Lenovo IdeaCentre Q100: World's Thinnest, Smallest Nettop

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FINAL THOUGHTS

Systems with a single core Atom processor and cut-down graphics are suitable for only basic computing. Fortunately, the modest thermal demands of such hardware made it possible for Lenovo to jam it all into tiny chassis and cool it without a fan. The Q100 is a very energy efficient desktop PC with unrivaled size and acoustics. Shockingly, the sample we received also had an almost complete lack of bloatware — the only pre-installed third party software was a trial copy of Trend Micro Internet Security.

There are only two things we feel Lenovo should not have omitted. The first is a VESA mount to hide the system behind a monitor. While you may wish to show off this tiny machine, its sleekness is marred by the various wires that must be plugged into the back. Making it and all those cables invisible by mounting it on the back of the mopnitor would be far preferable. We also wish the Q100 had a built-in WiFi radio so you don't have to plug in yet another cable or a bulky, watts-sucking USB WiFi adapter. Both of these features should be no-brainers for a mini system like the Q100. Our only other complaint is the status LED — its ridiculously large window amplifies the annoyance of the very bright blue LED tenfold. It's particularly maddening when the system is asleep, as the LED blinks intermittently.

At the MSRP of $299, the Q100 is pricey, although it can already be found for less at other etailors. The Eee Box 202 adds DVI, a memory card reader, wireless connectivity and a VESA mount for roughly the same price. Perhaps the best deal in wee boxes is the $200 Acer AspireRevo AR1600-U910H. Though it lacks WiFi, the AspireRevo is powered by the HD video capable ION LE graphics engine and ships with a complimentary mouse and keyboard. Neither of these products come close to the Q100's dimensions, though, nor its near silence.

Lenovo IdeaCentre Q100
PROS

* Very small
* Almost completely silent
* Lack of bloatware
CONS

* no VESA mount
* no WiFi
* crazy blue status LED
* slow CPU, poor GPU
* price

Our thanks to Lenovo for the Q100 sample.

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Asus Eee PC Seashell 1005HA netbook
Lenovo ThinkCentre M58p Eco USFF: Green Corporate SFF PC
mCubed HFX Micro S13 system: Atom 330, Silenced
Asus Eee Box B202: An Atom-based mini PC

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