Lenovo has been pushing the market lately with some innovative and new introductions to their lineups across the board. On the tablet front they have their new Lenovo Yoga tablets, which look amazing, and their recent acquisition of Motorola gives them instant smartphone coverage in the U.S. Another area Lenovo is pushing design, form and function is the all-in-one desktop PC market. The below review is less about technical geek talk and more about regular user usability. We hope this Lenovo A740 review will give you some insight into this slim all-in-one desktop PC.
- Processor – 4th Generation Intel Core i7-4558U Processor (2.80GHz 1600MHz 4MB)
- Operating system – Windows 8.1 64-bit
- Display – 27″ All In One QHD High Glossy with Multi-touch (2560×1440)
- Graphics – NVIDIA GeForce GT850A GDDR5 2GB
- Memory – 8.0GB PC3-12800 DDR3L 1600 MHz
- Hard Drive – 1TB 5400 RPM+8GB SSHD
- Network Card – Broadcom 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi wireless
- 4x USB 3.0, HDMI-in, 6-in-1 card reader, mic jack, headphone jack
- Pointing device – 2.4G Silver wireless Mouse
- Keyboard – 2.4G Silver wireless Keyboard
- Warranty – One year
Lenovo is one of the few PC makers who are actually rethinking aesthetic design and making some seriously beautiful strides with it. The A740 is a sleek, slim and modern designed chassis that would probably appeal to even iMac users. Made mostly of aluminum, its solid and sturdy body is cool to the touch and surprisingly light-weight. The articulating display is a key selling point of this machine and it’s a well thought out design giving the user multiple angles of use. USB ports, HDMI and the rest of your peripheral inputs are located at the base of the machine keeping any wires you’ll have going at desk level nice and clean. The only complaint on design and it’s a minor one would be the power button isn’t immediately noticeable, a minor annoyance but it speaks to the symmetry of the design Lenovo went with. The included keyboard and mouse were another design hit. Both are wireless and communicate with the machine via a USB dongle. Their design is sleek and extremely user friendly I absolutely loved the mouse and keyboard they make using the machine as a whole a joy. Overall the aesthetic design of A740 is wonderful, Lenovo is stepping up their performance in this area which should grab a few users eyes.
The A740 comes in two different display configurations depending on which you want, ours came with the top of the line 27″ QHD high gloss multi-touch with an impressive 2560×1440 resolution. The QHD display is bright and beautiful with very accurate colors but not oversaturated, this makes photos look natural and not like you’re looking at coloring book. Many mobile devices these days like to oversaturate their displays making photos pop off the screen, Samsung’s AMOLED displays use this a lot. I’m very glad that Lenovo decided to make things natural in this case, a screen this size is easier on the eyes with natural accurate colors. Readability is outstanding on this display, text is crisp and clear and everything is easy on your eyes as it should be. The display is also a multi-touch display which allows you to scroll and manipulate things with your hand, very handy when using the machine on a table and angled down almost like a tablet. The touch interface was excellent, very responsive and accurate, it just worked. The only ding I have against this display is the high gloss finish. The high gloss cuts into some of the viewing angles just a bit, nothing that’s not bearable but slightly annoying.
So here we are, software. This is the part that I always hate to write about especially when I’m evaluating a Windows based machine. But before I get to Windows, let’s talk a bit about NFC (Near Field Communications) and Lenovo Motion Control. The A740 is NFC capable meaning you can transfer files from NFC capable devices to and from the A740. This will be an excellent feature for those Android and Windows phone users who want to transfer files between devices. I could not test the feature as I have an iPhone 6 Plus and the NFC chip is not unlocked to be used in that manner. But having NFC is a definite plus and a very handy feature if you’re using a NFC capable phone or tablet. Lenovo Motion Control allows you to use the web cam on the device as an input device to flip back and forth or control music with the flick of your hand, very reminiscent of the Xbox Kinect. I’m not a fan of this type of input method but some may be. It seemed to work OK but it’s not something I would use very often, if waving your hands in front of your computer is your thing then you’ll love it.
