Research Triangle Park (NC) - Lenovo announced its first serious attempt to break into the consumer desktop PC market outside of China and the result may look surprising to some: There is no cheap design here, the former IBM team actually has created a stylish PC that has all the genes to compete head-to-head with the top 3 PC vendors HP, Dell and Acer (Gateway).
Unique brands and design cues are name of the game in the PC segment these days. Dell recently brought back colors and made a first step to depart from sequence numbers for consumer PCs. Lenovo, it appears, is still trying to carve out some space for itself and the company’s new IdeaCentre K200-series offers a glimpse of its strategy.
The IdeaCentre consumer desktops (as opposed to the ThinkCentre business desktops) look a bit like a mix between traditional IBM Thinkpad and Apple design elements: Solid shapes are combined with a clean, minimalistic look that creates what we would consider one of the more stylish PCs you can buy today. We haven’t seen this PC in front of us and can’t say whether the build quality actually matches the obvious effort that went into designing these PCs.
You can get the usual range of processor, memory and hard drive configurations with prices starting around $360 (with an Intel E2180 CPU) and topping out just under $1000 (With an Intel quad-core Q6600 CPU and a Blu-ray drive), without a monitor. Lenovo will sell these PCs only through retail. Given the different configurations we are wondering how well Lenovo will be able to handle its inventory. We were not able to find any of Lenovo’s new LCDs in stock. However, if you find one, expect them to sell for $229 (19") and $299 (22") after a mail-in-rebate.
There are a few unique features under the hood as well. The K-Series integrates facial recognition technology that allows the user to log in by having the camera recognize his/her facial image. There is also an anti-microbial keyboard that uses special material to inhibit bacterial growth. Additionally, the IdeaCentre models come with Lenovo’s Vantage Technology that enables users to recover from system crashes or virus infections with a single touch of a button.