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Not long ago desktop was considered as a sunset business due to the modern life style where laptop, smart phone, mobile internet device are much preferred. However with the launch of All-in-One desktop, there is a slightly hope to bring back the unique selling points of a desktop besides its affordable price. Today we have a chance to review one of the best selling All-in-One desktop systems in the market; Lenovo IdeaCentre B500.
Lenovo is a Chinese-based MNC computer vendor which produces desktops, laptops, workstations, servers, storages, IT software and other IT related hardware/software. In year 2005 Lenovo completed the acquisition of IBM's Personal Computing Division, making it a new international IT competitor right after HP and Dell; the third-largest personal computer company in the world. Lenovo product families are greatly enhanced with the ThinkPad series as ThinkPad is one of the most trustable portable laptop in the world.
Currently Lenovo is the fourth largest vendor for personal computer after HP, Dell and Acer but it is still remain as the largest PC seller in China. Some of the major Lenovo's product families are ThinkPad, IdeaPad, ThinkCentre, IdeaCentre, ThinkStation, ThinkServer and so on. Yang YuanQing is the CEO of Lenovo Group and their core offices are currently located at Morrisville (USA), Beijing (China) and Singapore.
- Brilliant HD LED 23" widescreen panels.
- Not big enough Connect it to your TV and output to a larger screen.
- Stream music, videos and music all day long.
- Life-like, theater-style picture quality.
- High-end, discrete/switchable graphics available.
- Superior audio-Dolby® surround sound and JBL speakers.
- Zippy, stutter-free wireless connectivity.
Package & Content
Unlike traditional desktop, Lenovo IdeaCentre B500 does not packed with two individuals boxes for monitor and chassis but it comes with a standard OEM chassis size; a bit huge for a lady but definitely not a problem for a guy to carry it home. Actually the packaging could be smaller but due to the protection on the Lenovo IdeaCentre B500, two thick and quality foams are used to protect it against dropping, shipping mishandling and etc.
Lenovo IdeaCentre B500 is a complete All-in-One desktop where it comes with all the necessary peripherals such as keyboard, mouse, TV-output dongle, product quality certificate and packing list. The product quality certificate breakdowns the detail of Lenovo IdeaCentre B500 (so called bill of material) while another one is the packing list.
There is no point to have a cable keyboard and mouse for such All-in-One desktop hence Lenovo IdeaCentre B500 is equipped with Bluetooth keyboard and mouse. Lenovo IdeaCentre B500 comes with dual TV tuner as well where a TV-output dongle and remote control are provided too. In term of warranty, Lenovo IdeaCentre B500 comes with standard 1 year warranty but it will be great if the warranty can be extended further.
A Closer Look on Lenovo B500 All-in-One
Lenovo is producing quite number of desktop systems and there are total five series just for All-in-One system ; IdeaCentre A series (stylish), IdeaCentre B series (bold), Essential C series (practical), ThinkCentre A series (sleek) and ThinkCentre M series. Lenovo IdeaCentre is being positioned between the Essential and ThinkCentre series which is targeted for the premium home users.
For feature comparison between all these Lenovo All-in-One desktop systems, here is the table you may refer to; "Tick" is applicable to all models, "dot" is only available for selected models while "minus" is not available at all. Some of the important features for getting IdeaCentre rather than Essential series will be the Intel Core i processor, Blu-Ray disc supported and etc.
Lenovo IdeaCentre B500 is one of the best sellers among the rest of the Lenovo All-In-One desktop systems. There are couple versions for Lenovo IdeaCentre B500 as the specifications will be updated from time to time and it varies by countries; so it is good for you to double check the specifications especially if you are getting it from retail outlet. Our Lenovo IdeaCentre B500 sample here is powered by Intel Core 2 Duo processor; E7500 with 2.93GHz, 3M L2 cache, 1066MHz FSB, 45nm and so on.
In term of memory, HDD and VGA, Lenovo IdeaCentre B500 is equipped with 4GB DDR3, 1TB SATA HDD and 1GB NVIDIA GeForce 240M which are pretty sufficient enough for a home machine and it will be stay up-to-date at least for another two years. Window 7 Lenovo Enhanced Experience is the result of joint engineering between Lenovo and Microsoft to enrich customer's experience. A top rated speaker vendor; JBL is used on Lenovo IdeaCentre B500.