Now on to Windows. The A740 ships with Windows 8.1 and without beating around the bush, isn’t a thrilling experience. There are significant improvements over Windows 8 but Windows 8.1 still doesn’t make me really like it. Of course Windows software is in no way a ding against Lenovo, they’re using an industry standard and trying to make it the best they can, but you can only do so much with software that you didn’t code. Everything just feels awkward on Windows 8.1 and maybe it’s just because I’m a stubborn stuck on Windows 7 kind of guy. The silver lining is that Windows 10 is coming and the A740 is most certainly upgradeable to Windows 10. I’m no software expert but I do know that I want my interface to be intuitive, easy to use and not lag or slow down on me. Windows just seemed to hiccup and run slow occasionally, even on this high end hardware. Don’t get me wrong though, it’s not unusable, for those who love Windows and Windows 8.1 in particular you’ll probably be just fine without issue. For those who aren’t sold on Windows 8.1, you can rest easy knowing that you can upgrade this to Windows 10 (which from what I’ve read brings many improvements to Windows). Finally, the only other software issue I had were the Lenovo pop-ups. There seemed to be some bloatware installed that loved to give reminders for a variety of things. I’m a big fan of clean installs, no bloat. Proprietary and unnecessary software really gets in the way of user experience.
This top of the line A740 had an 4th Generation Intel Core i7-4558U Processor (2.80GHz 1600MHz 4MB) with 8.0GB PC3-12800 DDR3L 1600 MHz RAM and even has USB 3.0. Plenty of muscle under the hood to run just about anything. I do a lot of photo processing in Photoshop, Lightroom and video editing in After Effects and Adobe Premiere. I didn’t install my programs on this demo unit but I found some free alternatives like GIMP, VSDC and Inkscape. Running multiple programs was fairly painless but again, Windows seemed to want to take it’s time in running some requests or taking it’s time to render files. Again, nothing that renders the machine unusable and if you’re a current Windows users you likely won’t even notice it as much as I do. The NVIDIA GeForce GT850A GDDR5 2GB graphics card seemed to handle the load just fine but things just work different on Windows based machines. My primary machine is a MacBook Pro and I feel a distinct difference between the performance of Windows 8.1 and OS X Yosemite. But in terms of hardware performance the A740 has top notch hardware and is going to be a workhorse for the everyday user and a mid-level machine for any heavy high end graphics work. Upgrading the RAM to 16GB would be a suggestion if you plan on doing graphics heavy work, but that would be suggested on any machine, Windows or Mac. Overall the performance is solid save for the quirks that I feel Windows has in it, but that could come from primarily using OS X.
The A740 is priced from $1500-$1900 depending on your configuration, our review unit was in the $1900 range with most of the upgrades available. Compared to Apple’s iMac which clocks in at $1700-$2500 the A740 is in a great range to compete against the fruit company. The Lenovo is clearly very well designed and the materials and construction are top notch. When you see and use this machine you feel like you’ve paid for something of quality, even the mouse and keyboard have attention to detail. The value of Windows is something you the user will have to determine. Some of you might not have any issues with 8.1 and love the interface and everything else about it too and that’s great if you do. I didn’t care for Windows 8.1 but I am excited to see what Windows 10 has to offer and the A740 will most certainly be Windows 10 capable. Overall the price and value of the A740 is inline with the competition and even beats Apple’s pricing for similarly spec machines.
This review is less about technical specs and over the top geek talk and benchmarks as it is about everyday user usability. Most of the reviews you might find online will endlessly berate you with specs, technical speak and things everyday users just don’t care about. Those reviews have their place with geeks and techies who need that information to make their choices. We’ve tried to give you an overview of that to expect as a user who just wants a good machine that will last them and do what they need. Overall the A740 scores a 4.3 out of 5 here. There are some great things about this all-in-one and just a few things that need improvement. The hardware and design are are great on this machine, Lenovo has been doing some very awesome things in that department. The display is a high point as well and even the price and value is right up there and competes with Apple’s iMac. The only real beef I have is Windows 8.1 and again, that beef is based solely on personal preference so you the user might absolutely love Windows 8.1 here. This all being said, I have no problem recommending the Lenovo A740 to anyone, it’s well built and is a solid performer.
*We were sent a demo unit of the A740 for the purposes of this review.
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