on 13 December 2011
I purchased the S205 recently as I wanted an ultra mobile laptop with reasonable performance that I could take on the road with me without being overly restricted by size or battery life constraints.
Basically the S205 is a netbook and a beautiful one at that, and with a computing platform this small you've got to be realistic about the performance you expect from it. "Good enough" computing is what the S205 is all about it does its job. Don't expect it to be as quick as a Core I3 based laptop or some of the Llano mobile devices.
First of all I'll discuss what I think about this laptop then I'll go through the individual components of the S205 with what I like and don't like
Performs very well for web browsing and Youtube.
Handles High def video fine and connects to 1080P TV via HDMI output (cable not included).
Not a games machine so forget it if you are looking to play modern games like Battlefield 3. However it does handle games from 3-4 years ago very well and casual games like Plants Vs Zombies run fine.
Doesn't get hot at all, therefore comfortable when used for extended periods on my knees.
Quiet- little heat therefore fans don't need to run at high speed.
Battery lasts for ages.
Keyboard: I'm not that demanding with regard to this aspect of a device but I found it an excellent keyboard with a nice feel and I enjoyed typing on it. The keyboard does sit at a slight angle as the battery raises the base of the laptop up slightly to generate a slight incline. This may or may not be to an individual's preference but I liked it. The purpose of this incline is meant to be for providing a better typing experience but I reckon it's also to allow a bigger battery to be fitted inside the case.
Touchpad: Seems as good as any I've used however I pretty much hate them all.
Screen: Nice enough when viewed straight on but don't expect wide viewing angles on a laptop this small. It does its job but not fantastic.
Hard Drive: Think mines is a Western Digital model and scores 5.9 in Windows Experience Index which is fairly decent. Like any 2.5" mechanical hard drive it doesn't seem lightning quick but it's reasonable. 500GB is an excellent amount of storage though on a device this size.
Operating System: As described in the product description it is Home Premium 64 bit. I was pretty impressed with this as previous S205 models had only used the 32 bit version. The benefits of the 64 bit version are better performance, better memory management and it's supposed to be more secure according to Microsoft. The downside is you need a minimum of 4GB to see decent performance but fortunately that's provided.
Processor/Graphics: The S205 uses AMD's Brazos APU and this year Lenovo have used the new E450 version rather than last years E350. Having never used a PC with the E350 I don't have a frame of reference with which to compare it. A 50MHz processor clock speed increase for each of the 2 processing core is probably not going to be that noticeable. However the graphics core (HD6320) can turbo up to 600MHz now which is a fair bit of headroom over the old E350s (HD6310) so should help with more demanding graphical applications. My experience is that it runs Windows Media Center effortlessly and I tried Prey Prey (PC DVD)(a game from 3-4 years back) and it ran smoothly on high settings. Word processing, Excel etc all work extremely well. I can say that performance is much better than Atom based netbooks I've used. Processor scores 3.9 on Windows Experience Index, not high enough for heavy work but that's the price you pay for small size, low heat and noise and great battery life.
Ethernet: No Gigabit ethernet only 10/100Mb. Disappointing but not a deal breaker and Wireless N in theory has a greater bandwidth. Since I'm using the S205 as a mobile device I doubt I'll ever be relying on the wired ethernet port on a daily basis anyway so not a big issue.
Wifi: I never seem to get the max number of bars suggesting wireless strength isn't that great, however I've connected to my wireless N router and browsed the internet when being 30 feet away through two brick walls so it seems decent enough.
Update 1/1/12 Wifi performance will vary depending on whether you are connected to the mains or running from battery. Power profiles in Windows,AMD Catalyst Driver and Lenovo Energy management can reduce performance of the Wifi in order to conserve the battery. Everything is user definable and you can create your own plans if you desire to allow max Wifi performance on battery if you desire. To keep things simple I uninstalled the Lenovo Energy Management software, the AMD Catalyst driver (accessible from the Start Menu or the toolbar at the bottom right of the Desktop) has an option to let Windows settings over ride its own if you wish.
Included software: This is a strange kettle of fish, first is Lenovo's facial recognition software that I haven't used yet but it sounds pretty cool. Basically it uses the webcam to see the person attempting to logon and if they are recognised it logs them on without the need for a password.
Boot optimiser this gleefully reports that its optimised your boot time when you log on though the result seems to vary. Login times I've seen have been from 50secs to 1m 6secs. I think this is basically bloat ware so I'll probably take it off to help speed up the laptop.
