Lenovo ideacentre 520 AIO 27″ review: An updated AIO with good specs

Hardware Reviews / Reviews / Tech
Lenovo-AIO-27-FI

The ideacentre 520 gets a nice update from last year’s model.

TA-ratings-89Lenovo does pretty well at coming out with some nice AIO (All in One) computers these days, whether it’s a small update to the previous model or some new feature that gets added to its PC lineup and the Lenovo ideacentre 520 27″ fits that category. A small update from last year and a slight feature improvement. Keep reading to check out how it performed during our time with the AIO.

Specs

  • Operating System: Windows 10 Home
  • Processor: Intel Core i7-7700T @ 2.9GHz
  • Storage: 2TB HDD/16GB Optane Memory
  • RAM: 16GB
  • GPU: Intel HD 630
  • Ports:
    • 1 x USB Type-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/microphone jack
  • Webcam: 10809 pop-up IR camera
  • Audio: 2 x 3watt speakers
  • Connection:
    • 802.11 AC (1 x 1)
    • Bluetooth® 4.0
  • Dimensions: 24.6″ x 18.9″ x 2.7″ / 624.35 x 479.40 x 68 (mm)

What’s in the box

  • Lenovo ideacentre AIO 520 27″
  • Power adapter
  • Wireless keyboard
  • Wireless mouse
  • Manual

Design

Most AIOs have a tendency to look similar and that’s ok because some companies aren’t trying to go for flashiness or having a certain feature that some other PCs don’t have. Lenovo is one for making some small incremental updates to their AIO line but that doesn’t take away from how nice they look. The ideacentre 520 27″ has a very similar look to the ideacentre 520s I reviewed last year, or more so the front because people don’t sit and stare at the back of a computer all day.

Lenovo-AIO-27-Ports

 

Looking straight at the 520, you’ll see a massive 27-inch QHD display with Lenovo’s logo towards the bottom left and a speaker grill bar going from one end to the other. The bezels are slim and that’s a nice added touch to the AIO. Moving on to the side of the AIO, the right side is home to the power button and nothing more and same goes for the left side which you’ll find a USB 3.0 port. As for the top and bottom of the AIO, you’ll find air vents letting the heat leave the computer so nothing gets fried. You’ll see the 3-in-1 card reader and combo audio/mic jack at the bottom and the webcam at the top. Lenovo did add a nice touch to where the webcam is too. It’s on the top and looks like a disc drive, but isn’t. To use the pop-up camera, all you need to do is press down on the camera and it’ll slide up on its own.

Now, one of the most important parts of the AIO is on the back, where you will find the disc drive on the right-hand side, another Lenovo logo sitting towards the top left, and the rest of your ports, including the power port, a RJ45 Gigabit Ethernet port, an HDMI In/Out port, two (2) USB 2.0 ports, a USB 3.0 port, and a USB Type-C port. The stand will attach to the center back of the computer and sit nicely on your desk. The stand itself isn’t huge, so you’ll still have plenty of other room to put things where you want.

Display

Lenovo has chosen to use a QHD resolution on their 520 27″ AIO and honestly, it looks pretty good. Of course, most QHD screens look great and Lenovo always has their displays getting as close to natural colors as possible. Pulling up different colors online such as reds or blacks or blues look nice at any angle. Speaking of viewing angles, they look good also and text is readable until you get to the point where you can’t see the screen anymore. If you’ll be watching some videos on YouTube or Netflix, you’ll definitely like how the display looks seeing the clarity each video has if it supports higher resolution.

Lenovo-AIO-27-Display

Software

Windows 10 Home comes preloaded on the 520 27″ AIO, so you’ll be getting the usual welcomed Cortana AI, Xbox, Microsoft Store, Microsoft Edge browser, and so on like most devices running Windows 10 software. Lenovo has a plethora of their own applications and others that will come preinstalled as well such as Lenovo Companion 3.0, Lenovo Family Cloud, Lenovo App Explorer, McAfee security, Keeper Password and more. If you’re not familiar with what each program does, here’s a short list of some of Lenovo’s preinstalled applications.

