Lenovo C540 review

The Lenovo C540 is a solid choice for users looking for a reasonably-priced all-in-one desktop that can tackle daily home productivity tasks without looking like a total eyesore.
Photo of Lenovo C540

The Lenovo C540 ($499 list as configured) is a basic all-in-one desktop geared toward those with modest computing needs who want to save space without breaking the bank. It’s a Windows 8-equipped system kitted out with an excellent 23-inch display and an energy-saving processor. If you’re on the market for a reasonably-priced system that can tackle daily home productivity tasks, like surfing the web or watching movies, it’s a solid choice.

Design and Features
Since all of its components are tucked away into a relatively thin display, the Lenovo C540′s plastic chassis bears more of a resemblance to a monitor than an all-in-one desktop. Rather than utilizing an easel-type design like the Acer Veriton VZ2650G-UG645X, its 23-inch display is propped up by a sleek aluminum stand. Taken together, its glossy black chassis and silver aluminum stand create an appealing two-tone finish similar to that of our current Editors’ Choice for entry-level all-in-one desktops, the Gateway One ZX4970G-UW308. At 16.8 by 22.2 by 7.7 inches (HWD), it’s compact enough to conserve desk space and reduce clutter.

Like the Gateway One ZX4970G-UW308, the Lenovo C540′s 23-inch display has a full HD resolution of 1,920 by 1,080, which is a step up from the 1,600-by-900 resolution found in similarly priced all-in-ones like the HP Pavilion 20-b010z. Like the system itself, the Lenovo C540′s display is very easy on the eyes thanks to the ease with it dishes out rich colors and crisp text. Moreover, the inclusion of a slot-loading DVD burner allows users to take full advantage of the Lenovo C540′s full HD resolution. Given its wonderful display, it’s somewhat disappointing that the Lenovo C540 doesn’t sport an HDMI-in port like the Gateway One ZX4970G-UW308, as it would have been right at home with Blu-ray players, HD cable boxes, and game consoles. On the other hand, the Lenovo C540′s omission of a touch screen is entirely consistent with the price point; the only touch-enabled system that we’ve seen that’s even close to this price range is the HP TouchSmart 320-1030, and it costs $200 extra. As long as you’re content with navigating Windows 8 with the bundled mouse and keyboard, the Lenovo C540′s display is easily the best in its price range.

Connectivity options are passable on the Lenovo C540. The left side of the chassis sports a pair of USB 2.0 ports, headphone and mic jacks, and a 6-in-1 multicard reader. The rear, meanwhile, houses four more USB 2.0 ports, an HDMI-output, and Ethernet. Like the Lenovo C325, the Lenovo C540 doesn’t feature any USB 3.0 ports. Although this isn’t necessarily a fatal omission in this price point, it does have the unfortunate effect of rendering the system markedly less future-proof than, say, the Gateway One ZX4970G-UW308 or the Veriton VZ2650G-UG645X. It does, however, feature 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi connectivity, so users need not remain tethered to their routers to get online.

The Lenovo C540 comes with a 1TB 7,200rpm HDD. Preloaded software is mercifully kept to a minimum, though its selection is on par with the rest of its class. You’ll encounter the usual assortment of trialware (Microsoft Office 365, McAfee Internet Security), as well as programs you’ll actually use (Power DVD), and bloatware (desktop links to Evernote and Amazon), and proprietary software (Lenovo Support, 5GB on Lenovo Cloud Storage). Lenovo covers the Lenovo C540 with one-year warranty on parts and labor.

Performance

The C540′s 2.90GHz Intel Pentium G2020 CPU does a good job of conserving energy, without entirely forsaking processing power. For instance, its Cinebench R11.5 score of 2.27 points bested the rest of its class, with the Gateway One ZX4970G-UW308 (2.24 points) and Veriton VZ2650G-UG645X (2.18 points) trailing closely behind.

While it’s best suited for handling your basic day-to-day workload, the Lenovo C540 proved capable of handling sporadic amateur photo- and video-editing projects in our multimedia benchmark tests. Its performance in both Handbrake (1 minute 33 seconds) and Photoshop CS6 (5:51) outgunned the Gateway One ZX4970G-UW308 (2:16 and 6:08, respectively). On the other hand, don’t expect the C540′s integrated Intel HD Graphics 2500 GPU to stand a chance in today’s visually intensive games; like the rest of its class, it came nowhere near crossing the 30 frames-per-second playability barrier in either Aliens Vs. Predators or Heaven.

The Lenovo C540 is a reasonably priced entry-level all-in-one desktop that average users with basic computing needs will find more than satisfactory. With an excellent 23-inch display and handsomely designed chassis, it’s a good value that helps save space and money. That said, it’s not well-rounded enough to unseat the Gateway One ZX4970G-UW308, which gives users USB 3.0 connectivity and an HDMI-input for a little under $100 extra. Still, it’s a close runner-up that remains worth checking out.

BENCHMARK TEST RESULTS:
Check out the test scores for the Lenovo C540

Specifications
Touchscreen No
Primary Optical Drive DVD+/-RW (Plus Minus)
Processor Family Intel Pentium
Graphics Card Intel HD Graphics 2500
Screen Size 23 inches
Monitor Type LED Widescreen
RAM 4 GB
Type All-in-one
Storage Capacity (as Tested) 1000 GB
Operating System Microsoft Windows 8

Verdict
For average users on the market for a reasonably-priced all-in-one desktop that can tackle daily home productivity tasks like surfing the web or watching movies without looking like a total eyesore, the Lenovo C540 is a solid choice.
Published under license from Ziff Davis, Inc., New York, All rights reserved.
Copyright © 2012 Ziff Davis, Inc