One of the most intriguing changes that has taken place in the last few years—with the advent of very powerful desktop processors and advances in graphics—has been the emergence of entertainment oriented PCs called media-center PCs. Microsoft recognizing this change jumped onto this bandwagon when it launched its OS called Windows XP Media Center. This lead to a boom in this space with a number of manufacturers, making home theater PCs.
Physically the Lenovo Q is a stunner. It ships in a tower form factor and comes in a beautiful silver body with a piano-black matt finish. The body is fairly small and combined with the jog dial that is present on the 19” LCD; it gives it a rather surreal look that is kind of difficult to explain. To understand how well it really looks, check out the pictures. They do a better job of explaining this beauty.
The LCD panel that ships with Q is a standard 19” inch monitor with a native resolution of 1280x1024. While it is a good LCD, we were left wondering as to why a widescreen monitor was not used considering the fact that this is a home-theatre PC. Nowadays widescreen monitors are on par with standard ratio monitors and offer a far better experience for multimedia with their 16:10 aspect ratios. The bottom half of the LCD panel holds the Jog dial which is used for accessing the DMP application and also controls playback/recording functions.
Another departure from the norm is the fact that unlike others, Lenovo has developed its own proprietary media platform it calls DMP, or the Digital Media platform. While this may seem like a strange move, in reality it is a good one as the interface is quite intuitive and provides a comprehensive media-center like functionality. The Digital Media Platform works in two ways. Under Windows it works as an overlay to windows and using the Jog dial that is present on the LCD, you can access the media-center functionality. If you don’t want the hassle of booting into Windows, the PC also offers a dedicated button that will boot the machine into a Linux-like boot system which sports the same GUI as the windows overlay.
The Lenovo 3000Q—keeping in mind its role as an entertainment center—has been built on Intel‘s Core duo platform or better known as the Pentium D series of processors. For graphics, Lenovo has chosen the Nvidia’s 6200 series graphics card which left us baffled. There are better graphic solutions around. In fact if you refer to our home theater PC, you will see we chose an onboard solution that offered far more functionality.
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