The Bottom Line
- Strong Performance
- Blu-ray Drive And HDTV Tuner
- Dedicated Graphics System
- Multitouch Software Very Limited In Features
- Uses Slower Memory Modules
- Motion Control Mouse Not That Useful
- Intel Core i5-2500 Quad Core Desktop Processor
- 8GB PC3-8500 DDR3 Memory
- 1TB 7200rpm SATA Hard
- Blu-ray Reader And Dual Layer DVD Burner
- 23" WUXGA (1920x1080) Multitouch Display With NVIDIA GeForce GT 555M Graphics With 2GB Memory
- Intel HDA Audio With 5.1 Internal Speakers
- Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11b/g/n Wireless, Bluetooth
- Six USB 2.0, HDMI Input, HDMI Output, HDTV Tuner, 1.3MP Webcam, 7-in-1 Card Reader
- 22.3" x 16.8" x 3"
- Windows 7 Home Premium, Office Starter, WinDVD, McAfee AntiVirus
Guide Review - Lenovo IdeaCentre B520 23-inch All-In-One Desktop PC
Aug 2 2011 - Lenovo has a number of all-in-one systems, but their IdeaCentre B520 is certainly their top tier model for performance and multimedia. It starts out by using the second generation Intel Core i5-2500 quad core processor. This provides it with plenty of performance for just about any type of application that one might want to use including demanding video editing. To help prevent slowdowns, Lenovo also packs it with 8GB of DDR3 memory that helps boost performance especially when multitasking. The only downside is that Lenovo has opted to use a slightly slower 1066MHz memory compared to many that now use 1333MHz.
To keep the multimedia focus of the IdeaCentre B520, Lenovo includes an HDTV tuner, HDMI input/ouput and a Blu-ray compatible drive for just about any type of high definition media you might want to view on the system. Audio quality is also well above what most all-in-ones offer with an internal five speaker configuration that gives a much fuller sound experience when watching HD content. Those wanting to store digital media files on the system will also be pleased with the sizable one terabyte hard drive that provides a good amount of space for applications, data and media files.
Of course, a media focused desktop is only going to be as good as its display. Lenovo has packed in a 23-inch LCD screen that features a full 1920x1080 resolution for full 1080p HD video support. The screen also features a multitouch interface. While this is a nice addition it is a bit out of place as there is limited software on the system to really take advantage of the touch interface. It is an overlay on top of the Windows operating system which isn't uncommon. The problem really is that lack of applications within it to really use. It is a step in the right direction but falls short of what HP has achieved.
What really sets the IdeaCentre B520 apart from much of the competition is the graphics. Rather than relying on the integrated HD Graphics like most companies are doing, Lenovo has included an NVIDIA GeForce GT 555M graphics processor with 2GB of memory. This is a mobile class part so it isn't going to be a powerhouse at 3D graphics but it does allow the system to be used for PC gaming which is something very few all-in-one's can achieve. And if you are into 3D gaming, Lenovo also makes one with a built-in 3D vision compatible display but it does increase the cost a fair amount.
Another feature that Lenovo touts on the IdeaCentre B520 is the easy tool free upgrade path. This is achieved by sliding out the rear panels to access space for the hard drive and memory. In theory it should be pretty easy but some may be intimidated by the hard drive tray system if they choose to upgrade their hard drive at a later time.
The wireless keyboard and mouse are also a bit different with the IdeaCentre B520. The keyboard itself is more of a flat key design more akin to laptops but in a full desktop layout and size. It is comfortable enough if not a bit on the bulky side because of the wedge design. The mouse looks like a fairly typical mouse but also features motion sensitivity for use as a 3D controller. The problem is that the mouse is not the most ergonomic shape for use over extended periods of time in the air. The feature is much more a gimmick that a revolutionary control.