At CES 2013, Lenovo took the wrappings off of its latest and greatest device, the IdeaCentre Horizon, a 27-inch all-in-one tablet that the company is hoping will appeal to the household. That’s why Lenovo calls it a “Table PC” and it’s a device that we had the pleasure of using before it release.
Upon first glance, we thought the IdeaCentre Horizon to be some kind of prank or possibly even a non-working prototype. Instead, what we found was a visually stimulating all-in-one device that truly captivated us from start to finish.
When we were first shown the IdeaCentre Horizon, it was vertical and running Windows 8. However, Lenovo’s IdeaCentre Horizon is far more than a massive 27-inch Windows 8 tablet. After easing the slim but monstrous tablet into a horizontal state, the user interface of the IdeaCentre Horizon shifted to something completely different than Windows Phone 8. In fact, the software was far different than anything we’ve ever used on a Lenovo product, as you can see in the video demonstration below.
IdeaCentre Horizon Hands On Video
Lenovo calls it Aura and its the IdeaCentre Horizon’s multi-user, multi-touch interface. Aura is the centerpiece of the Horizon and it’s what makes the Horizon different from what, at first, appears to be just a large Windows 8 tablet. Aura looks much different than any UI that we’ve seen on a mobile device from Lenovo. The user interface sits in a wheel shape that can be moved about the display, making it easily accessible to a host of users. Sharing, of course, is at the heart of this 27-inch beast.
From the wheel, users are able to access a number of different features. For instance, users can pull up a video and easily share it with everyone else by dragging it around the screen. Same goes for photos. And they look fantastic blown up on a 27-inch display powered by NVIDIA GeForce graphics and either full HD or Quad HD resolution.
Of course, being able to bring up humungous videos and photos means that content will, at some point, take up most of the display’s real estate. Lenovo acknowledges this potential inconvenience with handy multi-touch gestures that allow users to move all of the content aside extremely quickly. Simply swipe once to move everything to the outside edge of the user interface and again to clear everything from the screen.
Sharing is a big proposition from Aura but there is another one that’s also very intriguing. That proposition of course is gaming, something that the IdeaCentre Horizon seems perfectly fit for.
Intel has built an app store for the IdeaCentre Horizon that Lenovo says will launch with over 5000 applications. Many of those apps are staples of all the major app stores. Monopoly, Texas Hold ‘Em, Routette and Draw Race 2 just to name a few. Yet, the Horizon doesn’t handle the games like a regular old tablet thanks to a couple of accessories that Lenovo has introduced alongside the device.
One is something Lenovo calls the Lenovo joystick that can stick to the devices massive display and is ideal for racing games, a game of air hockey, or even third person top down shooter. Best of all, because of the device’s display, four players can take advantage of the joystick with ease.
Additionally, Lenovo has introduced a die that uses RF-like technology which translates into real-time results on screen. So, for instance, we rolled the die and the results appeared on the screen and our character moved further along the board.
We were also challenged to a game of Texas Hold ‘Em wherein the players and the dealer’s cards appeared on-screen while we used Android devices to keep our cards hidden from other players.
From the app on the Android phone, we were able to place bets and keep our cards hidden. If an Android smartphone wasn’t available, simple gestures on the big screen quickly allowed us to peek at our cards or place bets. The experience was engaging, fluid and most of all, it was fun playing games against friends on a giant, beautiful looking touchscreen.
Lenovo is also keen on offering more uses than just sharing, collaborating and gaming though. Its Lenovo App Shop is also going to be full of educational software that will attempt to engage families.
Still, with everything that’s good, there are a few drawbacks. Battery life, at this point, is only around two hours, so games of Monopoly will likely have to be played with a charger plugged in. And the sheer size of the IdeaCentre Horizon will make it a tough fit inside many homes. Lenovo tries to accommodate with a stand, something that many prospective buyers will want to look into as without a proper place to put it, users will have to lug around a 17 pound gadget from room to room.
Devices of this caliber obviously don’t come without a cost and Lenovo will be looking for $1699 for the IdeaCentre Horizon when it arrives this summer. However, those with spare money and space will find a device that may be worth the investment.