How Lenovo's Making All-In-Ones the Future of Family Computing

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When you think of an All-In-One PC, your mind probably conjures up some centuries-old device rotting away in the ironically-named 'Internet Corner' of your local library. It's going to come as a shock, then, that one of the most innovative products in Lenovo's lineup is the all-singing, all-dancing, 27-inches-but-still-portable Horizon All-In-One.

So what, exactly, is the Horizon? At first glance, it might look like a vanilla All-In-One machine, albeit a pretty big one, given the 27-inch screen. But this isn't an All-In-One. Rather, Lenovo are selling it as a table-top PC -- a giant tablet that's meant to be shared by a bunch of users, rather than something that one person drives with a mouse while a jealous sibling looks longingly over a shoulder. Don't get it wrong -- you can, if you're feeling so inclined, still use the Horizon as a standard All-In-One, keyboard, mouse, spreadsheets and all. But it's got a few tricks secreted away as well.

Over a conventional All-In-One, the Horizon's packing a couple of key skills. The first is an internal battery, which means that hard as it might be to believe, the Horizon's actually pretty easy to move around between rooms. The Horizon's also got a spring-loaded kickstand on the back, which lets you switch smoothly between having the Horizon sitting up or lying flat down on its back.

Why would you want it lying down flat, I hear you ask? Well, have you ever heard of air hockey, or Monopoly? Cos if so, you're going to get on pretty well with the Horizon. Laying it down flat kicks it into table mode, launching Lenovo's custom Aura skin and giving you access to a whole library of multiplayer games. There's everything from the aforementioned classic board games, to air hockey (you even get special air hockey controllers bundled in with the Horizon, by the way) and fishing.

Combine those games with the Aura interface and 10-point multi-touch display, and you've got a device that people can share and play on at the same time. Multiplayer games (we're looking at you, kiddie birthday parties) are far simpler if you can plonk a computer down and press go, rather than faffing with missing cards and the two-year-old swallowing the bowler hat from the Monopoly set. Also, no cheating (not sure if that's a plus, actually). Given how hard it is to get kids to agree to share and play nice, it's also worth mentioning that the Aura interface lets people sitting round the Horizon access different content, so the kids don't even need to be on speaking terms to have fun with each other.

Powering all this playtime is pretty simple -- the Horizon's packing a Core i7 and discrete Nvidia 620 graphics, with 8GB of RAM on-board. That's enough to hum along at a fair old clip, powering the full HD screen on top with aplomb. There's even decent speakers on it -- tuned by Dolby, they're louder and clearer than any in-built speakers have the right to be. All that makes the Horizon pretty decent for watching films -- and even better when you consider it's got an HDMI-in port, so you can hook a smartphone or the like up to that luscious display.

For more details, you can check out TechRadar's review here; but suffice to say, the Horizon isn't your granny's all-in-one (although she'd probably get on with it just fine, too).