And I thought the netbook was dead.
Over the past month or so, I have tried out two devices from Lenovo that suggest the small laptop, or the netbook, which we all thought was dead after the launch of the tablet, is all set for a comeback. Interestingly, the netbook gets its new lease of life from the tablet, its killer in the first place. Because these new multi-mode are nothing but 10-inch tablets with a keyboard attached. In fact, they also retain all of the tablet functionalities while adding some more postures that present new use case scenarios. The two devices that I mentioned are the Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 10 and the IdeaPad A10. We have already tested the IdeaPad A10, an Android device, and decided to check out the Windows 8 version, the IdeaPad Flex 10.
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The IdeaPad Flex 10 is identical to the A10 and has a 10.1-inch HD (1366 x 768p) screen. Like its twin, the Flex 10’s screen to can bend over backwards to make it easier to use as a touchscreen device. The size is very convenient like with the older notebooks. However, this is much lighter and weighs just 1.2kg, which would have been a premium netbook a couple of years back. It has a size that makes it convenient to carry around. While Lenovo has done a decent job of fitting the keyboard in a 10-inch torso, it seems to have been pushed to a corner squeezing in a trackpad. So the trackpad on this one is as small as it can get, and pretty much unusable at time. However, you wont need to use it much thanks to the touchscreen. There are two USB ports and an HDMI port on the rides, but no slot for an SD card, which is quite strange in these times.
The Flex 10 I got was running Windows 8, though newer units will come preloaded with Windows 8.1. At about 40 seconds, the boot-up is slow for a device this size. The ultrabooks of the past used to be much faster and that is a prowess this notebook could try and replicate. The clarity of the HD screen was impressive and this is crucial when you squeeze the tiles in on the Windows 8 homescreen. The OS was very responsive though it is powered by a 1.4GHz Intel Dual Core Celeron N2805 processor. There are quad core processor version too and I would recommend that if price is not such a concern. This, on the other hand, has the potential to make you feel like using a Atom-powered netboook. But the week or so we used the Flex 10 was uneventful.
You can easily use the Flex 10 more most regular functionalities. I thought it would make a good computer for children and teenagers, who don’t need high processing powers. I would not mind gifting one to my mother either, because this has a good 720p webcam which is the most crucial feature for our Skype-dependent parents. However, you will not be successful in run resource-hogging applications like Photoshop on the Flex 10. Plus, the battery also leave a bit to be desired. Lenovo should have tried to give it 10 hours juice. Right now it can give only a maximum of 8.
Should you buy it?
If you are looking for a portable computer for simple tasks like browsing, responding to emails and chatting, like you would have with a netbook, then the Flex 10 is a good option. For those who want to save a bit more the Android-based A10 might make more sense.