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Hands on with HP Mini, Lenovo S10, BenQ U101

Hands on with HP Mini, Lenovo S10, BenQ U101

This generation of Intel Atom-based netbooks has reached a certain maturity

The Benq U101

The Benq U101

The typing pad on the IdeaPad S10 also works well with comfortable, well-spaced keys. The trackpad was a bonus, with the left and right mouse buttons at the bottom like in a normal laptop. One nifty trick on the trackpad was a way to enlarge and reduce text and pictures on the screen using gestures. Touching the trackpad with your thumb and forefinger, and then spreading them apart, you can enlarge text on the screen. Draw your thumb and finger together and the text shrinks again.

The S10 I used was lightweight for a 10.2-inch screen model, just 1.1 kg, but that may be because it only had a 3-cell battery. Lenovo devices with 6-cell batteries aren't available yet, I'm told.

Overall the IdeaPad S10 is a very standard device with a decent price on Amazon.com of US$449.99.

BenQ Joybook Lite U101

Few reviews have been written about this device from BenQ in part because they're not easy to find. The company announced them just a few months ago and they aren't available in most markets.

I used one with a 10.1-inch screen that was on sale in Taipei for US$447.35. It had Windows XP, a 1.6GHz Atom microprocessor, 512M bytes of DRAM (though I was offered a free upgrade to 2G bytes) and a 160G byte HDD.

The only really standout feature I found on the U101 was the display screen. The picture was among the best I've seen on a netbook, at 1024x576 pixel resolution with 16:9 aspect ratio. I watched a movie on the device via an attached DVD drive (no netbook so far comes with a DVD drive onboard because netbooks are so small).

The keypad on the Joybook Lite was good and while BenQ placed the mouse buttons below the trackpad, it was one solid button instead of two. Two are better than one.

BenQ does offer Joybook Lite U101s with 6-cell batteries, but the above price is for a device with a 3-cell battery.


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