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Lenovo IdeaCentre Mini 5i review: A compact, decent performing PC with class

Lenovo IdeaCentre Mini 5i desktop computer Top Pick

If you’re looking for a compact, contemporary looking desktop PC with decent performance, the Lenovo IdeaCentre Mini 5i does the trick.

Techaeris Rated 9.4/10

Desktop PCs come in all shapes and sizes. You can get the full-sized 25 or 30L chassis all the way down to the compact small form factor variety. Lenovo has computers of almost every shape and size to suit your requirements. The latest even has a nice fabric top, allowing it to blend in more with your surroundings, especially if you have it set up in a central area in your house or office.

Our Lenovo IdeaCentre Mini 5i PC looks at a compact PC with decent performance, easy-to-access components, and a more contemporary look than you normally see. Read on for our full review!

Specifications

The Lenovo IdeaCentre Mini 5i PC we reviewed has the following features and specifications (configurable when ordering):

  • Up to 10th Generation Intel® Core i5-10400T Processors
  • Enjoy additional privacy & business management features with Windows 10 Pro
  • Contemporary, miniature PC that fits almost anywhere – 3.26lbs/1.48kg and 1.57” thin
  • Healthy array of ports including 5 USB Type-A, USB Type-C, & HDMI
Processor10th Generation Intel® Core™ i5-10400T Processor
(2.00 GHz, up to 3.60 GHz with Turbo Boost, 6 Cores, 12 Threads, 12 MB Cache)
Memory12 GB DDR4 2667MHz
Storage1 TB 5400 RPM HDD + 256 GB PCIe SSD
GraphicsIntegrated Intel® UHD Graphics 630
ColorTerrazzo Grey with Mineral Grey textile cover
ConnectivityWiFi 6 802.11AX (2 x 2)Bluetooth® 5.1RJ45 Ethernet
Ports / SlotsFront: USB 3.2 Type-C, USB 3.2 Type-A, Headphone/mic jack
Rear:4 x USB 3.2 Type-ARJ45HDMIDisplayPortPower in
Operating SystemWindows 10 Pro
Preloaded SoftwareLenovo VantageMcAfee LiveSafe™ (trial)Microsoft 365 (trial)
Dimensions
(H x W x D)
40 x 194 x 182.4mm (1.57 x 7.64 x 7.18″)
WeightStarting at 1.48kg (3.26lbs)

What’s in the box

  • Lenovo IdeaCentre Mini 5i PC
  • 90W Power Adapter
  • Setup Guide
  • Safety and Warranty Guide
What's included with the Lenovo IdeaCentre Mini 5i desktop computer
What’s included with the Lenovo IdeaCentre Mini 5i desktop computer.

Design

With a small 1L form factor, the Lenovo IdeaCentre Mini 5i measures just over 7 1/2-inches wide, just over 7-inches deep, and just over 1 1/2-inches in height. It easily fits on desks or even under a monitor stand if you have one, without taking up too much space with its small footprint.

Instead of your usual metal casing, the sides and bottom of the Mini 5i are grey plastic with white speckles. The corners and bottom edges are nicely rounded, adding to the contemporary look. The top of the desktop has a mottled grey fabric finish with the Lenovo logo stamped in a metal plate on the lower right corner. The fabric is wrapped around a plastic piece which pops off relatively easily. Once off, removing three screws allows you to access the RAM and SSD drive for future upgrades easily.

The front of the Lenovo IdeaCentre Mini 5i small form factor desktop computer
The front of the Lenovo IdeaCentre Mini 5i small form factor desktop computer.

The system’s front is where you’ll find the round power button on the far left, next to a USB Type-C port, USB-A port, and 3.5mm headphone/microphone jack. Of note is the USB Type-C port. While it is USB 3.2, it is not a Thunderbolt port. While you can use a USB hub with it, it didn’t work with an external USB-C display aside from providing it with power.

The back of the system is where the rest of the ports are located. When looking at the back, from left to right, you’ll find a security lock slot, Gigabit Ethernet port, three USB-A 3.2 ports, an HDMI 1.4 port, another USB-A 3.2 port, a DisplayPort, and the proprietary rectangular Lenovo power port. There’s no question there are enough ports for all your peripherals or display connections, although a USB Type-C port on the back would be nice as well.

The bottom of the desktop is pretty non-descript. Roughly half of the bottom has a ventilation grille. Each of the four corners has a rubber nub to elevate the computer for ventilation while sitting on your desk.

The parts on the back of the Lenovo IdeaCentre Mini 5i small form factor desktop computer
The parts on the back of the Lenovo IdeaCentre Mini 5i small form factor desktop computer.

Perhaps the one complaint I’d have with the design is there is no way to use it on one of the two sides if you were so inclined. It’s not the end of the world, but it would be nice to have that option as everyone’s desk space is unique.

Software

Our review unit shipped with Windows 10 Pro. As a result, many extra apps and games normally installed with Windows 10 aren’t present. In fact, only Lenovo Vantage and the McAfee antivirus suite are installed.

Windows 10 Pro runs just fine on the system, and Lenovo Vantage provides quick access to security, updates, warranty, and system information.

Performance

With a 10th Generation Intel® Core™ i5-10400T Processor (2.00 GHz, up to 3.60 GHz with Turbo Boost, 6 Cores, 12 Threads, 12 MB Cache), 12GB of DDR4 2667MHz, and a 256GB primary SSD with a 1TB 5400 RPM secondary HDD, the Lenovo IdeaCentre Mini 5i desktop is pretty decent for most home and office users. I encountered no issues with web browsing or Office tasks. Streaming videos or music over the Wi-Fi 6 connection was great as well.

It does only have an integrated Intel UHD Graphics 630, so you will be limited when it comes to more GPU intensive apps and gaming. That being said, the system ran basic editing tasks in Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop just fine.

Price/Value

Our review system has an MSRP of US$749.99 and is the “maxed-out” version. The retail price isn’t too shabby, but with Lenovo, you can usually snag their systems on sale. The IdeaCentre Mini 5i, as tested, is currently on sale for $598.49, which is pretty decent considering the specifications and performance.

The top of the Lenovo IdeaCentre Mini 5i desktop computer comes off to allow access to the RAM and SSD for future upgrades
The top of the Lenovo IdeaCentre Mini 5i desktop computer comes off to allow access to the RAM and SSD for future upgrades.

You can also get an Intel® Core™ i3-10100 Processor version with 8GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD with 1TB HDD for $599.99 (currently on sale for $484.49) if you can live with a slightly slower system.

Wrap-up

If you’re looking for a compact, contemporary looking desktop PC with decent performance, the Lenovo IdeaCentre Mini 5i does the trick. With two options available, it has plenty of ports and is also reasonably priced — especially if you can pick it up on sale.

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Lenovo IdeaCentre Mini 5i

US$599.99+

Design

9.5/10

Software

9.5/10

Performance

9.0/10

Price/Value

9.5/10

Nailed it

  • Nice contemporary design
  • Plenty of ports including HDMI, DisplayPort, USB-C, and USB-A
  • Easy access to RAM and SSD
  • Decent performance

Needs work

  • USB Type-C not Thunderbolt port
  • Can't set up on its side
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