Looking for a good TV for your lounge and also need a powerful new computer, but don't have the room for both? Step this way, friend, and check out the Lenovo IdeaCentre A720 all-in-one.
The A720 offers an enormous 27-inch, Full HD screen that's just begging to show off your hi-def movies with the Blu-ray drive. Inside my review model was the latest generation Intel Core i7 processor and a hearty 8GB of RAM.
Better yet, it offers sleek, minimalist stylings and an extremely thin display that won't look out of place in your living room.
It's available from July for £1,299.
Design and build quality
Many all-in-one PCs arrive sporting cheap, shiny plastic bezels and big, clunky stands that really only make them suitable for a darkened office space. Lenovo however appears to have been studying its style guide closely as the A720 is a considerably more attractive piece of kit.
With its 27-inch display it's a very wide machine, so you'll have to clear a space on your desk. If you intend to keep it in your living room, you'll need plenty of room either side. It is also extremely slim however -- Lenovo claims that its 24.5mm thickness makes it the slimmest all-in-one in the world -- which probably won't help with its placement, but it does make it look very sleek.
In order to achieve such diminutive dimensions, a lot of the main internal components are housed in the base. That naturally makes the base chunkier than the stand on HP Z1 Workstation that needs an enormous plastic stand in order to support its epic bulk., but it's hardly fat and its small footprint means it can sit on a fairly narrow surface. It's certainly worlds apart from the gargantuan
Both the base and the chassis of the screen are constructed from a matte silver metal with a very minimalist design and sharp, angular edges. I personally found the IdeaCentre extremely attractive and would be more than happy to have it in any room of my house. Others on the CNET team were less keen however, arguing that it looks "bottom heavy" and "too slanty". It's likely then that you'll either love the minimalist look or loathe it.
The front is dominated by an enormous sheet of glass that runs edge to edge, so there's no tacky plastic bezels in sight, which gives it a premium feel. It can also be adjusted to lie totally flat, which when combined with its touch-screen capabilities make it seem like an enormous tablet sat on your desk.
The touchscreen is of the capacitive variety, so you don't need to ram your finger into the glass to get it to respond, and I must say it's one of the more accurate touch-displays I've used on an all-in-one. It's not faultless though, and trying to hit small icons like the minimize buttons can be a tough task, but it's great for moving windows around, opening folders or prodding the media controls on the Blu-ray player.
Oncelaunches however with its , the touchscreen on the A720 will become crucial. Swiping through the big, live tiles will be a joy and using the various touch-gestures to view open programs or settings will be enjoyably easy. If the A720 appeals to you now, you should be very excited by the thought of getting Windows 8 on it.
The port selection on offer includes two USB 2.0 ports, two USB 3.0 ports, an SD card slot, a slot-loading Blu-ray drive, headphone and microphone jacks and an Ethernet port. It's also got HDMI in and out ports which means you can plug in your games console as you would with a normal TV -- very handy if you plan on using it as your main screen in your living room or bedroom.
It also comes equipped with a wireless keyboard and mouse set which are pretty standard. The metal frame and chiclet styling of the keyboard is definitely reminiscent of Apple's keyboards, although it's not quite of the same quality. They do the job, but if you want a more comfortable experience when working on long documents then you should consider upgrading to a better set.