In Lenovo's pantheon of devices, the 700 series is near the top, but not quite their flagship. Typically they're cheaper with almost the same specs, but missing the flashy designs and maybe some cool/gimmicky special feature of the top of the line 900 series models. That all seems about right for the IdeaCentre 700, an all in one desktop that does have a couple of pretty neat, unique features for the market and good specs but an uninspired design. It also has an absolutely gorgeous 4K display for a quite reasonable price, which makes it a tempting buy just for that reason.
The internals of the 700 AIO are... perfectly sufficient, if not top of the line. There's a 6th generation Intel Core i5 quad core CPU, 8GB's of RAM, and a 1TB hard drive with a small solid state cache. Performance is pretty good; I tried setting up a virtual machine and was able to run my usual workflow in Windows and the Ubuntu VM simultaneously, at a good clip. A full SSD would probably be a good idea, and is available on the 700 AIO, just not my review version.
What is not at all mediocre, on the other hand, is the display. As mentioned before, it's a 4K UHD 3840x2160p panel. But it's not just 4K - this thing is beautiful. It's also quite bright, has pretty good color reproduction to my non-graphics-artist eyes, and also happens to be a touchscreen. And normal HD content looks great, not just 4K video. Game of Thrones giant battle scenes in the latest episode at the time of this review were simply stunning on the 700 AIO.
The competition does have an even better screen though, in the form of Apple's Retina 5K iMac, but it costs more and doesn't have HDMI input.
As I said, a fancy industrial design is one of the advantages of Lenovo's 900 series, and the aforementioned iMac, but the 700 isn't exactly terrible looking. It's just a rather plasticy black monitor frame, though I do quite like the stand for some reason. There's also quite large bezels above and below the screen to accommodate the Intel RealSense camera(more on that later) and speakers. Also, while it does have a touchscreen, and has a nice adjustable hinge in the stand, if you want to use a Lenovo all in one in "tabletop mode," tilted 90 degrees backwards, you'll have to spring for the Yoga 900 AIO.
Overall, Lenovo's been trimming down the number of extra apps they put on their PC's, which I quite appreciate. This is the case with the 700 as well, though it still has more than I'd like; There's McAfee's ever-annoying antivirus suite, a whole bunch of Lenovo apps, and for some horrible, unknowable reason, Candy Crush. Please, PC manufacturers, do not preinstall the free version of the latest edition of an uninspired smartphone game that fell out of favor years ago on your computers.
Speakers, RealSense and miscellaneous:
Despite how large they are, and their prominent JBL branding, I'm not a big fan of the speakers on the 700 AIO. They sound pretty decent on classical recordings such as Isaac Stern and Leonard Rose's Beethoven: Triple Concertos album, but for anything country, such as Dierks Bentley's Black, I found them muddy. For watching a couple videos on Netflix, they also weren't nearly as good as my Logitech desktop speakers or some laptops I've used.
Meanwhile, the RealSense camera is pretty great. Besides enabling Windows Hello(facial recognition) logins, you can download a number of different apps designed for it. There's simple photo apps that let you add depth-related filters, motion controlled games in the style of the Kinect, and other interesting options. Basically, from a technical perspective, there's three lenses instead of one, and one of them is an infrared sensor, which together allows depth positioning and 3D imaging.
One other cool aspect of the 700 AIO that I actually didn't test out is that it allows easy access to upgrade and fix components, even without tools for some things. This is quite unusual for an all in one. By comparison, Apple seals things off as much as possible and uses unusual screws to make things harder to work on yourself.
As for the bundled mouse and keyboard, Lenovo still makes a good keyboard, but like any bundled set there's far better third party options. The 700 does have a built in optical drive as well, a rarity these days.
Next to Dell's XPS One 27, Apple's iMac or Lenovo's own 900 AIO, the 700 AIO is plain looking and not the fastest machine around. But the combination of a fabulous 4K display and reasonable price tag make it quite a compelling buy. I just would trade the mediocre but presumably somewhat expensive JBL speakers and cool but unnecessary RealSense camera for a Core i7 and the optional NVidia GTX 950 graphics card.