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Lenovo IdeaCentre Horizon 27 Review: Our First Table PC

Lenovo IdeaCentre Horizon 27 Review: Our First Table PC
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The latest all-in-ones look a lot like huge tablets, right? An internal battery adds portability to Lenovo's 27” IdeaCentre Horizon, but is this cool concept still functional as a desktop, or does the push toward mobility sacrifice too much performance?

The rapid uptake of touch-based interfaces is leading to so many new form factors. We're seeing smartphone screens grow, Ultrabooks turn into convertibles (to give them that tablet-like feel), and all-in-one desktops struggle to find their place in the world. After all, who really wants to reach up and touch their monitor when a keyboard and mouse does the job just fine?

Realizing this, Lenovo set out to do something a little different with its IdeaCentre Horizon, building an all-in-one with a 27" 1080p display and calling it a Table PC. Naturally, this thing's too big to be considered a tablet, and at close to 20 pounds, it's not something you'd want to haul around with you. Nevertheless, Lenovo arms two of its four Horizon SKUs with a built-in battery and carrying bag. The extent to which we see ourselves moving a machine this large around would probably be from the kitchen to the backyard, or maybe from a bedroom to the living room for family-night gaming. It probably wouldn't leave through the front door, despite its modest weight and impressive 1.3-inch thickness. But that seems to be the point; you get a nice big surface you can relocate at will, for any number of reasons.

Before we dig further into Lenovo’s vision of the ultimate all-in-one desktop, let's have a look at the machine's specifications in comparison to Dell's previously-tested XPS One 27 Touch.

  Lenovo IdeaCentre Horizon 57315058 Dell XPS One Touch 27" (2710)
PlatformIntel BGA 1023, HM76 Express, Embedded PCIe GraphicsIntel LGA 1155, H77 Express, Embedded PCIe Graphics
CPUIntel Core i5-3337U (Ivy Bridge, 1.8-2.7 GHz, 3 MB Shared L3 Cache, 17 W Max TDP)Intel Core i7-3770S (Ivy Bridge, 3.1-3.9 GHz, 8 MB Shared L3 Cache, 65 W Max TDP)
RAM2 x Ramaxel RMT3160ED58E9W1600 (2 x 4 GB) DDR3-1600 SO-DIMM, CL112x Nanya NT8GC64B8HB0NS-DI (2 x 8 GB) DDR3-1600 SO-DIMM, CL11
GraphicsNvidia GeForce GT 620M: 625 MHz, 2 GB GDDR5-3600Nvidia GeForce GT 640M: 645 MHz, 2 GB GDDR5-4000
Display10-Point Multi-Touch 27" LED Backlit Glossy LCD, 1920x1080Capacitive Touch 27" LED Backlit Glossy LCD, 2560x1440
Webcam720p (0.9 Megapixel) w/dual array microphone2.0 Megapixel w/dual microphone and sliding cover
AudioRealtek Integrated HD Audio with Dolby Home Theatre V4Realtek Integrated HD Audio with WAVES MAXXAudio 4
SecurityKensington Security SlotKensington Security Slot
Storage
Hard DriveSamsung Spinpoint ST1000LM024: 1 TB 5400 RPM 8 MB Cache, SATA 3Gb/sSeagate Barracuda ST2000DM001: 2 TB 7200 RPM 64 MB Cache, SATA 6Gb/s
Samsung MZMPC032HBCD-00000 32 GB MLC Cache Drive, mSATA 6Gb/s
Optical DriveNoneHL-DS 8x Slot-Loading DVD Burner/BDR Combo HL-DT-ST DVDRWBD CT40N
Media Drive6-in-1 SDXC/MMC/MS flash media interface8-in-1 SDXC/MMC/MS/xD flash media interface
Networking
Wireless LANRealtek RTL8188CD 802.11n PCIeIntel Advanced-N 6235 802.11n PCIe
Wireless PANIntegrated Bluetooth Transceiver on Wireless Combo CardIntegrated Bluetooth Transceiver on Wireless Combo Card
Gigabit NetworkNoneAtheros AR8161 PCIe 10/100/1000 Mbps Ethernet
IEEE-1394NoneNone
TelephonyNoneNone
Peripheral Interfaces
USB2 x USB 3.06 x USB 3.0 (4-rear, 2-side)
Expansion CardNone1 x empty Mini PCIe (for optional TV tuner)
External HDDUSB-onlyUSB-only
AudioHeadphone, MicrophoneHeadphone, Microphone, Rear Out, S/PDIF
VideoHDMI In (Display-Only)HDMI Out, HDMI In (Display-Only)
General Stats
WeightPC 18.4 lbs, peripherals 2.8 lbs, Total 21.2 poundsPC 34.4 lbs, peripherals 1.6 lbs, Total 36 pounds
Operating SystemMicrosoft Windows 8 64-bit, OEMMicrosoft Windows 8 Pro 64-bit Edition, OEM
WarrantyOne-year parts non-transferableOne-year parts/Labor w/In-Home Service
Price$1499 $2599

