Lenovo Ideacentre B520 review
Lenovo's IdeaCentre B520 is one of the most feature-packed all-in-one PCs we've seen. It has a 23in 1,920x1,080 LCD touchscreen, which is fairly standard, but this one is also 3D-ready. The PC has a mobile 1GB Nvidia GeForce GT555M graphics processor and is supplied with a pair of Nvidia 3D Vision active shutter glasses, plus the transmitter dongle you'll need to use them. A supplied copy of PowerDVD 10 has full support for 3D Blu-ray movies from the PC's Blu-ray reader.
All this means that, before you even start using the PC for anything else, you have a full 3D entertainment system. The screen size is best suited to lone viewing, but if you want to watch in 3D with a friend you'll probably want to invest in an extra pair of Nvidia-compatible 3D glasses - these are £61 from www.play.com.
The PC's display is a little shiny and reflective for our taste, but its colours are pleasingly vivid and its backlighting even. White areas have a very slight gritty quality that we sometimes associate with touchscreens, but it's barely visible and didn't intrude on our viewing experience. We were also pleased to find that we experienced no 3D crosstalk, which can create the effect of shadows or ghost images when you view 3D content as one eye catches the other eye's image. Even without our tweaking any settings the screen gave us an impression of depth that was solid and believable.
The graphics processor is also up to gaming, although not at the highest quality settings. It's a mobile chipset, so we ran our Dirt 3 test at our laptop settings of 1,280 x 720 with the High graphics preset and 4x anti-aliasing. This gave us a smooth frame rate of 38.9fps. In 3D, we got an almost smooth frame rate of 27.8fps, although we recommend reducing graphical quality further if you want to guarantee smooth gameplay at all times. If you're more into casual gaming, Lenovo has you covered and has finally come up with a good use for a touchscreen display: the Idea Touch software suite comes with several touch-friendly casual games including Angry Birds and Firework, as well as the usual music player, photo viewer and CyberLink video player.
The B520 is an adept entertainment centre. Its credentials are rounded out further with a DVB-T digital TV tuner and media centre remote, although its Avermedia A336 chipset doesn't support either HD or 3D TV. It could be argued that Lenovo has missed a trick there, but it seems churlish to complain given how much else the B520 can do, and you could always add an HD tuner to one of the PC's USB ports.
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