Review: Lenovo Lenovo IdeaCentre B305

Want ThinkPad quality and design but don’t need the portability part of the equation? Check out an IdeaCentre all-in-one PC instead.

The B305 is an updated PC design from the company, and it’s difficult to believe that you won’t even shell out a grand for a computer this large and lovely: Featuring a 21.5-inch touchscreen, gargantuan 640-GB hard drive, 4 GB of RAM, and a 2.2-GHz Athlon II X4 CPU buttressed by ATI Radeon HD 5450 graphics. There’s Wi-Fi, Firewire, six USB ports and even an integrated TV tuner. This is a computer that will work just about anywhere: in your office, your living room or your kitchen.

Concerned about that AMD chip’s performance? Don’t be. The B305 shines under the gun, turning in numbers right in line with Intel’s mid-range Core i3 chip. It’s perfectly capable, though hardly a record-setter, with games as well, and on the whole the machine feels snappy and responsive in use.

As is often the case with retrofits like this—Lenovo’s last-generation all-in-one had a traditional LCD —the touchscreen feels like a bit of an afterthought on the B305. Touch accuracy is middling to poor and the ability to poke at the display just doesn’t add anything to the experience—in fact Lenovo’s included VeriTouch software widget is limited to locking and restarting the computer, something which is far more quickly accomplished with the mouse. Next to something like HP’s touch-centric TouchSmart PC series, the IdeaCentre offers virtually nothing for your fingertips except to nab a few extra bills from your wallet.

That said, at $949, the B305 marks a $200 price cut from its predecessor, with some impressive upgrades where they really count. We remain impressed.

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