Lenovo has announced a new line of affordable notebook PCs that combine a thin and light construction with Intel's 3rd generation Core i3 and i5 processors. The IdeaPad S Series notebooks are designed to be an affordable alternative to high-end Ultrabooks, while offering more computing power and features than the lowly netbook.
Measuring 21.9 mm (just under an inch) and weighing in at 1.8kg (less than four pounds), these systems are firmly in the thin and light category. The design is reminiscent of the company's current U410 Ultrabook and will be available in several colors including red, silver and “cotton-candy pink”.
The line consists of three new systems, featuring a variety of customization options. The S300 and S400 models will be powered by Intel's 3rd generation Core i3 and i5 processors, while the S405 will feature an AMD A8 quad-core APU. AMD's APU offerings are traditionally less powerful than the Intel equivalent. The A6 processor found in HP's thin and light Sleekbook system was somewhat underwhelming in the power department.
Lenovo has highlighted the systems' updated intelligent touchpads, which are reportedly designed with the Windows 8 in mind, providing improved scrolling and zooming functionality. In addition to the improved scrolling and zoom functionality, users will also get access to the company's Quick Start “instant on” feature. All S Series systems will ship with Windows 7, but will be eligible for the Windows 8 Upgrade Offer.
Storage options go up to a 1TB HDD in the S405, and 500GB for the other two models. Users can also select an optional 32GB solid state drive on the S400 and S405, a measure that will significantly improve speed boot times and the general responsiveness of the system. There's also HDMI output, stereo speakers, and up to 14 inches of full HD goodness.
The S Series systems are pegged to start at around €500 (US$625 at the time of writing), but concrete details on the internals and price tag of each model make it difficult to make an early assessment of how the systems will fare against the competition.
The notebooks are entering a somewhat crowded market space, with systems such as Asus's X501 series offering, which couple capable processors with thin and light designs for compellingly low prices.
However, the combination of affordable price point (as promised by Lenovo) and the inclusion of certain high-end features such as quad-core CPUs and full HD displays, may go some way towards setting the S Series notebooks apart from the competition.