So, what do I want out of my next laptop and what must it include?
Lenovo IdeaCentre K200-100
- Price, design, tool-free chassis, one-touch backup/restore
- Performance, lacks some advantageous modern connectivity
The Lenovo IdeaCentre is clearly aimed at those on a budget or after something very basic. It may not have scored very well in our benchmarks, but the price is right.
Price$ 1,399.00 (AUD)
Lenovo may have sat on high as one of the leading business PC manufacturers for some time now, but the itch growing in the consumer market has finally drawn a scratch, giving birth to Lenovo's new consumer range of desktop PC, the IdeaCentre. Our first look at this new consumer range, called IdeaCentre, is the IdeaCentre K200-100, the lower-end model of the two currently available in Australia.
The sleek looking exterior disguises, at least in this instance, a fairly low performance machine. An Intel Pentium dual-core E2180 2GHz CPU with a small 1MB L2 cache and an 800MHz front side bus has been installed with 2GB of DDR2 667MHz RAM. Graphics are handled by an on-board SiS Mirage graphics controller and isn't for gamers. However, there is a spare PCI Express 16x slot free for a graphics upgrade.
This model offers a 320GB SATA hard drive, which should cover the needs of most homes, but will quickly start to run out with the operating system, a range of applications and any serious music/video collection. There is space in the case for an additional drive and the hard drive bay is tool-free, like most of the case, making it easy to install new hardware.
Lenovo's decision to install a 56Kbps modem is handy for those who don't need fast, always-on Internet and don't want to pay for it. Households with a digital camera will also enjoy the inclusion of a media card reader supporting a large range of cards including popular formats like SD, xD, MS/Pro and Compact Flash. This card reader is mounted on its side and runs up the left-hand side of the case-front for convenient access.
Also accessible from the front are a set of USB 2.0 ports, as well as headphone and microphone jacks. Let's not forget the DVD-RW drive with dual-layer support. A second 5.25in drive bay is free at the front for the addition of another optical drive or similarly sized device.
Ports-wise we're a little disappointed. Although there are enough USB ports to go around the usual swathe of USB devices, the lack of FireWire or e-SATA is limiting. The video output is restricted to VGA, rather than the digital DVI connection available on the supplied 22in monitor and both serial and parallel ports are available, but are only going to be useful to those with older devices they're hanging on to. Lastly we're a little disappointed with only a 10/100 Ethernet connection, rather than a full gigabit Ethernet connection.
Other features of this PC include an anti-bacterial keyboard for slightly greater hygiene, one touch backup/restore functionality and one touch virus scanning. The included 22in L222 monitor comes with a sound-bar, which is a stereo speaker that mounts on the bottom of the screen.
In the benchmarks we saw fairly average results. In WorldBench 6 the Lenovo scored 70, a fairly low result for a PC, but plenty for surfing online or doing some word processing, as well as viewing and editing photos. In our MP3 encoding test the K200-100 took 90sec to convert 53 minutes of WAV files to 192Kbps MP3 files, and Cdex (a single-threaded application) took 136sec.
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