Lenovo Brings All-in-One Convenience to SMB Desktop

By Jamie Bsales | Posted November 02, 2009

With the launch of Windows 7, businesses are taking the opportunity to evaluate their aging PCs and step up to new models. Lenovo hopes to attract some of the upgrade dollars with the all-new ThinkCentre A70z, its first all-in-one desktop PC.

All-in-one PCs tuck the computer’s components in a thin chassis behind the screen, which means they take up very little desk space. They’re also easy to set up, and the design eliminates cable clutter. Most all-in-ones on the market — notable entries include the Apple iMac and HP TouchSmart — are geared toward the consumer or home -office market, but Lenovo says it designed the  ThinkCentre A70z for small business.

According to research by IDC, the commercial all-in-one PC market is poised to grow 16 percent year-over-year in 2010. “Our original targets for the A70z were front-of-office and point-of-sale applications,” said Bill Dominici, product marketing manager for ThinkCentre A Series and ThinkVision Monitors at Lenovo. “As the product evolved, we realized any desktop in the organization was fair game. We’ve overcome the drawbacks of all-in-ones, and the benefits of space- and energy-savings work anywhere in a business.”

The Lenovo ThinkCentre A70z
The Lenovo ThinkCentre A70z is a space-saving, all-in-one desktop PC designed for the business market.
(Click for larger image)
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The ThinkCentre A70z features a 19-inch widescreen LCD monitor. The PC has a small footprint and slim profile — just 2.4 inches thick — that occupies 70 percent less desktop space than a traditional PC, claims the Lenovo. The back of the chassis features a standard 100mm VESA mount so you can place it on a desk-mounted or wall-mounted articulating arm, reducing its footprint even further.

Lenovo engineers designed the ThinkCentre A70z with an integrated power supply, so there is no external AC brick. The PC also features built-in stereo speakers, further reducing clutter. And when you pair the desktop with the optional wireless mouse and keyboard, you have only one cord to connect: the power cord. Dominici claimed that the PC goes from “box to boot” in about three minutes.

What sets the ThinkCentre A70z apart from otherwise similar PCs is the access it allows to internal components. “Unlike consumer all-in-ones, the A70z is serviceable,” noted Dominici. The computer’s case provides access to the memory and hard drive, so you can have those parts serviced or replaced if need be, without having to ship the PC to an authorized service center.

Lenovo also backs the ThinkCentre A70z with a one-year warranty that includes on-site service and 24/7 toll-free tech support. You can extend that standard warranty to cover up to three years.

Think, Go and Save Green

Dominici is also noticeably proud of the ThinkCentre A70z’s “green” story. The model is Energy Star 5.0 compliant, and Lenovo strived to use a minimum amount of packaging. Dominici estimated that the company’s packaging designers reduced materials by the equivalent of about 100 plastic bags.

In addition, Dominici  said that the ThinkCentre A70z is more energy-efficient than an older PC it might replace. Lenovo estimates the typical cost savings in electricity use to be around $65 per year compared to a tower PC with a CRT monitor.

As expected, the ThinkCentre A70z offers the new Windows 7 operating system. However, this model does not include a touch-screen LCD panel to take advantage of the operating system’s touch-navigation abilities. Doing so would have driven up the price, noted Dominici, and he said that the company is considering a touch screen for potential follow-up products.

As for other components, the ThinkCentre offers a choice of Intel Celeron Dual Core and Core 2 Duo processors, DirectX 10 graphics supports, up to a 500GB hard drive, a DVD drive, six USB ports, optional built-in Wi-Fi wireless connectivity and an optional Webcam. ThinkCentre A70z models will begin shipping in late November, with prices starting at $499.

Jamie Bsales is an award-winning technology writer and editor with nearly 14 years of experience covering the latest hardware, software and Internet products and services.

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