Lenovo's IdeaPad S10-3T is the a netbook with a swivelling touchscreen. Although this is certainly a different design and works as expected, the heavy chassis – due to the large battery – is a major letdown.
Build quality is great, with a thin cassis proving to be attractively patterned and tough. The keyboard is firm and responsive with tapered keys, although the tiny touchpad with integrated buttons is awkward to use.
However, this can be bypassed by using the touchscreen, as options can be selected by pressing directly on the display. This is flawed in netbook mode as the screen wobbles too much, but fortunately the entire display can be swivelled and laid flat across the keyboard, turning the netbook into a tablet-like device.
You support it with one hand while controlling it with the other, and the desktop can be rotated horizontally or vertically using a button on the side of the display.
Another button launches the Lenovo NaturalTouch interface, which allows you to play back media, launch your internet browser and perform other basic functions. Icons are generally much larger than in the standard Windows interface, which suits the touchscreen control, although scrolling through menus is often a jerky affair.
The touchscreen is responsive and easy to use, although the display quickly picks up smudges and fingerprints. The keyboard is also obscured with the screen laid flat across the chassis, meaning text input has to be done via an onscreen keyboard, which inevitably proves to be considerably slower and prone to errors.
A greater issue is the 1.6kg weight – by far the heaviest in this group – which makes holding it one-handed for any length of time uncomfortable. This is mostly thanks to the battery, which is incredibly bulky and juts out of the back of the chassis, although the resultant 619 minutes of battery life is the best in this group test.
The remaining features are a mixed affair. A System Restore button above the Escape key allows you to quickly back up your hard drive, while the included VeriFace software provides facial recognition security.
However, only two USB ports are included compared to three on most netbooks, and these are side by side, meaning a large peripheral will be likely to obscure the other port.
The Lenovo IdeaPad S10-3T includes some unusual features, including the swivelling touchscreen, but it sadly won't suit all tastes. It's too heavy to wield one-handed for long in tablet mode, while in netbook mode it doesn't quite match the usability of others.