Update: Lenovo informs us that the A300 will start at $699 in its lowest-end configuration, and it's scheduled to hit retail on February 22.
We've always been relatively cool to Lenovo's desktop efforts, but the utterly unique IdeaCentre A300, announced Monday, got our attention.
Between its pared-down base, off-center display support, and thin, non-touch-screen, 21.5-inch LCD, the IdeaCentre A300 sheds most of the iMac-inspired conventions of all-in-one design. The CPU, RAM, and hard drive all live in the base (where options include Intel Dual Core Pentium and Core 2 Duo chips, and up to a 500GB hard drive and 4GB of RAM), and, as you might expect, the screen swivels around on its post.
More details after the jump.
You'll notice we didn't mention an optical drive. The IdeaCentre A300 doesn't have one. Lenovo sells an external DVD burner, and we understand the interest in preserving the trim aesthetic, but as Lenovo is positioning this system for home entertainment, the lack of a drive presents some obvious challenges to that ideal.
To get around that problem, you can either pay more and disrupt the looks via the external drive, rely exclusively on downloaded/streamed software and media, or connect an external video source to the IdeaCentre A300's HDMI input. Whether the design is worth the optical drive sacrifice will likely depend on how you intend to use this system.
Regardless of how you get data into the IdeaCentre A300, its design is one of the more original takes we've seen on the desktop all-in-one. Between this system and the gaming-orientedannounced last October, Lenovo is exploring the possibilities of all-in-one PCs more aggressively that most of its competition right now. We look forward to getting our hands on both units.