lenovo offering with a bit of interest. The latest new offering is the Lenovo IdeaPad S206, which is a 11.6-inch laptop. An 11.6-inch laptop is the smallest size which I find comfortable, as the 11.6-inch form factor allows for full sized keyboards. The best netbooks, with their 10.1-inch displays have keyboard which are 89% to 94% of the size of a full sized keyboard. 

The display of the Lenovo IdeaPad S206 is priced at Php17,990. It has a HD display, the typical 1366 x 768 you find in most of todays laptops. A 0.3 MP webcam is fixed on the top of the lid. For storage you have a 320 GB hard drive and a 2-in-1 card reader. For ports you had a HDMI port, a USB 2.0 port, and a USB 3.0 port. Nothing missing here. As an operating system, you get Windows 7 Home Basic, which is a pleasant surprise. A lot of laptops at this price come with Windows 7 Starter. Unfortunately, I have no word on the battery used.

But there is an area of concern. This laptop is powered by an AMD C-60 APU with a dual core 1.3 GHz processor. Performance is pretty meager. CPU Mark benchmarks give it a score of 557 points, which is at the same level as the higher end Atom netbook processors.

This is substantially slower than the performance of AMD E-450 based systems, which we have been recommending for the past year for those looking for a low cost portable.

Making the AMD C-60 seem even more anemic, is the fact that the AMD E-450 has been phased out by the newer AMD E2-1800 which is a tad bit faster.

When you look at the Lenovo S206 as against the Asus X401U, with its faster APU E2-1800 and larger 500 GB hard drive, for Php18,990 the Asus looks like a better deal. But the Asus X401U does have a larger 14-inch display so it is not really a direct competitor.

While a little hard to find, the 11.6-inch Acer TravelMate B133 is a much better deal with its Intel Celeron B877 processor which is priced at Php16,999 with Linux installed. The Intel Celeron B877 is the best processor in the budget class.

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