Lenovo IdeaCenter B540: A Big PC for Small Business

It’s no wonder that PC sales have fallen off a cliff in recent years. The confluence of belt-tightening due to the Great Recession, the need to invest in fast-evolving mobile products like smartphones and tablets, and the lack of a pressing software need for faster office machines left many small business owners delaying PC upgrades. So if you’ve had a longer relationship with your PC than with your significant other, you’re not alone.

But given that 5 years is the breaking point for most relationships (PC-based, that is), it may be time to get back in the market. An ideal match: the Lenovo IdeaCentre B540. This all-in-one PC delivers easy setup, a sleek space-saving design, good processing power and plenty of features for your small business.

A Small Business PC with a Sleek, Simple Design

The IdeaCentre B540 features a beautifully simple design. Like other all-in-one desktops, the IdeaCentre B540 integrates the PC components and screen into one unit. That means the machine takes up the same amount of desk real estate as a monitor, and the wireless keyboard and mouse eliminate unsightly cable clutter.

Lenovo IdeaCentre B540 all-in-one PC

Figure 1:The Lenovo IdeaCentre B540 is a sleek, space-saving all-in that looks terrific and functions just as well.

But unlike the others, no base protrudes from the bottom. Instead, translucent legs hold up the front edge of the monitor, while an inconspicuous kickstand holds the machine upright. Even better, the glass that covers the LED-backlit LCD panel runs all the way to the edges of the machine, which gives an upscale appearance similar to a high-end TV. It’s a clean, sleek look that makes the IdeaCentre B540 perfect for open office plans, a reception area, a home office or any spot where aesthetics matter.

Setup is a snap, too, since all you need to do is connect the power cable and insert the receiver for the wireless keyboard and mouse into a rear USB port. We had the PC unboxed and running in less than five minutes, our only complaint being that the rear stand is somewhat difficult to click into place. Pull hard, though, and it will swing out to one of two positions, letting you set the screen at an angle suitable to use either while seated at a desk or standing at a counter. Or you can remove the kickstand altogether and use the IdeaCentre B540’s mounting holes with a flat-screen TV bracket to hang the PC on a wall.

Fall in Like with Windows 8

Even though its app-like tiles and touch-screen interactivity seems perfectly aligned with today’s tablet/smartphone sensibilities, Windows 8 has failed to set the PC world on fire. Perhaps that’s because people haven’t tried the OS on the right screen.

On a smaller touch screen, such as those found on many Windows 8 laptops, navigating via touch can be less precise because the targets—menu entries, pick-list selections, hyperlinks in documents—can be tiny. However, the IdeaCentre B540’s enormous 23-inch monitor makes driving Windows 8 with your index finger a pleasure.

It’s easy to forget the mouse and pointer when you can tap on menus and dialog-box prompts, swipe to scroll through Web pages, and rotate images with the turn of your wrist. Yes, you’ll have to get used to the new operating system’s quirks—such as the lack of a Start menu, the all-but-hidden Shut Down command, and lack of a “close” button on the tile apps—but at least an imprecise touch screen won’t be part of the frustration.

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