The Bottom Line
Dec 19 2012 - The Lenovo IdeaCentre B540 is one of many new touchscreen all-in-one's that consumers can choose from but frankly it doesn't really offer all that much from the competition to set it apart. It is decent system if you want a touchscreen are are willing to sacrifice some 3D and CPU performance to get it. In particular, it uses an older processor with less memory. It makes up for this with a faster hard drive and better access for potentially upgrading memory and hard drive.
- Touchscreen Display Really Helps Windows 8 OS
- Respectable Storage Performance
- Easy Access Memory and Hard Drive Panels
- Older Processor With Less RAM Than Competition
- Too Much Plastic Including a Flimsy Feeling Stand
- Intel Core i3-2130 Dual Core Desktop Processor
- 4GB PC3-12800 DDR3 Memory
- 1TB 7200rpm SATA Hard Drive
- 8x DVD+/-RW Dual Layer Burner
- 23" WUXGA (1920x1080) Multitouch Display With Intel HD Graphics 2000 Integrated Graphics
- Intel HD Audio With Stereo Speakers
- Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11b/g/n Wireless, Bluetooth
- Two USB 3.0, Four USB 2.0, HDMI, Card Reader, 1.3 Megapixel Webcam
- 22.7" x 16.2" x 4.4"
- Windows 8, McAfee Internet Security, Office Starter
Review - Lenovo IdeaCentre B540
Dec 19 2012 - Lenovo's IdeaCentre B540 is the companies attempt at making a relatively affordable all-in-one system with a touchscreen to take advantage of the new Windows 8 operating system features. The system itself uses a fair amount of plastic from its stand and back covers to keep the costs lower. The only downside is that the system feels pretty fragile. This is especially true when you first have to fold out the kick stand leg from its shipping position. Many people will likely overlook this though as most all-in-one PCs aren't move frequently.
Powering this version of the IdeaCentre B540 is an older Intel Core i3-2130 dual core processor. This is based on the Sandy Bridge processor design which introduced many advances but has since been replaced by the more efficient Ivy Bridge. The processor is matched up with 4GB of DDR3 memory which seems a bit low at this price point but it seems to still run most of the applications smoothly. In fact, while it is an older processor, it still can handle the basic tasks that many users have of it including web browsing, email, media watching and office software work. It is only really demanding tasks like desktop video editing where it will struggle.
Storage features for the IdeaCentre B540 are pretty typically of many general all-in-one systems. It uses a standard one terabyte desktop class hard drive that offers it a far amount of storage space for applications, data and media files. It spins at the traditional 7200rpm spin rate which offers it a decent level of performance. Boot times were quite good at twenty eight seconds which isrelatively quick for a hard drive system. If you do need additional space, two USB 3.0 ports are available off the back panel for use with high speed external storage devices. The system also comes equipped with a dual layer DVD burner for playback and recording of CD or DVD media.
The display for the IdeaCentre B540 is notable because of the previously mentioned multitouch screen. In past revisions this was more of a gimmick because the software wasn't really written to use the interface. With Windows 8, it makes navigating between programs much easier than just with the mouse. Now the screen has a glossy coating which will pick up some fingerprints over time but it is durable enough for the frequent cleaning it will need. The color and image are decently good with a 1920x1080 native resolution capable of high definition video. The viewing angles were good but there was some noticeable color drop off on the horizontal angles. The stand itself only allows for a fairly shallow vertical tilt adjustment. The graphics on the other hand are disappointing. This has to do with the older Intel HD Graphics 2000 that are built into the Core i3 processor. This is not suitable for 3D graphics even at casual PC gaming levels. It also lacks the ability to accelerate many non-3D programs but does offer some performance boost when encoding video with Quick Sync compatible programs.
Like past IdeaCentre all-in-one systems, the B540 has some easy access panels on the back that make it relatively easy to upgrade. Viewing the back, the right hand side panel can be slid off to access the two memory module slots. These use the notebook style SO-DIMM modules and only one slot is occupied making it quite affordable and easy to upgrade to 8GB of memory. The left panel can be slide off to access the hard drive that is fitted into a plastic tray for easy removal. This means that one could potentially upgrade to a larger hard drive but it requires some extra work to make recovery media before this can be done.
With its $900 price tag, the Lenovo IdeaCentre B540 has a few touchscreen equipped system to compete with. The primary of these are the Dell Inspiron One 23 and the Gateway One ZX6980. Both are priced around $900 and feature a similar sized display. The Gateway offers a newer Ivy Bridge based Core i3 processor with some more ram to give it a slight edge in performance but it comes with a slower hard drive. The Dell nearly matches the Lenovo on each feature but comes with 6GB of memory rather than 4GB. It also features a more traditional monitor look rather than a simple kick stand based look.