by Ray Willington — Thursday, August 19, 2010
Lenovo ThinkCentre M90z Review
Lenovo has been making a push in touch-enabled products as of late. A few months back, we actually tested one of the company's first touchscreen-enabled ThinkPad notebooks (and an IdeaPad, for that matter). Regardless, the company isn't exactly a household name when it comes to touch-enabled products but with Windows 7's limited built in touch capabilities, the cost of entry is lower perhaps, save for the cost of a touch-capable panel. The ThinkCentre M90z is Lenovo's newest 23" touch-enabled all-in-one PC, and it's going up against some stiff competition. HP's TouchSmart, Apple's iMac line, as well as a number of MSI units offer similar features at a similar price, and some might say with more modern looking, stylish enclosures.
So, what does the M90z have to set it apart? That's exactly what we aim to find out in our analysis. Built for business, but perfectly fine for at-home use, the ThinkCentre M90z offers a 23" touch screen (glossy) with a Full HD 1080p resolution. Windows 7 is the operating system of choice, and the options from there are fairly varied. Our test unit has a powerful 3.2GHz Core i5-650 under the hood, paired with 4GB of DDR3 memory, a 500GB hard drive and a side-mounted DVD-ROM drive. Graphics are handled by Intel's integrated GMA HD processor, while IO port selection resides on the rear.
We kind of appreciate Lenovo's honesty with the touch panel as well. The M90z has the touch panel as an upgrade option, but unlike HP's TouchSmart 600, it's not the focal point of the machine. And why should it be? Windows 7 still has only a few features that are truly built for touch (particularly on a desktop), and we still feel that touch on desktops has limited usefullness. It's simply too time consuming to manage an entire 23" display with your finger when your mouse and keyboard are anchored down in front.
Direct Price (as tested): $1,389 without Bluetooth; $1,418 with Bluetooth
The ThinkCentre M90z can be had for as little as $929 direct from Lenovo, with the Multi-Touch version starting at $1099. But as soon as you bump the RAM to 4GB and add a Core 2010 CPU, the mark soars higher. There's no doubt that this is one of the more expensive all-in-one PCs on the market. It is pricier than HP and MSI's products, both of which offer compelling 23" AIO solutions. Is the added cost for the Lenovo unit justifiable? Join us in the pages ahead as we try to find out.
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