328GB of onboard storage (8GB flash/320GB hard drive)
Resolution limited to 1690×900 pixels
TN panel limits viewing angles
Short battery life
Lenovo is mostly successful in its effort to blend a smallish all-in-one PC with a large Android tablet. The best news is that the experiment doesn’t cost a lot.
Lenovo’s N308 All-in-One is the most offbeat member of this oddball trio. Its $350 price tag is even more attractive than HP’s Slate 21 Pro ($379), but unlike that machine and Acer’s pricey TA272HUL ($1099), the N308 can also function as a battery-powered tablet. Many of its remaining specs, however, are not as compelling as those of either of its competitors.
The display is the biggest letdown. Where the HP has a 21-inch screen with resolution of 1920×1080 pixels and the Acer has a 27-inch monitor with resolution of 2560×1440 pixels, Lenovo delivers a 19.5-inch screen with resolution of just 1600×900 pixels. And where its competitors step up by using IPS panels, Lenovo cheaps out with an inferior TN panel.
Viewing photos and videos on this machine was a distinctly inferior experience. Its infrared two-point touch technology is a step ahead of HP’s camera-based two-point touch, but far behind Acer’s 10-point capacitive touch.
As with its competitors, Lenovo chose Nvidia’s Tegra 4 T40S processor to power the N308, aided by 2GB of DDR3/1600 memory and 8GB of flash storage. In a surprise move, Lenovo also packs a 320GB mechanical hard drive behind the glass. I know what you’re thinking: “A mechanical hard drive? In a tablet?” They’ve worked in notebooks for years, so they should be fine in tablets. Still, I’d love to see Lenovo’s warranty claims in a year’s time.
Lenovo provides a basic wireless mouse and keyboard with the N308, but unlike the HP and Acer machines, it can’t be used as a touchscreen display for a notebook or desktop PC. The all-in-one has two USB 2.0 ports, a 6-in-1 card reader, mic and headphone jacks, and a 10/100 LAN port.
The appeal of using the N308 as a big tablet is tempered by its 10-plus-pound bulk and the fact that its battery petered out after just 2 hours and 37 minutes in our battery run-down test. That’s long enough to watch one movie and do some IMDb searches afterward before needing to plug it back in. This isn’t the perfect all-in-one, but its low price tag and its ability to tap into the Android universe of free, high-quality, cloud-based apps gives it a very good price-to-performance ratio.
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Michael is TechHive's lead editor. He built his own smart home in 2007 and used it as a real-world test lab when reviewing new products. Following a relocation, he is in the process of converting his new home, an 1890 bungalow, into a modern smart home.
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