Review: Lenovo IdeaCentre AIO 520

Dec 29, 2017

Lenovo’s IdeaCentre AIO (all-in-one) 520 has a compact design, solid performance and just about everything you need inside the box. It starts at $1099.99 for the Core i5 model and tops out at $1349.99 for our review model, which is also the top spec. I have to admit, my 4 year old may have tested the 520 more than I. She spent hours drawing directly onto the touchscreen using the pre-loaded Paint 3D software by Microsoft. It didn’t take her long to figure it all out. And, interestingly, coming off of mostly iPad Mini use, her eyes were wide with excitement with the 520’s 27″ touch display. While I’m used to 27″ displays, I don’t get my hands on AIOs often. What I found with the 520 is a solid multimedia performer that has the power and screen size to tackle spreadsheets and multiple Office applications with ease. I just wish the included keyboard and mouse were of similar quality.

Specifications (As Tested)

  • CPU: 7th Generation Intel Core i7-7700T (2.9GHz 8MB L2 Cache)
  • Display: 27″ QHD (2560 x 1440) IPS Multitouch
  • Graphics: Intel Integrated HD 620
  • Webcam: 1080p HD camera with dual array microphone
  • RAM: 16GB DDR4 2400 MHz
  • Storage: 2TB 7200 RPM + 16GB Optane memory
  • DVD RW Drive
  • Microphone: Far Field
  • Audio: Integrated Stereo Speakers
  • Security: fingerprint reader with Windows Hello
  • I/O: 1 x USB C, 2 x USB 3.0, 2 x USB 2.0, 1 x HDMI-in, 1 x HDMI-out, 3-in-1 card reader (SD, SDHC, SDXC), RJ45 Gigabit Ethernet, Combo audio/mic jack
  • Dimensions: 24.6″ x 18.6″ x 2.7″
  • Weight: 23.15 lbs
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Design

Darn those bezels. They’re about a half an inch around the entire display. It’s not really all that bad, but I’ve seen Lenovo do better with their past AIOs. The metal chassis itself is thin at just 2.7″ at it’s peak, which is in the center. The stand is made of metal and the speakers lined the length of the bottom. At the top is a retractable 1080p webcam with Windows Hello support. That’s just awesome. With laptops, webcams can only be covered by tape, stickers, and other creative solutions I’ve seen people use. But the 520’s webcam is retractable, which provides you the security you’re looking for if you are worried about your webcam being compromised. The power button is on the bottom right. I like the power button – it has a solid spring upon release. Also on the right is a retractable DVD RW drive. That’s unusual. While on the subject of unusual, the 520 includes a Far Field mic – that means you can chat with Cortana from across the room. Enjoy that.

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Since the idea of an AIO is to provide the user with everything they need, I like that Lenovo included a mouse and keyboard in the box. However, these accessories are nowhere near the quality of the 520 itself. Lenovo makes better accessories, I’ve reviewed them. I will absolutely compliment the I/O. There is a good representation here, including Ethernet.

Performance

While my toddler spent hours painting in Paint 3D, my time was spent in Chrome, Outlook, Word, PowerPoint, and Excel. Without a dedicated GPU, gaming is not really an option here unless you’re comfortable with last gen titles. More importantly, Microsoft Office use and social media where excellent on the giant 27″ display. As I’ve mentioned a couple of times, the included keyboard and mouse are sub-par so you won’t enjoy hours of use on them – I surely didn’t.

Buy it Here

Who is this For?

If you’re looking for a PC with a single purchase, an all-in-one makes sense. You just plug it in with a single power cable, and you’re up and running. The 520 is an attractive AIO with good performance that can handle the typical tasks that an AIO user would seek: Microsoft Office, social media, photo editing, and media consumption.

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