I've got a new computer
and it replaces the HP Pavilion notebook that I got and posted about
just before moving to London in April 2007. I hope none of you followed my lead and bought an HP laptop because it flattered to deceive within months of using it. Too loud, too slow, faulty DVD wiring (even after replacing it) and a terrible battery. This time my first choice was an iMac but it was beyond budget (approx £1300). Having used my sister's old Lenovo laptop during my recent stint in Oman, I was impressed with its performance as the PC was just months younger than my HP. And Lenovo had the cheapest online deals for the specifications that I wanted: an All-in-one desktop, 20" touch screen monitor, Intel Core i3 processor (but ideally i5), a better graphics card than the integrated Intel one, 4GB RAM, 500+GB HDD, Blu-Ray DVD-writer, min. 5 USB slots, FireWire & HDMI ports, integrated TV tuner, wireless keyboard/mouse and a 3-year warranty. But most importantly it had to cost less than £800 altogether. And I almost got everything I wanted except for the Blu-Ray. But that's fine.
- Intel Core i3-350M processor (2.26GHz, 3MB Cache)
- 23" (1920 x 1080) Full HD, 16:9 widescreen, with Lenovo NaturalTouch Panel & Surface Acoustic Wave multi-touch technology
- ATI Radeon HD 5650 1GB graphics card
- 4 GB DDR3 DRAM 1066 MHz memory
- 640 GB HDD
- Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit)
- Slot-in Optical Disk drive, DVD writer
- 2.0 JBL speakers (2*5W) with Dolby Home Theate
- Integrated hybrid analogue/digital TV tuner (AV in, TV in)
- 802.11abgn Draft-N WiFi, 10/1000M Gigabit Ethernet LAN modem
- 0.3M integrated Lenovo High-Sense Webcam & integrated microphone
- 6 x USB2.0, eSATA, 6-in-1 card reader, FireWire, 1 headphone/line-out jack (with SPDIF digital audio support), microphone jack, HDMI in & out
- Adjustable stand, Bluetooth Keyboard and Mouse (operation from up to 65 ft away)
- Pre-installed software: Lenovo Rescue System 3.0, Power2Go 6.0, McAfee®, YouCam, Lenovo Dynamic Brightness System, Lenovo Eye Distance System, LVT 4.0, Common Components Installation, WinDVD® 8.0 (BD), Healthcare 2.0, PowerCinema, VeriGesture, AutoCollage, IdeaTouch and motion-drive games pack (with optional 4-in-1 Remote)
- 670 x 207 x 525 (mm) (W x H x D) including base
- 14.8 kg (32.6 lbs)
It's not the best looking computer especially compared with the benchmark set by the iMac but it'll do. Lenovo are not known for their aesthetics but their A310 All-in-One model
gives the iMac a run for its money. Pity it lacked several of the key features which I wanted. My new computer is also pretty heavy but it can be wall mounted and a metal bracket is included. Good for movie watching. Its retail price is £1000 and is now available for £850 on Amazon but I bought it for £650 and it was delivered the very next day! I checked Amazon the day after it arrived and it was available for an even better deal of £600. So bear that in mind if you plan on buying a computer from Amazon. There are good deals but they come and go before you can say Brazil. And if you buy it on Amazon UK you'll automatically be offered the choice of purchasing a three-year warranty plus accident protection from SquareTrade for just an additional £50 (although I had to pay £70 for it). So all-in-all, a good machine for just £730. Half the price of an iMac+warranty and with some better features even. Bhooyakasha!
As for the computer itself, it seems great so far. The only things to bear in mind are that the wireless keyboard and mouse don't pick up movement immediately when you start moving them but if you remain patient for a second or two, all is well. I did read some negative stories from users of similar Lenovo models in which they had to continually pair their keyboard and mouse devices but that hasn't happened to me (yet). The cool thing for you gamers is that the mouse is a 3-in-1 which means it works as a wireless controller like you would with the Nintendo Wii. The link specified a 640GB HDD but it turned out to be 570GB with 550GB free. No biggie really.
I'm yet to test the extent of the screen's multi touch features or the VeriFace technology which allows you to create a password with your face, check who has tried to log into the computer and encrypt/decrypt sensitive files using your face as the password. The first thing that caught my attention was the size of the screen. It was quite an upgrade from my 15.4" laptop and the graphics are much more clear and bright. Score! Everything seems to be running smoothly and quickly; booting up takes under two minutes. There doesn't seem to be any substantial difference between Windows 7 and Vista but you now have the option to combine task bar windows even when it's not full. I like that task bar windows are minimised to their thumbnail icon (finally!) and the fact that you can create slide shows of background images (though perhaps this was already available in Vista?)
The speakers are fairly good for an inbuilt system but I'd still recommend connecting a dedicated set for better quality. I'm yet to test the inbuilt webcam and microphone but all in good time. The TV tuner was easy to use and installed all the Freeview channels. I'm hoping to connect a Virgin Media package with SkySports to it eventually. The computer comes pre-installed with software to record scheduled programmes which is nifty. The biggest downside is the lack of other useful pre-installed software, most notably Microsoft Office. If only I'd bought this computer in Oman or India. Nae bother, this is my chance to join the OpenSource bandwagon and make merry with OpenOffice. I'm even thinking of installing Ubuntu but I'm worried it'll slow the machine down too much. That was one of the main reasons I fell out with my HP laptop. Your suggestions are most welcome.
For more pics including side and back angles, click here