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Review of the Lenovo ThinkCentre M71z

Are you looking for a top rated, middle of the road desktop for your offices? The Lenovo ThinkCentre M71z may be just what you need. With a touch screen 20 inch widescreen monitor at $917 direct, this PC is perfect for your mainline workers — the ones that manage projects, file and search data, or deal with your clients on a day-to-day basis. While less flashy then some other all-in-one PC’s such as the HP Compaq 8200 Elite or the Apple iMac 21.5 inch, it is definitely the biggest bang for your buck.

The desktop will blend seamlessly into your offices and while you should still supply a keyboard and mouse because of the vertical screen, the touch monitor is great for zooming in and out of photos, rotate online interfaces, and use swipe commands on the internet. The screen however isn’t the best for resolution. While still sufficient for clerical and mainline office workers, it’s not going to be ideal for digital artists who use their fingers as digital paintbrushes.

With two USB 2.0 ports, a media card reader, and audio jacks are on the left side; a tray-loading DVD drive on the right side; and a power button, drive light, and +/- on screen controls (brightness, etc.) on the front. The system’s forward-firing speakers are below the screen on the front panel as well. In the back, there are four more USB 2.0 ports, a standard 3-pin power jack, Ethernet, serial port (for older peripherals like bar code scanners), a Display Port-out port, a Kensington lock port, and a handle. The handle and power jack make things easier for your IT workers: the handle makes the system easy to transport, and the standard power port means that you don’t have to keep track of external power supplies (aka power bricks): you can just use the standard power cables used by tower desktops. If you have a 802.11 b/g/n wireless network, the M71z will connect to it easily. It would’ve been nice to see a Display Port-in or HDMI-in port, so you can reuse the M71z’s monitor with a future laptop or desktop when the M71z’s internal finally become too slow, but the DisplayPort-out is still useful. The DisplayPort-out port lets you use the system in a dual-monitor setup.

Performance wise the ThinkCentre M71z is very good as well—the ThinkCentre M71z’s 2,134 points on PCMark 7 beats the EC winning HP TouchSmart 320-1030 ($699.99 list), which got a lower 1,825 point score. The recently reviewed HP Compaq 8200 Elite and not so recently reviewed iMac 21.5-inch (Thunderbolt) are both quite a bit faster than these systems, but then again both the HP and iMac are significantly over $1,000.

The combination of price, capabilities, and corporate credibility earn the Thinkcentre M71z our Editors’ Choice award for all-in-one business desktops. Its features, performance, and price are excellent. This is the system we’d buy if we were outfitting an office with clerical level desktop PCs.