Lenovo IdeaCentre A720 Windows 8 All-In-One
Overall Design & Layout
We found that the tilting neck firmly held the display in whatever orientation we put it, and the base was just heavy enough that the whole unit never felt out of balance even when we were adjusting the screen. That’s a tricky dance, but Lenovo nailed it.
The display is edged in black, but there’s no bezel; the glass goes from edge to edge, which is quite lovely. Lenovo put the in-glass touch controls at the bottom right edge of the screen. They’re appropriately inconspicuous yet easy to reach when you need to adjust the brightness or volume, toggle between color modes, or switch the input from PC to HDMI.
Unlike some AIOs, most of the actual PC components are housed in the stand of the IdeaCentre A720, which allows Lenovo to put everything down there--ports, speakers, vents, and so on--and keep the actual monitor's edges smooth and uncluttered.
The stereo speakers in the base are fine for watching some web videos or even plopping the kiddies in front of “Despicable Me” for a couple of hours, but you don't expect high fidelity output for music. We’ve heard better speakers on desktop replacement notebooks, but for a built-in option, these will get the job done. The quality is rather tinny and thin, but at least they’re loud enough. Also, the system doesn't have multiple audio jacks to connect a speaker system, so that’s an unfortunate limitation. You can still go with headphone output we suppose, for line out to a pair of powered speakers but multi-channel setups aren't supported unless you go with HDMI output.
Another knock on the overall strong design of the IdeaCentre A720 is that connecting peripherals to the base isn’t always an ergonomic affair. For example, on the left side of the base, you have access to a USB 3.0 port and two HDMI ports, while the headphone and mic jacks and the other three USB ports are around back. This arrangement doesn’t make the greatest sense, because you’re probably more likely to connect HDMI devices to the back of the PC and leave them connected for a while, whereas it seems like you can never have enough USB ports within reach for various peripherals.
Placing the headphone and mic jacks at the rear of the stand just seems bizarre; for example, if you or your child are sitting far enough away from the 27-inch screen that your eyes aren’t hurting, some headphone cables might not reach that far. Further, headphones are one of those items that are rarely shared, so having to reach all the way around the PC to plug in and unplug earbuds or headsets is inconvenient if you have multiple family members that regularly use the machine.
Still, we like the overall look and feel of the IdeaCentre A720; the base is very low profile, almost disappearing beneath the large screen, and the glass display coupled with the shiny metallic base and neck is an attractive combo.