S10-2 - The Ultimate Road Companion?
On and off the past week, I have carried my Lenovo S10-2 netbook on road trips with trip time ranging from 4 hours to 10 hours. The netbook, I am glad to report, performed flawlessly - no hiccups or tantrums. It must be pointed out that, aside from the time spent in the air-conditioned car (where the netbook was unused), the netbook had to operate in a high temperature and humidity environment. I live in the tropics where daily temperatures can range from a mild 23 degrees centigrade to a high of 33 degrees centigrade, with a humidity of around 95 percent.
Despite the high temperatures and humidity, the netbook showed no sign of overheating. I did however, hear the fan spinning more often than if it was in my air-conditioned room at home. The first time I used the netbook on my lap, it became uncomfortably warm after a few minutes of use. After making sure that the vents underneath the netbook was not blocked by my lap, it still did not feel comfortable. Looking around at the site I was in (a remote rubber plantation in a jungle belonging to the family of which I was managing) I found some flat pieces of discarded plywood of about the same size as the netbook. After cleaning it off, I placed the plywood piece on my lap and then placed the netbook on the top of the plywood. After this, using the netbook became more comfortable to use - plus, the added benefit of proper ventilation for it. I then decided to fabricate a piece of aluminum (which I had at home) to replace the plywood and carry it as part of the netbook for future trips.
I have used that piece of aluminum as a lap table ever since and I'm pleased to say that it had performed flawlessly :) Plus it was cheap to fabricate and did not require any power source (as some notebook cooling pad would) and, best of all, requires no maintenance whatsoever.
I had thought to test the battery time during my usage of the netbook on the road trips but, unfortunately, this did not happen. The main reason for this was the 'normal' usage I put the netbook through, did not put any strain on the battery - at the most 20 minutes was the longest period I had the netbook in constant use. So I will put off the through test of the battery to a later date.
Another feature of the netbook that I had to plan to test during my road trips, was it's wi-fi ability. Currently, I am subscribed to a fixed-line ADSL broadband internet access. My router (the D-Link DSL-2640T) has a wireless access point which I activated when I got my netbook and I have been using that access point from all over my house ever since. Again, the netbook wi-fi performed flawlessly - even from my downstairs kitchen I could still maintain a good connection despite the walls and the floor between the access point and the netbook. On the road trips, I did manage to detect some weak signals but did not try to connect (even though most of them was unencrypted!). Later on, I plan to do a bit of 'wardriving' - just out of sheer curiosity!
I had wanted to subscribe to a new wimax internet access service but unfortunately, their coverage did not cover the area around the family plantations - hence it looks as if I cannot get net access from that area for the time being. During this time, the only way I could get internet access is from my auntie's house 2 km away - using her dial-up modem!!
I have been playing around the Ubuntu Netbook Remix Linux OS (which now exists on my dual-boot netbook) on and off during the past week. I am quite pleased with it in general and I will report on it more in detail in a forthcoming blog. Stay tuned...