Lenovo is the latest netbook maker to come round to the idea that the ideal for such devices could be to give them 12 inch screens and near full-sized keyboards.

The company's latest model is the 1.36KG IdeaPad S12, which sports a screen size the company now admits is probably about right for a portable netbook.

"Most 10-inch netbook models only have 89 percent sized keyboard in them and we have seen users complain about the keyboard size," Lenovo's product marketing manager was quoted as saying in Wired. "The 12-inch netbook gives users a more comfortable experience," he said of the new machine.

Samsung started the trend with its acclaimed NC20, which comes with a 12.1 inch screen and a keyboard almost identical to that on the S12, described by Lenovo as "100 percent full size keyboard".

One original feature of the S12 is the inclusion of dedicated graphics in the form of Nvidia's new Ion chipset paired to an Intel graphics GMA 950 processor, which is said to be able to offer MPEG-2 performance at near desktop levels without increasing battery drain. The system also boasts an HDMI out port.

"With enhanced graphics, the Lenovo IdeaPad S12 netbook is perfect for watching movies, playing popular games like Spore, flipping through vacation pictures or enhancing family videos," said an Nvidia spokesman.

One the same board as the Ion comes Intel's Atom N270 CPU, a standard 1Gb of RAM, 160GB, 250Gb or 320GB hard disk options, and a 4-in-1 flash card reader. What buyers don't get is anything better than 802.11n Wi-Fi or a 3-cell battery in the cheapest model (a 6-cell battery is available).

Where the IdeaPad S12 does offer the NC12 competition is in terms of its aggressive price, which starts at $449, or £350 in UK pounds, available from June.