The Lenovo IdeaCentre A300 is an all-in-one desktop with a unique design for a fairly inexpensive price. It has a 21.5-inch display with a 2.2GHz Intel Core 2 Duo CPU running 4GB of memory and a 500GB hard drive. The lack of an optical drive, however, does raise some issues, but it makes a good multimedia device for the home.
The A300's screen is supported by a white, flat base that holds all of the "guts" to the computer, while an offset, adjustable chrome support holds up the razor-thin (<0.75-inches) 21.5-inch LCD. The white and chrome design makes it look sleek and slim, while keeping a small footprint allowing you to place the A300 virtually anywhere, from a kitchen counter to the living room. The base unit is where all the input ports are located, which keeps them flat to the surface without any cords running to the back of the monitor.
There is no optical disc drive because of the base units small size, but Lenovo could've easily added an inch or so to the height to accommodate one. This means you'll run into issues playing DVDs or installing software from disc, so you'll probably want to invest in a slim, external optical drive. The rest of the internals are laptop components, so they all are much smaller than traditional desktop parts. In essence, the A300 is a laptop running inside a slim desktop with a large monitor. Some of the specifications include a 2.2GHz Intel Core 2 Duo Mobile T6600 CPU, 4GB of DDR2 RAM, 500GB hard drive (5400rpm), 64MB integrated Intel GMA X4500HD video card, and Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit). The screen is 21.5-inches and has a native resolution of 1920 x 1080, which qualifies it as high-definition. The screen doesn't offer touch input, which is something we would've liked to see on an all-in-one, as many others do offer.
There is also integrated 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. Lenovo includes a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse combo that beautifully matches the design of the A300 and reduces the amount of cables too.
The input ports on the bottom base unit include 2 HDMI inputs, a mini-FireWire 400 port, 4 USB 2.0 ports, a multiformat memory card reader, and headphone/microphone audio jacks. Having HDMI ports means you can connect it to a DVR box, Blu-ray player, or a gaming console and use the monitor to display the content in HD quality. One of the HDMI ports is an outgoing port, so the unit can be connected to an external monitor or HDTV. There is also a built-in HDTV tuner to connect a coaxial connection for TV broadcasts. There is no remote included for this desktop, which is a disappointment considering the unit's multimedia features and abilities.
There was also minimal "bloatware" pre-installed on the Lenovo IdeaCentre A300, with only a 60-day and 30-day trial of Microsoft Office and McAfee Security, respectively.
Performance with the Lenovo IdeaCentre A300 is slightly disappointing in certain cases, mostly due to the "mobile" components inside this all-in-one, both to keep down cost and overall size of the base unit. For showing HD movies & video content, performance is stellar and looks superb due to the GMA X4500HD video processing unit. Playing 3D games, however, is fairly impossible as they usually won't even run. Performance with tasks like video encoding, Adobe Photoshop CS5 use, and the like is about average among other all-in-one desktops.
Overall, the Lenovo IdeaCentre A300 is a good choice for an all-in-one PC that can do double-duty as a multimedia system and an HDTV.