If a few weeks ago we showed you some of the highlights of Lenovo, today we bring you a new all in one brand. This is the IdeaCentre A300, which is now available for purchase.Enjoy new Lenovo IdeaCenter A300…
Lenovo seems to have developed a clear two-pronged strategy: for business, it leans on the knowhow and tradition it purchased from IBM with the demure Think line, and for the consumer end, it’s developed its own, oftentimes flamboyant, Idea range of computers. Prime example of the latter is the IdeaCentre A300, which features an edge-to-edge glass screen, chrome accenting aplenty, and an unhealthily thin profile. As such, it’s one of the more unashamed grabs for the hearts and minds of desktop aesthetes, so we had to bring it in for a test drive and see what we could see.
Television may slowly converge on the PC – PCs such as the A300 IdeaCentre , Lenovo are against long since arrived at the TV already. The sleek all-in-One will only score points with the fresh design, not when the PC lies in the base and the display is moved laterally. With Core 2 Duo CPU and TV reception, the A300 IdeaCentre lot to offer too.
First impressions of this Lenovo all-in-one were overwhelmingly positive. Its slick and shiny exterior merited a second look even from jaded souls like us, while our unscientific polling of nearby laypersons ended with the conclusion that the A300 is “gorgeous.” The asymmetric stand adds a smidgen of sophistication, and we can happily report that it handles the screen’s weight with aplomb, keeping it upright in an extremely stable and reliable fashion. Considering how far off-center the chrome-covered base is, Lenovo’s done a fine job to keep functionality in tact while diversifying form.
The performance of the A300 are IdeaCentre model – unfortunately, the question of whether a TV tuner on board. Two out of three models currently available offer a DVB tuner. Always make fun contrast to the 21.5-inch display with LED backlight and full HD resolution.
Going around the A300’s body, you’ll find a litany of ports around the back and left side, including HDMI inputs and outputs, a quartet of USB jacks, Firewire, a handy multicard reader, and a TV signal input with its own adapter coming in the box. We weren’t too thrilled about the positioning of the power jack, as we came close to unplugging the juice on multiple occasions while trying to use nearby ports. This is also down to the fact that the power adapter here is of the sort used in laptops and is easier to disconnect than your typical desktop fare — which is dandy for battery-powered portable computers, but could prove disastrous if you’re working on something important and start fiddling around the back of the machine absent-mindedly.
The design of the A300 IdeaCentre plays a leading role. Subscriptions Lenovo unobtrusively integrated at the back of the base, at the thinnest part is the all-in-one also at 1.9 cm rather flat.
Sound is output through a pair of downward-firing speakers in the IdeaCentre’s base, which are covered by some gruesome orange grills. Good thing you won’t have to see them, we say. As to what you can expect in terms of aural delivery, you should use your nearest laptop for reference. Even at its highest setting, the A300 wasn’t particularly loud, though to its credit that also meant it didn’t garble or distort your music when pushed to its humble limits.
We had another unexpected and unpleasant discovery with the A300’s keyboard: incredible as this sounds, simple text input on the A300, erm, lagged. That’s to say we occasionally found our textual musings appearing on screen a good three to four seconds after punching them in. Similar behavior was exhibited when we Ctrl and W’d a few tabs in Firefox — they hung around after our instruction, leading us to think it wasn’t registered and doing it again, with the end result being that we closed more tabs than we intended to. Annoying. Our inclination, given that these were all keyboard inputs, is to suspect that the Bluetooth connection was causing the delays. Still, the underlying reason is less important than the fact we had an issue to fix with the most basic of operation on the A300.
The display itself is actually an above average affair, in our opinion, with a lucid and well saturated picture. Stretching to a full 1,920 x 1,080 pixels, it offers plenty of real estate and we’d say its 21.5-inch size is just about the sweet spot for desktop use. We were fans of the contiguous glass front, and can definitely see the value on offer for students and the like who’d prefer to combine a TV set and computer into the smallest possible package. That does come with the caveat that vertical viewing angles are par for the LCD course (i.e. not very good), and the limited tilt available on the A300 could thwart your attempts at achieving converged technology nirvana. We must also mention that the screen here is of a highly reflective variety; it’s no glossier than what you’d get on Apple’s latest iMacs, but it’ll cause you some grief if you have a light source directly opposite it during use.
Windows 7 (Home Premium 64-bit flavor) machine, and if you want the full dish on what the OS will and won’t do for you, check out our comprehensive review. It merits mentioning that in spite of Lenovo slapping its Enhanced Experience label on the IdeaCentre A300 — which is supposed to indicate the company optimized a few things under the hood to make it run faster — bloatware and other ancillary programs slow the boot time down to a glacial 70 seconds. Hey, if Nic Cage can steal a car in less than a minute, then computers should be able to turn on in the same amount of time as well, we’re not asking for too much here.
The processor inside our test unit was a 2.2GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T6600, which was long in the tooth this time last year, and positively ancient today. And yet, our experience with the A300 indicates that its inclusion here is more testament to the Intel chip’s longevity than Lenovo skimping on component costs. The laptop CPU is powerful enough to run 1080p video flawlessly, and handles the mundanity of day to day computing with good humor and fitness. The 4GB memory allowance helps, while a half terabyte hard disk (formats down to 440GB) provides plenty of storage. If there’s one thing we have to criticize on this spec sheet, it’s the 5400RPM spindle speed on the storage unit: it showed its speed deficiency early and often. Oh, and speaking of spinning plates, there’s no optical drive to be had — an irrelevance for some, but a major downer for others who might have been contemplating turning this into their media playback station.
Operation of the A300 is on the whole extremely quiet, though the base — which contains the majority of components — does get warm to the touch. The only thing you might hear is the hard drive seeking, but if you want to kill two birds with one stone, slap an SDD in this machine and you’ll nullify both the speed and noise disadvantages thrown up by Lenovo’s default disk. On the whole, we might not recommend this as your Photoshop or 3D design rig, but regular things like web browsing, media playback, and basic productivity are handled smoothly and competently.
They come with a 21.5 inch HD screen and a TV tuner with remote control built for $ 949 for introductory offer. Although you can buy without television and with fewer benefits slightly less money.