  • Lenovo Companion 3.o — This program will show you all your settings, system info, maximize your system’s performance, Access insights & advice from Lenovo experts, and more.
  • Lenovo Family Cloud — This is a software that works to share your multimedia (pictures, videos) files on your network across several devices.
  • Lenovo App Explorer — With Lenovo App Explorer you choose only the apps you want. There are no ads, bundles, pop-ups, or unwanted extras. It’s a secure way for users to personalize their computer and an essential part of Lenovo’s commitment to a cleaner and safer PCs.
  • Keeper Password — Store all of your passwords in this program so you won’t have to write them down and lose them in your desk drawer or accidentally throw them away.
  • McAfee security — McAfee security is a security program that will keep your computer safe from viruses that may harm your PC making it run slow or let others steal your information.

Performance

The 520 27″ AIO comes with a 7th generation Intel Core i7-7700T SoC clocking in at 2.90GHz and it performs wonderfully. 16GB of RAM compliment the CPU along with Intel HD 630 Graphics that are also on board. I was able to open plenty of tabs in Google Chrome and I rarely hit any hiccups. As much RAM as Chrome takes up, the AIO was able to keep up just fine. I tested it on Firefox too and everything was just working as well as expected. While running other programs alongside Chrome and/or Firefox, multitasking and loading times weren’t too bad considering there’s still an HDD in here and not an SSD.

I didn’t test too many games on the PC, but if you do plan on getting some games from the Microsoft Store, Steam, or anywhere else just keep in mind the integrated graphics and look at system requirements. Less system intensive games should run fine, but if you’re interested in bigger games, then you’ll want something with discrete graphics at least, and possibly a tower and not an AIO.

Lenovo-AIO-27-Camera

Integrated camera

Speakers

Computer speakers can be hit or miss and unfortunately, these speakers fall into the miss category for how they sound. As someone who listens to music every day and has been spoiled by other speakers and headsets, the ideacentre 520 AIO 27″ doesn’t have the greatest of sound to my ears. Again, being spoiled by other things is just me, so anyone else who would be using this to watch videos on YouTube or listening to music on Pandora or Google Play Music or any other music streaming service may not notice a huge difference. There isn’t a whole lot of bass behind the sound, but you know it’s there. As for mids and treble, they sound good and you can’t really complain, especially with the sound coming from the actual computer and not through external speakers. It gets very loud at 100% and it can be overbearing to say the very least, but once you get to lower volume settings, around 10%, it gets a little too quiet. I found having the volume settings at 30% was the best because it wasn’t disturbing everyone else around me in the house and I could still hear everything going on in whatever I was doing.

Camera

I like the idea of having a pop-up webcam like this AIO has because you’ll be able to hide it or use it whenever you want. It shows Lenovo is letting users know they have a sense of security by hiding the webcam so no one can hack into their PC and look at them through the webcam.

The camera will record at 1080p resolution giving you nice and clear video chats with anyone over Skype or Google Hangouts. If you plan on taking photos with the camera, they turn out alright like most webcams do. There’s more than enough noise going on in the photos, but if you don’t plan on taking any photos at all and just using the web cam for Skype or other videoconferencing then you’ll be fine.

Price/Value

Now, it’s going to come down to the price which could be a make or break for some people. Lenovo is offering the ideacentre 520 27″ AIO for $949.99USD and while that does seem a bit steep, look at everything you’re getting with the PC to begin with. A nice dark silver color that has great specs, plus you’re getting a wireless mouse and keyboard so you won’t have to pay for your own. Other AIO may also offer a wireless mouse and keyboard, but with Lenovo, you’re getting what you paid for and not getting shorthanded.

Wrap Up

If the price isn’t an issue and you’re in need of a new PC and don’t want to buy a tower and a monitor, then you should definitely get this guy. The color itself is nice and will handle just about anything you throw at it, especially if you’re going to be using it for work creating document or spreadsheets or basic web browsing.

*We were sent a review unit of the Lenovo ideacentre 520 27″ AIO for the purposes of this review.

Lenovo ideacentre 520 27"

$949.99 USD
8.9

Design

9.0/10

Display

9.0/10

Software

10.0/10

Performance

9.5/10

Speakers

8.0/10

Camera

9.0/10

Price/Value

8.0/10

Nailed it

  • Nice sleek color
  • Simple design
  • Pop-up webcam
  • Display

Needs work

  • Pricing is a little too high
  • Speakers are slightly lacking
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