What The Best All-In-One Computers Can Do For You
Have you been tempted to buy an All-in-One (AIO) desktop computer, but hesitated because you’re concerned about potential limitations? You’re not alone. Plenty of folks have gone the safe route and bought a traditional desktop PC for the same reason. And while the earliest All-in-One desktops did come with a lot of compromises, the latest generation of these machines will impress you with their versatility and value. Here’s a quick look at the biggest reasons to consider an All-in-One computer as your next desktop PC.
The anywhere PC
One of the most attractive aspects of AIOs is their space-saving footprint. Packing the monitor, CPU, graphics cards, hard drives, and an array of ports into a single piece of hardware means an AIO can fit anywhere you’ve got a work surface that’s big enough for a monitor, keyboard, and mouse. One piece of hardware means one cable. Think about that: With an AIO, you can say goodbye to power bars and extension cords, and goodbye to an ugly tangle of wires. Better yet, if you don’t like where you put your AIO, just unplug it and put it somewhere else. In the time it would take you to unplug all the components of a traditional desktop PC, you can move and power up an All-in-One in totally new location.
It doesn’t get any easier.
Setting up and using a traditional desktop PC isn’t hard, but for some people – especially those who find technology intimidating – it can feel like an unnecessarily complex task. A big contributor to that feeling is all of those separate boxes and connections. Where does the monitor plug go? How about the external speakers? So I have to turn on each component? These are just some of the anxieties an AIO desktop PC helps to alleviate. All-in-Ones are also the kings of convenience: Every port from the daily-use USB, to the SD-card reader, is easily accessible from the single piece of hardware right in front of you. Reaching down to find them under a desk, where it’s often dark and cramped, becomes a thing of the past.
There used to be a time when buying an AIO meant sacrificing performance or features normally found in a traditional desktop computer. Not anymore. Our 23” Lenovo Ideacentre AIO 520S, for instance, gives you the speed and power of an optional 7th Generation Intel® Core™ i7, and NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 930A 2GB discrete graphics. With Dolby® Home Theatre™ on-board, the sound coming from the built-in stereo speakers will leave you wondering why you ever wanted external ones. The step-up Ideacentre AIO 520 (27”) even has an infrared camera, letting you unlock your PC with your face. Its far-field microphone array is perfect for giving Microsoft’s Cortana™ voice commands from across the room.
Who says All-in-Ones aren’t expandable?
One of the great myths when it comes to All-in-One PCs is that you’re stuck with whatever comes inside the computer when you buy it. Critics will point to the inability to connect an external monitor. Ignore them. Today’s AIOs have HDMI in & out ports, which let you display content on a second monitor or HDTV or, use the AIO’s screen as an HDTV for a Blu-ray player or game console. An unadvertised benefit to this feature is the ability to keep using your AIO even if its own screen should fail. With available USB-C, some All-in-Ones can add ultra-fast external storage, while they power devices like smartphones.
Even better for business
Thanks to their elegant profile (and the success of a certain fruit-themed computer), All-in-Ones have often been viewed as consumer PCs. So it comes as something of a surprise to learn that AIOs are perfect for businesses too. The Lenovo ThinkCentre M910Z AIO is a case in point: With an available multi-touch screen, built-in DVD drive, and engineered to withstand humidity, dust, and vibration to military standards, it’s an All-in-One that’s at home even when it’s at work. It’s also one of the few AIOs that comes with a height-adjustable, multi-angle stand, opening up plenty of new options for placement and working styles.
Why not just buy a laptop?
It’s true: For the most part, laptops can do anything that a desktop PC can do. They’re super portable, and often packed with just as many ports as their desktop counterparts. But what’s also true is that you’re paying a premium for a laptop’s mobility. Its small size, low weight, all-day battery, and specialized heat management, all come at a cost. If you don’t need those features, why pay for them? Besides, there are some things a laptop just can’t do:
- Limited screen size. Even the biggest desktop-replacement class laptops max out at 17”, a size that’s barely considered entry-level in the desktop world.
- Slower performance. Generally speaking, laptop CPUs and graphics lag behind desktops. It’s not their fault – when you have to save on power, some sacrifices must be made.
- One keyboard. Keyboards are personal; everyone has a preference when it comes to those little plastic squares. Trouble is, laptops only have one of them. If you don’t like it, you have to get used to it or buy a different laptop.
- Batteries eventually die. It’s true: Only diamonds are forever. Everything else, including laptop batteries, eventually needs to be replaced, and that’s yet another cost of doing business in the portable computing world.
So which is the best all-in-one computer?
And the winner is… if only it were that easy! The fact is, with so much choice in the All-in-One landscape, there’s no such thing as the best All-in-One. Instead, we think you should focus on the best AIO for you. That means deciding on the features you must have, and then looking for the AIO that gives them to you at the best price. Keep in mind -- it’s easy to say you want the fastest processor, the biggest hard drive, and the highest resolution monitor. But if you’re not spending your time gaming, or wrangling massive video files, are these features as important as a touch screen, or dust and vibration resistance?
One thing’s for sure: With a Lenovo All-in-One, you’re getting a desktop computer that combines sleek good looks, with the latest technologies. That’s a winning combination no matter how you look at it.