Lenovo ThinkCentre A70z Review

A70z-1LThe Lenovo ThinkCentre A70z is a compact, and very affordable new All-in-one PC that is aimed at small businesses. The device is designed with the similar signature industrial matte black plastic aesthetics of Lenovo’s ThinkPad notebooks. The A70z system in particular that we tested rocks a
19″ widescreen display, along with a Core 2 duo 2.93ghz processor, 320GB, 2GB ram, 802.11n, a DVD burner, a 1.3″ megapixel camera and built-in microphone, 6 USB ports – 3 of which are on the side, and it came preloaded with Windows 7 Professional 32 bit. The system itself has 2.44″ thick form factor, which doesn’t make it the thinnest all-in-one around, but it’s still plenty compact. Unlike the plethora of nettops showing up nowadays, the A70z is more suitable for businesses because it offers much more performance as well as easier expandability which is essential in a business environment. The ThinkCentre A70z also sports an easy carry handle that makes it easy to transport and move around. Finally, another great aspect of the system’s design is that it doesn’t have a nasty power brick like most of the all-in-ones and laptops do.

A wired keyboard and mouse are included. But these are pretty standard, non ergonomic peripherals that just do the job and match. Alternatively, you can also opt for a wireless set with your own configuration.

Lenovo takes pride in the fact that you can have the A70z out of the box and running within 3 minutes, and this proved to be true. One super cool aspect of the ThinkCentre A70z’s packaging is that it’s actually eco friendly. The system itself comes packaged in a reusable shopping bag. So not only is the packaging earth friendly, but it’s also easy to open up and get running right away.

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Green Factor:
Not only is the Lenovo ThinkCentre A70z’s packaging eco-friendly, but it’s also Energy Star 5.0 compliant which should help business owners save money on electricity.

A70z-3LThe A70z sports a 19″ 16:10 widescreen matte display with a 1440×900 resolution. The display is not a touchscreen, and neither is it glossy like many of the All-in-one’s out there. This is because it is really designed to be a business machine and most business environments prefer matte displays so you don’t have to worry about distracting reflections. Colors do feel accurate and sufficiently vibrant. Overall, it’s a good display with decent viewing angles, but not the best one you’ll find out there. Some might lament the lack of a touchscreen, but again this is meant to be a business machine more than an entertainment console. By not including a touchscreen, Lenovo says they are able to keep the price down and keep the machine a good value. It’s important to note that the A70z can also be attached to a wall mount or stand as it’s compatible with standard VESA wall mounts, and there is an optional ergonomic stand available as well for it.

The system comes running Windows 7 Professional but our system was bundled with Windows XP Service Pack Recovery Disks. We’re not sure if that was a mistake or not. As far as bloatware, the system does come with some bloatware including Norton and Microsoft Office trials. Other software that comes preloaded includes Lenovo’s own software like ThinkVantage Technologies that includes tools for rescue and recovery, a productivity center and other pretty useful tools that are designed to help “reduce your IT resource impact”.

The Lenovo ThinkCentre A70z boots up in 32 seconds to the Windows 7 log in screen and takes just another few seconds to get to the desktop. It garnered a score of 5121 PCMarks in PCMark05 and 843 3DMarks in 3DMark06. In general the system felt snappy in day to day operations and it runs Windows 7 Professional very well. However, we’re pretty sure that adding another 2GB of ram would really make the system fly for serious multitasking. Inside you get an integrated Intel G41 graphics chip. Overall, even though the ThinkCentre A70z is not designed to be a multimedia machine, its powerful processor and decent spec list make it capable of handling plenty of multimedia tasks, including playing HD video which we tested on it.

The integrated speakers can get a bit tinny but they still sound very good for an AIO PC. They’re also able to reach moderately high volume levels.

Up until now many business might have been discouraged about getting AIO’s because they are difficult to upgrade, and/or upgrading the system’s hardware often means that you are breaking the warranty. However, the A70z is one of the only AIO’s that can be upgraded easily – and it can be upgraded without breaking the warranty. As a matter of fact, both the hard drive and memory can be accessed without much fuss, which is unusual for an AIO PC. The Lenovo ThinkCentre A70z comes with a one year warranty, and during that time a technician will come to you to fix the PC on location – that includes any problems with the display. Pricing for the Lenovo ThinkCentre A70z starts at $499, making it a great value, especially when you consider the kind of warranty you’re getting with it.

Although the A70z was originally designed for large enterprises, mainstream and small businesses, Lenovo has since then realized that the A70z is also well suited for education institutions too. And we imagine that these systems would hold up great in libraries and classroom environments because they are well made and feel reliable just like the ThinkPad line which they have no doubt taken cues and lessons from. Personally, I had my mom spend some time with it. The A70z is not the first AIO PC she has used. For a while she was using a nettop, but it just wasn’t fast enough for her. It turns out that she has really enjoyed using the A70z, since for her it suits all her purposes as a fast business machine that doesn’t take up much room on her desk and it also blends in easily with her desk environment- which is why she says she’ll never get a desktop again, especially at this price point. Overall, we think that the A70z also has appeal for consumers looking for a good value in a computer that they might be using to start or maintain a small business with. Can this compete with some of the multimedia driven AIO’s out there? No. But Lenovo has done a great job for their first value-packed all-in-one geared towards businesses.

The Good:
Much better value than a nettop for not much more money, saves company’s not only space, but also saves them money, clean design, solid feature set, better expandability options than with most AIO’s, great support and warranty, overall a good business machine with a healthy amount of multimedia prowess

The Bad:
Lacks an SD card slot, lacks a video output port for running a dual-monitor setup, no firewire or eSata ports

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