Today we are taking a look at all-in-one from Lenovo. This is their Lenovo Ideacentre 520 All-in-One. This is a 27-inch device with a touchscreen, as you can see. We’re going to be taking a closer look at this in just a second.
Let’s get into it and see what this thing’s all about.
Lenovo Ideacentre 520 All in One: Quick Overview
Let’s take a closer look now at the hardware. This is a 27-inch display. It is a 1440p display that I prefer when you are sitting close to a screen this large. It’s kind of the minimum resolution that I want. So it’s a little higher resolution in an HD television, for example, typically at 1080p.
Looks nice and sharp on the desk here. I’m not all that crazy about the overall image quality, though. It looks a little bit washed out to me. I wish there was a deeper black to the blacks on the screen, so the contrast ratio isn’t all that great on this one, and I think because we have the touchscreen version, that might be reducing some of the contrast on it.
After all, there is a layer on top of what you look at on display. As a result, the display looks kind of sunk in a little bit, given that there are some additional layers on top of the visual portion here.
So not the best touch display here, and I think if you are in the market, maybe look at the non-touchscreen version.I don’t have that one to compare with, but I think the visual quality on the non-touch version might be a little bit better.
- Sleek design
- Terrific 27-Inch Touch Display
- Bright touch display
- Nice webcam
- A bit heavy
- Somewhat whirring cooling fan
Lenovo Ideacentre 520-24icb All in One: General Overview
This Lenovo Ideacentre 520 at $1100 without that touch display that will give you an i5 processor.
What I am going to talk about is the $1349 top-of-the-line model that includes an i7 processor, a Quad-core chip, 16 gigabytes of DDR4 RAM.
It also has a two terabyte hard drive and has something called INtel obtained technology. It’s got a 16-gigabyte solid-state piece of memory in there that’s designed to try to speed up your store operations and to be honest with you, and I did notice that performance boost on here.
It seems like it’s performing where I would expect it to. If you’ve ever used the laptop with a solid-state drive, for example, you get pretty much the same experience here.
So don’t think this octane thing is adding all that much to the mix here.
The available back ports
And on the back panel of the device, there are many ports to take a look at. We have the power port, of course, where you plug in the power brick. And I was kind of surprised to see a power brick just given how big this device is to start with, so you will have an exterior power supply on there.
You also have Gigabit Ethernet HDMI out for adding in a second display. It can drive another 4k display if you want something like that.
You also get 2 USB 2.0 ports and one USB 3.0 port, so you do want to be careful about what you’re plugging into back there. Because if you plug in the wrong port, you’re not going to be getting a lot of USB performance if you happen to hit one of those USB 2 ports in the process.
So there’s one USB 3 port, there’s also a USB Type-C port that is running a USB 3 speed, so that is also a faster USB port, but it does not support video out, so there’s only one way to get the video out of this thing, and that is through that HDMI port.
The bank of ports on the back is another HDMI port, and that is an HDMI input. Now you can’t capture footage through this for your game console or something, but you can turn it into a monitor.
Unfortunately, this one is not as elegant as some of their other models with this feature, so let me show you what I mean.
Game console compatibility
So I’ve got here a little android game console called the Nvidia Shield TV, and I’m going to take out the HDMI cable that is plugged into that HDMI input right now on the back, and if I plug it in here, you’ll notice that it will immediately switch over now to that shield TV.
Takes a second for it to detect, but now we got control over the shield, and the touchscreen, of course, doesn’t work because this is not compatible with the shield, but we can get the shield’s video output on here.
However, there is no way to switch back to the computer with a button, but you have to physically disconnect the device to do that.
This has been an issue on some of these other all-in-ones from Lenovo in the past with this machine category.
Their fancier ones do have a switch. This one doesn’t, so you have to pull the cord out and switch you back into PC mode.
It’s very inelegant, and I do think you’ll be putting a lot of wear and tear on your game consoles by having to unplug and plug them back in every time you want to go back to the computer here to continue working on it.
Kind of disappointed in that feature that they would include an input but make it hard to use it. I checked the manual.
There was no reference to this anywhere. I searched for a couple of support forms, an issue in this class of all-in-one from Lenovo over the years. I was a little bit disappointed with that.
Side plug-in ports
There’s a couple of ports worth talking about here on the side. You’ve got another USB 3port. I did plug in a keyboard dongle for my keyboard trackpad combo that I use here in the studio.
Thie computer does come with a keyboard and a mouse, not all that great, but it does get you something so, you don’t have to get a keyboard and mouse separately, but just don’t expect that greatness there.
There’s an SD card reader at the bottom of the screen. It takes full-size SD cards like this one. You can just pop right into the bottom there and download photos from your cameras and whatnot, but it foes stick out a little bit.
You also have a combo headphone-microphone jack there in the front, which is nicely placed.
The speakers are not great at this. They’re a little tinny; it wasn’t all that great of an audio experience, so if you are looking for better audio fidelity, definitely plug some headphones or speakers into that Jack over there, and then, of course, you got the power switch on the side, now this unit is very big and very heavy.
Still, it does stay pretty stable here on the desk. as you can see, there is a stand here that it comes with. I don’t believe this has got any kind of visa dismounting to it.
There’s not a lot of adjustabilities, though, so you can kind of adjust the tilt angle here.
Still, you can’t help adust the vertical positioning, nor can you swivel it at all, so if you want to swivel it, you have to just slide the whole thing out here to do that, but again it does stay very stable here on the desk, so no complaints about the stand.
It is a very solid unit.
Webcam- an interesting perk
One other cool thing, maybe not depending on your preferences, is the camera here at the top, so pops up out of the top of the monitor here.
This is the webcam, and it does support Windows Hello, so it has some depth sensing to it so you can do facial recognition, for example, instead of a password to log into your computer.
