Here at TechDissected, we are sometimes graced with receiving some pretty nice equipment for review, but this PC was a surprise. Not only is it a MultiMode PC (where it has a tablet mode and a desktop mode), it is also very powerful with an i3 or i5 Intel processor included. The amount of software, and peripherals makes this a serious contender in the world of MultiMode PCs. Let’s have a look at what makes this device so special.

The Horizon 2e Un-Boxed

Lenovo Horizon 2e Featured

The Horizon 2e comes in a respectable single box, weighing about 15-20 lbs. Opening the outer box reveals a cardboard box containing the keyboard and mouse, power unit, and various user’s manuals. On the other side of the box is a Styrofoam end and on removal you get to behold the beautiful PC. Pulling it out was a bit of a chore, as I wasn’t prepared for the heft of the device. At 10 lbs, it wasn’t massive, but for a fairly compact unit, it was surprising. I got it all propped up and plugged in, and this is how it looked.

 

It is certainly a clean look, and without the mouse and keyboard its even better. Without you say? Well yes, the Horizon 2e employs the use of a touchscreen. This was by far the most noticeable part of the screen for me. It is a bit cloudy, but not like the impairing vision cloudy. More like the increased glass thickness cloudy since it is to be used as a touchscreen more than a desktop. Think the touchscreen on a register terminal. Its not the brightest or the best looking, but it is rugged for the constant tapping and dragging of your fingers on its surface.

Along the left panel are three USB 3.0 ports, an HDMI port, card reader and the proprietary power connector. Connecting to these is quite easy in the existing location. On the outer right edge is the power and volume up / down buttons for easy access when using full screen applications.

Powering Up The Horizon 2e

After getting the device plugged in and powered on, it was time to explore. Since I have a PC with Windows 8 (non-touchscreen), I was familiar with the controls of the OS. This isn’t a review of Windows 8 or 8.1, or any of that. I like Windows fine myself, and this device handled all transitions from the desktop to the Start page without hesitation. It really showed the prowess of the Intel i5 that was included in the model shipped to me. I left it alone for a while, after I figured out it had a battery. I couldn’t wait to test out the claims of battery life, both from a Windows standpoint and a manufacturers standpoint.

First test was a longevity test. I put it in tablet mode and my wife and I completed a puzzle. The software (Aura) has a myriad of touch games and other software, pre-loaded for your immediate enjoyment. Games like chess, checkers, fishing and the like are included, as well as productivity tools like photo editing software. After our puzzle, we tried “air” hockey, which was fun, but a bit too fast paced for my liking. We then decided we’d finish another puzzle before bed and for the Horizon 2e, that wasn’t a problem at all. Off the first charge we got two hours and 45 minutes of battery life, with 20% remaining. The manufacturer lists 3 hours, watching an HD movie. I thought that our number was quite good, considering watching a movie requires no touchscreen use, which is exactly what I wanted to put to the test.

After a charge the next morning, we managed to use it for the next three nights to complete a puzzle without plugging it in. This is great news because it means that in standby the battery really holds up. Since its a Tabletop PC, you can bring it from one room to the next without worrying about dragging the charger around with it.

Horizon 2e Everyday Use

For a few days of my overall time with the Horizon 2e, I decided I would try to use it as my only PC in the home. It was a difficult task, since I’m such a heavy desktop PC user. I found, almost immediately, that just because a wireless mouse and keyboard were included did not make me want to use them. Instead, I wanted to use the PC as a tablet, using the touchscreen exclusively. I found that typing on the touchscreen was much easier in tablet mode. In addition, the kickstand that holds the PC up in tabletop mode is very rigid and held up nicely to all of my requirements of it. It doesn’t feel cheaply made in any way, and retains its rigidity after much use.

I would say, that after using a PC that I built myself for about 15 years, its very hard to go to a manufacturers PC without analyzing everything that is installed on the PC from the manufacturer. Their software on this PC is actually quite minimal, other than the obvious. Aura is the main piece of software and makes the Horizon 2e what it is. Aura excels at creating a place to access all of the pre-installed software on the Horizon 2e and it also doubles as a launcher for other touch enabled software. If you install a touch enabled game later on, you can add it to the launcher in Aura so you can launch it easier.

