When we think of our trusty computers, we often conjure up images of large noisy desktops or towers that appear on or sit below the desk. They can look a little unsightly among other office furniture and if you are not careful take over most of your available working space. Lenovo has taken into careful consideration this possible hindrance by creating an All-in-One solution that removes the need for a large separate housing and instead combines all of the required hardware within the actual monitor casing. The result is the ThinkCentre A70z computer, designed specifically for business users who wish to avoid unnecessary clutter.
So let’s take a look at some of the features…
A computer within a Monitor
At first glance, the Lenovo All-in-One appears to resemble a traditional monitor with a little bit more bulk to it. This extra mass contains all of the computer hardware you would under normal circumstances see contained within a desktop or tower unit. The display is a respectable 19″ widescreen running at 1440×900 resolution. Although it’s not a very high resolution compared to more recent standards, the image is crisp and presents plenty of detail – perfect for the vast majority of office applications including Word, Excel, Powerpoint and anything else along these lines. Viewing websites, checking email and even audio / video communications thanks to the built in microphone and webcam offer a true all-in-one solution to your office needs.
Below the screen are two stereo speakers, which for the office environment are perfectly acceptable and blend in well with the rest of the design. To the right the power on / off button as well as a hard drive indicator light displaying any activity when accessing the internal storage.
So actually the Lenovo All-in-One is quite minimalistic in appearance, however as soon as you peer around the side and the back, a whole treasure trove of ports and options presents itself.
First two brightness controls, which usually would have been found as a short-cut on a keyboard, however here we have two directly controllable buttons that can be raised or lowered depending on the room’s lighting conditions. Below these buttons are three USB 2.0 ports, perfectly placed for any USB memory sticks or other removable media you wish to insert without fiddling with anything further behind the computer. Finally a microphone and headphone input if you need a little more privacy when using any of the audio / video communication applications that are available.
Around to the rear are even more possibilities, including a further three USB 2.0 ports (ideal for any devices you wish to have plugged in permanently including maybe a keyboard, mouse, external hard drive and so on). A wired LAN port and of course a power input port. There is even a serial port, although the need for one has certainly diminished since USB came on the scene.
The whole thing remains upright due to a simple metal stand, but this can be replaced as it also features a VESA compliant mount to have the whole machine placed either on a wall or on an office adjustable stand that can be swung to different positions, ideal for sharing on-screen information with clients or fellow office workers. If you need to move the computer, there is even a handle making the process even simpler when the management decides to have an office shuffle.
To say you have an entire computer wrapped within a monitor, the result is very pleasing and the noise actually far quieter than you might imagine. This doesn’t mean you lose out on speed though as the Intel Core 2 Duo E7500 running at 2.93GHz is certainly up to the job. Everything felt snappy and more importantly pleasurable to use.
A 320GB hard drive, which should provide plenty of storage for most applications and media types and 2GB of internal memory. The graphics is powered by an Intel G41 Express Chipset, which ran 1080p YouTube video full screen with no issues whatsoever.
Finally built-in wireless capabilities that supports the b/g/n standards, allowing you to ditch a fat cable if your office has the capability.
The only factor that puzzled me was the inclusion of a ‘wired’ keyboard and mouse. Although both are fine as pieces of hardware, a wireless solution would look so much better with this minimalistic look we are all trying to achieve. If you are planning on purchasing this particular set-up for your office, I would recommend a wireless keyboard and mouse if one isn’t already included in your bundle to complete the overall look although it isn’t essential.
Lenovo ThinkCentre A70z comes with Windows 7 Professional 64-bit edition, which gives you extra Windows XP compatibility options for those applications that might be lacking updates or are no longer supported for more recent operating systems.
Lenovo have a few minor customisations within the operating system itself, that offers easy access to messages from Lenovo, warranty information, diagnostics, security warnings and more. These are all accessible by clicking a large blue icon that sits neatly among your other taskbar icons.
Another icon which ironically resembles a computer tower opens up another area where you can update your software and hardware drivers. They have also made sure that if anything goes drastically wrong with your operating system, their recovery tool will get you back up and running even if your computer fails to start up correctly.
There is of course also a 60 day trial of Microsoft Office if your business is yet to take the plunge.
- Intel® Core™ 2 Duo E7500 Processor ( 2.93GHz 1066MHz 3MB )
- Genuine Windows 7 Professional 64
- Intel Graphics Media Accelerator X4500
- 2 GB DDR3 SDRAM 1066MHz
- 19.0″ All In One with integrated camera 1.3M
- 320GB HD
For those who desire a work surface with plenty of space and room for manoeuvre, the Lenovo ThinkCentre A70z certainly offers a superb option. For around £500-£600, the computer runs extremely fast and will handle all of your typical office applications with ease as well as featuring a generous number of USB ports.
The whole experience was very enjoyable and certainly encourages any user of the Lenovo ThinkCentre to sit down, boot up Windows and begin their daily office routine – safe in the knowledge that their day shouldn’t be ruined by a crawling computer or technology clutter.