June 20, 2013
- Sleek, attractive design
- Unique accessories for gaming
- Useful, fun pre-installed software
- Good performance
- A little pricey
- Only two USB ports
The Lenovo IdeaCentre Horizon is a 27-inch all-in-one and tablet PC hybrid. It has an Intel Core i7 CPU, 8GB of RAM and a multi-touch 1080p display. Performance with this hybrid is good and it comes pre-loaded with fun, useful software.
The Horizon is marketed toward users who want a large format desktop/tablet that allows for collaboration between users. It's a new approach to the tablet PC category that is a good fit for a business setting or as a home entertainment PC. For the home users (who we will focus on for this review), there are fun games and a Lenovo app store to expand the PC's already great set of pre-installed software.
The front of the PC has a 27-inch glossy display that is bordered by a 1-inch glossy black bezel. A soft-touch rubber band also wraps around the edge of the front panel. The back is made of gray plastic that has a tapered design that makes it look thinner than it actually is. A large metal hinge folds to allow the PC to sit upright or all the way flat in table mode. Getting the hinge to fold it a little difficult but with a firm push, it'll fold. The Horizon's dimensions measure 27.2 x 17.0 x 1.2-inches (whd) and weighs almost 18-pounds, so it's rather heavy.
On the PC's right side, you'll find two USB 3.0 ports, an HDMI-input, headphone/microphone audio jacks and a 6-in-1 memory card reader. On the left side there is only the PC's power button. We do like the HDMI-input, which lets you use the large 27-inch display as a monitor for a gaming console, DVD player, etc. It is disappointing to see only two USB ports, especially since the included wireless keyboard/mouse combo's receiver uses one of the USB ports. There is built-in 802.11n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth wireless connectivity.
Keyboard & Mouse
Lenovo provides you with a standard wireless keyboard that it includes with all of its other all-in-one PCs. It's very compact and thin and is powered by two AAA batteries. The keys are well-designed and comfortable. The included wireless mouse is a little different. It has a matte gray plastic exterior and a comfortable design. The design, however, is what makes it unique. To turn the mouse off, you rotate the bottom half of the mouse into an S-shape.
The display is a 27-inch, 10-point multi-touch display with a 1920 x 1080-pixel HD resolution. We thought the brightness of the display could be a little brighter, but the display's contrast and color accuracy were both good. Viewing angles were also very wide, which is important for a PC billed as being multi-user friendly. Built-in Windows 8 touch gestures were quick to perform and very accurate.
When you put the Lenovo IdeaCentre Horizon into table mode (where it lays flat on a table), the Lenovo Aura interface launches. To start, it has a large ring in the middle where it fans out when you select application categories like games, education, music, etc. With the Aura interface, you really get to benefit from the large 10-point multi-touch display.
The Horizon ships with several unique accessories aside from the keyboard and mouse. There are air hockey paddles (Lenovo calls them 'Strikers') that have metallic discs attached to the bottom for the touch display to detect their position. This makes playing the included air hockey game very fun. We did notice a little bit of a delay in response time while using these paddles, but not so much that the game was unplayable.
There are also joysticks and an E-Dice, which is a large die with a built-in accelerometer to let the computer know which number you rolled on. The included E-Dice dongle picks up this information and relays it to the computer via USB. We really enjoyed using the E-Dice while playing Monopoly, which comes pre-installed.
Configuration, Specs & Performance
Our review unit included a configuration that included third-generation Intel Core i7-3537U (2.0GHz) CPU, 8GB of RAM, a 1TB 5400RPM hard drive and Nvidia GeForce GT620M graphics with 2GB of dedicated video memory. In a PCMark 7 benchmark, it earned a score of 2,589, which is more than a 1,000 points shy of the category average among other Windows 8 all-in-one PCs.
In real-world use, we found the Lenovo Horizon to perform very well. Watching streaming HD media was a breeze and Windows 8 booted up in around 30-seconds. Thanks to the Nvidia discrete graphics, you can play some 3D games on this PC, but not at full graphics settings.
As this is a tablet hybrid, it does contain a battery. We were able to squeeze out around 3-hours of life on average.
Our Intel Core i7 model retails for $1849 but there is a Core i5 model that retails for $1699. the i5 model retains both the i7 model's RAM and discrete graphics.