Review: Lenovo IdeaCentre A600

The Lenovo IdeaCentre A600 is shaped that way because it’s flying into the future. The sheer force of its own awesomeness has caused it to bend into a wind-swept, gentle curve, taking with it the hopes and dreams of a new generation of technology enthusiasts.

Pffffft. Yeah, right.

Lenovo’s A600 may not represent the dawn of a new era of computing, but at the very least it is a fairly handsome all-in-one PC, stuffed to the gills with extra features — some useful, some a bit superfluous — and plenty of power under the hood.

The 21.5-inch screen (1920 x 1080 pixels) is big and dazzlingly bright — so much so that Lenovo includes an automatic screen-dimming system designed to prevent eyestrain. Inside its bowels, this 25-pounder offers substantial specs: 2.13-GHz Core 2 Duo, 4 GB of RAM, and a terabyte hard drive. The ATI Radeon HD 3650 graphics card may be getting a little long in the tooth, but it’s powerful enough to make the A600 more than acceptable to play all but the very latest gaming titles.

Need more toys? How about a slot-loading Blu-ray player and a digital TV tuner. Built-in speakers (with subwoofer) are Dolby-certified and are awfully sharp and loud.

Lenovo gives you umpteen ways to control all of this stuff, so whether you’ve got the A600 on a cramped desk or are using it for a combo PC/TV for the kitchen, you should be covered. The wireless mouse and keyboard are included, with a twist: The keyboard also includes a touchpad where the numeric keypad would normally be, so if you don’t have room for a regular mouse (or are simply too lazy to move your hand), you can use this area to move the pointer instead.

More involving, though, is the inclusion of a remote control, which offers more features than we have words to discuss. Essentially, it works as a 3-D air mouse, a standard TV/media center remote control, a game controller (some Wii-like titles are built-in), and even a VOIP handset which you can hold (awkwardly) up to your ear like a regular phone.

That’s a lot of stuff for the price — $1,150 — and stripped-down versions of the IdeaCentre run considerably less. If you don’t need the power but dig the design and screen size, the budget rendition might be an even better bet.

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