Lenovo IdeaCentre Horizon 27-inch tabletop all-in-one PC pictures and hands-on

There are times when computer manufacturers go a bit bonkers just because they can. The Lenovo IdeaCentre Horizon falls into one such category. Or at least the way we got to see it at this year's Consumer Electronics Show made it seem that way.

This 27-inch touchscreen "tabletop" computer - it would be cruel to call it a "laptop" really - is certainly quite the behemoth. And this is no concept. Due for launch this very summer, the IdeaCentre Horizon ought to set back prospective purchasers around $1,700 according to Lenovo - although we have an itching suspicion that it might be a touch more when it comes to market in the UK.

When we first saw the Lenovo Horizon in action it had people gathered around it playing "virtual" air hockey. The Horizon comes with four removable controllers that can be placed on to the screen's surface and used like joysticks. Certainly an arcade-style bout of fun for all the family, or, for more conventional use, the 10-point touchscreen runs Windows 8 smoothly too.

But Lenovo's wish isn't to push the Windows 8 interface to the fore. Instead the Horizon loads into the company's own Aura which is essentially a Windows 8 app that the machine can boot directly into. Think Minority Report on a tabletop and you're most of the way there. It's quite a lot of fun, and makes the most of Windows 8's pinch-to-enlarge and click-to-drag touch possibilities while draggering a scattering of photos, notes and other media around the desk. Still, it's not necessarily as well-worn a set-up as more-established, current systems.

While the IdeaCentre Horizon may look like a mains-only wired machine, it can also be disconnected and its battery will last around two hours, although at its given 6kgs of heft we can't imagine many people sensibly carting one around.

Fortunately the Horizon's rear hinge mechanism is rather clever and can easily support that weight. The device can sit flat like a tabletop or be pulled upwards to sit at a variety of angles - all the while the support bracket seems to elevate it like a hydraulic lift. Not bad going for a spring mechanism.

We're probably overselling the Horizon as a totally "out there" device, but there's far more practicality to it than may first meet the eye. Sweep away all the air hockey stuff and leave the device desktop-mounted at all times and it's an attractive looker complete with enough power from its Intel Core processor and a decent 1080p resolution screen that also looks great. No Gorilla Glass though, which seems like a significant oversight to us.

Add a mouse, keyboard and stand - those these will cost extra - and it's closer to a more "usual" Windows 8 touchscreen, albeit with the power and physical size to do slightly more crazy things should you so wish.

Fun stuff.



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