The strange one for me is the Lenovo battery optimiser. It claims to prevent the battery from fully charging in order to extend the number of battery recharge cycles. I always thought with Lithium Ion batteries it was best to charge them up and then run them until they were low before recharging to get maximum recharge cycles. I'm not sure so I'm still in two minds whether to take this off or not.
Trial versions of MacAfee and Office are included along with a couple of other things (basically bloat ware) that just use up disk space and processor cycles. I intend to uninstall them.
No install disks are include so I purchased Samsung S084F 8x USB Slim External DVD Drive - Black to make my own recovery discs as the S205 doesn't have a DVD drive. Worked great from USB2 ports.
Update 1/1/12 I've uninstalled some of the software, I took off the boot time optimiser as even after optimisation the reported boot times varied by the same amount as prior to optimisation. I also uninstalled the battery optimiser, basically it stops the battery charging at about 50% of maximum capacity to increase the number of recharge cycles on the battery. The battery optimiser also included a power profile manager that would change the settings on the PC to conserve battery time and a number of profiles that duplicated the Windows power profiles in Control Panel and the AMD Catalyst power profiles. These might be handy for someone that isn't PC literate but if you know your way round a PC I'd recommend uninstalling them.
Memory: As mentioned 4GB of 1066MHZ DDR3. A bit disappointed by this as the E450 supports 1333MHZ, so I guess this must be an attempt by Lenovo to trim costs or extend battery life. May see if I can upgrade when it gets a bit older.
Battery life: This is the difficult one as the installed battery optimizer software never lets me get a full charge. I've had approx 5 and a half to 6 hours of web browsing though I didn't time it.
I did manage to get a bit of extra battery life by setting up my own power profile using AMD's catalyst driver software. This takes things quite a bit further than the Windows Power profile as it allows you to select your own clock speeds when not plugged into mains. I chose 850MHz as opposed to the on tap 1.65GHz and the battery life was amazing, however I have to say using the laptop was a less pleasant experience as it was nowhere near as snappy and responsive. It's an interesting choice to have though especially if you know you'll be travelling for an extended period.
Overall I love this laptop, I have my desktop for heavy workloads, and the S205 to give me a platform to work or play on when I'm travelling. I could have got a tablet but I felt I needed something a bit more powerful with a decent keyboard. I intend to remove the hard drive and fit an SSD to give the platform a bit more zip in the next few months, it's a bit trickier than updating a larger laptop hard drive but will probably be worth it.
I'd recommend the S205 for those that need portability and battery life coupled with decent performance. Five stars.
on 19 November 2011
I have reviewed two previous models of this netbook earlier this year, and both were the best in class at a time, but this one got even better.
It has the same amount of memory (4GB) and 500GB HD as previous model, but this is more than enough for a small travel-size netbook. No need to upgrade, and also this is quite tricky on Lenovo netbooks (you need to remove keaboard etc). What is different for this model is the new updated AMD processor - E450 vs E350. It has slightly higher CPU clock rate (1.65GHz vs 1.60Ghz) and 508GHz GPU but due to extra turbo-core it can go up to 600MHz, which gives 20-30% increase in games and benchmarks. Overall this CPU/GPU combination is very powerful, most games are absolutely playable, HD Video running smoothly, and normal tasks like Web browsing, emails, office documents editing performed very fast. In fact Word starts almost instantly, in less than 1 second. Overall PC startup time is less than a minute inc login which is pretty impresive for Windows netbook. I attach a large 23" monitor to in in the office and this little beast manages 2 screens perfectly, second in 1950x1050 HD resolution.
Considering it's still the size/price of a typical (good) netbook we are talking here it's just amazing. In fact the specs of this machine are better than of my desktop (which is not new I admit).
The build quality is exceptional, with sleek design, quality almost full-size keyboard (I think letter keys are full-size, they only fiddled with arrows and enter buttons). Keyboard is the best around - I tried dozens of note/netbooks at PC World and other shops to compare (as I am using it for a lot of typing). Even more expensive models like Sony VAIO have inferior keyboards. Trackpad could be larger but it's OK. Glossy cover is a finger-print magnet (it is very hard to find matte cover on a netbook) but thanks to patterned design it's not so visible. Go off easily as well.
I was a bit conserned about glossy display but in fact it's not so bad - brighter than matte display and not so much reflective. Colours and contrast are very punchy, good for video/tv watching. Now having used it for some time I am not sure I would swap it for a matte screen. Much easier to clean as well.
It comes with Windows 7 Premium 64bit installed, which is much better than Starter edition, and you can upgrade memory up to 8GB, which will boost performance even further (if you really want to). Not too many extra software installed which is good, as most got deleted right away.
