Is the PC market finally ready for an affordable All-In-One desktop? The concept isn't new - these general design concepts were introduced back in end of 90’s, however, they were not implemented by all PC manufacturers until recently. Laptops and Netbooks seem to dominate much of the buzz these days, so it's interesting to see some inspired desktop designs come along, and consumers getting excited.
Recently, I received a prototype of Lenovo’s latest All-In-One system, Lenovo 3000 C300 from our Marketing team in Malaysia. Even though it was in my possession for a brief four days , I felt very honored to get a chance to temporarily own this awesome machine while most others haven't yet experienced it in person. Colleagues from our eSupport and Business Intelligence teams were also thrilled at getting to play with another new Lenovo system. ( As individuals, we don't always get to try out 100% of everything we make, so getting our hands on some of the newest and most exciting products, especially soon after they announce is pretty cool) Upon the release of the C300 in Malaysia, Lenovo Malaysia staff members were offered a limited number of units at a discounted price. Guess what? All of them were gone in the blink of an eye! So what does a C300 look like? In case you've missed some of the industry reviews circulating, here is some stock photography.
But, stock photos only take you so far... Having it at your desk is a lot more fun! You might be wondering what is so great with this C300 that some people are crazy for it? First, it is a real bargain for casual computer users. The main differentiator is the CPU, the Intel® Atom processor, also found in our S10 and S10-2 netbooks. Even though it is Intel’s smallest processor, it is able to perform all the tasks that a normal pc user does such as movie viewing, less complicated games, browsing, VoIP, email, messaging, and numerous other internet activities and basic applications. Although it is not a full high-definition (HD) screen, its 20.5” LCD screen should be sufficient for movie watching at a short distance. In an unexpected design cue, the bottom of the LCD screen of C300 is beautifully decorated with some lovely patterns. The speakers are found at either side of the screen as depicted in the images below.
One of the challenging parts is most likely the control buttons, particularly buttons for brightness, sound volume, power- on and the screen display. There are 4 buttons on the LCD as depicted in an image above. I could still remember that a colleague of mine and I were trying to adjust the volume and screen brightness. It is a shame that we only got used to the buttons after taking a short while to explore around the C300 body and keyboard. The button on the extreme right is the power button and not the button for turning on/off the screen. The second button fromthe right is the real button we should hit when switching on/off the LCD screen. The plus (+) and minus (-) buttons are for controlling the screen brightness and not the sound volume. It all made sense, and just too a bit of getting used to.
System performance is always a consideration, so we thought about what we could do to give the C300 a workout. A colleague of mine in the same department was so kind to test C300 with some games like Dawn of War 2. GPU used is ATI Radeon HD 4530 512MB. Some markets may see versions of C300 with choice of GPU, but I only had this one to test. It was not running smoothly in the beginning, however, performance improved significantly after disabling the anti-alias feature in the game setting. Some setting tweaks may be required to run some of the more demanding applications on systems with Intel Atom processor. In fairness, maybe we were asking a bit much, and the system really performed better than we expected. Comparing the performance with Intel Core ™ 2 Duo is a no-no as they are definitely in different league.
A slightly embarrassing moment occurred when we turned off the power by unplugging the AC adapter from power supply. Working with a laptop all the time, we are used to being able to unplug and have a system continue to run on battery. This new all in one desktop is so thin and light that it's easy to forget it really is a desktop and behaves like one.
Notice the 120W AC adapter is somewhat larger than ThinkPad’s. I was a little surprised by it after spending so much time with laptops, and this was the first ever "big " AC adapter I had seen. I hadn't given theft security much thought - getting this all-in-one desktop locked with Kensington lock, until my superior remind me to do so before leaving the office. Thanks to our Product Team to have meticulously included this feature in this model.
This is the memory card which is found at back right of the LCD. The size is smaller than the RAM we usually use for normal desktop. Also, another feature that impressed some colleagues of mine is the WIFI feature is included in this model too! Why C300 and not A600? Well, it is personal choice though. Let’s take a look at table below for C300 and A600 offered in Malaysia.
With the current trend of heavy use of multimedia materials such as music, video clips, video chat and picture sharing, apparently, this is a very promising all-in-one desktop for medium light processing consumption, which is especially useful for home users. It could be a present for your elderly parents, kids or even yourself. It keeps your desk clean with fewer cables, while enjoying the big display format. In conjunction with the C300 release, Lenovo Malaysia has uploaded a leaflet here in twitpic. In future, Lenovo Malaysia will share new product release or promotion from time to time in twitter. Check it out! Here’s a short video clip of Lenovo 3000 C300 released in China. Note: C300 is under value line Lenovo 3000 family whereas A600 is belong to high specs IdeaCentre.
Do you think these new All-In-One computer can replace traditional desktops that have been the mainstay for decades? Would you take C300 home? I would.