Lenovo IdeaPad S205 review

Tom Morgan
24 Sep 2011
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
inc VAT

The next evolution of the netbook - it might lack the visual flair of its rivals, but the IdeaPad S205 gets everything else right



11.6 in 1,366x768 display, 1.5kg, 1.6GHz AMD E-350, 4.00GB RAM, 500GB disk, Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit

On first inspection, you could be forgiven for mistaking Lenovo’s tiny IdeaPad S205 for a netbook. It has the same small footprint and 11in screen that we’re used to seeing, but look a little deeper and it’s clear this is an evolution of the traditional netbook form factor.

Lenovo IdeaPad S205 keyboard

Unlike traditional netbooks, which are restricted to certain hardware in order to ship with Windows 7 Starter edition, Lenovo has opted for Windows 7 Home Premium, which allows for a greater range of hardware choices. For starters, the usual Intel Atom processor has been jettisoned in favour of an AMD Fusion E-350, which is about as powerful in desktop applications but slightly better at handling video and full-screen 3D. With 4GB of memory, up from the netbook-standard 1GB, and a 500GB hard disk, this is more of an ultra-portable than a laptop, even if our benchmark results don’t paint quite the same picture.

Although fine for single tasks, the processor was quickly bogged down by our intense tests, producing a low overall score of 12. This might appear low, but we rarely noticed slowdowns during everyday use. We could browse the web, edit a text document and play 720p video at the same time without seeing any system lag. If you don’t need to perform intensive tasks such as image or video editing, you shouldn’t have too much trouble getting things done on the S205.

Lenovo IdeaPad S205 right

Naturally there’s no dedicated graphics card, but AMD’s purchase of graphics giant ATI means there’s still some performance to be squeezed from the integrated chipset. We had no trouble playing 720p video on the laptop, and could even play 1080p files on an external display using the HDMI output. Unfortunately the Radeon HD 6310m isn’t well-suited to gaming. It failed our Dirt 3 test, unable to produce a smooth frame rate at 1,366x720. Even when we dropped the resolution, disabled anti-aliasing and turned down the detail settings to medium, it still only managed an unplayable 12 fps.

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