April 15, 2013
- Good value
- Beautiful 23-inch 1080p HD display
- Touch screen responsiveness
- Solid performance
- Included keyboard could be better
- No HDMI-input
The stylish design of the Lenovo IdeaCentre B540 is one that catches our eye in tandem with its budget price tag. The 23-inch 1080p touch screen works well with Windows 8 and looks great for multimedia viewing. Performance is good, especially for the price, but it does make a slight compromise with a Core i3 CPU.
The all-in-one design has become increasingly popular among today's PC manufacturers. This has also become a more relevant design thanks to the touch-friendly Windows 8 interface, which works great in pair with a touch-enabled display. We really like an all-in-one that has a stylish design as well as a minimalist look, including one without wired peripherals. Lenovo accomplishes both with the B540 much to our delight.
The IdeaCentre's B540 design is definitely one of this PC's selling points. The front is a large black rectangle with an edge-to-edge glass that covers the 23-inch display and surrounding shiny black bezel. To support the body in the front, there are two smoked-plastic feet that give the screen a faux-floating feel. In the rear, the body is supported by a folding leg that adjusts to different angles. We found the hinge on the back rather stiff and took a good amount of force to adjust.
On the PC's backside, there are two plastic panels with a gray, brushed-finish that actually pull off the back to allow access to the internal components (hard drive, RAM, optical drive, etc). This was a great way to make the inside easy to access and upgrade, which is something most other all-in-ones lack.
We will start out with the beautiful 23-inch 1080p display. Our reviewers thought the screen looked crisp and clear with a good amount of backlighting. Viewing angles were fantastic and there was virtually no motion blur that we could see. The touch screen aspect of the display also worked well. It supports 10-simultaneous touch points and the responsiveness was very good, which made navigating the Windows 8 touch interface a breeze.
Lenovo includes a wireless keyboard and mouse combo with the IdeaCentre B540. Both connect to the PC via a wireless USB receiver that is stored in the mouse. The island-style keyboard had a bit of mushy-ness to it but overall it wasn't too horrible. The mouse is fairly standard with a scroll wheel and neural-handed design.
For ports, the B540 offers two USB 3.0 ports, four USB 2.0 ports (2 on side panel, 2 on back), HDMI-out, Ethernet, headphone and microphone jacks and a 6-in-1 memory card reader. We would've liked to see at least one of the USB 3.0 ports on the side as well as an HDMI-input, which would have allowed you to use the beautiful 23-inch display for a gaming console or a cable box. Wireless includes both 802.11 Wi-Fi and Bluetooth and a tray-loading DVD+/-RW optical drive is on the right edge of the screen.
Our review unit included an Intel Core i3-3220 (3.3GHz) CPU, 6GB of RAM, a 1TB HD and integrated Intel HD 2500 graphics. There is a configuration available with a Core i5 CPU and a discrete Nvidia graphics setup which might be better for buyers looking for a gaming or high-perfomance machine. This Core i3 model delivers solid performance for 90% of today's consumers. In a PCMark 7 benchmark, it earned a score of 2891, which is only about 200 points less than the category average.
Real-world performance was good with no noticeable slow downs during our review duration. Most families will love this system and the performance that it offers, especially for the $800 price tag.
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