Review Price £469.99
Lenovo IdeaCentre A310 - Performance and Verdict
In terms of overall performance, the Lenovo turned in an overall PCMark score of 3892, which means of our recent crop of all-in-ones tested it only managed to outperform the Samsung U200, and that’s powered by a previous generation Core 2 Duo T4400.
The graphics core is actually integrated into the Intel Core i3 processor, which makes it all the more ironic that there’s no Blu-ray drive – as one of the advantages of this generation of Intel integrated graphics is that it can send Dolby True HD and DTS MA via HDMI. It’s certainly not the attraction of raw performance, as testing with Trackmania Nations we only achieved 25.6fps at native resolution of 1,920 x 1,080 with 4x AA, which isn’t that impressive. Dropping to 1,024 x 768 garnered us 40fps, but when you have a high resolution display, that’s not what you want to do.
In terms of image quality the highlight of the display is its resolution and its nicely saturated colours, though the high gloss background is either boosted or hindered by its high gloss coating depending on your preferences and lighting conditions. Colours do pop, but in bright lights it is very reflective.
Contrast levels were good, with all steps visible in the Lagom contrast test, but black levels and white saturations proved less convincing, indicating that there’s less details visible in darker and brighter areas of the screen. Options are limited here. You can adjust brightness, but not contrast and only choose between three presets – Internet, Text and Movie.
While we like the fact that the keyboard and mouse are wireless we found ourselves disappointed with their quality. The mouse is a little lightweight and cheap, and the keyboard is worse. Its colour doesn’t quite match that of the chassis and it lacks the machine's quality and finish. It’s also not full-size, and keys feel cramped, shaky and imprecise. Typing after a small break in use of the system we also detected a delay between pressing a key and getting a response onscreen. Overall, compared to the high standard set by the display and base, the peripherals are a let-down.
We were also disappointed by the speakers – these are located under the base, which is discreet but doesn’t do them any favours, particularly as the output is weedy, lacking volume, bass and presence.
Lenovo ships the 64-bit version of Windows 7 on the PC, which means that it can at least make use of the full 4GB of memory. In terms of additional software we had fun playing around with the preinstalled Cyberlink YouCam software, which will replace your mug with an animation of your choice from a selection that includes the Statue of Liberty, Santa Claus and a dog’s head. Not much use, but fun for kids. You also get Cyberlink’s Power2Go DVD burning software and McAfee Security Center, which integrates AV and Firewall protection.
Overall, this is a slick-looking and easy to use PC. It suffers from a few flaws that limit its appeal, but it still has a lot going for it, especially on the design front. Ultimately, we would still recommend the iMac over Lenovo's option, but as this particular specification can be hand at Amazon for £114 less than an entry-level iMac, it's certainly worth considering.
We are fans of the build and looks of this all-in-one machine, which makes the poor quality of the wireless keyboard and mouse all the more galling. The lack of an integrated optical drive is an inconvenience and performance is also below-par compared to similar machines. On the upside though, the display is decent, and the neatly integrated TV tuner and HDMI ports add appeal. If you're after a stylish machine that will handle the basics well, this reasonably-priced all-in-one offers an undeniable attraction.
Scores In Detail