Lenovo IdeaCentre Q180: Atom's Wake
Peripherals and Extras, Software
Peripherals and Extras
Normally a desktop comes with little more than the tower. That’s not the case here. Lenovo ships the Q180 with a cast and crew of additional hardware that compliments the tiny system.
Let’s start with the most mundane first - the keyboard and mouse. It’s not uncommon for systems to ship without either, but both are provided with the Q180. Both are simple, but while the mouse is perfectly function the keyboard is borderline unusable. Normal typing will occasionally cause a key cap to become stuck, requiring a few taps of the bottom of the keyboard to dislodge it. There’s nothing resembling key feel - only touchscreens offer less tactile feedback.
Our review unit also arrived with Lenovo’s “Enhanced Multimedia Remote.” This is a small handheld keyboard similar to the Logitech diNovo Mini Keyboard. It includes not only alphanumeric keys but also a trackpointer-like navigation nub, left/right mouse buttons and a touch-sensitive scroll area.
Using the remote required some practice, but after a half-hour it started to feel natural. The keyboard is arranged differently from a standard computer keyboard, which can cause some mistakes, but re-learning the tiny arrangement probably won’t cause your head to explode.
ThinkPad owners will be disappointed to find the trackpointer on this remote is no where close to the precision of those available on Lenovo’s laptops, but it works well enough. The entire unit is light, which makes frequent use more inviting.
But wait - there’s more! The Q180 ships with a small plastic stand for those with the irrational urge to sit their computer upright and a black metal bracket that can be used to attach the computer directly to the rear of a large monitor or HDTV with an unused VESA mount. This is an option that I think could be attractive for people who want an all-in-one but don’t want to be stuck with the included monitor.
Lenovo’s Q180, like any other consumer desktop, comes with some pre-installed software. The most annoying is, of course, the anti-virus trial courtesy of McAfee. It loves to pop up at the most inconvenient times, such as when you’re attempting to watch a video. Uninstalling will take care of that, but until then you’ll have to endure it.
Otherwise, there’s not much to talk about. Google Chrome is included, which is nice - except for the pre-installed browser would not accept extensions from the Chrome Web Store (it acted as if the browser was not installed at all).
The lack of bloatware is generally good news, because this is a system that needs every bit of power it can squeeze out. Background processes that would not trip up a Core i5 quad could be a problem here.