Review

Hands on review: Lenovo A63 and L2250P

Neowin recently received a Lenovo A63 for review that was designed for businesses who are looking to upgrade their current workstations.  In a world of mundane business machines, Lenovo is trying to stand out with simple but innovative designs and features, but the real question is, did it work?

In the business world everything is measured in time, and time is money to a business.  Setting up the A63 was a very simple process, assembling the monitors required no tools and the chassis came assembled and only required you to complete the basic setup process; monitor cables, power, keyboard and mouse.

The A63 with both monitors cost approx $1400.00

The overall feel of the components is that of high grade plastics; much like the famous Thinkpad line of laptops and the desktop line brings over much of the same rock steady feel.  Lenovo liked to brag about two things on the A63, the tool-less case design and the case ergonomics.

With a few push tabs you can open up the case and it really does make tinkering with internal components quite easy.  The idea is that it makes it easy for IT professionals for when they have to service the machines, the tool-less design reduces the time it takes for a typical repair.  The execution is quite good and is commendable, but this type of technology is not exclusive to Lenovo.

When the ergonomics of the chassis was discussed on the Press call, it seemed quite odd to talk about ergonomics with a device that sits on the ground for nearly its entire life.  But, with that being said, the implementation of having a power button on the top of the machine along with a handle built in to the case makes it much easier to transport and use.  The power button on top of the case makes it easy to toggle the device on and off while still sitting in your office chair.  While this may not seem like a big deal, it’s a simple implementation that goes a long way if the power button needs to be used frequently. 

Another clever design was that all the ports on the front of the device are tilted upward at about a 45 degree angle.  Again this doesn’t seem like a big deal, but if you have ever tried to put an USB drive into a machine whose ports are parallel to the ground, you will know the frustration of trying to get it line up correctly.  By having the ports tilted upward, plugging in any USB device is a much easier process and its well implemented on the A63.

The device is aimed at the business world and because of this you don’t find certain types of features you might find in consumer products like built in WiFi or high end graphics cards, but saying that, this machine feels more than capable for the vast majority of everyday tasks.  No, you are not going to be editing 1080P video on this machine but your standard email, MS Office, and other business applications should run on this machine with no problem.  I had no problem playing HD videos on Hulu and YouTube, infact, I had one screen running Hulu and the other running YouTube and there was no hesitation.

 

In most business settings, a dual monitor setup is preferred.  The A63 out of the box can run a dual screen setup with one screen using the VGA connection and the other running a DVI connection.  This is a big plus as the there are no third party devices or cards needed for a dual monitor setup.  The ATI Radeon HD3000 handles this task with ease and doesn’t show any performance hit when running in dual screen mode vs. a single screen. 

The A63 also runs incredibly quiet.  In fact, other than when you turn the computer on, you will hardly hear the fan running.  This is important if you’re going to have a lot of machines running in an office environment; a noisy machine multiplied across several hundred machines can create a lot of noise pollution in the office environment, thankfully the A63 will not give its users any problems on this front. 

The included setup also came with two of Lenovo’s  22in(model L2250P) monitors.  While I could do a separate review on the monitors, to sum them up briefly they are solid daily performers.  The images are crisp and clean while the color reproduction seems accurate and consistent across the two screens. The viewing angle is more than sufficient for the dual setup as I have them angled just a bit to fit on my desk better and there is no loss of color. 

Adjusting the menu settings is logical and easy to do and the physical adjustment of the monitors will provide no problems to the end user.  While there aren’t any amazing additional features (like extra USB ports but it does have VESA compatible mounts), the monitors work, they are easy on the eyes and are made of the same high quality materials as the chassis.  They too required no tools to setup and are easy to transport.

The keyboard and mouse are standard Lenovo equipment.  The keyboard provides solid feedback without making too much noise.  Although, the keyboard design looks dated, the lack of hardware hotkeys is somewhat of a disappointment.  While this is a business machine it’s common to map the custom keys to Excel Macros and even quick access to volume and mail apps etc. 

The mouse is a no thrills option, it’s a standard corded optical mouse and is about as vanilla as they come.  It gets the job done but is by no means a reason to purchase the A63.

So what’s the overall consensus on the machine?  It’s a solid daily workhorse performer.  The ergonomics and tool-less design help to separate this machine from the pack of mundane business machines.  The fact that this box comes dual-screen ready is just the icing on the cake that takes it from a good choice to a great choice.  Overall, any business should be happy with the day to day performance of this machine as well as the little extras that set it apart.  Sure the keyboard and mouse are nothing to write home and the monitors, while providing solid performance, don’t have anything that sell themselves individually, but when combined in a complete package, provide a solid solution. 

Tech Specs:

A63

  • AMD Athlon II X3 435 45nm processor 2.90 GHz (1.5M total cache)
  • AMD RS760 + SB710 chipset
  • 2GB DDR3 memory (1066 MHz/1333 MHz with 2 DIMM slots)
  • 250GB serial ATA hard drive
  • DVD RW drive
  • Windows 7 Professional 32-bit operating system
  • Two video ports (VGA, DVI)
  • Marvell Yukon 88E8057 Gigabit Ethernet with RJ-45 port
  • ATI Radeon HD3000 DX10 graphics
  • Realtek high definition audio
  • Full-size keyboard (USB)
  • 400 dpi optical wheel mouse (USB)
  • Eight USB 2.0 ports (2 front, 4 rear, 2 internal)
  • Serial port (2nd serial optional punch out port via cable)
  • Two Front audio ports (headphone, microphone)
  • Three rear audio ports (line-in, line-out, microphone)
  • Two PS/2 ports (keyboard, mouse)
  • Full-height PCI slot
  • Two full-height PCI-e x1 slots
  • Full-height PCI-e x16 slot
  • Two 3.5" internal bays
  • One 3.5" and two 5.25" external bays
  • Mini tower case (15.8in x 8in x 17.3in) with 280W power supply
  • On-site warranty (one year parts, one year labor)
  • Greenguard certified
  •  

    LCD: L2250P

  •     22 in (559 mm) viewable image size
  •     Native resolution of  1680 x 1050
  •     Internal power with 21 watts / 28 watts power consumption (typical/maximum)
  •     Light Booster technology: Reduces mercury content by 50% and power consumption by up to 50% over conventional monitors of the same size and resolution
  •     ThinkVantage design
    -   Tilt and height adjustable stand for optimum viewing comfort
    -   Direct access button for automatic image setup and brightness allows quick and easy monitor setup
    -   Analog and DVI-D video signal connectors
    -   Supports High Definition Content Protection (HDCP)
    -   Compliance with ENERGY STAR 5.0 requirements
    -   Kensington Lock slot for security
    -   TCO Display 5.0 compliance
    -   Rated EPEAT Gold
    -   Offers attachment points for optional ThinkVision Soundbar (sold separately)
    -   Direct access for input selection allows easy movement between applications when attached to two systems simultaneously
    -   Matching design to ThinkPad, ThinkCentre, and ThinkStation systems
  •     Analog and digital connectors allow attachment flexibility
  •     Wide viewing angles enlarge the workspace for comfortable viewing
  •    Dual input connectors allow attachment to two systems simultaneously
  •     Certified for Microsoft Windows 7/Vista/XP
  •     Meets 100 mm VESA standard for mounting
  •     Detachable base for wall- or arm-mounting (sold separately)
  •     Available in business black
  •  

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