This All in One is loaded pretty nicely, with a mid-high-end CPU, discrete graphics, and lots of storage space.
The configuration we received had the following components and specifications:
- CPU: Dual-core 2.0GHz Intel Core i7 3537U
- Video: Intel HD Graphics 4000 and Nvidia GeForce 2GB GT 620M
- 8GB DDR3 RAM
- Windows 8 64-bit
- 5400 rpm 1TB drive with 8GB SSD
On the surface, the inclusion of Intel's new low-voltage Ivy Bridge-based Core i7 mobile processor is surprising, until you consider that at least part of the intent of the IdeaCentre Horizon is to exist in an unplugged state.
The Core i7 3537U hums along at 2.0GHz, and has a maximum turbo mode of 3.1GHz when a single core is running. The processor does allow one virtual thread per core, allowing for four simultaneously operating threads. The need to preserve battery life does result in a compromise around performance, however, which will disappoint those looking for higher-end CPU performance.
This said, the inclusion of a discrete graphics part to complete the Core i7's integrated graphics does indicate that Lenovo wants this to be a quasi-gaming build. The 2GB version of Nvidia's GT 620M is a year-old entry-level part, so it's a fairly cheap way for Lenovo to generate a little extra oomph around 3D graphics. You shouldn't expect to be able to play games at anything greater than 1366 x 768 resolution. Hey, it's better than nothing.
The 27-inch screen notwithstanding, this is pretty standard for a $1,849.00 All in One system. By way of comparison, a few months ago we reviewed Acer's Aspire 7600U-UR308, which cost $50 more for roughly the same components and the same size screen.
(It must be noted that Dell's XPS One 27 also costs the same price, but has a 2560x1440 display. The Horizon 27 can also be configured with a 1.8GHz Intel Core i7 3427U processor for a lower price of $1,699.)
On the right side of the system are an HDMI in port, two USB super speed ports, and audio in/out. An HD webcam is integrated into the top of the system.
Be warned: If you're looking for the fastest possible Internet connection, the lack of an Ethernet jack may prove frustrating. Similarly, if you're planning on using an All in One to watch Blu-Ray movies, it's important to note that the IdeaCenter Horizon has no optical drive at all.
Finally, the Horizon comes with a number of unique peripherals that enhance the table-top touch experience, including electronic dice and joystick-looking controllers that allows you to play the bundled air hockey and fishing games.
Here's the short version of how Lenovo's IdeaCenter Horizon 27 stacked up in terms of our benchmarks:
Cinebench 10 single-core: 4,967
Cinebench 10 multi-core: 10,260
Call of Duty 4: 72 frames per second
Battery Eater: 1 hour, 53 minutes, 23 seconds
Our take on the numbers above? For an All in One, the Horizon performs at the lower end of our expectations for the category. It's not bad, but it's also not great.
Given Lenovo's ability to engineer some fairly high-end parts—including dual GPUs—into its surprisingly affordable Y500 gaming laptop (which we reviewed a few months ago), we admit to hoping for a little more bang for the buck here.
It's clear that Lenovo is serious about the expanded mobile nature of this system; how else to explain the use of an ultra-low voltage dual-core Core i7 as well as the year-old discrete graphics part? Neither throw out particularly great performance, but that's not the intent here.
The good news is that these efforts aimed at portability pay off. In our Battery Eater test, which stresses all CPU cores and components, the Horizon performed extremely well, lasting just under two hours. That's impressive, and is considerably faster than most dedicated gaming laptops.
By way of comparison, the Horizon is only slightly faster than Acer's Aspire 7600U-UR308 AIO in single-core CPU tests—no small feat given the faster clock speed (2.5GHz Core i5 3210) of Acer's system. Unfortunately, the Horizon ran slightly slower in multi-proc tests as well as 3D graphics.
We panned the Aspire 7600U because in addition to the lower-end benchmark numbers it put up, it also felt extremely pokey in day to day operations. This is not a problem here. Start-up, switching between users, and most other functions were hiccup free, most likely because of the 8GB SSD, which caches the most frequently used software.
Regardless, if performance is important to you, and price-power-performance ratios are less important, you may want to consider an AIO with more graphics and/or processing power.