Review: Lenovo’s ThinkCentre Edge 92z is good for both work and play
At a Glance
LENOVO, INC. ThinkCentre Edge 92z (Model 3414-D3U)
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Surprisingly good gaming ices the cake with this thin, light, and capable all-in-one.
Lenovo’s ThinkCentre Edge 92z is a handsome all-in-one with a 21.5-inch, IPS, 10-point touch-screen display and several business-class features, including Microsoft Lync-qualified VoIP features. Opt for the discrete graphics option, as our eval unit was equipped, and you have a pretty good gaming system, too. Curiously, the graphics option isn’t available direct from Lenovo. We could find such a configuration available only through resellers such as Amazon, Best Buy, and New Egg.
Design, Input Ergonomics, and Ports
Styled in shiny black, the Edge92z is a looker, if not quite in the same league as an iMac. It's thin and quite light for an all-in-one. That’s an important characteristic if you plan to take advantage of the unit's VESA mount point and attach it to an articulated arm. The 92z's two front feet can be removed for a cleaner appearance in that configuration, and Lenovo sells the ThinkCentre Extend Arm, which clamps to your desktop, for a reasonable $90.
In its default configuration, the 92z sits on the aforementioned feet, leaning back on a spring-loaded kickstand. This leaves enough room to slide the keyboard between the feet, but the stand blocks much of the rest of the area behind unit.
As is typical of business-oriented desktops, the mouse and keyboard are of the wired USB variety. Consumers will likely prefer wireless peripherals, which are a $39 option if you buy the machine direct from Lenovo (but then you can’t get the discrete graphics option).
Ports, Controls, and Components
The 92z sports a capable and logical mix of ports: two USB 3.0 ports and a card reader on the left side of the unit, where they're easily reachable. Four USB 2.0 ports are on the back, where they are decidedly less accessible. There’s also both HDMI in and HDMI out ports in back, along with a gigabit Ethernet port. The right side of the unit is occupied by a DVD burner. No Blu-ray for you!
The non-customizable model 3414 is powered by an Intel Core i5-3470S CPU, 4GB of DDR3-1600 memory, a 500GB, 7200 rpm Seagate hard drive, and a discrete Radeon HD 7650A graphics card. Lenovo offers a range of customizable configurations directly, ranging from a model equipped with an Intel Core i3-3220 processor with integrated graphics for $1,099. Upgrading to a Core i7 with integrated graphics, 16GB of memory, and 180GB SSD boosts the sticker price very near the $2,000 mark.
The model 3414 we tested felt quite lively once Windows 8 had finished caching things. The unit delivered a Desktop WorldBench 8.1 score of 67 (based on a 100-point scale), which is good for an all-in-one. The 92z also managed decent gaming, though not at the display's native 1920 by 1080 resolution. We had to knock it down to 1366 by 768 or 1280 by 720 to get to the 30- to 40 frames per second range with most games.
1080p videos played smoothly, and the sound from the speakers was clear as a bell. Bass response was weak, but not disturbingly so for everyday use. Lenovo could take a cue from Vizio and offer a subwoofer to liven things up. The 2MP camera is par for this class, delivering a relatively smooth picture in normal lighting. A dual-mic array does a good job of eliminating background noise, so you don’t have a don a headset for VOiP calls.
The Bottom Line
The Lenovo Edge 92z is a better-than-average all-in-one that’s very well suited to business deployments, but the optional discrete graphics option renders it suitable for home environments, too. This AiO was born to live on the end of an articulated stand, though. Add that and a wireless mouse and keyboard and you’ll be very happy you went for the 92z.