Lenovo Q150 IdeaCentre Nettop Computer

On a recent business trip I saw one of these in action & knew I had to have one.  It actually solved a problem I was working on for a few months.

Prior to purchasing the Q150 I had been looking for a way to utilize DLNA technology to stream media (of any type) to the TV/Stereo in the living room.  After spending a lot of time doing the research I found that just about every reasonably priced solution had the same flaw…  Spotty compatibility.  Some players supported formats A-S & others supported H-Z.  Nothing I could find supported A-Z.

Enter the Lenovo Q150 IdeaCentre Nettop Computer.  Since it’s a fully functioning Windows 7 PC you can use it to do anything you would normally use a PC for.  It’s tiny size allows you to fit it into your entertainment stack (or hang on the back of the TV with the included mounting kit).

Highlights:

  • Windows 7 (Home Ultimate)
  • HDMI Out
  • 1.6 GHz Intel Atom D510 Dual Core CPU
  • 2GB DDR2 RAM
  • 500GB HDD
  • 802.11n WiFi
  • NVIDIA ION 512MB GPU
  • OPTIONAL Wireless Keyboard
  • Less than $400!

Notice that the wireless keyboard is OPTIONAL.  This caught me by surprise after I placed my order from Lenovo but I ordered from Amazon ($45) & had it in a few days.  The wireless keyboard is nice but after using it for a few days I would look for an alternative (with backlit keys).

As a Windows 7 Ultimate user I was excited to get the Q150 up and running.  Since my U-Verse head end is in the same cabinet I hard wired the Q15o into the network & fired it up.  Nothing unusual here as it’s just a PC.  Initial setup went without a problem.

The Q150 is pretty snappy when it comes to performance.  Typical boot time is less than a minute & there are very few delays unless you are trying to do too many things at once.  After removing all of the “BloatWare”  (which there was actually very little of) I was left with a lean, mean, media machine.

Something I did not think of is how things would look on a 42″ display running at 1920×1080 resolution.  Text is very small at this resolution and at a viewing distance of 12 feet unusable…  A couple of accessibility tweaks in Windows 7 & we were all set.

I had a few items I wanted to install on the Q150 (Firefox, Shark007 codecs, Microsoft security Essentials) & ran into another issue.  Remote Desktop (RDP) is not supported in Windows 7 home!  I tried a few other tools & was able to connect but the high resolution does not scale very well (or at all) on a 14″ laptop.  I ended up finding a patch online that enables RDP & I was all set.

The primary purpose for this machine is media.  I launched Windows Media Center & after a quick configuration I was ready to go.  By installing the Shark007 Codec pack I can now play just about every known format of media out of Media Center.  I can even use the X Box 360 as an “Extender” and enjoy the benefits of Media Center on another TV in the basement!

Videos look great & the NetFlix plug-in means I can move the Roku to another TV in the house & watch movies there as well.  I’m not terribly thrilled with how Media Center handles my music collection so I think I’ll be running iTunes on the Q150 for the foreseeable future.

Although this was a preliminary review I hope you get an idea of how neat this little PC is.  If you are wanting to bring the Internet to your big screen TV & want the flexibility that a PC can deliver I would recommend checking out the Lenovo Q150 IdeaCentre Nettop Computer.  I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

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