Screen size is very important for an All-in-One system and Lenovo IdeaCentre B500 is fitted with 23" wide LED HD display which supports resolution up to 1920 x 1080 (16:9). Other integrated hardware of Lenovo IdeaCentre B500 are 1.3MP webcam, 10/100 Ethernet, 802.11bg Wireless LAN, Bluetooth, DVD Multiburner, 6-in-1 card reader and etc. Window 7 Home Premium 64bits is installed on Lenovo IdeaCentre B500 which is the most wanted OS & version in consumer market.
The overall dimension of Lenovo IdeaCentre B500 is 560 x 440 x 25-38 mm (W x H x D) and weight around 10KG; neither too big & heavy nor small & light. This is our first official review for an All-in-One desktop system but previously we have touched quite number of All-in-One systems but none of them are as slim as Lenovo IdeaCentre B500. The overall depth is only 38mm while most of the other competitors in the market are having 50-90mm depth.
The whole chassis of Lenovo IdeaCentre B500 is merged by two panels in "Z" way so that it looks much slimmer for the top and bottom panels. The front panel is a LCD panel while the rear panel is the store room for all the hardware components such as processor, cooler, motherboard, power supply, memory, HDD and etc. The whole chassis is being supported by a spring stand; it is a strong stand where the Lenovo IdeaCentre B500 is able to be seated firmly on the desk.
On the right side of Lenovo IdeaCentre B500, there are power button and DVD writer while the left hand side consists of card reader, audio jacks and two USB ports. Don't worry about the USB ports as there are four additional USB 2.0 ports at the rear panel which is definitely more than enough since Lenovo IdeaCentre B500 has already equipped with Bluetooth keyboard and mouse. The card reader is a 6-in-1 reader for SD, MMC, xD, MS, MS Pro and SD Pro; pretty standard.
Besides the four USB ports at the rear I/O ports, there are LAN, AV-IN, PS2 (for keyboard) and antenna connectors. Lenovo IdeaCentre B500 is not only a traditional desktop as it is more like a media center as a dual TV turner is integrated too (digital & analog); analog setup in PAL mode for Malaysia environment. However it seems there is a mistake on the specification label where the remote controller should be an Infrared type rather than Bluetooth type (correct us if we were wrong).
Installation, Testing & Performance
Since Lenovo IdeaCentre B500 is an All-in-One desktop system, the setup and cable connections are very minimal where only a power cord has to be connected as keyboard & mouse are Bluetooth devices. LAN, TV setup and other USB devices are only required to be connected if it is needed. That is for the physical setup but Bluetooth pairing is something could be either easy or difficult which really depends on the user's experience. Hopefully the keyboard & mouse Bluetooth pairing are done in the factory else an additional cable mouse is required to setup the Bluetooth pairing manually; our sample is a broken-seal unit so we have no answer for this at this moment. Overall the setup for Lenovo IdeaCentre B500 is just a piece of cake if the user has setup any PC system before; almost plug & play.
Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo E7500 @ 2.93GHz
Chipset: Intel G41 Express
Memory: 4GB DDR3 1066MHz
Hard Drive: 1TB SATA HDD
Graphic Card: Discrete 1GB GeForce GT 240M
Optical Drive: DVD Writer
Monitor: 23" Wide HD LED
Speaker: JBL 5w x 2
Mouse: Lenovo Bundled Bluetooth Mouse
Keyboard: Lenovo Bundled Bluetooth Keyboard
Mouse Pad: SteelSeries QcK+
HeadSet: SteelSeries 3H
Operating System: Window 7 Home premium 64bits
Router: TRENDnet TEW-639GR
Ambient Temperature: 27 Degree Celsius
Since Microsoft Window Vista was launched, Window Experience Index (WEI) rating is attached and Lenovo IdeaCentre B500 is scoring 5.9 out of the 5.9 which is the highest rating at this moment. With this we strongly believe the performance of an All-in-One system doesn't get impacted by its size although all the hardware are squeezed into a slim chassis.
