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Lenovo IdeaCentre Q180 – Performance, Value and Verdict

Ardjuna Seghers

By Ardjuna Seghers



Our Score:



While the new 2.13GHz, dual-core Intel Atom D2700 beating at the Lenovo IdeaCentre Q180’s heart is a superior chip to previous Atom CPUs, we were actually a little disappointed at its performance. There are still instances in regular use where you’re left waiting and where it does come across that this is not a full-fat desktop chip. However, it must be said that for modest daily workloads, it now provides a smooth experience on some occasions where its predecessors slowed down or stuttered, especially with a few programs running simultaneously.

Lenovo IdeaCentre Q180 Performance

Just in case you saw the Q180’s promotional video where it shows off some pretty 3D gaming, forget about it. Atom still does not a game-worthy CPU make, and the Radeon GPU it’s paired with here doesn’t help much. In fact, an average frame rate of 22fps in TrackMania Nations Forever at 720p and Medium detail is very poor - even basic 3D games will be out the question.

Lenovo IdeaCentre Q180 Gaming

However, that’s by no means a disparagement of the Q180 compared to other nettops. For example, the Acer Aspire Revo 100 with its AMD Athlon II Neo and Nvidia ION graphics only managed 15fps in the same test. Also, as you would hope, HD video and Blu-ray playback casued no problems.

Lenovo IdeaCentre Q180 19

Part of the generally decent performance of our review sample is doubtless thanks to its 4GB of RAM, which is as much as is found on far more powerful desktop computers. The 750GB hard drive is a slower 5,400rpm model though.


Lenovo’s IdeaCentre Q180 is available in a variety of configurations with prices to match, from £235/£180 (with/without Windows) for the most basic configuration of 2GB of RAM, a 320GB HDD and no optical drive - to £350 for our review configuration with 4GB of RAM, a 750GB HDD and a Blu-ray drive. For most users, the extra storage space and flexibility will be well worth the extra £100 between the two Windows configurations.

Lenovo IdeaCentre Q180 16

So how does the fully-loaded IdeaCentre Q180 compare to its competition? The Acer Aspire Revo 100 immediately springs to mind as an interesting alternative. Similar to the Q180, the £340 Revo is a nettop with some decent specs backing up its Athlon II Neo processor, 3D-compatible Blu-ray drive and mouse/keyboard remote.

Lenovo IdeaCentre Q180 13

However, while it’s arguably more attractive and its CPU/GPU matches up, the Acer gives you less RAM, a smaller hard drive, and a remote that might be nicer for pointer control but is far less pleasant to type with. Considering the Q180 is brand-new while the Revo 100 is end-of-life, Lenovo’s nettop is even better value.

If your main interest is watching Blu-rays, we would probably recommend a dedicated player or £150 PlayStation 3. However, if you want the versatility of a tiny PC, you’re only paying £40 extra over the DVD version of the Q180, and overall it’s a decent machine for an affordable price.


The Lenovo IdeaCentre Q180 is as tiny and cute as its title of “world’s smallest fully functional desktop PC” would suggest, but doesn’t compromise on features or connectivity. It's not the most stylish nettop around but is well-constructed and well-specified, and its detachable Blu-ray drive is a nifty addition. Performance is constrained by its Atom processor but adequate for daily productivity, casual gaming and watching HD video. Best of all is the bundled keyboard/mouse remote, which is one of the better examples we’ve seen and can be used with any device that will accept a USB RF dongle. Frankly, all this for £350 seems a pretty good deal.

Overall Score


Scores In Detail

  • Design 8
  • Features 10
  • Performance 7
  • Value 8


April 26, 2012, 11:49 pm

I bought the Q180 to use as a Home Theater PC with XBMC and for online video streaming (mainly NFL Gamepass).

I have to say that I am still not sure I won't return it. Build quality and the size factor is great.

It's powerfull enough for SD and 720p videos but it is struggling with 1080p vids. I already spent a long time fiddling with the graphic settings and I am losing patience.

For me this is the biggest drawback. This is not a PlugnPlay device. This things needs to be properly set up to deliver the goods (my 5 year old WD TV produced much better video quality right out of the box).

Useful tip: if you connect it to your Samsung HDTV, make sure to use the HDMI dedicated to PC use and to rename the source as PC. This makes a big difference in video quality.

Conclusion: this is a machine I really want to fall in love with. Unfortunately, this requires a lot of work.


April 30, 2012, 12:22 am

Just don't see the potential in these atom powered slowbros. For 380 GBP you could buy a laptop with i3-2350M or the like with the Intel HD 3000, which will be alot faster and have no troubles with HD 1080 content.

E.g. the Lenovo B570e and just let it sit near the television, , hook it up to HDMI and you would have a (spare?) laptop.

You could probably get something even more powerful?


May 9, 2012, 3:49 pm

Thanks for your comment and feedback.

I haven't tested the Q180 with XBMC, but it certainly runs even demanding 1080p content fine using a media player that supports hardware acceleration. Both its Atom chip and Radeon graphics could manage this alone...

As to HD content, see above.

But you do make a good point about laptops. However, the advantages to this specific Q180 is that you get USB3, a Blu-ray drive and that awesome remote, features you wouldn't find on a laptop at that price.

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