The only thing I'd want to improve is to split C drive in 2. Currently everything is on C (there is 20GB D drive but it is used for recovery system) so if you will have to re-install Windows or use the recovery utility you will lose all your data - backups are essential for this netbook! You can create a new drive of course but it will stop the recovery utility from working. Surely Lenovo could have designed this better.
Battery life is so good I forgot to mention it, as I almost never go flat. 6-cell gives you 5+ hours of normal work time (browsing, email, documents, etc). Obviously games/videos will take more juice.
All in all I think it is a perfect on-the-road netebook, light, stylish, with great battery life, and exceptionally fast. Very happy with it. I can only see myself replacing it with another netbook with even better processor (maybe ARM when they will run Windows 8) but that won't happen for good 2 years I think.
Strongly recommend, and these 5 stars come from a very demanding user.
on 4 January 2012
After much research I plumped for this netbook. If the model is an E-450 then the GPU is actually a HD 6320M which can burst to 600MHz as opposed to the fixed 500MHz of the HD 6310M.
Windows gives the unit an overall score of 3.9, this being the lowest score and for Processor. Aero Gets 4.6, RAM 5.8 and Gaming and HDD get 5.9. Pretty impressive then IMHO.
Streaming 720P video from YouTube appears to be pretty much flawless with perhaps the odd spike - hard to confirm this as a CPU issue rather than a connectivity/YouTube problem however.
I am not expecting to do heavy gaming on the system, but I did buy it so I could do something at least. I have both Torchlight and Trine 2 on steam and downloading both, both are running fine native resolution and at max, although I haven't ventured very far into either game or taken any FRAPS frames per seconds recordings. Both games felt responsive, although I suspect that Trine 2 might be pushing things a little and dropping the settings down a little will be necessary later on. Interestingly, Torchlight has a netbook setting which kicks everything down to low or off. I am able to run it at max settings, but I do wonder if it might be necessary to dump a few once the screen fills with monsters.
I plan to install Halflife 2 later and I full expect it will run well, although perhaps not at maximum settings.
I have seen people running Skyrim, Battlefield 3 and other high-end games on E-350 and E-450 based machines, but while these may run, the frame rates I've heard reported are anything from 3 to 30fps and that can vary wildly across play - basically it's going to be unplayable: there's quite a difference between walking around Skyrim and showing off that it works to actually going into a dungeon and being able to control your character and have a smooth, enjoyable playing experience!
In General use the machine feels responsive: I've been opening Google Chrome, surfing, opening word, Steam etc... without any issues and very little waiting around. It feels as fast as working with a modern PC for most tasks, if a little slow to launch games in steam, but once launched there's no holding back. Surfing seems swift, although occasionally there were delays to load a page, but that could be network related rather than netbook power related.
BUILD QUALITY AND FEEL
This is a very solid feeling netbook compared to others I have tried in the past - Acers in particular. The lid isn't quite as solid as the base but the hinges feel smooth and positive and the display can be tilted back to 130 degrees, which is pretty handy.
I would say that I was a little disappointed that in removing the protective cellophane from the screen, some of the sticky plastic covering the webcam pulled the small clear plastic cover off the webcam and I spent 10 minutes looking for it before reattaching it. It feels a bit tacky and the camera quality doesn't seem great but this maybe because there's a smear on the underside of the clear plastic lens cover.
KEYBOARD AND TRACKPAD
I pretty much loathe track pads but I have to say I actually like this one. It appears to pinch and zoom multi-touch operations, which I hand't been expecting, but perhaps should have, and the textured feel of the track pad is much better than the feel of the pad on my HP Elitebook (a somewhat more expensive desktop replacement laptop!).
Which brings me to the keyboard, which is reportedly full size. I'm not so sure about that - if I compare the real-estate taken up by the keyboard on the S205 with that of the regular set of keys on my iMac's keyboard or on my HP Elitebook, I'd say there's around a CM less in both width and depth, but the keys are great to touch, have excellent feedback and I find that the touch is very light and positive compared to my HP Elitebook which I practically have to hammer all the time or it leaves, in particular, spaces, out of my sentences - very annoying.
If there is one criticism of the keyboard, it would be the irritating Fn key in the lower left placement that plagues all Lenovos, but I knew that before purchasing and I decided to live with it. Particularly good is the inclusion of arrow keys with PgUp and PgDn and both delete and backspace as distinct keys and no need to press any Fn key to get either of them to work.