When you don’t want the camera out, you just slide it back into its little holder and snap it in. Most of the time doesn’t always get there, but you do have that option.
If you want your camera not to be visible, you can just slide it back in there, and it won’t work until you pop it back up again. So not the most elegant mechanism, not automatic, but it is in there, and it does work.
It can read CDs, DVDs and old optical discs
And one other thing of no on this is because I know some of you are always interested in reading your old optical discs, whether CDs or DVDs, and right here you’ve got an optical disk reader and writer right here. This is a DVD burner here on the side.
I wish they would start giving you the option for a blu-ray reader, but we’re still stuck in the ’90s here with these DVDs.
Still, if you do have a bunch of movies or CDs you want to be able to load into your computer, here you can just pop them in there, on the side of the unit, and get your optical discs going on that.
So that is the overall hardware. It is not pretty, but it does get the job done very utilitarian.
Lenovo Ideacentre 520 All in One 27 Inch Desktop PC: Performance tests
Let’s see how it performs down. We’re gonna start with some web browsing and look at some games after that.
Let’s take a look first at some web browsing.
YouTube & Web Browser
On YouTube, we’ve got a 1080p video running at 60 frames per second.
There are no problems or performance issues there as expected because this is a pretty recent i7 processor, so pretty snappy performance on video is also equally snappy when you’re browsing the web.
The screen is so shiny. It does have wireless AC on board in addition to Gigabit internet, and all these tests were done with that AC radio.
On the browser bench dot.org speedometer test, we got a score of 159 running in Google Chrome, which is a great result here, especially because we got the i7 processor onboard, so that was good to see.
Compare that to the Lenovo 520s that we looked at recently, that’s also a Lenovo all-in-one.
It’s a little more compact, it has a nice i7 processor as well, but it has a Dual-Core and not a Quad-Core processor, so you can see we are getting a little bit of a bump in web performance since we do have a slightly faster processor that can consume a little more power.
Microsoft Word and Video Editing
If you’re looking to do a little word processing, Microsoft Word was running very nicely in here with the Newsletter Template we always like to look at during our computer tests, so no issues on that front.
I also think it will be a pretty decent video editing machine as well. It doesn’t have a built-in discrete graphics processor, but it does have that i7 chip.
I think it will do very well for a lot of the tasks involved with moderate video editing and speaking of graphic, why don’t we look at some gaming now.
Let’s start as we always do with Minecraft, and we captured everything running at 1090p on here. Minecraft came in with a framerate at around 109 to 175 frames per second, which we usually expect.
It will not be a blow your socks off kind of experience because it doesn’t have that discrete GPU, but we did run a few games that might tax it a little bit more, including GTA 5.
We turned it down with 720p with all of the lowest settings we could apply in the game.
We were able to get frame rates at about 28-40 frames per second depending on what you were doing, so the playable experience certainly is not going to be as good as a gaming machine might get you, but you can’t play a triple-a game if it’s turned down and ugly.
The same experience can be found here with Rocket League, which we ran between 30 and 45 frames per second again ant all the settings turned down but at 1080p, so that wasn’t too bad there at all.
3D mark Cloud Gate Test
Now we also ran the 3D mark Cloud Gate Test, and on that one, we got a score of 7573, and you can see that we came in around 33 frames per second on the 1st graphics test and about 33 on the 2nd one, and that CPU is giving us a pretty nice bump in performance since it is a quad-core processor.
But I want you to take a look at the Azulle Inspire there at the bottom.
That was a little mini PC that we looked at that was powered by an i5 processor, but it did better graphically, and we think what’s happening here is that that little computer had its RAM set up in dual channel configuration.
This one appears to be in single-channel mode, so it can’t get the data to the processor for its graphics subsystem fast enough to get you the frame rate that it could be capable of running at.
Upgrade or not?
To upgrade this machine, you can search a service manual about taking it apart and upgrading the RAM. You might be able to squeeze a little bit more graphics performance out of here.
Still, if you are a gamer, you need to get something with a GPU onboard, and Lenovo makes a nice all-in-one I reviewed a while back that has one integrated that I found to be a nice solution you’re looking for a single unit to put on your desk.
We also ran the #D Mark Stress Test, which measures how well the computer can perform under load, and we got a passing score there of 98.90%, the CPU got up to about 140 degrees Fahrenheit or 60 degrees celsius, so it was able to not throttle back at all even under load.
And the noise is there, especially if you are stressing the computer out. You’re going to hear that computer running.
It’s not that distracting, it doesn’t sound like a wind tunnel, but you will hear a decent amount of low pitched fan noise on this when it’s running. It wasn’t offensive to me, but it will be audible if you put the computer under load.
Most of the time, when you are doing web browsing or maybe watch videos or something general, you’re not gonna be hearing that fan. It’s all pretty quiet most of the time unless it’s under extreme mode.
Kodi high-end video
We also ran Kodi here with some high-end video.
This is a 140 megabit per second 4K-10 bit video file that played back just fine on here without any drop frames or anything like that, so we’ve seen on other current generation intel chips this machine.
There’s a nice job playing back video, so all in, it seems to perform where I would expect it too, but it is big and clunky, and I do think there five 20s, which is a much slimmer unit, is the better of the two. I think that display on the five 20s is smaller, but it is a little more elegant than this big Funker is.
I don’t like the fact that although it has the HDMI input here for bringing in devices to make it work as a monitor, it’s not very elegant to switch back and forth between the computer model and the external device you’ve attached the 520 s does a much better job at that.
But if you’re looking for a run-of-mill-all-in-one here with some decent performance, it’s not bad, but again, I’m not all that crazy about the display, and they could’ve done a nicer job with that HDMI input as well.