One for All and All-in-One: My Life With the AIO
When they let the marketing guy test drive systems from an Intel demo lab one of the things my non-engineer’s eye can gauge is intuitive design. There is no “unboxing” because the device (PC, tablet, etc.) has long since been unboxed. There’s no owner’s manual or other documentation, so I naturally come to any device cold. Which brings me to the Lenovo IdeaCentre A720, an all-in-one (AIO) PC: Once I found the “on” switch, form met intuitive function in a 27″ full HD frameless multi-touch display.
For all its intuitive-ness, I was going to have help with my test drive of the Lenovo IdeaCentre. Increased number of visitors to my cubicle coincided with the AIO’s arrival. Perhaps a bit over-zealously (really, I got it from here, thanks), Demo Lab Guy delivered the full wash-and-wax, opening up the portfolio of Lenovo Snowflake touch-enabled games.
This A720 model is powered by a 3rd generation Intel Core i7 processor, and through its visibly smart multimedia capabilities I was introduced to (and discovered the crowd pleasing properties of) the game Bugs.
Another colleague visited moments later, marveled at my new temporary rig, and asked to play Angry Birds. I felt like the envy of cubicle row. To casual gamers, if you play on a phone or tablet, moving up to a 27″ 1080p HD AIO touchscreen seems like going from TV to IMAX. Another cubicle neighbor wondered, “Why buy a TV if I can do this?”
AIOs aren’t mobile devices, but I found the Lenovo IdeaCentre A720 ‘world’s slimmest ’27 all-in-one PC”‘ (as the promotional brochure I later found calls it) easily transportable from cube to home, minding the smudge marks. The simplified form factor also made it easy to find a a flat work surface without needing an additional place to stash a tower.
At home, I was impressed with the integrated 720p HD webcam, and so were those on the receiving end of it. Apparently images beamed to the other side of the world were so sharp a family member believed he could take a picture of his PC screen and that image would be sharp.
Unsurprisingly, kids, like my colleagues, enjoyed casual gaming on the multi-touch display.
It was also easy to settle into desktop computing normalcy where it was more convenient to use mouse and keyboard than touch.
I also appreciated the Ultrabook-like rapid start feature . There was none of the standard desktop lag for the AIO to awaken itself. This is part of the Lenovo Enhanced Experience 3 for Windows 7 with RapidBoot.
I did not experience some of the features that could make an AIO the communications hub of a larger household. A colleague has family members using his AIO with Nest Family Organizer software for messages and lists. From a home security standpoint, the AIO can also be linked to a closed-circuit camera(s) to display, for instance, who’s at the front door or generate an email alert with a photo anytime it detects motion, along with video feeds to a smart phone.
Overall, the AIO has been a very welcome (if temporary) addition to both cube and household.
As always, what’s your take?