Technical Specifications

Description Lenovo® Horizon 2e
Processor
Up to 4th generation Intel® Core™ i5 Processor
Operating System
Windows 8.1 64
Graphics
Intel® HD Graphics 4400
Memory
4GB DDR3
Display
21.5″ FHD LED with integrated camera (1920×1080)
Dimensions (W x D x H)
20.70″ x 1.57″ x 12.56″
Weight
10.1 lbs
Storage
1TB HDD + 8GB SSD
Battery
Up to 3 hours (streaming a HD movie)
Webcam
2 megapixels (1080p)
Mic
Dual array mic
Audio
Stereo speakers with Dolby® Home Theater®
Connectors
3 x USB 3.0, HDMI-in, WiFi 802.11 BGN, 6-in-1 card reader, Bluetooth® 4.0, NFC
Android devices
Aura app available for free from Google Play

Horizon 2e Performance

I’ll start this section by saying that I expect certain things from a computer personally, and like I said before, from years of building my own I have a critical eye for manufactured PCs. While I love the look and feel of the Horizon 2e, and Windows 8.1 performs well, I found a few things lacking. Aura for one thing, is a bit laggy. Being a gamer of sorts, lag isn’t something I find friendly. After it launched from the desktop, it loaded quick, but then none of the apps showed up in their respective screens for around 30 seconds to a minute. I feel like this is where the RAM could have been upgraded. 4 GB just isn’t enough for these machines anymore, and in this case, its like it had to dump the launcher into the page file on the HDD in order not to kill something necessary. Again, not earth shattering, but something I noticed.

During my time with the Horizon 2e, we had company at the house; a 3 year old was one of them. I was very excited to try one of the multiplayer games, as the tabletop PC touts its “10 simultaneous touches,” and a child’s hands are up to the task. We played a few games, and during that time, the PC definitely had some issues keeping up with the touches. I’m not sure what would have caused it, as when my wife and I were piecing a puzzle together, we had nary an issue. Without the game, it seemed to work quite well, so its hard to analyze the specific issue.

I used the webcam for a few test video calls, the quality was very good, and the microphone was good. Aura includes some video editing software as well as photo editing software, which always makes webcams fun. The other neat feature I haven’t seen yet is the HDMI-in feature, like on the Horizon 2e. Most laptops and tablets have HDMI out, but being able to connect to this tabletop PC with your PS4 or other HDMI device is pretty slick and makes for a quick computing and entertainment center.

Conclusion

While I wouldn’t say the Lenovo Horizon 2e sailed into the tabletop PC lead, it does pack a punch. The tabletop form factor allows the PC to be moved easily to another location, without fuss. This flexibility allows for many functions including watching a quick video, viewing a recipe in the kitchen or playing air hockey using the pre-installed Aura software. The included webcam and microphone makes it easy to set this up, and Skype with family and friends, or even co-workers in any location where there is a WiFi connection.

I certainly enjoyed the Horizon 2e, and it was very complementary to my existing desktop setup. Since I can’t move my desktop PC, this made it fun and interesting to work on in another room. While it did have its issues with the included software and the multitouch features during the game, the experience was excellent overall. Certainly if you have kids, this is an excellent learning tool, which fosters interaction with the device and yourself. The USB 3.0 ports are easily accessible, and the power and volume buttons on the outside edge make for an excellent full screen experience.

If you are looking for a holiday gift with a twist, this might be it. It includes a keyboard and mouse for productivity, but converts into something you may not have experienced yet. The tabletop PC market is fairly new, and Lenovo has certainly attacked it head on with the Horizon 2e.

Product: Lenovo Horizon 2e

About the author

Jeff Trocchio

Apple IIe green screen is whence I came. Where I go, only technology knows. If its Automotive, Mobile, Gaming or Computer tech I'll try my best to give my thoughts on it.