The Bottom Line
Jul 27 2012 - Lenovo's IdeaCentre A720 differs for the majority of the new 27-inch all-in-one systems because it offers a capacitive multitouch display. While this may not be a huge feature right now, when Windows 8 launches it will give it a major advantage. It also does an excellent job with media features by including Blu-ray and HDMI inputs allowing it to double as a media station while still have a very small overall profile. The downside here is that it does sacrifice performance by relying on mobile parts. Overall, it still does a good job and can handle most tasks but it just isn't as fast as much of the competition. It would have been nice to also see more USB ports or the need for fewer dongles.
- Nice Capacitive Multitouch Display
- Blu-ray Drive, HDTV Tuner and HDMI Input
- Stylish Design
- Performance Not As Strong As Desktop Based All-In-Ones
- Wireless Peripherals Use Up Half of Available USB Ports
- Doesn't Support Smart Reponse Technology Cache With SSD
- Intel Core i7-3610QM Quad Core Mobile Processor
- 8GB PC3-12800 DDR3 Memory
- 1TB 5400rpm SATA Hard Drive and 64GB Solid State Drive
- Blu-ray Reader and Dual-Layer DVD Burner Combo Drive
- 27" WUXGA (1920x1080) Multitouch Display With NVIDIA GeForce GT 630M 2GB Dedicated Graphics
- Intel HDA Audio With Stereo Speakers
- Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11b/g/n Wireless, Bluetooth
- Two USB 3.0, Two USB 2.0, HDMI (in), HDMI (out), 1.3 Megapixel Webcam, HDTV Tuner, 6-in-1 Card Reader
- 25.6" x 18.9" x 8.1"
- Windows 7 Home Premium, Office Starter, McAfee Anti-Virus Plus
Review - Lenovo IdeaPad A720
Jul 27 2012 - Rather than using desktop class processors for the IdeaCentra A720, Lenovo has opted for the lower power requirements of the mobile parts. It does use a quad core Intel Core i7-3610QM processor which does give it good performance but it falls short of what is possible with the desktop class parts used by many of its competitors. The processor itself has no problem handling any type of task but it will be slower for more demanding tasks such as desktop video editing. The processor is matched up with 8GB of DDR3 memory which provides it with a smooth overall experience in Windows. It should be noted that upgrading the memory is not something that can be done by buyers after purchase.
Storage for the IdeaCentra A720 is a bit odd. The one terabyte hard drive provides it with a good amount of space for applications, data and media files. The downside is that the drive uses a slower 5400rpm spin rate that provides it with slower overall data access and boot times than drives with faster 7200rpm drives. This version also comes with a 64GB solid state drive. Why the drive is included is a bit of a mystery. The OS is installed on the hard drive and the chipset lacks the ability to utilize the SSD in a Smart Response Technology cache. The result is a small high speed drive with limited space and not many tangible benefits. Either Lenovo should upgrade the chipset for the cache support or instead look at going with a dedicated solid state drive setup if they want to boost the data performance. If there isn't sufficient storage space within the system, there are two USB 3.0 ports for use with high speed external drives. One is on the left side while the other sits on the back. The system does feature a Blu-ray compatible optical drive for watching the high definition media format. The drive also can record or playback DVD and CD media as well.
While many new all-in-one systems have opted to not use a touchscreen display, the IdeaCentra A720 features a capacitive multitouch screen which is a nice design compared to most which have the optical multitouch built into the bezel. This allows for a thinner display panel and a flush glass coating. The screen features a 1920x1080 native resolution which isn't as high as the Apple 27-inch iMac, Dell XPS One 27 or HP's Z1 workstation but none of those feature touchscreens. This means it will have better abilities when Windows 8 comes out with its touch optimized Metro UI. The display offers some wide viewing angles and good but not outstanding color. In addition to all of this, the display stand will allow for the display panel to be folded down and flat which can be very useful when using it as a touch computer.
The graphics are handled by an NVIDIA GeForce GT 630M mobile graphics processor. This gives it some 3D capability for casual PC gaming at lower resolution and detail levels but isn't as fast as the 640M or 650M found in some of the competition. It does provide some acceleration for non-3D applications as well. In addition to this, the A720 also comes equipped with a TV Tuner for watching HDTV. Now, many people use satellite and cable for HDTV which means the TV tuner won't work but there is an HDMI input port as well for this or an external Blu-ray player or video game console.
One of the big issues for the IdeaCentra A720 is the USB ports. As I mentioned above, there are two USB 3.0 ports. In addition to these are two USB 2.0 ports. All are built into the base that houses all the computer components. The problem is that the wireless keyboard and mouse as well as the media remote both use USB based dongles to use. This means that half of the available ports are going to be used by the base setup. It would have been nice to see Lenovo use a nicer Bluetooth keyboard and mouse combo that would not have required a dongle be installed.
Pricing for the Lenovo IdeaCentre A720 is a bit high at just over $2000 list for the tested configuration. Now, Lenovo often has offers that can take a fair amount off this price. In terms of the competition, there are a number of 27-inch all-in-ones including the iconic Apple iMac, the new Dell XPS One 27, HP's Omni 27 and the upcoming Vizio unit. Both Apple and Dell offer higher levels of performance and higher resolution displays but without the touchscreen interface. Pricing is similar on these two so it really comes down to what features buyers are looking at. The HP and Vizio models also don't offer the touchscreen or the media features but are more affordable.