Window Experience Index can be further torn down for better understanding about the system. As you can see most of the hardware like CPU, memory, graphic are scoring around 6.4 - 6.5 where the top score is 7.9. HDD performance is a bit lagging behind than others; replacing it with SSD or 10K RPM HDD would probably gain better score provided you know how to tear the system down; if we could get additional weeks for reviewing then we shall show it to you but unfortunately not for this time.
CPU-Z and GPU-Z are two of the most popular tools to exposure the detail of your system. All the screenshots were captured under Lenovo IdeaCentre B500 and you may use it as a reference when selecting the best All-in-One desktop system; GPU temperature is provided by GPU-Z.
Lenovo Rescue System 3.0 is a software that allows user to do the system backup, system recovery and create recovery disc. All these applications can be done by Microsoft Window own OS but we believe this is apart of the Lenovo Enhanced Experience. LVT; Lenovo Vantage Technology helps user to recover from system crashes or viruses by a single touch.
CyberLink MediaShow is a powerful tool where it not only allows for photo & video viewing, disc burning but also facing tagging, editing, photo slideshows, video converting as well as social media sharing like Facebook, Twitter and etc. This tool might look complicated just like the first time we used Facebook but after you have mastered it then you will appreciate the efforts by CyberLink software team.
CamSuite is a simple camera tool that helps to keep users in the center of the Web camera's focus and adds special effects to live video feeds besides photo snapshot, video chat & video recording. Onscreen keyboard is not a new feature but it will be quite useful sometime especially when the battery of the Bluetooth or Infrared keyboard has been exhausted.
Now it is time for us to share the Lenovo IdeaCentre B500's benchmarking results with you. PCMark05 and PCMark Vantage are the PC system benchmarking tools from Futuremark. The benchmarked components are memory, TV & Movies, Gaming, Music, Commnuication, Productivitiy, HDD and overall score.
For the CPU benchmarking, we have used Sisoftware Sandra and Everest. Both of these benchmarking tools do include the reference benchmarking results within the software so it will be easier for user to identify their system performance.
Next benchmarked component will be memory and Everest was used again for reading speed and writing speed. Same with processor benchmarking, Everest has added in the performance reference as well.
CrystalDiskMark and HD Tune Pro are HDD benchmarking tools which are being widely used on memory, flash drive, HDD and other storage reviews. The benchmarks will be based on the reading, writing speeds.
All these synthesis benchmarking results can be used as a reference to further understand your system performance and it will be great for any hardware upgrade planning although upgrading is limited for such All-in-One desktop system. Overall Lenovo IdeaCentre B500 scores pretty good results in most of the benchmarking tools as expected. Besides the synthesis benchmarking, we have been using Lenovo IdeaCentre B500 for couple of weeks for daily task like music playing, video watching, photo editing and etc. So far we didn't even encounter any crash and BSOD which is a good thing to proof that Lenovo IdeaCentre B500 is well made system. Nevertheless it is always good to understand the usage and applications before getting any system so that the most suitable system can be selected; there is no point to get a netbook/nettop for video converting or getting a workstation for just music listening.
Based on our experience with couple All-in-One desktop systems, we have to admit that Lenovo IdeaCentre B500 is really one of the decent machines you can get out there. Besides that Lenovo IdeaCentre B500 is also a super slim machine where it only comes with 38mm thickness at most which is pretty unbelievable. Don't worry too much about the performance of Lenovo IdeaCentre B500 as it is equipped with decent hardware like core 2 Duo processor, 4GB memory, 1TB SATA HDD, Wifi, Lan, TV turner, Bluetooth, 1GB GeForce 240M and etc. The price of Lenovo IdeaCentre B500 is slightly priced higher than others as someone would probably able to get a touch All-in-One system with the similar price but Lenovo IdeaCentre B500 is definitely a much higher end machine and quite a complete All-in-One system.
+ Super slim All-One-In desktop
+ Decent hardware
+ Stylish design
+ Well-built machine
+ Large 23" wide HD LED display
+ Bluetooth keyboard & mouse
+ Dual TV turner (Digital/Analog)
+ Unique feature like add-on lamp
- Not as cheaper as other
- Not a touch screen machine
Thanks to Lenovo for providing this sample for us to review.
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