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Desktops

All-in-one PC brings entertainment to tight spaces -- and budgets

Lenovo's latest all-in-one desktop offers a full-HD display at a budget price and with an admirably small footprint.

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The Lenovo B40 is a budget-conscious all-in-one desktop that's built for slinging media in tight spaces. It's got a 21.5-inch IPS display with a 1,920x1,080-pixel resolution and a built-in sound bar -- all packed into a minuscule footprint.

Media savvy

Lenovo outfits the B40 with up to fourth-generation Intel Core processors, up to a 2TB 7,200rpm hard drive with an 8GB SSHD and 8GB of RAM. That's a considerable amount of power, but the desktop lacks support for discrete graphics.

Intel's integrated graphics have come a long way over the last few generations, but they're still not a good fit for most gaming. You should be able to get by with lightweight titles like Fruit Ninja and Halo: Spartan Assault, which work well on less powerful hardware.

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Lenovo

The Lenovo B40 runs Windows 8.1, though the touchscreen is an optional extra. Windows 8 is far easier to get around with touch, so you'll likely want to consider it. If you're averse to touch on desktops, the upcoming Windows 10 is far more friendly to mouse and keyboard users, but there's no word on when that operating system will be officially released.

Upgradeable, but not very adjustable

This all-in-one has a fairly limited range of motion, especially when compared to models like the Acer Aspire AU5 I checked out a few months ago. You can adjust the angle that the screen tilts at, but there's no height adjustment, and the desktop isn't VESA-compatible, so you can't mount it on an articulating arm either. You'll want to keep the height of your desk or counter in mind.

The B40's most interesting feature is actually fairly uncommon for all-in-ones: pop off the rear panel, and you'll have ready access to the RAM and hard drive to upgrade at your leisure. This should prove convenient down the road, if you find yourself wanting more hard drive space, or a bit more pep in your machine.

All told, the the Lenovo B40 should make a decent choice if you're looking for a dedicated entertainment station for an office or dorm room. I didn't really get a chance to listen to the audio in the crowded venue where I saw it, so I'll withhold my judgement until I can get my hands on a review unit.

Price and availability

The only model that's currently available on Lenovo's US site goes for $719, but Lenovo says that the desktop will start at about $649 -- keep an eye out for more configuration options, which should be popping up soon. The B40 is listed as "coming soon" on the company's UK site, with no price listed -- $649 converts to £405 though.

A larger 23.8-inch version called the B50 is available now in Australia for a much less budget-minded AU$1,599. Its design is identical, and it also has a 1080p screen, but its innards are a little beefier, with an Intel Core i5 chip and an Nvidia GT 820A graphics card.

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