Review: Lenovo IdeaCentre Q150

Some people wear their technology on their sleeve, modding their desktops with Giger motifs (or worse) that are designed to stand out.

Others want technology to disappear into the ether, to be invisible.

Such is the promise of Lenovo’s IdeaCentre Q150, a PC about the size of your double-CD copy of Ummagumma,and about as momentous, too.

The specs are modest, as one would expect from a machine that weighs all of 1.4 pounds: 1.66-GHz Intel Atom D510 CPU, 2 GB of RAM, and 802.11n Wi-Fi (plus ethernet). However, there’s no optical drive and the only video outputs are VGA and HDMI. The Q150 also adds an S/PDIF port for connecting the device to your stereo rack — with its 500-GB hard drive and ultraquiet operation, there’s a case to be made for using the Q150 as a multimedia server that can vanish into your home-theater cabinet without any effort.

Performance is roughly on par with a high-end netbook, although the addition of Nvidia’s ION graphics at least bumps its video capabilities into the acceptable range. It’s not a hard-core gaming system by any stretch, but graphics performance is passable to the point where recent games are at least within the realm of playability.

That said, the Q150 occupies a niche so narrow (literally, it’s less than an inch thick) that its purchase by anyone is going to be heavily determined by its form over its function. If you need a PC that takes up as little physical space as possible, this computer gets the job done and costs next to nothing, too.

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