Consider Lenovo's 21.5-inch IdeaCentre B320 all-in-one the smaller, more affordable counterpart to the well-reviewedfrom last fall. The B320 does not have a 3D-capable display like the 23-inch B520, but the core features--a touch screen, a discrete graphics card, and a fast CPU for its price range--help the $949 IdeaCentre B320 retain some of the higher-end model's character.
The problem is HP's nontouch. Yes, that system costs $50 more, but it offers a larger screen, a Blu-ray drive, and better performance. The IdeaCentre B320's massive 2TB hard drive might offset those differences for data hoarders. For everyone else, the IdeaCentre B320 doesn't offer enough to overcome the HP's advantages.
The design of the IdeaCentre B320 hews closely to that of the B520. On both systems, a piano-black bezel frames the display, which sits on top of a cleft, angular speaker bar. Unlike the B520's edge-to-edge glass, the B320's display is recessed into the bezel. Aesthetically the look isn't that different, but functionally the recessed display makes it a bit harder to fit your finger in the B320's corners for touch input.
Touch input is one feature that distinguishes the B320 from HP's Omni 220. I still don't find touch a crucial desktop feature, but you might if you intend to use one of these PCs as a home entertainment kiosk. The Lenovo uses surface acoustic wave touch (SAW) technology, the same as that in Samsung's Series 7 all-in-one. It requires you to press down a bit harder than with resistive or capacitive touch screens, but the accuracy is good once the screen registers your input.
Lenovo's touch software suite is a piecemeal assortment of programs. You get VeriTouch, which uses pattern drawing for system authentication, the App Space media player, and QuickNotes note-taking program, among others. They're all fine, but they exist mostly as accessory applications. You might use them on occasion, but for better or for worse, Lenovo has no full-fledged touch operating environment like HP's TouchSmart software.
The benefits of the TouchSmart software aren't a factor against the B320, given that that Omni 220 has no touch screen. You could try to configure a TouchSmart 420 to match the B320, but squaring up the features between the two systems pushes the 420's price above $1,000.
|Lenovo IdeaCentre B320 77601TU||HP Omni 220||Acer Aspire Z5571|
|Display size/resolution||21.5-inch, 1,920x1,080||23-inch, 1,920x1,080||23-inch, 1,920x1,080|
|CPU||2.5GHz Intel Core i5 2500S||2.8GHz Intel Core i7 2600S||3.3GHz Intel Core i3 2120|
|Memory||8GB 1,333MHz DDR3 SDRAM||6GB 1,333MHz DDR3 SDRAM||4GB 1,333MHz DDR3 SDRAM|
|Graphics||1GB AMD Radeon HD 6450A||1GB AMD Radeon HD 6450A||Embedded 64MB Intel HD Graphics 1000|
|Hard drives||2TB, 7,200 rpm||1TB, 7,200 rpm||1TB, 5,400 rpm|
|Optical drive||dual-layer DVD burner||Blu-ray drive/ dual-layer DVD burner||dual-layer DVD burner|
|Networking||Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11b/g/n wireless||Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11b/g/n wireless||Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11b/g/n wireless|
|Operating system||Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit)||Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit)||Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit)|
Stay within the sub-$1,000 price point, and you'll see that the IdeaCentre B320 offers a competitive system for $899, but the head-to-head matchup against the Omni 220 isn't so cut and dry.
The Lenovo's advantages are its lower price, more RAM, and a larger hard drive. The HP costs more, but it has a faster CPU, a larger display, and a Blu-ray drive. For an extra $50, you can also add HDMI input to the HP, which significantly improves its utility as a home entertainment hub.
The Lenovo is actually a pretty good deal compared with theand other $899 all-in-ones, but with the likes of HP's Omni 220 out there, you can spend just a little bit more for a more capable alternative. The Lenovo's primary draw may be its capacious 2TB of hard drive storage space.
If your primary interest is an all-in-one PC that's fast enough and offers a lot of local media storage, Lenovo has a pretty good deal here. As long as the Omni 220 stays within reasonable price range of the Lenovo, HP's unit with its larger display and Blu-ray drive is a better deal if you want an all-in-one to act as a home media hub.
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(Shorter bars indicate better performance)