I Like the display, it's nice and bright and when viewed head-on everything is readable with little or no fall off in light. The Date in the Windows Notification area looks a bit fuzzy, but that is probably down to font size, choice of font and the small area into which it is cramped. In fact looking at the data on my HP Elitebook, it looks a little fuzzy there also but naturally the pixels are much smaller than on the Lenovo.
Viewing from the side, or having the screen at the wrong vertical angle, I find that the brightness drops off and is a little patchy, but I don't think this is unreasonable as the expectation here is that I will be using the device alone and looking at it head on. For the price, I'm not expecting an IPS panel or excellent viewing angles or quality.
I've not analysed in any real scientific way but the black levels look good and the contrast seems fine - colours are vivid enough for me but I admit I haven't compared it to anything else in this category.
Also, the screen feels so much bigger at 1366x768 than the puny 1024x600 offering and at 11.6" it feels like a good size and the whole unit feels very portable.
FINAL THOUGHTS AND CONCLUSION
I'm very happy with the machine. The solid design (some may call it boxy) works for me. I bought it to do more creative writing on while commuting and so they keyboard and trackpad were important as well as the resolution of the screen. The keyboard is SO much better than my HP Elitebook I can hardly believe it and the trackpad too (although some may find this a little small).
I have yet to try the battery in anger, but I can report that the power supply is quite dinky and would be no hassle to throw in your bag as well.
The quality of the unit (putting the slight issue with webcam aside for a moment), the great keyboard and trackpad, the good size, quality and resolution of the screen, the 4GB of RAM, 500GB drive and the inclusion of Windows 7 Home Premium, help this netbook feel more like a laptop.
Some may suggest that it is an ultra-portable and I'm fine with that too, because an ultra-portable allows you to do more than you might ordinarily, with a netbook and with the Lenovo S205, with the E-450 AMD chip and ATI Radeon HD 6320M, you certainly CAN do more than you might with a netbook.
If your needs are moderate and you're not interested in running high-end games on this system, then this is probably as much as you will need and compared to the 9" Aspire One I had a few years ago, with it's tiny screen, stingy resolution, tacky keyboard and mouse, naff operating system... I could go on...
The bottom line? So long as you're expectations are reasonable, this Lenovo Ideapad is probably going to exceed them.
UPDATE: Given the slightly broken Webcam on arrival and the flimsy and clicky lid, I've decided to return mine. I'm leaving it at 4 Stars, but I'd recommend taking a look first. The base and hinges are solid, but the Lenovo's top just isn't the same quality as the keyboard - clearly to save on weight I feel.
on 30 November 2011
Bought this model with the E450 processor instead of the E350, and found the performance to be excellent. The size and weight of the netbook is very good. Played films on the netbook with no problems, for its size the graphics are really good. The sound is better than my Dell Studio.
I am not a gamer so I can't pass a comment on how good it is for that. I have had this Lenovo S205 for a week and can't find anything to complain about. It does not come with a cd/dvd drive, but I have bought a usb dvd drive. If you are looking for a light weight machine at a reasonable price the Lenovo S205 takes some beating.
on 7 June 2012
All in all this is a nice little machine. It runs well, boots in about 60 seconds (faster than most netbooks I've seen/used in the past), and is a nice size for working on. It has plenty of ports on the side including 3 USB 2.0 ports, HDMI + DVI out, and an Ethernet port. (Has mic and headphone port but I can't comment because I haven't used either). It's keyboard is a useable size however takes some getting used to if you're used to a fullsize keyboard or a large laptop, but has many useful Function keys and all the normal keys of a full size (bar a keypad of course)
However, the main problem of this Laptop is the wireless network strength. I understand the majority of the time you'd be using a netbook is out and about for work or with a mobile dongle so to some this wouldn't be a big deal, although using it at home with a wireless router is nothing short of painful. I seems to have trouble connecting through anything more than 2/3 walls, and I get about 3/4 bars sitting 3 feet from the router itself.
Saying this, I've converted to using an ethernet cable and it downloads at about 30mbps (70 mbps connection, so this suggests that the network card just isn't up to scratch) which is adequate for a netbook such as this
all in all, if you're planning to use this away from home, it is your best bet. Slighty bigger and more powerful than the average netbook its a nice little runner thats sure to serve you well for a long while. However, if for whatever reason you're planning to use this at home permanently (?) go for something else, because the connection issues are sure to irritate you eventually
on 10 December 2011
What a wonderfall laptop. Excellent keyboard and perfomance .
but some thing is wrong with my lenovo s205 i get always -3 bars on average compared to other laptops.
that means when other laptops have 5 bars of signal i get 4 bars .
when others 4 bars i get 2-3
or sometimes i get 0-1
I have run some tests with some routers and other laptops .
