Lenovo ThinkCentre M92z review: Multitouch comes to business
At a Glance
In today’s business world, the keys to getting the most out of your computer are productivity, space, and power—and the Lenovo ThinkCentre M92z all-in-one desktop PC epitomizes efficiency. Its 23-inch screen and compact dimensions take up little desk space in today's crowded office environments.
At $1247 (as configured, as of September 19, 2012), the ThinkCentre M92z represents a significant investment if a business plans to outfit its entire office with new machines, but it provides the power to back up the price. This true desktop system doesn't rely on laptop-style construction, and the result is better performance. The M92z comes outfitted with an Intel Core i7-3770S processor that runs at a standard 3.1GHz. A healthy 8GB of RAM supports optimal multitasking; when you run spreadsheets and browsers on this all-in-one, they'll seem as light as air.
Battling the benchmark
On our strenuous WorldBench 7 benchmark suite, the M92z earned a score of 91—about 9 percent slower than our baseline system. By way of comparison, the Vizio CA27-A1 27-inch all-in-one, also priced at $1250, racked up a mark of 122. In part, the big difference in scores is attributable to Vizio’s quick startup time (20.6 seconds), which is less than half as long as the M92z requires (49.4 seconds). The Vizio included a small SSD as cache to support its included 5400-rpm 1TB drive; that SSD cache also improves performance in the content creation and office productivity benchmarks. The M92z has a 1TB (7200-rpm) hard drive that manages to outperform the Vizio on most normal hard-drive benchmarks, however, so take that into account when you're choosing a business system. The Vizio would be a good choice for a larger, prettier screen, but for pure productivity the Lenovo comes out ahead.
All work and no play
Don’t expect too much gaming performance from the M92z. The all-in-one comes with Intel’s integrated HD Graphics 4000, though you have the option to move up from that to an AMD Radeon HD7650 with 1GB of memory. When we ran our graphics benchmark at the highest quality settings and a resolution of 1920 by 1080 pixels, the M92z managed average frame rate of 15.9 frames per second on Dirt 3 and 10.1 fps on Crysis 2—about what you'd expect with Intel's GPU. When we lowered the graphics qulity setting and dropped the resolution to 1024 by 768 pixels, the M92z ran Dirt 3 surprisingly well (65.3 fps), but Crysis 2 still struggled at a playable but far from pretty 34.2 fps. Of course, gaming performance is rarely a major consideration for business desktops.
The screen is a 23-inch multitouch display with antiglare capability and a maximum resolution of 1920 by 1080 pixels. The screen gives a good 178-degree viewing range, and you can easily adjust the screen by tilting it. The sturdy stand looks like something you'd find on a clerical worker's desk. The LED screen isn’t exceptionally sharp, and its antiglare material gives it a slightly cheaper look.
Ports and connections
The M92z is well stocked with ports and connectivity options. It includes optional PS/2 keyboard and mouse connectors as well as a serial port for unusual holdover peripherals. Businesses often need to connect legacy devices, so the inclusion of older ports like PS/2 and RS-232 can be quite useful. In case you need additional screen space, you'll find a DisplayPort-in and -out connection, but you don’t get any DVI, HDMI, or VGA connections. The all-in-one has four USB 2.0 ports on the back and two USB 3.0 ports on the left side. An ExpressCard slot and an 11-in-1 card reader slot on the left side, and a DVD multiburner on the right round out the offerings. Finally, if you worry about workplace theft, the M92z has an integrated Kensington lock to keep it in place.
The ThinkCentre M92z also offers full networking capabilities. It has a gigabit ethernet port on the back, a Centrino Wireless N 2230 Wi-Fi adapter, and Bluetooth, so it can connect in practically any office—with or without a wired connection.
The M92z comes equipped with an integrated webcam and microphone. It has been optimized for VoIP and comes with integrated speakers that feature Dolby sound enhancement. It's also the first 20-inch all-in-one that is vPro-ready, for even more business support.
Finally, the system is bundled with its own wireless mouse and keyboard. They are standard peripherals except that the mouse is astonishingly small: It fit into about half of my hand. The keyboard provides plenty of room for your hands to move around, far removed from the cramped layouts that torment stubby-fingered users like me.
Overall, the Lenovo ThinkCentre M92z is a great choice for users in need of a strong, smart business system. The screen is large enough and eminently usable, thanks to its touchable antiglare properties, the hardware can rival any other office system (though it's not a good choice for playing games), and the price is right for equipping certain key office workers who need relatively strong performance in a small space.