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June 09, 2010

Hands On: The Lenovo ThinkCentre A70z For Work At Home Moms & As Family PC

A70z_290x330 When I first received the package for my review of the Lenovo ThinkCentre A70z  All-in-One (see disclosures below), I was excited but also worried about having the time to set up a new computer. I wondered how a desktop would fit into our full house and be shared by my three boys and me, a mom working from home. I was also curious what it would be like to have a 19" screen computer in our house versus the smaller laptop screens. After unwrapping and using the Lenovo ThinkCentre A70z, my concerns were quickly put to rest as the computer is now a welcomed (and much needed) addition to our home.

TECHIE DETAILS: The Lenovo ThinkCentre A70z I am reviewing has an integrated 19” Widescreen Flat Panel Display (16:10), Intel Core 2 Duo E7500 processor, 320GB hard drive, 2 GB Ram, 802.11 a/b/g/n WiFi, web cam, USB mouse, optional built-in microphone, DVD slot,  1.3MP webcam,  integrated speakers,DirectX® 10 integrated graphics card and 6 USB ports (3 rear and 3 side). It comes pre-installed with Windows 7 Professional 32 bit and is Energy Star 5.0 compliant.

Best yet - there is a 1 year on-site warranty which means someone will come the customer's location to fix the computer should there be a problem. Access to the hard drive and memory is well designed. The starting price is same as a netbook: $499, with the configuration above costing $729. The hard drive options are 160GB, 250GB, 320GB and 500GB. The RAM options are 1GB or 2GB with 2 slots allowing an upgrade to 4GB.  The form factor is only 2.44″ thick and it is a "all in one" so the desktop and monitor are a single unit. The A70z can be wall-mounted using additional hardware if the use prefers a fixed location for the computer.

There are  three mounting options: stand, desk arm and wall (all optional and sold separately) and Simple cable management for crowded work spaces.


TRANSLATION: This is a budget friendly family desktop PC, yet it can also be a solution for work at home parents. We don't have a separate work space for a desktop so we use our dining room table (the one in our living/dining room that get's used twice a year for holidays and used daily for homework). The Lenovo ThinkCentre A70z was light and compact enough to be moved when we needed the space for entertaining. The 19" screen is a welcome change  (along with crisp graphics) from a smaller laptop screen. The wired keyboard and mouse shipped with the A70z was comfortable for both my kids and me. The boot up time was quick, and the Intel Core 2 Duo processor fast enough to perform all the family computing tasks.

  ThinkCentre A70z Lifestyle Photo 5 - Copy
The picture above is an press kit image. I wish I had a home office that looks like this... If this was a picture of me it would include baskets of unfolded clean laundry around the desk and assorted Lego structures on the floor from my sons...But the picture does show the clean looking - slim form factor of the Lenovo ThinkCentre A70z.

THE FIT/NOT THE FIT: The A70z is a great family desktop for a great price as well as a solid work and educational computer. The All-in-one form factor, combined with the wired keyboard, is more secure then a laptop with wireless mouse. However, there are two situations where this computer would not be a good fit:

1. For die hard gamers, most laptops and desktops are not optimal because these users need sophisticated graphics and super fast processors. But in my house, we use the Wii for gaming so that issue is not a concern.

2.Those who want to hook up their computer to their TV (or use dual screens on their computers) need a video output port which the A70z does not have. Again, this is not an issue in my house because I already have laptops and multiple devices that can connect to the TV. We needed a workhorse computer for homework that can be a backup for professional work when needed,  and the A70z fit that need.

INSTALLATION: I literally un-boxed the computer, plugged it in, turned it on and it was ready to go.


The Lenovo ThinkCentre A70z comes packed in an eco-friendly carry bag.


The Lenovo ThinkCentre A70z is an All-in-One unit so the only accessories needed are a keyboard and mouse.


Here is the back of the All-in-One computer that has a slim form factor and is light enough to move if needed. It comes standard with a stand but Wall mounts can be purchased.


The picture below shows three of the six USB ports along with the mic and video inputs (the other three USB ports are in the back).


Here is the other side of the Lenovo ThinkCentre A70z with a CD drive.


I found the graphics crisp and the 19" screen size easy on the eyes.


After booting up the computer and getting settled, I set up parent controls and separate accounts for my three boys.


The box also doubles very nicely as a space ship.


The styrofoam padding can be used as arm lasers, another eco-friendly feature that I think my three boys may have invented.


Disclosure: The Lenovo ThinkCentre A70z was provided to TechMamas.com on a long term review. There were no requirements to blog, just to experience the computer. My words are my own.


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great review. makes me wanna go out and get one right now. I love the clean lines. and I agree with you, I wish my work area looked like that. LOL.

This is a great sounding pc, exactly what
we would need for a non-profit shelter we
are currently staffing and supplying.


This is a great sounding pc, exactly what
we would need for a non-profit shelter we
are currently staffing and supplying.


This is a great sounding pc, exactly what
we would need for a non-profit shelter we
are currently staffing and supplying.


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