Oh how it pains us that Lenovo went for an ‘ordinary’ 1,920 x 1,080 resolution for this otherwise so premium 27in all-in-one. Everything from its design and specs to its touch implementation is great if not class-leading, but compared to the 2,560 x 1,440 IPS displays found on most of its rivals, its screen just doesn’t cut it.
Mind you, the MVA panel Lenovo uses is still vastly superior to the TN panels found in many budget displays and AIO PCs. Only a little colour shift prevents viewing angles from being flawless, dark detailing is superb, blacks are deep and colours vibrant. Backlighting too is very even and there’s no sign of bleed.
However, the glass coating brings with it the inevitable reflections, and a ‘mere’ Full HD resolution on a display this size makes things look a little grainy up close. Still, these are failings of the finish and resolution rather than anything to do with the screen’s quality.
Good sound seems to be becoming the norm on ever more laptops and all-in-one computers, and the IdeaCentre A720 is no exception. Lenovo has integrated some reasonably powerful stereo speakers in the base that produce a clean and detailed soundstage with a bit of body.
Though they’re not a patch on those of the HP Z1 due to underwhelming bass and lower maximum volume, on the plus side they don’t distort either.
It’s probably fair to say that most premium AIO PCs sport touch, but not like Lenovo’s IdeaCentre A7 series. The majority, such as the HP TouchSmart family, use infra-red based sensors set in the screen’s bezel. This means you can use anything as a pointing device, from your finger to a banana or toothpick. However, it doesn’t properly support multi-touch and isn’t quite as responsive as the capacitive touch generally found on phones and tablets.
Capacitive is exactly what the A720 uses to great effect, supporting up to 10 fingers at once – great for collaborative projects, finger-painting, and local multiplayer gaming. The low resolution helps here as even the smallest buttons are large enough to press by default.
Of the TouchSmart 610, we said it was the first all-in-one where touch made sense due to its ability to fold nearly flat. Well, taking this a step further and throwing in capacitive tech, the A720 is the first AIO PC where touch is a real pleasure rather than merely functional. We could touch this thing all day…
And it’s not just its ability to effortlessly fold flat, essentially turning it into a giant tablet. It’s also that Lenovo has provided a software touch suite of apps and interfaces that actually makes using your fingers a lot of fun. Classics such as Angry Birds are pre-installed, as are multi-player titles like Wong and Air Hockey that will result in many a wasted hour with friends. There’s even an eye-toy-like mini games collection that uses the 720p webcam. Suffice to say we haven’t had as much fun on lunch breaks in quite a while.
Windows 7 is pretty usable, but the A720 will really come into its own with Windows 8, which has been designed for touch. It’s an upgrade that should only set you back less than £15, and will be fully supported by Lenovo.