Saturday, July 12, 2008

lenovo IdeaCenter K2.1 K Series review

We found the Lenovo K2.1, a general purpose desktop, on a good deal after rebate at New Egg. It arrived a couple of days ago (early July 2008), and we decided to publish an on-going review of our experience with it. So this is the start of our on-going review of the Lenovo K2.1 IdeaCenter!

The out of the box Windows Experience Score
We start with the Windows Experience Scores. These are of the computer as it came out of the box. We haven't made any modifications or additions to the existing hardware. It's nice to see that the disk has the highest score.

First impressions out of the box

Do note that, as the specs state, it only has one VGA output, so if you were looking for a computer with a DVI-D output, this is not it!

It does come with Vista Basic, but "Aero" is turned on. If you want to speed up performance, especially if you are not using "beautiful" graphic applications, just turn it off.

Software that comes with it includes:
  • Cyberlink PowerToGo 5 for burning CDs and DVDs
  • Lenovo Media Studio, which is a rebranded version of a Cyberlink program
  • Trend Micro PC Cillin Internet Security 2007 Anti-Virus with a 90-day free trial
  • Internet Exploder 7. I recommend getting Firefox!
  • Lenovo Veriface
  • and a few more

I haven't played with the Lenovo One Key restore but what is handy is that there is a big button on the keyboard, right above the numeric keypad that can bring up your favorite browser. So instead of "Control-N", you press the big button. The "One Key Restore" functionality comes from a red thin circular button that engulfs the big browser button. You cannot hit the "one key" button accidentally, your finger has to approach from a specific angle.

As the specs mention this laptop does not include a camera (webcam) but it still comes with the Lenovo face recognition software, which may be a pain if you frequently change your hairstyle, shave/grow beard, wear makeup, different sets of glasses, etc, etc.

The included keyboard is USB, while the included mouse is PS/2. It has two slots so if you have any older or favorite keyboards and mice you want to use, here is your chance :)

First impressions on performance

Quiet. In a room with other devices, but no radio or TV sound or people speaking, you can't really hear it. Of course this depends on your setup and how sensitive your hearing is. I am not going to use a decibell meter, partially because I don't have one :)

Performance is nice for browsing and general-purpose activities, the closest I can compare it to is a laptop with similar specs, and the K2.1 does better. You can find out how well its processor does in standard tests by looking it up at, which is a great reference site by the way.

I did measure one dvd burning session, it took three minutes end-to-end to go from the mp3 version of NIN's "The Slip" to a finished burned audio CD (yes audio that you can play in standard cd players). This is the version that NIN was giving away to fans on their website. This was done with the included Power2Go 5 program from Cyberlink.

Trying to bring Windows up to date with the latest updates is a never-ending cycle as it picks up new updates that it needs after new update. Oh Microsoft...

The network connection was smooth. Just plugged it in and found everything on its own. It also has a model installed, but I haven't tested that yet.

Nothing annoying (ISPs) or anything like that popped up and bothered me with giving them a look. This is good. The only thing that pops up as a reminder is the anti-virus program (Trend Micro PC Cillin) which reminds you to activate your free 90-day trial, which is a good thing since the included Microsoft software has a firewall, but not an anti-virus program.

Questions? Comments?

If you have any questions or comments about this computer, please leave them in the comments section, or send an email:

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