I reported recently about the Acer Aspire X3995 desktop PC which saves your money and desk space. Let’s take a look today on the Lenovo IdeaCentre Q180, which does the same in a more extreme way.
With a starting price of about 300 USD and EUR, the Lenovo Q180 nettop delivers a tiny form factor of 155x192x22mm, making it convenient for use even on the smallest home or office desks. Furthermore, it can be mounted on the back of a monitor and be practically invisible to the person sitting in front of the monitor. The Q180 can be put horizontally on the rubber bumps or vertically with help of its stand. In both cases, this is one of the smallest desktop PCs to date. Optionally, customers can add the separately sold DVD or Blu-ray, which makes the device about twice thicker.
The main tradeoff in this affordability + space saving approach is performance. The IdeaCentre Q180 uses the Intel Atom N2550 1.86GHz or N2700 2.13GHz CPUs, which are somewhat better than the netbook-use Atoms, but they still noticeably lag even behind the entry Intel Pentium chips. However, instead of the weak on-CPU GMA graphics, Lenovo has included the AMD Radeon HD 7450A 512MB dedicated GPU on systems with the N2550 and HD 6450A 512MB on models with the N2700. These graphics solutions are rather meant to improve HD video playback performance than provide 3D gaming support.
Also are included Wi-Fi, HDMI output, four USB 2.0 and two USB 3.0 ports, and a multi-in-one card reader, making the Lenovo’s Q180 fully ready for media consumption, Internet surfing, and office use.
Back to the price, $300 in the US and about 300EUR in Europe will get you a basic configuration with the Atom N2550, 4GB of RAM, and a 500GB hard drive, which can be replaced with a 750GB one for a higher price.
Conclusion: The Lenovo IdeaCentre Q180 is a desktop machine with a footprint measuring only a fraction of a full-size desktop PC’s. That’s the main and probably the only advantage of the Q180 in comparison to its larger siblings, but the downside is a lack of desktop-class performance. True, real desktops selling for about $300 don’t offer much either specs-wise. On the other side, you can buy a netbook (with a 10.1″ screen included) for approximately the same price, but it will have maximally 2GB of RAM, probably a 320GB HDD, and Windows 7 Starter version instead of Q180’s Home Premium. The cheapest full-size laptops with 4GB RAM, 500GB HDD and with Home Premium are about 50USD/EUR more expensive than the Q180, but also get you a 15.6″ screen for the price. All these points lead me to the conclusion that the Lenovo nettop is for those who want to have a tiny PC for desk use only, connected to a spacious larger-than-laptops’ monitor, with numerous USB ports, and all that for a price not greater than $400/400EUR (Q180 with included keyboard and mouse + 20-inch or larger display).