Lenovo kept its Windows 8 desktop offerings simple during its announcement, expanding on existing product lines and introducing no significant new features to its IdeaCentre all-in-ones.
Consider this unit, pictured above: the smaller, more affordable version of the 27-inch IdeaCentre A720 that Lenovo released earlier this year. This model comes with a 23-inch, 1920x1080-pixel display, and the same high-end Intel Core i7 CPUs and other PC components as the big-screen version, but real focus is on the sleek design, the display adjustability and the 10-point touch interface.
In a review at the beginning of the month, we found the A720 a capable-enough big-screen touch PC, but hard to recommend due to its high price. It also came out well ahead of Windows 8, limiting your ability to study the full field of Windows 8-timed competition. The US$999 starting price makes the A520 an easier sell than the US$1300-plus A720. And by the time the A520 is out in October, you should have had plenty of time to compare it with other all-in-ones in its price range.
For whatever reason, Lenovo only sent a profile shot of the IdeaCentre B545, so we'll admit to cribbing the image above from its B540 announcement from this year's Consumer Electronics Show (CES). Lenovo informed us that from the front, the two systems look the same.
Where Lenovo positions the IdeaCentre A Series as its lifestyle product, the 23-inch IdeaCentre B500-series has served as the company's de facto gaming all-in-one. Since at least 2011's IdeaCentre B520, this line has offered outstanding performance, features and overall value. The new model, the B545, might inspire some questions from gamers with its AMD-based CPU options and only a lower, mid-range Radeon HD 7470A graphics card, but it should handle most current PC games well enough. You also still get the 3D display technology that's been a hallmark of the B500 series.
You can mull over your thoughts on this unit for a while, since it's not due until at least April 2013. The starting price will be US$699, but expect to pay US$1000 or more for the higher-end CPU and graphics card options. We also wouldn't be surprised to see an update to the Intel-based B540 sometime around January and CES 2013.
IdeaCentre B345 and IdeaCentre B340
The B340 and B345 represent the lower end of Lenovo's new line-up, offering the same 10-point touch input as the others, but on a 21.5-inch screen. As with the B500 series, the B340 model has the combination of an Intel Core CPU/Nvidia GPU, and the B345 gives you an all-AMD-based alternative. The starting price for both models will be US$599 when they make their debut in October.
Given the general sense of trepidation around Windows 8, we don't blame Lenovo for playing it safe with its new all-in-ones. Still, Samsung's forthcoming Series 5 and Series 7 all-in-ones will both feature gesture recognition, and some manufacturers are opting for a stand-alone touch pad instead of a mouse, a la the iMac.