There was one acces point wich no matter how close i was to it , i was getting 1-0 bars when other laptops were getting 4-5! i felt so stupid(but that looked like a compatibility issue) , something is wrong with this wifi adapter .
i tried another router at my house
when i got 10 meters away from my router (including 2 walls) i got 1 bar(with some disconects)! The same time my phone , and 3 other l
i realy realy want to keep it , but this is making the whole purpose of the netbook unsuable. all updates done and still same results.
So if u are to stay close to an access point i recomment it . Maybe something is wrong with only my lenovo s205 , i will run some more test with more laptops and access points and update this post. What is wrong with lenovo they dont run tests anymore?
As far as audio is concerned is fine , and the microphone jack is also fine. Screen a bit glossy ,but realy good , and nice viewing angles. touchpad is wonderfull (including the 2 buttons) i wonder why cnet review stated something bad about it , i am very happy with it.
Battery is so so , 3:30 hours (,+1 restart, i had minimum to one bar brightness)without watching videos , havent test battery much
The only thing that makes me sad is that i keep spenting so much time , to prove to my self that the wifi is ok , but it is not so far, when getting away from an access point . i want to be able to be in my universitie's library and work properly but i get 0 -1 signal and disconects all the time SO sad
on 26 February 2012
Had this a couple of days so will write first impressions review.
Out the box the quality feels very good. Sturdy shell and lid, screen hinges seem strong, packaging very good. Design is very simplistic. Nice touch is not too many stupid stickers that wear away and look tacky.
Keyboard is one of the best i have used. Raised keys with a slight curve give for very positive action. Some people might prefer a larger mouse pad, but the buttons are large and easy to use.
It comes complete with usual manufacturers software. I don't know if anyone actually keeps it, but the first step is to remove that.
Although the Amazon spec says ATI 6310 Graphics, it has the E - 450 cpu and 6320 graphics, which gives a turbo mode and an increase in performance. It plays HD without a problem and also has an excellent screen.
For your money you also get 500GB hard drive and 4GB of ram, which is more than enough for most people. It breezes through MS Office, photoshop, web browsing, music without a problem.
It stays remarkably cool in operation even when playing video for long periods.
All in all my first impressions are "its light, compact, well built, fast for a netbook, easy to use and ver competent"
I am giving it 5 stars, but will write another review in a few weeks.
on 24 November 2012
I ordered the Lenovo S205 through Amazon based on it being a good price and my very positive experience with 2 other Lenovo laptops in the family. Sadly, the netbook which I was sent had a twisted keyboard, meaning it wobbled on a flat surface like a table - very annoying! Amazon were great, getting me a replacement out extra quick because it was a birthday present for my daughter. Very annoying though when the replacement turned out to have exactly the same fault. All Amazon could do was offer to give me a refund. By that time it was too late to make alternative birthday present arrangements so we kept it and stuck a sticky foam disc under one foot to keep it stable. The result is something which works fine but is visually flawed and will continue to annoy rather than give pleasure. It would be good if Amazon could check a replacement product before sending out to ensure against continued disappointment.
on 19 August 2013
I love my IdeaPad. I've had it nearly 2 years now and I use it every day. It's small enough to take everywhere but the keyboard is full size so you can do a lot of writing on it if you need to. It also has very good specifications and I can play Sims 3 on it with no problems. Office runs smoothly and multitasking with multiple programs open is fine. The battery life is excellent and comes with an application to manage how you use the battery power.
I removed a star because I had to uninstall a Lenovo start-up booster that messed up the OS and gave me BSD. It deleted registry items essential to run Windows! It took me a while to figure out it was that and had to install Linux in the mean-time.
The battery clips are also pretty flimsy and have broken off so now the battery is held in with tape! Other than that the chasis is pretty sturdy.
on 30 January 2012
I bought this for my 79 year old mum who has been struggling with a heavy (vista) laptop for ages now...
I'm happy to report that both of us are delighted with it!
Its a full size compact keyboard with responsive solid feeling keys and gaps between keys which help for precise typing! It's light enough for her to have it on a tray on her lap and of course windows 7 is miles better than previous m/soft platforms.
She doesn't need office which was a trial only anyway so that was removed immediately and Mcaffee anti virus software (again only a months trial) was removed and replaced with free AVG.
Great for browsing the net emailing and viewing pics and vids... Buy it!