Top positive review
18 people found this helpful
It's the ultimate home theater PC in a super-tiny footprint
on July 21, 2010
I just "downgraded" to this thing from a gigantic HTPC I built a couple years ago as a television computer. I am shocked and amazed at how small this thing is. I bought the Asus external Blu-ray drive (the one that is picured as standing vertically, with a blue cross design on its surface -- by the way that drive turned out to be poor quality but this isn't a review for that), which has a very tiny footprint in itself for being an external drive, and amazingly, the Lenovo is only slightly larger than the Blu-ray drive, you could literally stack the Lenovo on top of the Blu-ray drive and the blu-ray drive wouldn't be noticeably smaller.
And yes, this Lenovo plays back 1080p HD content just fine, thanks to the nVidia ION video chipset.
The flavor of Windows 7 that comes bundled with this Lenovo also comes with Windows Media Center. I have a Silicon Dust HDHomeRun so that I can stream live high-definition (1080p) antenna or cable television to my PC, and HDHomeRun works fine with Media Center on this Lenovo PC.
The Q150 also comes with PowerDVD for DVD playback, although it is not licensed for Blu-ray playback, but most external Blu-ray drives come with the more complete PowerDVD with Blu-ray support, or equivalent software for Blu-ray playback.
I was extremely happy to find an optical audio jack on the front of the Q150 behind the removable plastic panel where 2 more USB ports are also available. I didn't see the optical audio jack mentioned in the spec. (Still don't, am I blind?) I had purchased a Turtle Beach external USB sound card with optical output to provide the optical output I wanted for my home theater speaker system. It turned out that the Turtle Beach USB sound card's optical output was stuck in stereo mode and I saw no option to make it support Dolby digital. So finding the optical port on the front of the Lenovo really saved the day. I removed the Turtle Beach USB audio device and plugged the optical cable into the optical jack in front of the Lenovo and, yay, my home theater system indicated "Dolby digital" when I inserted my Blu-ray disc.
On the down side, while the wireless remote keyboard w/ trackball is really cool and handy and I was really looking forward to it, the dongle was missing from the box I received, so all the remote keyboard can do is sit there and look pretty. EDIT: Thanks to a commenter (Jerry Novick), "The keyboard receiving dongle is inside the back of the keyboard." Indeed! Yaaay!
I was also a little bit disappointed that there are only two USB ports on the back. I had to use a powered USB hub since the Blu-ray drive alone would have taken up both of the two USB ports, and I still haven't hooked up an external hard drive for TV recordings yet.
But overall I am extremely pleased with the Lenovo Q150. I was worried it might not be able to really keep up with HD content, but it does, it actually really does quite well, so I am pleasantly surprised by how capable this little thing is as a home theater PC.
One thing to note. The vendor Target (observe the "sold by" referenced vendor for this Amazon product) does not ship it in a packing box. The PC arrived in its off-the-shelf box, with a shipping label right over the Lenovo logo. That really made me peeved, the box was a bit crunched when it arrived. Fortunately the PC works.
By the way, I posted my video for this on You Tube, look for "The Ultimate HTPC Is Tiny!". It's in 3 parts, 30 minutes log, showing me unpacking, setting up, and doing the Hulu, Media Center, and Blu-ray tests (along with setting up everything for each such test).