Lenovo IdeaCentre A700 Review

by Reads (30,449)
Editor's Rating

Ratings Breakdown (1-10)

    • Software & Support
    • 8
    • Upgrade Capabilities
    • 6
    • Usability
    • 9
    • Design
    • 7
    • Performance
    • 5
    • Features
    • 7
    • Total Score:
    • 7.00
    • Rating 1 to 10, top score 10

Overview

  • Pros

    • Big multitouch touchscreen
    • TV tuner
    • HDMI IN
  • Cons

    • Quirky touchscreen
    • Whining speakers

     

Quick Take

A perfect all-in-one for the dorm, or any place where a combination TV/computer would be handy.

Buy Direct From Manufacturer


Lenovo’s IdeaCentre A700 is the star of Lenovo’s ‘A’ Series all-in-one lineup. Breathing down Apple’s neck, can Lenovo succeed where others have failed and take over the all-in-one market through sheer customizability? Let’s read on and find out.

Specifications: 

  • Processor: Intel i-720QM @ 1.60GHz
  • Memory: 8GB DDR3 SDRAM (so-DIMM)
  • Display: 23-inches, 1920×1080 resolution, two-finger multitouch
  • Storage: 1TB SATA II @ 7200 RPM
  • Optical storage: Blu-ray ROM / DVD+/-RW
  • Graphics: AMD ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5650 1GB
  • Networking: Gigabit Ethernet
  • Wireless networking: 802.11b/g/n
  • Dimensions: 16.9 x 22.4 x 2.8 inches (HxWxD)
  • Weight: 32.6 pounds
  • Warranty: One year limited parts and labor

What’s in the box:

  • Lenovo IdeaCentre A700 all-in-one desktop
  • Windows Media Center remote control / wireless mouse
  • External A/C power adapter
  • Bluetooth wireless keyboard
  • Bluetooth wireless mouse

The Lenovo IdeaCentre A700 all-in-one desktop starts at less than $900. This review configuration carries a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $1,599. Lenovo just introduced a new refresh of the high-end A700; the Blu-ray drive is swapped out for a DVD+/-RW and RAM is knocked down to 4GB. The CPU is upgraded to an Intel Core i7-740QM running at 1.73GHz – but happily the whole setup got a discount to the tune of $350, coming in at $1,249.

Lenovo IdeaCentre A700 all-in-one

Build and design
Lenovo currently offers all-in-one desktops in three main schemes: the nettop ‘C’ series, which uses smaller screens and low-end Atom processors to dramatically reduce the price, the desktop-class ‘B’ series, which uses desktop-class hardware to satisfy performance junkies looking to save some room, and the design-focused ‘A’ series, which Lenovo uses to push the boundaries in terms of design, taking advantage of laptop- and mobile-class hardware in order to try out new form factors.

Lenovo IdeaCentre A700 all-in-oneIt’s a smart way of doing business, since it means that the A series can be used almost surgically, to try out new designs and new ways of engineering a desktop. Then, those designs that prove successful and/or commercially viable can be moved down to the ‘B’ series. After some refinement, and replacing high-end finishes with lower-cost alternatives, those designs can then be moved on to the entry-level ‘C’ series.

While the IdeaCentre A700 isn’t quite the looker that the A600 was, it’s an attractive piece of equipment in its own right. It’s too bad that Lenovo went for a more generic look in this model, though, as it’s almost hard to tell the difference between this machine, and competing models from HP or Gateway/Acer.

Lenovo IdeaCentre A700 all-in-one Lenovo IdeaCentre A700 all-in-one

Despite going for a slimmer profile than some members of its ‘B’ series, the A700 still packs a lot of features into its attractive frame. A speaker grille sits on the bottom front of the machine, acting as a rudimentary soundbar for the desktop. The screen sits on top and almost looks like it’s going to slide down on top; the effect is even more pronounced when the machine is viewed from the side.

A slot-loading optical drive helps give the A700 a classier feel than some competing products, and that level of sophistication continues into the stand that supports the machine. Clad in a silvery metal, the stand feels solid – it’s just too bad that it’s hidden away behind the machine where few people will ever see it. There’s also a hole cut through the middle that lets users drape the power cord through the stand, instead of clumsily winding around it.

Lenovo IdeaCentre A700 all-in-one  Lenovo IdeaCentre A700 all-in-one

In fact, the only real annoyance with the design of the IdeaCentre A700 is where the stand is located. Or perhaps more properly, the problem is where the inputs that it covers are located. Most of the inputs, outputs and other assorted expandability are located in such a manner that it’s hard to access them without substantially moving either the desktop or the stand.

Inputs and expandability
As mentioned, the A700 makes no compromises when it comes to the number of ports and inputs a desktop traditionally offers.

Lenovo IdeaCentre A700 all-in-one Lenovo IdeaCentre A700 all-in-one 

On the left side of the machine is a bevy of easily accessible inputs, including two USB 2.0 ports, a mini-IEEE1394 (FireWire) port, headphone and microphone jacks, an eSATA port and a 6-in-1 card reader.

The right side of the machine shows off the slot-loading Blu-ray ROM/DVD+/-RW optical drive as well as its accompanying eject button.

Lenovo IdeaCentre A700 all-in-oneBehind the stand on the rear of the machine is where all of the excitement happens – the A700 has a lot to show off. Just above the port shield is a Kensington lock slot. Below that are four more USB 2.0 ports, a Gigabit Ethernet jack, S/PDIF optical audio out, coaxial cable in, composite video in, stereo audio in, HDMI in, HDMI out and power in. There’s also a keyboard and mouse sync button.

The numerous extra video and audio ports can be attributed to both the TV tuner as well as the dual-purpose display unit inside of the A700. Not only is the desktop capable of receiving ATSC and ClearQAM broadcasts, but it can be used as a standalone display for external devices such as a cable or satellite box, Xbox 360 (HDMI) or Nintendo Wii (Composite video and stereo audio in).

 


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