The Bottom Line
- Attractive And Compact Design
- High Quality LCD Display Capable of 1080p HD Video
- HDMI Video Input
- No DVD Drive
- Lackluster Performance From Dated Core 2 Mobile Processor
- Relatively High Price Tag
- Intel Core 2 Duo T6600 Dual-Core Mobile Processor
- 4GB PC3-8500 DDR3 Memory
- 500GB 5400rpm SATA Hard Drive
- 21.5" WUXGA (1920x1080) Display With Intel GMA X4500HD Integrated Graphics
- Intel HDA Audio With 2W Stereo Speakers
- Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11b/g Wireless, Bluetooth
- Four USB 2.0, FireWire, HDMI Input, HDMI Output, Digital TV Tuner, 1.3 Megapixel Webcam, 8-in-1 Card Reader
- 20.7" x 15.6" x 8.1"
- Windows 7 Home Premium, McAfee Security Center
Guide Review - Lenovo IdeaCentre A300 21.5-inch All-In-One Desktop PC
Jun 29 2010 - Lenovo's IdeaCentre A300 is very compact and sleek new all-in-one desktop. The system consists of a small flat white base that houses all the internal components and a white and chrome display. This combination provides a very modern and sleek look that many may associate with Apple's design aesthetics. The downside to the compact design is the power supply is an external model similar to those uses in laptops.
While the system is attractive, the compact size means that it has to rely heavily on laptop components and that results in some less than stellar performance. The Intel Core 2 Duo T6600 is a very dates mobile dual-core processor. It provides enough performance to handle 1080p HD video streams but falls well short of all-in-ones based on desktop components or newer Core i series processors. At least it comes with 4GB of DDR3 memory that help it mitigate slowdowns from multiple applications.
Storage suffers quite a bit in the IdeaCentre A300. While the 500GB of storage space is not all that uncommon in the all-in-one market, the laptop sized drive with its 5400rpm spin rate do suffer from speed issues compared to others on the market that use desktop class drives or even 7200rpm laptop drives. The big problem though is the lack of an optical drive. This will make loading software a bit more difficult and you can forget about playing back DVD movies without having to purchase an external drive.
While the performance of the system may suffer some, Lenovo has not skimped on the display. The 21.5-inch display panel offers a very bright and colorful display with fast response times. It does use a very glossy coating that shows a good amount of reflections and glare in certain lighting conditions. Rather than using a discrete graphics processor like the A600 series, the A300 relies on the Intel GMA X4500HD integrated graphics. This provides it with sufficient performance for handling 1080p video playback but won't provide any real use for those that might want to play a casual 3D game. The unit also includes a built-in HDTV tuner for over the air broadcasts and it also features an HDMI video input as well as output for use with consumer HD video devices such as a cable TV tuner or Blu-ray player.
The included wireless keyboard and mouse use the built-in Bluetooth interface that was quick and easy to setup. The downside is the keyboard is a relatively small laptop design that lacks numeric keys that also had a fairly significant input lag. The mouse is on the smaller side which can be problematic for people with larger hands but it didn't have the same input lag as the keyboard.
The compact size and design may appeal to some users but the price is not quite as small as some similarly equipped all-in-ones. At $950, it edges towards the price tier of the base 21-inch iMac without the same level of features.