In a world full of laptops and desktops, every PC manufacturer has some work to do to make their offerings stand out. Lenovo has several ways of doing that, and today we’re looking at one that I’ve had a bit of time to mess with. The Lenovo Horizon 2e is a tabletop PC with some pretty awesome features to add to the mix. Is it worth picking up? I’ve spent a while with the machine and today I’ll give you my thoughts on it.
21.5” Inch 1920×1080 Touchscreen Display
Intel Core i3 Processor
Intel HD 4400 Graphics
The Lenovo Horizon 2e is a big computer, and that’s what it’s meant to be. In fact this is the smaller version of the device. Another 27” inch model is also available. Why? Well we will talk about that later in the review, but for now let’s focus on the outside. The Horizon is not thin or light by any means, but that doesn’t really matter. This isn’t a tablet, it’s a computer, but it feels like both. The machine has an adjustable hinge on the back which moves from holding the screen up at nearly 90° angle all goes all the way down to allowing the computer to lie flat on a table. This allows you to use the machine as a desktop computer, a giant tablet, or a place to play games with the family around the table.
Overall the hardware of the Horizon 2e itself is pretty nice. Everything feels very well built and looks pretty good. The hinge on the back is strong and I never worried about the machine slipping it’s position. The display is sharp and looks great when browsing the web, watching movies, and using apps. The touchscreen is responsive and a pleasure to use. It has a matte coating on it which assists if you happen to use your computer near a window and also when the computer is lying flat on the table. The speakers on the back are also loud and fairly good quality. They won’t win any awards, but they certainly get the job done. The only real complaint I have hardware wise is the weight. This machine weighs in just over 10 pounds. That is by no means light especially considering that you will likely be moving this around from time to time. Aside from that however, I don’t have many complaints when it comes to the hardware on the Horizon 2e.
As software goes we’re looking at Windows 8.1 just like it should be. Lenovo throws in some of their custom software to give you a bit extra functionality, but I didn’t find myself using it all that much. In essence this is Windows 8.1 as Windows 8.1 should be, and in some ways better than others. I’ll admit right now that I’ve never been a huge fan of Windows 8, but on the Horizon 2e I actually didn’t mind it.
Using this OS on a device independent of a keyboard and with a touch screen that you can use entirely on it’s own, this just makes sense. Windows 8.1 is optimized for touch screens, and that’s where the Horizon 2e shines, but you don’t have to trade off the traditional computer environment. Windows 8.1 is still a mix of pros and cons, but on the Horizon 2e, I’m much more of a fan of it than I ever was before. But it’s not Windows 8.1 that sets the Horizon 2e apart, it’s AURA.
So what’s the big deal about AURA? AURA is a special user interface that allows you to do some pretty unique things with this machine. It is 100% touch-driven and to be honest, was just amazing. The circular menus and expanding options felt like working on a Holo table (if you got that reference, kudos). The interface gives options for watching videos and looking at photos, but is also great for some fun game time. With games like Air Hockey, Chess, Draw Race 2 HD and more, this is a pretty fun machine. Personally my favorite was Air Hockey. I do think that the gaming aspect of AURA would be especially fun at parties and in groups.
The AURA interface also works great for looking at photos and videos, but where it really gets interesting is where your own phone gets involved. Compatible Android devices can use NFC to pair with the Horizon to bring in photos from your phone as well as videos. While not a big deal for me, I can see this being very useful for sharing photos with visiting family members, friends, etc.
The Horizon 2e has modest specs, and in real life use they perform perfectly fine. You won’t be blown away at the speed and you will almost certainly encounter lag, but that’s OK, this isn’t a gaming machine, it’s just a computer for everyday use. The main performance hiccups I saw came when I first booted up, which I expect on just about every computer. Other instances included when first launching AURA and also when using some third party programs like Google Chrome. I didn’t use many native Windows programs on the computer but I did give my brother a little bit to play Minecraft on it and he told me it runs, OK. On lower settings he was able to get about 45fps.
Keyboard & Mouse
Included in the box with the Horizon 2e is a wireless keyboard and a wireless mouse. Both are well designed and match the style of the computer perfectly. The mouse is pretty decent with tactile feedback and also a multi-directional scroll pad in the center. While it’s not my favorite mouse, it works just fine. The keyboard is pretty much the same way. It’s not my favorite, but it gets the job done. The layout is a bit annoying as it feels too condensed for me and the added “Fn” key and the row of control settings on the top just add to that. Overall though, it does get the job done.
|Large, high resolution, touchscreen display||Mediocre Battery Life|
|Loud Speakers||Irritating keyboard layout|
Pricing & Final Thoughts
The Horizon 2e is priced at $749 at Best Buy and can also be picked up from Lenovo’s own website. At the time of publishing this review, you can pick this up for $699 on Amazon. Whether or not it’s worth that is up to you. Personally it’s not for me, but I’m not a huge Windows user. If you have a family, have family over a lot, or need something with a big screen for basic tasks, this is a great option. If you’re a heavier user, this might not be for you.