Review: Lenovo A70z

Lenovo, that brand that is known for its tank-like laptops also builds many other products, especially workstations.  The question is, do their desktops match up to their laptops?  We recently reviewed the Lenovo A63 which is a formidable solution due to its ergonomics, especially for a desktop PC, but this review focuses on the Lenovo A70z.

The A70z is an All-In-One desktop PC that, as you guessed it, includes everything in one tightly engineered package that sits (or hangs) at your desk (or on your wall).  This model sports a 19 inch 16:10 display with 1440 x 900 resolution, Intel Core 2 Duo (E7500) processor, 320GB hard drive, 2GB of RAM, 802.11n Wi-Fi, USB mouse, built-in microphone, DVD drive, 1.3MP webcam, integrated speakers, 6 USB ports and an Intel GMA X4500 graphics solution with a starting price of $499.00, which for an AIO, seems to be highly competitive in the field.  Even more, this comes with an on-site 1 year warranty, not a mail or call-in, but on-site for any technical issues that you may have. unfortunately, this unit does not have a touch screen.  

One interesting thing that Lenovo did include with the A70z is a carrying bag that is used as part of the shipping materials.  You can see the bag that the device comes in above and is a welcome change over the typical plastic wrap that you see on most devices.  By doing this, there is less trash and you get a free (relatively speaking) bag that you can use to carry groceries.

Lenovo said that you can have the device up and running in three minutes, while I will say that the A70z is incredibly easy to setup, pulling it out of the box alone will probably take you more time than that.  But, with minimal cords (power, keyboard/mouse) it really won’t take you long to be up and running. 

The unit has some girth to it, it’s not the thinnest AIO in town at 2.44 inches thick but it does feel solid.  The plastics feel very solid but leaves fingerprints relativity easy on its casing.  However, the device is easy enough to move around with little effort, as there is a built in handle on the back of the device that allows for the A70z to be moved quickly which helps to keep your hands off the front of the unit.

Lenovo has always boasted about their tool less chassis, unfortunately the A70z does not fall into that category.  While no tools are needed to set the device up, it does require a total of 7 screws (two on the back panel, 5 underneath) to remove the hard drive, but it’s not a painful task.

The unit runs Windows 7 32-bit operating system and Lenovo claims it has a 35 second boot time, which as I verified, lives up to its word.  Overall the device feels snappy and a quick run on PCMark5 scored 5120 and 844 in 3DMark06.  Not the highest marks on the block but again for the price point it’s competitive and should fulfill most business users’ needs. 

The Intel GMA X4500 is a given for the form factor and the price point but the Intel GMA series have never been the top choice for gamers, in fact, gaming on this device should be considered non-existent, unless minesweeper is your thing.  One positive feature is that it does include integrated Wi-Fi, something the A63 did not have.  By including this, it’s one less USB port that would have been eaten up by a Wi-Fi USB stick.

Despite having Intel GMA graphics the device did run smoothly even during HD playback, Hulu and YouTube all ran smoothly when played in HD, at the same time.  Even though it is a little dated, the E7500 is still a feisty processor despite being over shadowed by the new Core i3/5/7 series. 

The speakers are exactly what you would expect in an AIO, they work, but that’s about the extent of it.  The two tiny speakers produce warm sounds with minimal low end which is a given because of their size.  If you need high quality audio with this unit, buy yourself a pair of speakers. 

The bloatware that ships with the device is minimal (when compared to some other manufactures) but still does have Lenovo’s ThinkVantage suite of applications.  While it does have some features that Mom and Dad might enjoy, for the business environment any IT department will remove as part of step 1.  

So what’s the conclusion?  The A70z is a solid choice for those who are looking for an AIO solution for the office or school.  The ease of setup, durability of Lenovo products, and a low starting price make this an attractive solution for those who need an AIO as desk space is a premium.  While not a powerhouse solution, especially with its Intel GMA graphics, the device will crunch number in Excel with ease.  It’s a great solution if space is a premium and you don’t need extensive video editing capabilities.  

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