The Lenovo ThinkCentre A70z is an all-in-one desktop PC that's designed to save space yet still provide good performance when running office applications. It's aimed at business users, but its compact footprint and the ease with which it can be set up should also appeal to students and families who don't want anything too fancy.

The Lenovo ThinkCentre A70z is very much a workhorse PC devoid of bells and whistles, not to mention modern conveniences such an SD card reader, video ports or an eSATA connection. The model we looked at even lacks a wireless networking adaptor. However, it possesses good speed - and that's the main concern when you need to get your work done, whether you're in the office or at home.

Setting up the Lenovo ThinkCentre A70z is a breeze; all you have to do is plug in the power cable and the USB keyboard and mouse. The power supply is built in to the PC, so you won't have to accommodate a bulky power brick under a desk; it means this is a very neat PC. It has a picture frame-like stand that's made out of metal and has a rubber strip on the bottom for grip, but you can also install an optional wall mount or monitor stand.

Setting up the Lenovo ThinkCentre A70z's software is a little more involved; it asks you if you want to install virus protection, make backups, install a trial version of Microsoft Office 2007, and register your PC. It takes only a minute or so, but it's inconvenient nonetheless.

Lenovo ThinkCentre A70z: the screen

The 19in display has a wide aspect ratio and a native resolution of 1440x900. You can line up two windows side by side very easily. It's not a touchscreen - but because we've seen so many all-in-on touch-screen PCs over the past few months it was hard to stop ourselves from touching it.

Because the Lenovo ThinkCentre A70z is designed like an oversized photo frame, you can't tilt it up or down, nor rotate it left or right. You can lean it back on its metal leg or make it stand up straighter, however. The brightness and contrast are good enough to view photos; there is some colour shift when viewing the screen from the sides, but whatever is being displayed is still clearly visible. The brightness can be tweaked via controls on the right side (you'll need to adjust the contrast using the graphic driver's software interface). The same controls auto-adjust the position of the screen's pixels to make sure it's perfectly clear. Because the screen is matte, it's not prone to reflections and it is very comfortable to view.

NEXT: specs and speed >>