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LAS VEGAS -- Much has been made of the hybrid laptop/tablet as a newish genre over the past year, but just as interesting is what some call the tabletop PC. That's another genre defined by physical form that's not exactly brand-new (early versions include Microsoft's years-ago original Surface product), but one that has only made it's way onto the consumer landscape recently. If anything, tabletop PCs have the potential to be even more mainstream than hybrids, as one could see these large PCs blending into living room furniture and becoming real family use devices.
One of the best first-gen tabletops was the Lenovo Horizon 27. This big-screen system, originally seen at CES 2013, is essentially a huge Windows 8 tablet. It had a kickstand that could lift the screen up to become an all-in-one desktop when you added a keyboard and mouse. Helping the original Horizon stand out even more was a custom software interface that kicked in when the screen was in tabletop mode, and a couple of board game accessories, including air hockey panels and a wireless die.
The 2014 version is called the Horizon 2, and it makes some significant leaps over the original. The body, while keeping the big 27-inch screen, is thinner and lighter than the Horizon 27, at 19.5mm thick and 15.4 pounds (versus nearly 19 pounds last year). The design looks more tapered, and it should be at least a little easier to lug from room to room, which one may want to occasionally do with a tabletop PC.
The screen gets an upgrade, going all the way up to 2,560x1,440 pixels, whereas the original topped out at 1,920x1,080. When tilted down, the Aura software interface kicks in, offering an interesting custom control scheme, which your fingers twisting and swiping onscreen dials to access apps and files. A few more programs and games are included -- last year's Monopoly and Texas Hold 'Em poker are still the standouts here, and the system now includes a digital pen and NFC for sharing from a mobile phone. The CPU/GPU combo can go up to an Intel Core i7 and Nvidia GeForce 840M.
The Horizon 2 will be available in June, starting at $1,499.