The Bottom Line
Feb 16 2012 - Lenovo's IdeaCentre B320 feels a lot like an awkward younger sibling to the company's larger all-in-one. It has a smaller screen than the B520 which helps its dimension but there are a number of differences that make it just a bit less desirable. Performance is good but the display panel certainly is below average and frankly difficult to read under certain tasks. It is nice that Lenovo makes the system easy to upgrade the memory and hard drive but the lack of modern high speed peripheral ports and HDMI input and ouput puts it at a disadvantage. Those seeking a strong performing media based all-in-one might be pleased with it but there are enough alternatives out there with a bit better overall features.
- Strong Performance
- Tool-less Upgrade Panels
- Bluetooth Based Peripherals
- Disappointing Screen
- Could Really Use HDMI Video Connectors
- Lacks USB 3.0 or eSATA Ports
- Intel Core i5-2500S Quad Core Desktop Processor
- 8GB PC3-10600 DDR3 Memory
- 2TB 7200rpm SATA Hard Drive
- 8x DVD+/-RW Dual Layber Burner
- 21.5" WUXGA (1920x1080) Multitouch Display With AMD Radeon HD 6450 1GB Graphics
- Intel HDA 5.1 Audio With 5.0 Speakers
- Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11b/g/n Wireless, Bluetooth
- Six USB 3.0, HDTV Tuner, VGA Webcam, 5-in-1 Card Reader
- 21" x 16" x 4.7"
- Windows 7 Home Premium, Office Starter, McAfee AV+
Review - Lenovo IdeaCentre B320
Feb 16 2012 - Lenovo's IdeaCentre B320 is a smaller system that takes much of the same base features as the larger 23-inch IdeaCentre B520 but with very little drop in the price of the system. Base retail pricing for the IdeaCentre B320 is $1050 while the B520 starts at $1100. Its closest competition would be the Apple iMac 21.5-inch model but they differ primarily on the media features included.
The base performance of the IdeaCentre B320 is quite good thanks to the Intel Core i5-2500S quad core desktop processor. This combined with the 8GB of DDR3 memory should allow it to handle even demanding desktop processing tasks such as desktop video. One especially nice aspect of the IdeaCentre B320 is the rear panel that can be removed easily without tools for upgrading the memory should you need more than 8GB. It should be noted that there are only two memory slots which are both full so upgrading the memory will require replacing the current models.
Storage features a bit above average for the IdeaCentre B320 thanks to the 2TB hard drive This is double what most companies are offering in their all-in-one desktops and even many standard desktop systems. Hard drive performance is also quite good thanks to the 7200rpm spin rate compared to some of the green class drives that are becoming popular with manufacturers. Just like the memory, there is an easy access panel that allows removal and replacement of the hard drive should you wish to upgrade. A standard dual layer DVD burner handles playback and recording of CD or DVD media. One disadvantage that the system has though is with peripheral ports. There are six USB ports but they are of the older 2.0 standard. It would have been nice to see a new < a href="http://compreviews.about.com/od/general/a/What-Is-USB-3-0.htm ">USB 3.0 or eSATA port for use with high speed external storage devices.
As with most all-in-ones, the IdeaCentre B320 comes with a multitouch enabled display. The multitouch functions work just fine but the software is a bit limited in features compared to what HP has done with its TouchSmart series. The problem is really the display panel. The display lacked any sharpness that made text difficult to read at times. It was just fine if you were using the HDTV tuner as a TV source or doing media related tasks but productivity and even web browsing suffered. It does use a dedicated AMD Radeon HD 6450 graphics processor to drive the graphics but this is of limited performance especially when it comes to 3D. You might be able to play 3D games at lower resolution and detail levels but it certainly isn't something for gaming like the IdeaCentre B520 can achieve with its GeForce GT 555M graphics or even Apple's iMac with the Radeon HD 6750M. It does offer some ability to accelerate non-3D applications though.
Other aspects of the IdeaCentre B320 are also hit or miss. It is nice to see Lenovo use Bluetooth keyboard and mouse with the system. This is much better than more companies that use peripherals that require a USB wireless dongle that takes up a port. On the hand, the system is designed with multimedia in mind but it drops the HDMI input and output ports that can be found on the B520 and many of its competitors.