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Lenovo IdeaCentre Q180 review

Ardjuna Seghers




Our Score:


User Score:


  • Awesome mouse/keyboard remote
  • Tiny and cute
  • Modular and flexible
  • Excellent connectivity
  • Optional Blu-ray
  • Affordable


  • Glossy finish
  • Average looks
  • Atom CPU still underpowered
  • Slow hard drive

Key Features

  • Intel Atom D2700 CPU
  • AMD Radeon 6450 GPU
  • Up to 4GB of RAM, 750GB 5400rpm HDD
  • Tiny dimensions, 742g base unit
  • Optional DVD/Blu-ray drive attachment
  • Manufacturer: Lenovo
  • Review Price: £350.00

Our technology is constantly being downsized, with ever more power fitting into smaller packages. The humble desktop PC is no exception, and with the advent of the nettop (the desktop counterpart to the netbook), pint-sized PCs have become common and affordable. Lenovo’s current consumer-focused contender in this market is its IdeaCentre Q180, the “world’s smallest fully functional desktop PC”.

This miniature marvel is available in a variety of compact configurations, weighs a mere 742g, and has around the same volume as two stacked DVD cases - that is, unless you go for the model with included optical drive, which ups the thickness to 4cm. Can it match up to the competition with impressive contenders like the award-winning Zotac Zbox Nano already in the game?


First off, let’s get more of a feel for the Q180. Due to Lenovo’s use of an Atom processor and AMD Radeon 6450 graphics across the range, it’s definitely a nettop rather than a full-strength miniature Mac mini-like desktop PC such as the ASRock Vision 3D. However, since our review model comes with 4GB of RAM and a 750GB HDD plus the optional Blu-ray drive attachment and full keyboard remote, it’s at the premium end of its category, and a proper challenger to the Acer Aspire Revo 100.

Lenovo IdeaCentre Q180 5

If right now you’re thinking the Lenovo IdeaCentre Q180’s other specifications are more than Intel’s Atom CPU will know what to do with, the Atom D2700 isn’t the same underpowered architecture that limited most netbooks of yore: rather it’s Intel’s next-generation, 2.13GHz, dual-core ‘Cedar Trail’ processor with support for four virtual cores. We’ll check out just how it all holds up in the performance section of this review.

Design & Build

It’s on style and size that the Q180’s appeal is strongest though. The dinky base unit is undeniably cute and super-slim. You can either stand it upright with the provided base or rest it horizontally on tiny rubber feet. Cleverly, the base accommodates both the slim standalone unit or the PC with its optical drive attached by merely turning it upside down (or downside up, as the case may be).

Lenovo IdeaCentre Q180 14

Build quality is pretty good, though nothing like any of Lenovo’s ThinkPad models.

The silver strip around most of the Q180 does make it look just a little cheap, but generally the combination with glossy black does work. What's more fingerprints shouldn’t be as much of a problem as with a laptop, though when plugging peripherals in or out you’ll still get smudges on the shiny bits.

Lenovo IdeaCentre Q180 17

Attaching the optical drive section to the main unit is as simple as clicking it in and then plugging in the supplied USB bridge connector, which provides both power and data output to the otherwise sealed drive, as well as helping to hold the two units together. Though you do lose a USB port, it’s a simple and reasonably elegant solution.


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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