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).
- 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.