Even better, now that ten-finger touch input is de rigeur, these machines offer new methods of computer interaction that are alternately ideal for wide-eyed youngsters, old luddites, and seasoned power users. (Give a toddler a touchscreen and she’ll figure out how to pull up her favorite album, play a simple game, and scroll through photos in minutes. Give her a mouse and keyboard and she’ll destroy or delete everything on your computer in roughly the same amount of time.)
Although some AIOs are intended as higher-end machines for professionals, others are designed primarily for home use by family types and those with more casual workloads. The latter category is where the Lenovo IdeaCentre A720 lands.
Considering the modest specifications, the best features of the IdeaCentre A720 are centered around the display and its tilting capabilities. For starters, you have 27 inches of screen to work with (full HD, 1920x1080), and the screen has impressive viewing angles.
It also sports ten-point multitouch capabilities. Touch input on an AIO desktop is a nice complement to the mouse and keyboard. In order to capitalize on the situational advantages of each kind of input, the IdeaCentre A720 features a pivoting neck that lets you adjust the screen in a variety of ways. It not only tilts forward or backward but can also slide down to rest at an angle on your desk or lay nearly flat to allow for more of a tabletop-like experience.
Clearly, Lenovo intended this particular IdeaCentre A720 to be a family PC as opposed to a high-powered professional or gaming machine. The computer runs on an Intel Core i5-3210M processor, which is a dual-core (2.5GHz) chip, as well as 6GB of DDR3 RAM, an NVIDIA GeForce 630M (1GB) GPU, and a 1TB (5400 RPM) hard drive.
Other features include a 6-in-1 card reader, two USB 2.0 and two USB 3.0 ports, HDMI in and out ports, LAN port, slot-loading Blu-ray player drive, 802.11b/g/n WiFi and Bluetooth, integrated 720p webcam, headphone and mic jacks, and stereo speakers.
The computer also runs Windows 8, which looks beautiful on the big screen. Other than the external power brick and some documentation, accessories are limited to a wireless keyboard and mouse combo.