Lenovo ThinkCentre M90z Review

6 thumbs up


It's pretty clear from just glancing at the ThinkCentre M90z that Lenovo intends this machine to be used for business. It has a very buttoned-down, cleaned-cut look about it. Lenovo has taken no design risks whatsoever here, tailoring it as a classic, classy machine that will fit right into an office environment without causing a fuss. If this sounds familiar, we're sure we know why. Lenovo's ThinkPad notebook line follows this same approach. Keep it simple -- as they say, right? But we aren't convinced that the mantra carries over to the desktop as well. The ThinkPad line is able to get away with its utilitarian looks because the design actually contributes to just how rugged and rigid the machines are. There's no need for ruggedness in an all-in-one PC. You won't be traveling with the M90z, so why build it like a tank?


It's quite possible that we're just spoiled by the fresh looks of the TouchSmart 600, MSI's AE2220 and Apple's iMac, but we aren't the biggest fan of the M90z's corporate looks. It's somewhat thick for an all-in-one, and the bezel around the LCD is rather noticeable. Also, the bottom chrome bar is fixed, with the only adjustments coming from a tilting bar around back; but even that only clicks into a few predetermined spots. Finally, the bundled keyboard and mouse are as simple as they come, and while they're decently comfortable, they're not very stylish. We suppose they do match the plain motif of the main unit, though.


The front of the unit is, again, plain. There's a matte black bezel surrounding the glossy 23" LCD, which is definitely the highlight of the design. The LCD is extremely crisp and bright (though we wish there were a toggle on the outside for dimming the screen at times), and the 1080p resolution is a plus. The screen, surprisingly, isn't fingerprint-prone, and the touch response is fantastic. We'll get to more of that in the pages to come. The only button on the front is a power button, and speaking of power, there's no power brick included; just plug the (far too short!) cable into the rear of the panel and you're off and running. There's also a pair of stereo speakers beneath the LCD and a 2.0MP webcam (with a slider cover for extra security) above it.

    

Along the right edge you'll find a tray-loading DVD drive, two USB 2.0 ports, a card reader and audio in/out ports. The left edge is totally devoid of ports or devices. The rear holds four more USB 2.0 ports, a DisplayPort output (full-size), an Ethernet socket and a VGA input. Notice the word "input." This is quite useful for anyone who wishes to use the M90z as a secondary monitor for their notebook on occasion.


Removing the rear casing in order to access the RAM and hard drive is very simple. Two latches must be unclipped simultaneously underneath, and the rear shield simply slides off. The top of the rear casing has a carry handle, which is great given that the machine weighs around 25lbs. It's definitely heavy, so you won't want to carry it around very often.

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I'll be glad when it's 2012 and everyone realizes just how stupid the idea of the touchscreen enabled desktop was.

>> 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.

Thank god:  another sane voice in a cacophony of hype.

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OK, I'll be the one to say it!.......Man, they REALLY missed the mark on this one!

That is an awful lot of money for yesterdays gimmick!  Any small business that would use something like this could still go to Sam's and pick one up for under a K, if not less.  Any larger business will end up choosing a more durable and professional input device for their employees, Like Wacoms or other touch screen peripherals?
 
That being said where they missed the mark if they are going to charge that price is to aim it towards a desk-like atmosphere for the home! If they took a cue from Wacom, then they could have set it on an incline desk mount to allow people to use it naturally, similar to a drafting desk. At least then the touch capabilities would feel more natural. If they also upped the ante and gave it a good pen input, then it would have appealed to many more people!  At 2K and 21", a 23" unit would have picked up many people who would like a Wacom and even the ones who wouldn't think they could use one!  Then if they put in one of the new ATI Fire-Mobile GPU's then it would have greater appeal across the board, from Graphic designers, Photographers to students.
 
As far as the HD noise, I would have to ask Neil how the aerospace industry dealt with spinning discs in a gravitational field that wasn't entirely horizontal or vertical, That had random pressures applied at various points along its plane? I don't know why at that price they wouldn't just go with an SSD, maybe a 128GB one that could satiate people for the system, and allow them to use externals for mass storage?
 
It seems like they say they design this for business, yet they only get it set up for a housewife who wants something like this for the kitchen counter?  For some reason it seems like they are always slightly off the mark. When they could put just a little more into it and not only save tons of customers from the Turtleneck bandit. But they could also make new ones who would have turned to Wacom or been left wanting because of the cost to complete a all-in one work rig.
 
This would have been totally cool to have sitting at a 45% angle right in front of you, with the keyboard below on the tray, The to be able to use it like the Wacom when you go to those programs that require it!
 
Hopefully after reading this, we will see a system like that come out next year as soon as the sales go nowhere, ..If they are listening?

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Good to know about this new technology update. I would like to read article about it. 

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