For most tasks the Q110 performs about how you'd expect for a nettop. The extra gigabyte of RAM does make it feel smoother when multi-tasking, but some of that performance is sucked away by Windows Vista, which I opted to use for all performance tests since it is the default operating system, free Windows 7 voucher aside. The performance is, like all nettops, perfectly adequate for normal home use - the Q110 is just more adequate then most nettops.
The big question, however, is how much of a difference Ion makes in games and video, as that is where the Lenovo Q110 will be different from the normal run-of-the-mill nettop. The pass/fail tests I use are simple - either the product is capable of providing a satisfactory experience or it isn't. For video, this means no noticeable dropped frames. For games, this means an average FPS of 30 or more with no dips below 15 FPS.
Note that I used the beta release of Flash 10.1 for these tests. This beta enables GPU acceleration for Flash video. I did not test any optical formats as the Q110 of course does not come with an optical drive.
Youtube SD: PASS
Youtube HD: PASS
Hulu SD: PASS
Hulu HD: PASS
iTunes SD: FAIL
iTunes HD: FAIL
- Half-Life 2 1024x768 Low Detail: FAIL
- Civilization 4 1024x768 Low Detail: PASS
As you can see, the performance of the Q110 is a mixed bag. The biggest disappointment to me was that the Lenovo Q110 seemed to get absolutely creamed by iTunes. There is not any GPU acceleration taking place here, so even standard definition content caused CPU utilization to hit 100%, resulting in many skipped frames. Flash-based content with the new GPU accelerated version of Flash ran without issue as long as nothing was running in the background.
The limitations of the Q110 can be laid directly at the feet of the Atom processor, which is generally horrible at dealing with video and games. While the Q110 passed the Youtube and Hulu tests, CPU utilization was still high. It was lowest in Youtube SD and HD video test where it hovered between 50 and 60 percent. I think that with a dual-core Atom processor the Q110 would pass everything with flying colors, but the single core Atom has a hard time keeping up.
Still, the Q110 has advantages over non-Ion nettops. A normal nettop simply can't run HD flash video, nor can it run any modern 3D game. The Lenovo Q110 can. I had some hopes that the Lenovo Q110 could perform as an HTPC, given all the hype about Ion being 1080P capable. Sadly, it is not quite capable enough for that role. But as a home PC, it is much more capable of entertainment then an Eee Box or MSI Wind Top.