With the launch of Windows 8 looming just over the horizon, we’re going to start to see a lot of new PCs flood the scene which seem purpose built for the new operating system. Even though it comes running Windows 8, it seems as though the Lenovo IdeaCentre A720 is just such a machine. It's a sleek all-in-one desktop touch-screen PC with a certain sense of style.
When you look at this machine, you immediately get a certain sense of style. It has a great clean look to it. It's thin and elegant, with a lot of nice detailing. the PC hardware is contained in the base instead of behind the monitor which helps maintain the elegance of the design but also makes cabling more convenient. This makes it, in my opinion, generally more attractive than your typical all-in-one, including the iMac. It's a big 27” all-in-one PC but somehow still elegant and light in appearance.
The overall build quality is pretty nice and solid too. It's an all metal enclosure with clean lines and tight fitting components. My only real complaint with the design is having the power button hidden around the right side of the monitor, while the power indicator light is flush in the lower right of the front bezel. More than once I found myself tapping that power indicator light on the screen, forgetting that it was just a light and not touch-activated while the real power button was all the way on the opposite side of the machine. Considering it's already a touch screen with touch-activated soft buttons along the bezel this seems like it should have been an easy oversight to fix.
Some may complain at this unit only having four USB ports but there are always USB hubs to expand that, and most all-in-one users don’t have use for the 10 USB ports you’ll find on some desktops. There is HDMI out so you can plug in an external display but also HDMI in, so you can use it as a monitor for your game console, for example. It even has a TV tuner - a rare feature but one I am extremely fond of, letting you take full advantage of Windows Media Center as a PVR solution.
My only significant gripe with this machine is the display. The 27” screen is wonderful to work on but the 1080p resolution leaves me wanting more. I have a 23” monitor that works well with this resolution but on a 27” it seems a little insufficient. Looking at it, you wouldn’t guess thats the screen’s native resolution. The tradeoff is that the screen is multi touch compatible and has a wonderful range of adjustment so you can work with it horizontally (parallel to the desk surface), with a traditional vertical screen alignment, or something in between. I found it great to work on at a 45-60 degree angle, similar to a drafting table.
The touch screen works well enough with windows 7 and the bundled software, but you’ll really have to wait for windows 8 to take full advantage of it. It's a great way to augment your computing experience. Being able to work with the screen horizontally makes it wonderful for sharing with others and touch-based gaming. It's underutilized now, given current software but once Windows 8 hits, we’ll see that quickly change.
Under the hood you’ll find a third generation Intel Core i5-3210M CPU running at 2.5GHz, 6GB of RAM, a Blu-Ray drive, a 500GB HDD, Nvidia GeForce 630M Graphics, an HD webcam, bluetooth, and 802.11b/g/n Wifi.
Overall if you can get past the relatively low screen resolution, this is a wonderful system. It is both gorgeous and functional. You’ll find yourself quickly spoiled with the large, easily adjustable, multi-touch screen. I loved using it and it looked great enough to even give Apple lovers a touch of envy. If you can’t wait for the Windows 8 launch and need an all-in-one PC today, then this one is a pretty solid choice.
The Lenovo IdeaCentre A720 all-in-one desktop packs cutting-edge computer components into a razor-thin touchscreen design. It features a power-packed 3rd generation Intel Core i7 processor and 8GB of RAM, a huge 1TB hard drive, a gorgeous 27" multi-touch frameless display, and a built-in Blu-ray drive.
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