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At a time when PCs really have become consumer commodities, a complete, all-in-one computer like the A600 is quite appealing. The IdeaCentre is a user-friendly product that can easily slip into the role of a shared home PC. No cable messes, no clutter of discrete machines. It's also capable and robust enough to fare well in a home or small business, and when the cost of a separate monitor is considered, the A600 represents good value as well. Similar performance and functionality from a discrete PC and monitor would cost about the same, if not more, and the advantage of total integration with just one AC cord would be lost.
The integration works well for energy efficiency as well. It's surprising that the A600 was not submitted for Energy Star or EPEAT approval. Based on the power consumption measurements, the system should pass both criteria.
The wireless mouse and remote control both worked nicely, especially the former, which was a pleasure to use. The quality of the monitor was good, on par with any conventional stand-alone monitors in the ~$200 class. The built-in speakers provided surprisingly decent sound for both music and voice. The 2 megapixel camera with dual-mics worked well for web video conferencing. The wireless networking also worked flawlessly, as did routine functions such as sleep mode (and awakening from it).
There are a few quibbles: The keyboard really could be much better, and the action of the touch-activated controls need to be rethought. A less glossy, matt finish (especially on the screen) would be preferred to avoid reflections, even at the cost of some contrast. For silent PC enthusiasts, the noise level is a bit high, especially if you've become used to the silence of a custom-built, silent PC based on the advice and reviews here at SPCR. Still, for most users, the A600s acoustics are probably acceptable.
Without a direct comparison, it's hard to say exactly how the Lenovo IdeaCentre A600 fares against the grandaddy of all-in-ones, the current Apple iMac. If the acoustics have not changed since the model we reviewed in late 2006, then the iMac would be the winner in that department, but the price favors the Lenovo, and the iMac performance should be a bit better because Apple is using desktop C2Ds with higher core speeds. Still, sale pricing of US$699! for the A600, including TV tuner and even a Blu-ray drive, seems pretty good. Then there's that perennial debate about Windows and the Mac OS, which we will not enter here. Suffice it to say that wherever you stand on that debate, the Lenovo IdeaCentre makes a strong argument for an all-in-one Wintel.
Our thanks to Lenovo for the review sample.
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this article in the SPCR forums.
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