Lenovo ThinkCentre E93z All-in-one PC

4/6/2014 11:56:12 AM

Good power, average everything else

The majority of our work computers are boring metal boxes, but Lenovo hopes to class up the joint with its ThinkCentre E93z all-in-one PC. Designed for small to medium-sized businesses, Lenovo’s AIO aims to deliver competent computing firepower in a more attractive package.

Starting off, the glossy 1920x1080 21.5-inch 10-point touchscreen monitor is a bit smaller than we would like, considering most other modern AlOs are more in the 23-27-inch range. This, in addition to the large bezel, makes it look dated.

The panel is a TN that, not surprisingly, looks dim at extreme viewing angles. The E93z also comes with a 2MP webcam located above the monitor, which isn't out of the ordinary, although the more paranoid among us will be glad there's a physical slider to block the NSA’s prying eyes.

Description: Lenovo ThinkCentre E93z

Lenovo ThinkCentre E93z

On the left side of the unit are two USB 3.0 ports, an SD card reader, and a single combination audio and mic input. Behind the panel, the AIO has four USB 2.0 ports, Ethernet port, and separate in/out HDMI ports. Finally, the DVD burner, volume rocker, HDMI input switch, and power button can all be found on the right side of the unit.

In addition to offering a decent array of ports, the E93z packs some firepower in the CPU department. Our configuration came with an Intel Core i7-4770S, which carries a base clock of 3.1GHz and can turbo up to 3.9GHz. And while the E93z is billed as a work PC, we aren’t stuck with integrated graphics. Instead, it has a new GeForce 720A GPU. Unfortunately, the AIO skimped out in two areas: a mere 4GB of RAM in a single-channel package and a paltry 500GB of storage. To its credit, it is a hybrid drive and you can opt for a 1TB hard drive, but it would still be nice to have the option of going with both an SSD and a beefier HDD. It should also be noted that you can similarly opt to up the RAM to 16GB, but considering our configuration’s $1,300 price tag, we think it should have at least 8GB.

Description: Lenovo ThinkCentre E93z’s back

Lenovo ThinkCentre E93z’s back

Regardless of the limited RAM, the E93z killed it in our CPU tests. It made our Asus ET2300 zero-point’s Ivy Bridge 3GHz Core i5-3330 seem ancient, leaving our system in the dust by 8-12 percent in the single-threaded tests and obliterating it by 52 percent in the multithread-heavy X264 HD 5.01 benchmark. Ouch. Both are quad-cores, but you can thank the Hyper-Threading and improved Haswell cores for the performance in the Lenovo.

Things weren’t as definitive in the graphics benchmarks, however. Both GPUs are similar in class with the Lenovo’s 720A having zippier memory and boost clocks, while the Asus’s 630M has a slightly faster GPU clock and double the memory bus width. When it came down to brass tracks, the AlOs traded blows. Lenovo’s offering enjoyed a 7 percent lead in 3DMark 11, but lost by 15 percent in our Metro 2033 benchmark. Either way, this AIO isn’t replacing your gaming rig.

Description: The E93z’s buttons

The E93z’s buttons

All of this hardware sits atop a circular-based stand that provides the monitor a 70 degree range of tilt, giving it the versatility to be used both while sitting and standing. The stand also has a small ring for routing the power and USB cables, which we appreciated. Many stands allow you to save desktop space by holding the keyboard and mouse, but because of the Lenovo stand’s circular design, setting the keyboard on top to stow it makes it pretty wobbly; most other AIO stands accommodate the keyboard and mouse by using a rectangular design.

Speaking of the keyboard, both it and the mouse are wireless. Although the full-size keyboard is comfortable, with retractable feet for those who prefer typing at more of an angle, we wish it had LED indicators for the caps lock button and other toggles. The 400-DPI mouse also gets the job done, though you'll most likely want to tweak the sensitivity. We liked that its middle scroll button allows you to scroll horizontally as well as vertically.

The touchscreen was responsive but fairly standard; it didn’t live up to its "lag-less” billing, although the lag was minimal. We were surprised that the AlO’s two three-watt speakers offered ample volume but did not like their positioning on the back of the unit; it feels like sound is moving away from you instead of toward you.

Lenovo’s E93z offers great CPU performance but is mediocre to average everywhere else. The AlO’s relatively small TN panel, scant 4GB of RAM, and very limited storage options prevent us from recommending it.

Description: The E93z’s ports

The E93z’s ports


·         Price: $1,329

·         CPU: Intel 3.1GHz Core i7-4770S

·         GPU: Nvidia GeForce GT 720A

·         RAM: 4GB DDR3/1600 in single-channel mode

·         HDD: 500GB Hybrid Drive

·         Optical: DVD burner

·         Display: 21.5-inch LED backlit TN LCD 1920x1080 10-point touchscreen


·         Pros: Awesome CPU performance; good assortment of ports.

·         Cons: Relatively small monitor; TN panel; limited storage; only 4GB of RAM.

·         Rating: 7/10


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