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Hands On: The Lenovo ThinkCentre A70z For Work At Home Moms & As Family PC

When I first received the package for my review of the Lenovo ThinkCentre A70z  All-in-One (see disclosures below), I was excited but also worried about having the time to set up a new computer. I wondered how a desktop would fit into our full house and be shared by my three boys and me, a mom working from home. I was also curious what it would be like to have a 19″ screen computer in our house versus the smaller laptop screens. After unwrapping and using the Lenovo ThinkCentre A70z, my concerns were quickly put to rest as the computer is now a welcomed (and much needed) addition to our home.

TECHIE DETAILS: The Lenovo ThinkCentre A70z I am reviewing has an integrated 19” Widescreen Flat Panel Display (16:10), Intel Core 2 Duo E7500 processor, 320GB hard drive, 2 GB Ram, 802.11 a/b/g/n WiFi, web cam, USB mouse,
optional built-in microphone, DVD slot,  1.3MP webcam,  integrated speakers,DirectX® 10 integrated graphics card and 6 USB ports (3 rear and 3 side). It comes pre-installed with Windows 7 Professional 32 bit and is Energy Star 5.0 compliant.

Best yet – there is a 1 year on-site warranty which means someone will come the customer’s location to fix the computer should there be a problem. Access to the hard drive and memory is well designed. The starting price is same as a netbook: $499, with the configuration above costing $729. The hard drive options are 160GB, 250GB, 320GB and 500GB. The RAM options are 1GB or 2GB with 2 slots allowing an upgrade to 4GB.  The form factor is only 2.44″ thick and it is a “all in one” so the desktop and monitor are a single unit. The A70z can be wall-mounted using additional hardware if the use prefers a fixed location for the computer.

There are  three mounting options: stand, desk arm and wall (all
optional and sold separately) and Simple cable management for crowded work spaces
.

CLICK HERE TO SEE THE Lenovo ThinkCentre A70z  PRODUCT FEATURE PAGE

TRANSLATION: This is a budget friendly family desktop PC, yet it can also be a solution for work at home parents. We don’t have a separate work space for a desktop so we use our dining room table (the one in our living/dining room that get’s used twice a year for holidays and used daily for homework). The Lenovo ThinkCentre A70z was light and compact enough to be moved when we needed the space for entertaining. The 19″ screen is a welcome change  (along with crisp graphics) from a smaller laptop screen. The wired keyboard and mouse shipped with the A70z was comfortable for both my kids and me. The boot up time was quick, and the Intel Core 2 Duo processor fast enough to perform all the family computing tasks.

The picture above is an press kit image. I wish I had a home office that looks like this… If this was a picture of me it would include baskets of unfolded clean laundry around the desk and assorted Lego structures on the floor from my sons…But the picture does show the clean looking – slim form factor of the Lenovo ThinkCentre A70z.

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Goodbye Kinko’s, Hello Epson Artisan 800

Click HERE to visit the GIVEAWAY CONTEST at the Silicon Valley Moms Blog  (the Giveaway is an Epson Artisan 800).

With all the home technology choices available, one of my most
difficult decisions was selecting a printer to buy. So I used the "home
away from home-office" (Kinko's) for printing, scanning and faxing
while looking around for the right printer. I was considering going to
Kinko's to print name tags and stickers for the recent LA Moms Blog launch party. But this time I decided it was time to find a printer so that my office could come back home.

My
required features included built in Wi-Fi available to the multiple
laptops in our house (via our wireless router), plus high-quality fax
and scanner capabilities. I needed the printer to have multiple printer
settings and a variety of trays so I could print everything from
photos, paper documents and nametags/stickers. I also wanted the ability to print
photos without the requirement to wire a computer directly into the printer (I download from my digital camera).
Along with that, I wanted a printer that has separate printer
cartridges for colors so I only need to replace the actual colors that
are out – instead of the whole cartridge.
Most of all, I am not only a techie but also a busy mom  – so the printer needed to be intuitive and easy to use.

As timing would have it (seriously), the One2One Network contacted me to to see if I wanted to review the Epson Artisan 800 Series All-in-One Printer. When I checked the fact sheet, I was happy to see that the printer had ALL my desired features and more.

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It also looked so sleek….

The Artisan 800 has a
touch panel/LCD for easy instructions along with Wi-Fi networking,
multiple print settings and paper trays. The printer is an
All-in-One with the ability to print, copy, scan, and fax.  I was starting to think that my home office would get some "real" office functionality.

But the real test for any parent using a computer is the overall ease of installation and use.

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