Lenovo IdeaCentre C340
3.3GHz Intel Core i3-3220, 6GB RAM, 20in 1,600x900 display, Windows 8
While having a gorgeous-looking all-in-one that you can show off may be a good thing, the fact of the matter is that many people choose a computer like this because they want something small and cheap that doesn't take up a lot of room.
Lenovo certainly hits both marks with its IdeaCentre C340. One of the cheapest all-in-one PCs we've reviewed, it's also one of the smallest. With a 20in screen that’s just 55m deep, you'll have absolutely no problems fitting this computer into your home. Keeping the price down means that there have had to be some compromises in specifications, so don't expect to get the best of everything.
For starters, the screen has a resolution of 1,600x900, rather than the Full HD (1,920x1,080) resolutions we're used to seeing. That means that you fit slightly less on screen and the image isn't quite as sharp as on other models. However, for the price, the resolution's perfectly acceptable and means that you can use all of Windows 8's new modes, such as side-by-side apps.
Perhaps more surprising for a Windows 8 PC is that the IdeaCentre C340 isn't a touchscreen model. Given that Windows 8 is built for touch, we'd expect a touchscreen. That said, the operating system is easy enough to navigate with a keyboard and mouse, so we can forgive this omission at this price.
Harder to forgive is image quality, which was quite underwhelming. Its matt finish diffuses reflections well, but this translates into slightly less vibrant colours and both our solid colour image tests and our high contrast photos lacked vibrancy. Colours looked drab and washed out, whites appeared almost grey, and the right side of the screen was slightly darker than the left with a noticeable shadow running down the edge of the display.
Fortunately, Lenovo hasn't cut any corners when it comes to power, fitting its PC with a 3.3GHz Intel Core i303220 processor and 6GB of RAM. The CPU is a dual-core desktop model with Hyper-Threading providing two extra virtual cores. It scored 58 in our multimedia benchmarks, showing that this all-in-one has similar power to a high-end laptop and that it should cope well with all but the most processor-intensive tasks.
At this low price you'd can't expect dedicated graphics, and the IdeaCentre C340 relies on the CPU's integrated Intel HD Graphics 2500 chip. While this is fine for Windows and for HD films (downloaded or streamed, as there's only a DVD drive rather than a Blu-ray drive), it doesn't cope well with games. It failed all of our graphics benchmark tests, including the laptop version of our Dirt Showdown test at High Quality settings at a 720p resolution, and it was only by altering the settings to Low at its native resolution that we could achieve anywhere near a playable 15fps. If you want to play anything at all, you’d be better off sticking with less-demanding titles from the Windows 8 Store.