The IdeaCentre A700 is fast enough to navigate standard applications and play streaming HD video content smoothly. Because it uses a quad-core Intel Core i7 CPU with HyperThreading, it also leads its category in single multithreaded application processing. That, combined with its video card, should make digital content creation at least bearable with this PC. Compared with the other systems in its price range, though, the IdeaCentre A700 is a poor multitasker, and it's also a laggard in apps that rely on single-core processing speed. In other words, the fact that its CPU is a Core i7 isn't enough to overcome its slow 1.7GHz clock speed compared with the 3.0GHz or faster CPUs in its price category. The Core i7 certainly helps due to its strong multicore capabilities, but for this price, we expect fast performance in all usage scenarios.
Like most all-in-ones in this price range, the IdeaCentre A700 offers touch-screen input. Lenovo offers a spare touch dashboard with a handful of forgettable touch-based games and basic media apps. It's not as polished or as application-rich as HP's TouchSmart environment, but, as with most other vendors' touch software, Lenovo's is easy enough to ignore or use sparingly.
Far more interesting than its bundled software is the Lenovo's connectivity options. The aforementioned HDMI and component video inputs let you connect any home entertainment device that supports those connections. You can swap the incoming display signal between the various inputs via a button on the front of the system, which effectively lets you use the IdeaCentre A700 as a digital media hub, or as a secondary display if you connect another PC, for example a laptop. The HDMI output also lets you connect a second monitor if you want to expand your PC screen real estate.
You get a broad selection of other connections, including both analog and digital audio outs, FireWire, and eSATA ports to go along with USB 2.0 for data and device transfers, as well as an SD Card slot. Lenovo also includes a TV tuner input, furthering the IdeaCentre A700's status as a home entertainment device. We're probably more excited by the wireless mouse and keyboard connect button. We're not always glad to see wireless input devices included with all-in-ones, because vendors frequently fail to pre-connect the devices, and making that match yourself can be a headache. Press the big button on the back of the Lenovo and it launches Windows' Bluetooth connection software, making it easy to pair included wireless devices.
|Lenovo IdeaCentre A700 40244CU||Average watts per hour|
|Off (60 percent)||0.93|
|Sleep (10 percent)||3.22|
|Idle (25 percent)||67.45|
|Load (5 percent)||93.73|
|Energy Star compliant||Yes|
|Annual energy cost||$28.80|
We'll attribute the Lenovo's high power consumption rating to its discrete graphics card and its quad-core CPU. Sadly, the extra power draw doesn't translate into consistently better performance. Yes, this PC can handle HD content and light-duty 3D games, but at this price and with this kind of power usage we'd also expect it to provide competitive multitasking performance. It doesn't.
Lenovo's service and support policies hold to the near-universal industry standard of one year of parts and labor accompanied by a 24-7 toll-free tech support number. You can add at-home service and extended warranty coverage if you purchase your system online from Lenovo directly. You will find basic drivers and documentation on Lenovo's support site, but we wish the site gave you more direct access to the product-specific information.
Find out more about how we test desktop systems.
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