Since the death of the beige box, laptops have become the default computer of choice, especially since most are capable of matching desktops for everyday performance. However, if you don’t really need the portability of a laptop, the all-in-one PC is a great alternative, providing tight integration of hardware combined with the superior ergonomics of a desktop PC.
The current champ in that particular corner is very much the Apple iMac which, through continuous tweaking of its already great design and improvements in specification, has managed to remain top of the class. Naturally, there are many Windows-based alternatives and most recently we’ve seen multi-touch enabled devices from MSI Wind top AE2400 and HP, while back in May we saw Samsung getting in on the all-in-one act.
Lenovo has a number of all-in-one options, and the IdeaCentre range is pitched as its lifestyle range, with design a priority. By our reckoning the IdeaCentre A310 certainly succeeds on that score - we think it’s one of the most eye-catching and stylish all-in-ones around.
Its design clearly has echoes of the the G4 PowerPC generation of iMac, thanks to the pearlescent white chassis and the fact that the components are located in the base, rather than behind the screen. That’s not to say it looks dated though, and the monitor’s black bezel with silver edging nicely offsets its white casing.
Set-up is fabulously straightforward. It uses an external power supply, so you just have to plug in the power cable into the base to get things going and there’s a power button on the base.
The keyboard and mouse are cordless and Bluetooth-powered while Wi-Fi is on board for networking, so it’s clutter free. It all weighs a mere 9.5Kg, which enables it to be picked up and carried easily, making for a machine that’s very easy to move between locations in a home.
The 21.5in display is less than an inch thick and is attached to the base by a silver arm located at the rear right. This enables the display to rotate from side to side and tilt up and down, which gives it a slight advantage over the current iMac in that regard. There’s still no height adjustment though and no multi-touch action going on here – it’s a conventional screen.
The display is LED backlit and offers a Full HD resolution of 1,920 x 1,080, which has fast become a standard we expect to see, rather than hope for. There’s a webcam and microphone built into the bezel at the top, while at the bottom there are indicators for hard disk activity, Bluetooth, and the integrated 802.11n standard Wi-Fi. On the right you’ll find touch screen controls for the display’s OSD.