Lenovo ideacentre 520s AIO review: An AIO with great specs

Hardware Reviews / Reviews / Tech

If you’re in the market for an AIO PC, the Lenovo ideacentre 520s deserves a look.

All in One (AIO) computers can be helpful because you don’t have to buy a tower plus a monitor if you don’t have one already. And no one really likes to purchase more than they need to. That’s where AIO come into play. Most of them won’t win any awards for being a beast at gaming but don’t forget that’s not really what they’re used for. Today, we are reviewing the Lenovo ideacentre 520s AIO unit and I enjoyed the time I spent with it.

Specifications

The Lenovo ideacentre 520s (as tested) features the following specifications:

  • Operating System: Windows 10
  • Processor: Intel Core i7-7500 @ 2.7GHz
  • Storage: 1TB HDD
  • RAM: 8GB
  • GPU: Intel HD 620
  • Ports:
    • 3x USB 3.0
    • 1x HDMI
    • Ethernet
    • Headphone

What’s in the box

  • Lenovo ideacentre 520s
  • Power supply
  • Wireless mouse
  • Wireless keyboard
  • Manual

Design

As we all know, AIO comes in many different form factors ranging from the monitor holding all the essential parts in it like HP or Lenovo or like Samsung on one of theirs where the base is the stand along with holding up the screen and keeping all the innards protected. Frankly, I prefer the way Lenovo does it, just have the monitor holding everything in it. Just looking at the screen, you’ll see the 23-inch display and Lenovo’s logo in the bottom left and “ideacentre” in the bottom right attached to the speaker grill. Even though it’s as plain as can be, it still keeps that sleek Lenovo look, like many of their laptops such as the ThinkPad X1 Yoga 2017 or the 5th gen ThinkPad X1 Carbon.

Turning the unit around you’ll see where the stand attaches to the monitor which is an easy installation process. The stand itself allows the monitor to swivel up and down going from -5 degrees to 30 degrees. Just under the stand that hooks to the computer are the I/O ports containing two USB 3.0, HDMI, power, Ethernet, and a headphone port. Towards the middle are vents letting the heat get out and in that casing, giving just a little hump is where the motherboard is. The only drawback to the ports is where they’re positioned. In the back and right in front of the stand making it look like you won’t be able to connect anything to the ports. Also on the back is the power button and an input button allowing you to change to another screen if you have one.

Lenovo-ideacentre-520s-aio-back

Ports in the back

One thing that Lenovo pushes about this AIO is the fact that the webcam can be hidden at any time. Underneath the screen is a rectangular cut out that you can press in and the webcam hub will slide down. There’s a small bump that you can feel telling you it’s the webcam. It’s clever in its own way since all other AIOs I’ve seen have their webcams up top. Also, on both sides of that hub are two USB ports letting you plug in extra things.

Included with the AIO is a keyboard and mouse that use 2.4GHz frequencies to pair with the PC. Though they do take batteries, that’s not really something to complain about, but Bluetooth capabilities would have been nicer. The keyboard is full sized giving you a number pad on the right side and providing a pretty good typing experience. Now, the experience with the mouse was nice. I like the idea of having a curved mouse like that to contour your hand and after using it for so long, I didn’t get any sort of cramps or have to let my hand rest.

Display

Mentioned in the Design portion of this review, the screen size is 23 inches and a Full HD (1080p) touch screen display. It has nice borderless bezels going giving you more screen to look at than some black edges killing the screen quality. Speaking of quality, even though it’s FHD, colors themselves come out accurate like any other FHD Lenovo display. When checking out the brightness it was set to 100% by default which seemed a bit too dim at first, but when you start to change the brightness settings you’ll notice a difference because of the way the screen is. It has a matte look to it, but that doesn’t take away from anything such as the screen brightness or colors.

If you’re into touch screen AIOs, then you’ll be happy to know that this unit does come with that ability. While I was using the touch screen, it was responsive and no force was used to open or close something. Another plus is no smudges were left behind so if you’re looking to use the touch screen a lot for work or play you won’t have the need to wipe down the screen consistently. Viewing angles were just as good as other PCs I’ve used in the past with text being readable up to a certain point until you reach the edge of the screen at about 80 degrees.

Lenovo-ideacentre-520s-aio-front

Software

It wouldn’t be a Lenovo PC without Windows 10 and some of their own software preloaded to give you the complete package and feel of a Lenovo unit. You’ll be getting Windows 10 Home as the OS, so, unfortunately, no extras will be provided, but you will get Microsoft Office 2016, Cyberlink Power2Go, Cyberlink Power DVD, Keeper, etc. As Lenovo programs go, if you use them, you’ll get Lenovo REACHit, Lenovo SHAREit, and Lenovo Solution Center. Some free games such as Candy Crush Soda Saga and Trolls vs Vikings came aboard as well.

Performance

Lenovo used an Intel i7 processor in the ideacentre 520s giving you up to 2.90GHz max and it runs fantastic with the 8GB RAM that’s also installed. I didn’t see any slow down when I tried 10 different tabs (some with audio) open in Microsoft Edge and by the 8th tab that was opened, the fan started to kick in and the memory was sitting at 4.8GB out of 8GB with the CPU going up and down trying to keep up.

Speakers

Sound quality might be something you’re looking for in an AIO and the ideacentre 520s comes with decent speakers. They definitely aren’t the best, but I don’t expect people to be blasting music at 100% volume. Now, when I say the speakers were decent, I mean they sounded good, but no matter what song I listened to or what I watched it sounded like the speakers were being covered by something. The speakers do get loud and just having the volume at 30% was loud enough for me to hear in the loft across from my room. Anything over 40% was overkill to the point where I would turn the volume back to where it was before. It’s nice to see speakers in an AIO get that loud, but external speakers or headphones will still likely be a better option.

Camera

As all other webcams go on PCs, you’ll be looking at an FHD (1080p) camera giving an ok picture. Any webcam I’ve used before on PCs, there’s a lot of noise to it that takes away from the quality, so this webcam is being added to that list. You’ll be just fine when using it for video conferences or Skype, but if you’re looking to mess around with taking pictures, go ahead and use your phone.

Lenovo-ideacentre-520s-aio-webcam

Hidden webcam

Price

If you’re looking into trying this out before you buy it, you can head to your local Best Buy and purchase it there as this is exclusive to Best Buy and not on Lenovo’s website. The price will run you $949USD which isn’t too bad if you have the funds but the unit has high specs, so you’re getting what you pay for. You can’t go wrong with the processor, storage amount, and RAM that was chosen for this PC.

Wrap Up

So, if you need a new desktop or are trying to upgrade from one, take a look at this all in one from Lenovo. It serves its purpose well and will handle things you throw at it with the i7 processor and 8GB of RAM.

*We were sent a review unit of the Lenovo ideacentre 520s for the purposes of this review.

Lenovo ideacentre 520s AIO

$949.99
Lenovo ideacentre 520s AIO
8.8

Design

10/10

    Display

    9/10

      Software/Ecosystem

      9/10

        Performance

        10/10

          Speakers/Sound

          8/10

            Camera

            8/10

              Price/Value

              8/10

                Nailed it

                • Sleek design
                • Display
                • Windows 10
                • Fast performance

                Needs work

                • Price
                • Ports being round back
                • Camera was decent
                • Sound was ok
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