Lenovo to bring 12in NVIDIA ION netbook to Australian market in time for Christmas

Lenovo's third-gen netbook to be bigger, more powerful in the graphics department

Lenovo's new 12.1in IdeaPad S12 netbook.

Lenovo's new 12.1in IdeaPad S12 netbook.

Lenovo yesterday announced its 12.1in netbook, the IdeaPad S12, which will enter the Australian market in December and have a starting price of $799.

It's Lenovo's third-generation netbook, following on from the IdeaPad S10 and the Lenovo IdeaPad S10-2. Because of its larger screen and less cramped keyboard, it will be a much easier netbook to use than the earlier, 10in models. Lenovo's product and marketing director, Chris Kelly, says that the IdeaPad S12 has "a completely new form factor, making mini-computing easier and refining value in this market".

There will be various configurations available, including the IdeaPad S12 (2959-46M), which will run NVIDIA's ION graphics platform. The IdeaPad S12 (2959-46M) will also feature an Intel Atom N270 CPU, 2GB of DDR2 SDRAM (it will support a maximum of 3GB), a 320GB, 5400rpm hard drive, a webcam, a memory card reader, a 6-cell battery and Windows 7 Home Premium (32-bit). It will cost $999. Unfortunately, it won't have 802.11n WiFi, nor Gigabit Ethernet, so you'll have to make do with 802.11g and 10/100 Ethernet. You also get Bluetooth.

The IdeaPad S12 (2959-46M) will ship with an HDMI port, which will allow high-definition content to be played on a big-screen TV. The NVIDIA ION graphics and HDMI port target this model more towards the multimedia user, and our tests of previous ION-based netbooks, such as the HP Mini 311, show that this platform provides up to 15 times the graphics performance of a typical Intel-based netbook, making it ideal as a video playback device.

This model will have a multitouch touchpad, which will allow users to take advantage of Windows 7's gesture support when viewing photos and browsing Web pages.

The IdeaPad S12 (2949-4CM) will come with Intel GMA 950 graphics and cost $799. This model will have the same Intel Atom N270 CPU but feature a different supporting cast: it will come with a smaller 160GB, 5400rpm hard drive and only 1GB of RAM (it will support a maximum of 2GB). You still get a webcam, Bluetooth, a memory card reader, a 6-cell battery and 10/100 Ethernet, but it will be better than the ION model in the wireless networking department — it will feature an 802.11n controller. This model will also come with a multitouch touchpad, so you can install Windows 7 on it and get the most out of the built-in gesture support.

Most importantly, the IdeaPad S12 (2949-4CM) will have an ExpressCard slot, which should make it an attractive proposition for anyone who wants to use an add-in 3G card, for example.

The IdeaPad S12 will be available in black, have a starting weight of around 1.5kg, and be 3cm thick, making it very portable. The native resolution of the 12.1in screen will be 1280x800.

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