The simplicity of a tablet – but four times the screen size, that’s just one of the benefits of the Lenovo IdeaCentre B540 with its 23” 10-point multitouch display. Only one cord for power and this machine is ready to go; but you’ve lost nothing over a comparable desktop computer with separate monitor.
This model came well equipped with:
· Intel i5-3330S CPU @2.70GHz
· 8 GB DDR3 PC3-12800 (800 MHz)
· DVD-RW writeable
· NVidia GeForce 615 1.00 GB video card - 1920 x 1080 resolution
· Seagate Barracuda ST2000DM001 2TB 7200 RPM 64MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive
· Integrated Lenovo USB2.0 UVC Webcam – 720p HD
· 802.11n WiFi
· Bluetooth by Broadcom
What that equates to is being able to run a lot of programs simultaneously. Whether it’s the memory gulping 25 open tabs in Google Chrome, or simultaneously running Adobe Premiere, Lightroom and Photoshop, the B540 doesn’t complain.
With the 1920 x 1080 screen, it’s easy to have a multi-tabbed browser open and a Word doc open side-by-side for creating stories or articles. If you need even more screen real estate, the HDMI port lets you add an additional monitor.
The DVD player comes with PowerDVD10 software for playing your movies and YouCam software for the webcam. A number of games are included as well that show off the 10-point multitouch display.
Another favorite feature that works especially well for my setup is the number of USB ports – six in all (4 USB 2.0 and 2 USB 3.0.) Two are located on the left side of the screen for easy access and four are located on the back along with the single HDMI-out and 1GB Ethernet port.
Also on the left is a 6-in-1 card reader along with 3.5mm earphone and microphone jacks. I especially like that all jacks come out the side or back – nothing protrudes from the front. I actually don’t even use the input jack much, as I can stream music from my smartphone directly to the B540 via Bluetooth
Set up, the B540 takes up very little desk space, 10” deep by 22-1/2” wide. With the fold-out stand in the back closed, it’s less than 4” deep. The back cover even slides off so the unit can be hung on a wall bracket if desired.
The B540 comes with a wireless mouse and wireless keyboard. A USB receiver will take up one of your USB ports. The wireless mouse is perfectly hand-sized and the keyboard feels very substantial. The keyboard slides under the B540, between the monitor’s two feet, for out of the way storage when not being used.
I have only one complaint with the B540 as delivered, it’s taken weeks to try and get used to the keyboard. Still not quite there yet. There’s no indicator for the Caps Lock, and I keep hitting the Shift key when I want the Up Arrow key.
Aside from those couple inconveniences, this is my first experience with an all-in-on, but it won’t be my last. Lenovo has hit the right combination for my editorial needs in a package that I can actually travel with.
Doug Bardwell, based in Cleveland, OH, writes about interesting new travel technology topics, across the country and around the world at DougBardwell.com. Feel free to drop him a line at email@example.com with suggestions for future products to be reviewed. If you've ever used one of the products he's reviewed, please leave your thoughts in the comment box below. To get his stories delivered to your inbox, click the RSS feed or the "Subscribe" button above or follow him on Facebook , Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+. To read Doug’s disclosure notice, click here.