I’ve had the opportunity to review a Lenovo all-in-one before, and it had some pretty cool tricks up its sleeve. This time Lenovo sent over something a bit more standard, the Lenovo B50. This all-in-one has its own tricks, though this is definitely a more standard PC. You won’t be laying this guy down on a table, though you will be able to do a bit more in other areas. Keep reading for the Lenovo B50 review.
The Lenovo B50 includes some pretty beefy hardware in a very slim package.
- Intel Core i7-4785T processor (2.20GHz)
- 23.8” FHD LED Multi-touch display (1920×1080)
- 12 GB DDR3L memory (16GB max)
- 1TB 7200RPM HDD + 8GB SSD
- JBL stereo speakers with Dolby Digital Plus Home Theater tuning
- Ports: 2x USB 3.0, 3x USB 2.0, HDMI-in, HDMI-out, 6-in-1 card reader, Ethernet
- Wireless connections: 801.11a/c Wireless, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC
- Multi-Format DVD RW drive
- Wireless keyboard and mouse
- Graphics: Discrete NVidia GeForce GT 840A (2GB)
That last item is probably the most impressive. The vast majority of all-in-one PCs use integrated graphics in order to keep the chassis thin. The B50 manages to stuff a discrete graphics card into an exceptionally small form factor. What does that mean for you? Well, if you like to play games, the B50 might just work for you. It’s even got a DVD RW drive if you haven’t quite gone all digital yet.
The B50 is a well designed device. The giant screen is surrounded by roughly an inch of bezel on all sides with the JBL stereo speakers at the bottom. The back and sides of the device have all of your ports, plugs, buttons, and an optical drive. Even with all of these inclusions, the B50 is still quite slim. The boomerang shaped stand takes up less space on your desktop, and honestly for such a large screen, the B50 has a relatively small footprint.
I’ve said this about Lenovo displays before, and I’ll likely say it about displays again in the future, but the Lenovo B50 display is very big and bright with crisp, vibrant graphics. The 23.8” display does still include 10 point multitouch, which I’ll talk about more later. The screen is what you’ll be looking at whenever you use any computer, and particularly with an all-in-one, the screen is really about the only thing you’ll see. Thankfully the 1920×1080 resolution is very nice to look at.
The B50 is running Windows 8.1, which is pretty well known at this point. I’ve professed my feelings for Windows 8.1 in the past, and suffice to say those feelings are still the same. The B50 runs Windows 8.1 with ease, and the keyboard/mouse + touchscreen is still the ideal way to interact with Windows 8.1. The B50 comes with a trial for McAffee Internet Security (which it reminds you about constantly), though you can easily uninstall and use your favorite antivirus software instead.
Lenovo has been using Dolby Digital Plus home theater tuning on many of their products lately, and it’s made for a very good aural experience. The front facing JBL speakers put out plenty of sound, and even at only around 30% still put out enough sound to fill the room. They’ve tuned the speakers well though, even at higher volumes there’s no distortion or cracking, just louder music/sound.
Running an i7 with 12GB of RAM, performance isn’t going to be an issue for most regular computing tasks. Even some more advanced computing tasks shouldn’t be a problem, though my issues with photo/video manipulation are well documented. With that being said, the B50 handled everything I threw at it with ease. Paint.net, entirely too many Chrome tabs, Notepad++ and various other office applications had no problem on the B50.
I mentioned the discrete graphics earlier, and how that was cause for celebration on an all-in-one if you like to play videogames. On that note I’ve got good news and I’ve got bad news. First the bad: You still aren’t going to be able to run Crysis on its top settings. You may not even be able to play newer system intense games. But the good news? You should be able to play even moderately system intense games. I was able to boot up Far Cry 3, and while I could kind of play it on optimal settings, it’s probably best to tone it down just a little bit. There was definitely some lag on the optimal settings, which obviously isn’t ideal in a first person shooter. With that said, the other games that I tried ran without issue, even some games that caused problems on the last all-in-one that I reviewed. Most won’t buy an all-in-one for its gaming muscle anyway, but it’s nice to know that it does have some available.
There’s an integrated 1080p 2MP webcam, it’s got a small flash to keep your face nicely lit during video calls, hangouts, Skype, etc. It works exactly as it’s supposed to work, there isn’t much else to say about it.
The B50 obviously runs Windows, so anything that will run on Windows will work. The optical drive opens up even more possibilities to install disc-based software, and there’s obviously the Windows app store as well. The Windows ecosystem offers plenty of options for nearly anything you’d need to get done.
The B50 comes with a similar keyboard as was included with the Horizon 2e that I reviewed a few months ago. It is still a wireless, compact, chiclet style keyboard and it still has an oddly placed function key. Though that minor inconvenience aside, it’s still surprisingly good for typing, even with bigger hands like mine. The mouse is a fairly standard wireless laser mouse. It works as it should, and has the traditional 2 button and scroll wheel layout. It moves about the screen and points at stuff as it should. On the B50, unlike on the Horizon 2e, there is a USB dongle for the keyboard/mouse. If you want to replace the included keyboard/mouse, simply unplug the dongle and you’ve freed up an additional USB port.
The Lenovo B50 starts at $1099 for the i5 version, or $1,399 for the i7. Trust me, you’ll want to spend the extra few bucks for the i7. On the more expensive build you not only get the beefier processor, but also 4 extra GB of RAM (12GB vs. 8GB) and discrete graphics. It’s really a no brainer to say that those extras are worth $300. With any all-in-one, you’ll pay a bit of a premium to get all of the pieces in one compact, nice to look at package. That’s no different here. The difference between most all-in-one PCs and the Lenovo B50 though? The B50 has some guts.
All-in-one PCs have to walk a very tight line. They need to pack all of the necessary pieces of a PC into a relatively small package. The Lenovo B50 has succeeded, and has a bright future in the all-in-one field. If you’re looking for an all-in-one PC with some gaming chops too, I’d have no problem recommending the Lenovo B50. It’s a hardy machine in a nice looking all-in-one package.
*We were sent a demo unit of the Lenovo B50 for the purposes of this review.
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