The pricey Dell unit employs more performance-oriented parts, including a 2560x1440 screen, to justify its 42%-higher price. Alternatively, Lenovo counters Dell with portability in the form of lower weight and an integrated battery, adding to the attractiveness of saving $1000. Still, these two all-in-ones are the most closely-matched from a component perspective of any we’ve tested.

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  • 1 Hide
    Pyree , July 29, 2013 12:30 AM
    Would be nice if they have truth or dare.
  • 0 Hide
    majudhu , July 29, 2013 2:06 AM
    This explains the "for those who do" part
  • 1 Hide
    sgadadish , July 29, 2013 4:18 AM
    My only question is why not Haswell?? with all it's benefits for mobility where are the portable with the processor...
  • 1 Hide
    stupiduser , July 29, 2013 6:42 AM
    As reported on Slashdot IT - "defence agencies of key Western governments such as Australia, the US, Britain, Canada and New Zealand have banned Lenovo gear from being used in sensitive areas, because of concerns that the Chinese vendor has been leaving back doors in its devices for the Chinese Government."

    I wish Tom's would aim their incredible testing abilities at these types of claims. I would like to know if MY Lenova is making me vulnerable.
  • 0 Hide
    iknowhowtofixit , July 29, 2013 6:49 AM
    Thanks to Lenovo's horrific customer support, I won't ever have to consider purchasing a product of theirs. No, I'm not just saying this out of spite. I've had the misfortune of dealing with Lenovo dozens of times over the past few years. I can't say that I've had one pleasant experience. Now, if I have to deal with Lenovo for any reason, I'm forced to record the phone call due to the crazy amount of lying their reps are trained to do.
  • 0 Hide
    az0937 , July 29, 2013 8:00 AM
    http://forums.overclockersclub.com/
  • 0 Hide
    az0937 , July 29, 2013 8:00 AM
    http://technologygian.blogspot.com/
  • 0 Hide
    tourist , July 29, 2013 2:53 PM
    Try using this for any length of time as a table pc and your neck and back will be in knots. Not enough gpu power to really make it interesting for gamers but i can see this in industrial, medical applications, schools etc. I can see apu's being used in this application at a much lower price point.
  • 0 Hide
    Crashman , July 30, 2013 2:23 AM
    Quote:
    Try using this for any length of time as a table pc and your neck and back will be in knots. Not enough gpu power to really make it interesting for gamers but i can see this in industrial, medical applications, schools etc. I can see apu's being used in this application at a much lower price point.
    You're right, if we treat this as a huge tablet or an IPC, it looks pretty good. Thanks!

  • -1 Hide
    rcald2000 , July 30, 2013 6:54 PM
    I'm a help desk technician and I'll tell you one thing that I've learned about mobile graphics cards in all-in-one PCs; they are a very bad idea. Just yesterday I had the pleasure of troubleshooting a 4-5 year old Dell all-in-one, which had a problem with the video going black for thirty seconds at a time. I of course attempted to upgrade the video drivers, and found out that neither Dell nor nVidia had ever updated the drivers. I believe the computer originally shipped with Vista 32 bit but was advertised as being Windows 7 upgradeable. I base this opinion on the reviews that I read about the machine, and also on the fact that it had both a Windows Vista and Windows 7 logo sticker on it. Dell's site didn't have any drivers newer than 2009 and nVidia's own auto video driver detection application couldn't identify the video card. In conclusion, I think using a mobile video card in a like this size is lame. But I do applaud Lenovo for trying out new ideas. I would have more faith in the form factor if a company like Samsung was behind it. Also, I should mention that I'm typing this very review on my Lenovo X230.

