Now we have seen All-in-One PC’s and even table PC’s, but what Lenovo announced earlier in the year was something a bit different. Combining what we have seen from All-in-One PC’s and table PC’s to create the IdeaCentre Horizon. This 27-inch beast of a All-in-One PC is not the lightest nor the prettiest but it does its job. Before we get into what makes the Horizon so special in table PC mode, let’s talk about some of its hardware and PC internals.
Let’s start by saying that the IdeaCentre Horizon should have had a much better display. at 27 inches all we got was a 1920x1080 display in an Anti-glare glass. Not to mention the front of this display had a huge bezel around it which looked pretty ugly at first. on the bottom right were touch based buttons which controlled volume and brightness of the display. As mentioned, this 1080p HD display looked ok but left you wanting more. Off the desktop home screen apps looked pixelated and very low res. For someone like me editing photos and videos, it wasn’t much help that high resolution photos automatically looked bad when imported. The model we were testing out was their Intel 2.0GHz Core i7-3537U version which retailed for about $1849. Lenovo also sells an Intel 1.8GHz Core i5-3337U configuration. Internally was an NVIDIA GeForce GT620M and Intel HD 400 graphics card, 1TB of Hard Drive space, 8GB of DDR3 RAM (with 8GB being its max), Stereo Speakers on the back of the display and a 720p HD camera. On the right side of the display lied very uncomfortably, two(2) USB 3.0 ports, HDMI-in, 6-in-1 memory card slot, headphone and microphone jack.
Performance on the PC side of things was fairly decent. Overall web browsing and media playback was fine with no errors. Though for a PC this huge and full of features, I would have liked to see Lenovo push that Core i7 to its limits with a better graphics card, at least 16GB of memory and an SSD to boot Windows 8 from. This isn’t the best workstation for anyone looking to do heavy editing with videos or photos, though I wish it was.
Now to get to what the Horizon is all about, Aura mode. When its display is pushed downward to its Table PC form, Aura mode comes alive and Aura is a Multimedia hub. Aura allows you to access and share your photos, videos and music as well as play games. Now you might be thinking how it all works, it’s actually fairly simple and easy to handle. Opening folders of photos will allow each photo to be expanded, moved and even tossed to someone else on the other side of the screen. Now don’t get too crazy with moving around tons of images or videos as the Horizon will start to hiccup quite a bit. As mentioned before, the internal specs of the Horizon aren’t what it should be. A little more power under the hood would have Aura mode running flawlessly, but I see what Lenovo is trying to do here. Though it was a lot of fun navigating through music and having videos play while taking a look at photos all at the same time. The UI isn’t one of my favorites and could be handled a bit better, maybe a future update or in their next model we could see a cleaner way to access everything.
Playing games was also a lot of fun, when they ran good. Easier games like Monopoly ran really smooth and was a lot of fun seeing the animations and the game brought to life. Lenovo also includes pieces that the Horizon screen and USB recognize, for example there was a DIE that could actually be rolled for Monopoly which makes it that more personal to the game. Air Hockey includes a couple of paddles that can be placed on the screen and hit the on screen puck. There was a bit of delay in hitting and passing the puck and sometimes the Horizon would stop reading the paddle on the screen, causing you to miss shots or even not move. Aura was a fun feature to have but I just felt it wasn’t that great. This is something that can be forgotten which sucks, so I hope Lenovo does take a look at ways to improve Aura as a whole, from extra features, performance, and UI.
Starting at just under $1200, Lenovo has to market these smart because from a hardware stand point paying this much for a super PC that can act as a desktop and media hub should have much more powerful specs. They have released a smaller version of the Horizon that might attract others looking for a multimedia center at a smaller size with some physical improvements. If you are looking for a home desktop with a way to interact with friends and family, this is the best option on the market right now.