Saturday, June 29, 2013

Lenovo IdeaCentre Horizon Cart review: Put your 27-inch tablet on wheels

I thought this cart for Lenovo’s 27-inch IdeaCentre Horizon tablet/all-in-one PC was pretty cool when I first laid eyes on the prototype, and I got even more excited when I heard the real thing would retail for $299. That’s a reasonable price for a specialized product that will never be mass-produced. I mean, I don’t expect Lenovo to sell millions of Horizons, and only a fraction of those buyers will pick up the cart to go with it.

Now that I’ve spent some time with the finished product, I’m not nearly as jazzed. Let me give you the upside before I bang on the cart’s shortcomings. The tablet itself weighs nearly 19 pounds, so it’s not something you can just tuck under your arm and move from room to room. And you definitely won’t want your kids lugging it to and fro. Mount it to the cart, on the other hand, and the combo can move effortlessly around the house—provided it’s rolling on tile, vinyl, cork, or hardwood floors or very low-pile carpet.

The cart lets you use the tablet as a roll-around all-in-one. The base renders the affair very stable, but you'll need to hold the keyboard on your lap.

Brakes on all four wheels keep the cart stationary when you arrive at your destination, and the base is wide enough that you don’t need to worry about it tipping over even if you push hard while the brakes are locked. Lay the computer flat in table mode, and you can play air hockey, arcade games, and board games using the provided paddles, joysticks, and E-dice.

Now for the other side of the scale: You can’t pivot the tablet into portrait mode, which means it’s no good for playing virtual pinball. And while you can tilt the tablet on its horizontal axis and use it as an all-in-one PC, you’ll need to hold the keyboard on your lap. The removable tray that mounts to the center column is suitable only for storing accessories. Also, you have no surface for operating the mouse, leaving you dependent on the touchscreen. Last, the cart is not height-adjustable—a big ergonomic no-no.

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