    Lenovo X230
    i7 ivy bridge processor
    16 GB RAM
    500 GB 7200 rpm drive
    HD4000 integrated graphics
    * connected to one external Dell UltraSharp U2412M 24" monitor.
  • 0 Hide
    Ed Chombeau , August 3, 2013 10:38 PM
    Retired; and need big screen to see ; would take it on car travel but airline travel?
  • 0 Hide
    Crashman , August 5, 2013 2:45 PM
    Quote:
    Try using this for any length of time as a table pc and your neck and back will be in knots. Not enough gpu power to really make it interesting for gamers but i can see this in industrial, medical applications, schools etc. I can see apu's being used in this application at a much lower price point.


    Quote:
    Retired; and need big screen to see ; would take it on car travel but airline travel?
    It's about as long and wide as an oversized carry-on bag. Which means you may get it past the gate, or not, depending on how strict the airline staff is being at that gate. And you'd want something to protect the screen.

  • 0 Hide
    Marlin Schwanke , August 5, 2013 4:05 PM
    Buying budget priced gear from any Asian company is a crap shoot. I don't think Samsung, Acer, Asus or Lenovo have very good customer service. They all just shift product out the door and start working on the next one.
  • 0 Hide
    magic couch , August 7, 2013 12:43 PM
    Anyone else find it strange how in the photoshop CS6 test enabling OpenCL actually slowed down the rendering for the Dell tablepc? What's up with that?
  • 0 Hide
    Crashman , August 7, 2013 3:05 PM
    Quote:
    Anyone else find it strange how in the photoshop CS6 test enabling OpenCL actually slowed down the rendering for the Dell tablepc? What's up with that?
    Certain filters are threaded, and others are OpenCL-enabled. So OpenCL and CPU-only tests are different.
  • 0 Hide
    JPNpower , August 7, 2013 6:24 PM
    These monster screen thingies are awesome. Most likely the future (for airplane entertainment awesomeness). Reminds me of the (fake) old Microsoft Surface commercial.

    Why have a PC? Just buy a big a## table.
  • 0 Hide
    Crashman , August 7, 2013 6:45 PM
    Quote:
    These monster screen thingies are awesome. Most likely the future (for airplane entertainment awesomeness). Reminds me of the (fake) old Microsoft Surface commercial.

    Why have a PC? Just buy a big a## table.
    Maybe, but they'd need CPU and SSD upgrades to appeal to a wider market.

  • 0 Hide
    magic couch , August 10, 2013 7:27 PM
    Quote:
    Certain filters are threaded, and others are OpenCL-enabled. So OpenCL and CPU-only tests are different.

    Ahh, I thought it used both as I've seen some reviews on this website where software uses the cpu and gpu accelerated openCL together.

    Also a weird thing I've noticed is that in this article 7zip hands down beats every other program in both file compression time and size, yet in articles such as this one winrar is faster by a factor of over 2. Why is there such a discrepency? The articles are even using the same versions of the program.


  • 0 Hide
    Crashman , August 10, 2013 8:21 PM
    Quote:
    Quote:
    Certain filters are threaded, and others are OpenCL-enabled. So OpenCL and CPU-only tests are different.

    Ahh, I thought it used both as I've seen some reviews on this website where software uses the cpu and gpu accelerated openCL together.

    Also a weird thing I've noticed is that in this article 7zip hands down beats every other program in both file compression time and size, yet in articles such as this one winrar is faster by a factor of over 2. Why is there such a discrepency? The articles are even using the same versions of the program.
    The would be a great question for our developer. I think the command line switches outlined in the "test setup" page might provide the answer, but only if I knew what those switches meant :p 

  • 0 Hide
    JPNpower , August 10, 2013 8:50 PM
    Crashman, thank you for your reply in the comments for all your articles.
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