Review: Lenovo ThinkCentre Edge 92z

 

All-in-one Windows 8 business PC tested.

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The Lenovo ThinkCentre Edge 92z is an all-in-one (AIO) Windows 8 PC aimed primarily at the SME market. 

It comes with a 21.5in 10-point multitouch display specifically designed for Microsoft's new finger-driven user interface and a third-generation 'Ivy Bridge' Intel Core CPU.

With an elegant, space-saving design and a brace of installed business tools, the ThinkCentre Edge 92z is a good option for SMBs, particularly those working in media and design. 

On the downside, this is very much a Windows 8 machine; an OS that clearly isn't for everybody.  

Components and accessories

The Lenovo ThinkCentre Edge 92z is sold in a range of configuration options with prices starting at $1119.

The version we tested came with a 3.10 GHz Intel Core i7-3770s processor. This is a low-power CPU (65 watts) that boasts four cores with Hyper-Threading technology for higher processing throughput. It should be capable of handling practically any office application you can throw at it. 

Other chief specifications include 4 GB of 1600 MHz DDR3 RAM, a dedicated AMD Radeon HD 7650A graphics card, a 500 GB Seagate Barracuda HDD (7200 rpm) and inbuilt WiDi for connecting wirelessly to external displays.   

Connectivity options include two USB 3.0 ports on the side, four USB 4.0 ports in the rear, a pair of microphone and headphone jacks, ethernet, two HDMI ports (in and out), VGA and a 6-in-1 memory card slot. 

In addition, the machine comes with a 2-megapixel webcam and a DVD-recordable optical drive (a Blu-ray option is also available). 

Wirelessly connectivity is provided by an Intel Centrino Wireless N-2230 network card (802.11b/g/n) with inbuilt Blutooth 4.0.

Being an all-in-one, the Edge 92z's sales package includes a Lenovo-branded keyboard and mouse which both connect to the desktop via USB. We would have preferred a wireless solution to cut down on cable clutter, but the quality of both accessories is pleasingly high.      

We were particularly impressed with the included keyboard; it sports large, spacious keys which made typing a joy and is also splash-resistant -- handy for any serial coffee drinkers out there. 

Design and set-up

Lenovo is billing the 92z as its slimmest commercial AIO yet. It measures 545x414x81mm and comes with an elevated stand that lets you store the keyboard directly under the monitor to free up desk room. 

When it comes to aesthetics, the ThinkCentre Edge 92z strikes a good balance between business conservatism and flashy good looks. The black, oblong form factor will look right at home in any office, but it's still steeped in style, courtesy of the glossy finish and unusual form factor.  

Setting up the Lenovo ThinkCentre Edge 92z could not be simpler: all you need to do is pull back the stand, plug in the power cord and follow the onscreen prompts.

All software comes pre-installed on the hard drive so you don't need to rummage around for registration codes or CDs. We were subsequently up and running within minutes; which isn't something that can be said of every desktop. 

Software and handling

As with any Windows 8 PC, the Edge 92z's chief selling point — and potential stumbling block — is Microsoft's new operating system. 

It's a vastly different interface to previous versions of the OS with a deeper focus on touch-response and mobile-centric apps. As such, it has received a very mixed reception from critics and end users alike. (You can find out more about Windows 8 in our in-depth guide). 

With that said, the Lenovo ThinkCentre Edge 92z does an excellent job of showing off the new operating system's finer selling points. The 21.5in Full HD (1920x1080) touchscreen remained incredibly responsive throughout testing — which actually caused the UI to grow on us.

Like most Windows veterans, we found ourselves sticking to the mouse to begin with, but the lure of the touchscreen became harder to resist the more we used it. It's simply more intuitive for scrolling and navigation. When we returned to our regular work PCs its absence was sorely felt. 

On the other hand, certain day-to-day tasks are a headache in Windows 8, particularly during the initial learning stage. You'll need to set up a plethora of shortcuts to get back to your Windows 7-level of productivity. 

Lenovo has also included Intel’s Small Business Advantage platform of back-up, software monitoring and power conservation tools. 

It is also Microsoft Lync-certified for VoIP communication and comes with a handful of installed apps, including Adobe Acrobat Reader and Skype.

Performance

We tested the Edge 92z's computing performance using PCMark7; a Windows 8-optimised benchmark that assesses a laptop's CPU responsiveness, media playback and multitasking.

It received an overall score of 3124; a good result for an office AIO. It was particularly strong in the areas of web browsing, multitasking and video transcoding. 

We also ran the graphics-focused benchmark 3DMark, which returned a more modest score of P1291. 

Conclusion

The Lenovo ThinkCentre Edge 92z is a sleek, ultra-compact AIO that doesn't compromise on screen size or performance. 

If you're a staunch opponent of Windows 8, the Edge 92z isn't going to change your mind — but fans of the OS will not be disappointed by its performance. 

Copyright © CRN Australia. All rights reserved.


 
Overall Rating
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Price when reviewed:
1569
 
 
 
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