Lenovo IdeaCentre B540

The Lenovo IdeaCentre B540 all-in-one PC is one of the less expensive ways to get a true Windows 8 experience with a large screen. You do give up a little compared to more expensive all in ones, but it’s still a decent buy all the same.

The Lenovo IdeaCentre B540 ($899 list) is a moderately priced touch-screen all-in-one desktop PC with a decent, if unremarkable, feature set. For about $900, you get a full touch-screen Windows 8 experience on a nicely equipped, nicely designed system. It’s missing a couple of future-proofing items like HDMI-in and DX11 graphics, but the B540 is certainly a decent enough machine for today, and one of the least expensive ways to get a full 1080p HD 23-inch touch-screen PC into your home.

Design and Features
Some might call the design monolithic, some might call it a black vertical slab. Whatever it is, the IdeaCentre B540 looks kind of like a mid-market HDTV, with a standard two feet and easel stand design. Its seamless glass lets you drag your fingers all over the screen, bringing up Windows 8 features like the Charms bar and the full list of apps from the Start screen. There’s a little bit of drag on your finger, but otherwise the touch-screen sensors are plenty sensitive and accurate enough. The screen measures 23 inches and has 10-finger touch functionality, so you can share the screen if you’re close to the person sitting next to you.

The B540 has a 1,920 by 1,080 screen, the native resolution for 1080p online videos. Unfortunately, it lacks a Blu-ray drive, so you’ll need to use an external optical drive for Blu-ray movies. The screen looks fine playing back DVD movies with the tray-loading DVD burner. The screen is certainly large enough for the touch interface, particularly when you are in desktop mode, using older pre-Windows 8 programs.