Lenovo ThinkCentre A70z review
The ThinkCentre A70z is the first all-in-one PC we've seen from Lenovo in quite some time. It doesn't look as flash as other all-in-one PCs and bears more than a passing resemblance to the company's ThinkPad laptops with its boxy, black design. It may not be conventional looking, but we rather like it. It doesn't make a lot of noise either, which is crucial for office use.
It's primarily aimed at businesses, as Windows 7 Professional comes installed. Compared to the more usual Home Premium, this lets you run older programs in XP mode, connect to a company domain network and it includes back up tools.
The easel-like stand makes it easy to tilt the A70z for a more comfortable viewing angle. The stand can be removed to reveal VESA-compatible mounting points so the entire PC could be wall mounted or affixed to an adjustable stand. Unusually for an all-in-one PC, brightness controls are provided on the right hand side of the display, rather than just having keyboard shortcuts – so it's easy to adjust the level to suit the lighting.
The 19in screen is a little on the small size, especially if you're used to a modern 22in desktop monitor. Its usefulness is also limited by a relatively small 1,440x900 pixel resolution, which makes working on multiple large documents a bit of squeeze. On the plus side, it's bright and sharp, and though the backlight is a little uneven, image quality is good enough for most tasks. Unlike the majority of all-in-ones, the widescreen display has a matte instead of a glossy finish which reduces reflections from overhead light sources – ideal for office use. This does lend the whole screen a slightly grainy finish, though.
The A70z comes fitted with 4GB of RAM and a Core 2 Duo E7500 processor which managed an overall score of 84 in our benchmarks. Business users will have no complaints about its performance, it may not be the fastest all-in-one PC we've seen, but it's powerful given its price and will rip through day-to-day office tasks. Its integrated Intel graphics chip fails doesn't support anti-aliasing and so fails our Call of Duty 4 test – even with it disabled it only managed a paltry 6.6fps.
As expected for an all-in-one, the A70z isn't intended for upgrades. There's no room inside for extra storage and it's already fitted with its maximum 4GB of RAM. 802.11n wireless networking is built-in, but it lacks a memory card reader. There are six USB ports for adding external peripherals, though one is occupied by the receiver for the wireless keyboard and mouse. Although the small mouse is comfortable to use, the keyboard feels far too spongy for our liking. Oddly, there's an antiquated serial port but we'd rather have seen a video output for connecting a second monitor.
The Lenovo ThinkCentre A70z is a decent all-in-one desktop PC for office tasks, at nearly £600, it's a little expensive for its specification although its one year warranty does provide onsite service. However, its display makes it a poor choice for multimedia use, and most people should spend more to get a bigger display. For example, Asus ET2203T may cost £747 from www.laptopsdirect.co.uk but it has a 22in HD screen, Blu-ray drive and can play games.
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