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Lenovo Flex 20: This tabletop all-in-one makes too many compromises

Michelle Mastin | Jan. 22, 2014
Giant tablets such as this one promise to revolutionize family game night, but the Flex 20 isn't up to the task.

The gaming accessories are cool enough; but when it came to the bundled games, the ones that took advantage of them were some of my least favorites. The fishing game that uses the joysticks is slow moving. The air hockey game is decent fun, but it can have up to four controllers on the screen and the computer doesn't control any of them, so you can't play alone. Lenovo Tycoon, which relies on the E-Dice, is a painfully slow, overly animated, overly complicated version of Monopoly. My favorite games, King of Opera and DrawRace 2, don't require the extra baubles at all.

After the Flex 20 failed to win me over during family game night, I set it up in my office to serve as an all-in-one desktop. It wasn't so great in that role either. Of all the computers I've tested, none has had a problem connecting to my Wi-Fi router two floors below. The Flex 20 couldn't hold a connection.

It's priced about right
The included keyboard and mouse connect to a unified USB receiver, which is good because the dongle takes up one of the machine's two USB 3.0 ports. That leaves you with just one USB port for everything else you might want to hook up. The machine has no memory card reader, no HDMI input or video-out, and no optical drive. It really is like an oversize tablet in that sense.

The idea of a touchscreen all-in-one that you can lay flat on a table is relatively new, so manufacturers are still looking for the right balance of performance, price, portability, and features. Lenovo went all out with the Horizon and then scaled back with the Flex 20. I think the company scaled back too far. Even with the lower-resolution screen, the Core i3 processor isn't enough to support fluid tabletop gaming, which is where such machines should excel.

The Flex 20's only saving grace is the fact that Lenovo is selling this computer for cheap. You'll find it at Best Buy for $800, but at the time of this review I saw it on Lenovo's own online shopping site for $750. At those prices, it might find a happy life in your child's playroom.

 

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