Lenovo asked Medgadget to test and review the company’s latest computer called Multi-Touch m90z ThinkCentre, an all-in-one model that Lenovo designed for medical professionals, amongst others. This model is a desktop built into a 23 inch touch-screen monitor. Options on the model vary from 2 to 4 GB of RAM, a 320 or 500 GB hard drive, and numerous processor options (tested on an impressive Intel Core i5-650 running at 3.2 GHz).
Though not DICOM compliant, the color-rich 1080p HD LCD monitor is topped with a glossy overlay that allows for easy disinfection wipe-downs. The touchscreen technology in the m90z is different than in common touch operated devices because it’s actually using little cameras built into the bezel to see where your fingers come in contact with the screen. Because this does not rely on measuring electrical impedance or the force applied to the screen, you can use gloved fingers, backs of pens, and even hemostat tips if necessary to control what’s on the screen. Keep in mind that Windows 7 itself isn’t particularly great for touch operation, but medical applications designed for touch control are able to take advantage of this screen’s excellent sensitivity.
Due to the touch screen, Lenovo designed the model to sit at an angle (either 15 or 45 degrees) in order to prevent tip-over. Some users may prefer a more standard zero degree viewing angle which could be achieved through either a wall mount or the use of the Extend Arm accessory. The model might topple if a user pushed hard enough at the screen when the Extend Arm is extended up to its maximum though, so watch out.
Testing indicated that passwords for some security enabled sites and programs could not be entered through the touch screen, a security feature and occasional annoyance. As a result of the inability to perform some security enabled functionality through the screen, it is essential that a keyboard is maintained. We would suggest that Lenovo add a groove or bracket to the top of the unit that would allow for a keyboard to rest if the unit has been wall mounted. A wireless keyboard is an optional accessory.
There’s a built-in webcam, but in a nice touch Lenovo also added a security-enhancing manual shutter that closes the eye of the camera and turns off the mic. This feature can ensure that the web cam is not-operational, eliminating ever increasing privacy, confidentiality and spy-ware concerns. Additionally, a small green light turns on when the camera is recording. The image quality of the web cam is above average, at 2 mega-pixels with a clear HD image even in lower light. The microphone is high-quality, but our testers found the 2-watt speakers underpowered, and preferred to use a headset or external speakers for comfortable use of Skype, HealCam and other voice and video programs.
Another discerning feature of the m90z is that it can be opened like a more traditional desktop box via two blue push tabs, and changing common components doesn’t require any tools. This feature should allow lower cost maintenance and the ability to upgrade components, such as swapping the standard hard drive for a faster solid state model, adding on RAM, or upgrading to a Blue-Ray disk drive. The system uses laptop sized RAM chips but a full size hard drive. Cursory review found easy access to all standard internal components.
At around 30 pounds (14 kg), the system isn’t exactly portable, but then again if you need to move it from room to room, all you do is unplug it from the electrical socket and pick it up by the handle on the back of the box.
One minor concern we have with this computer is the touchbar next to the power button that is completely invisible until you wave your hand near it. The buttons can accidentally be pressed and we had one confusing moment when we accidentally switched the monitor to take input from another computer, and the screen went blank without even throwing up a logo indicating it’s switching inputs.
Another thing to consider is that there are USB ports, mic and heaphone jacks, and slide-out DVD drive on the side of the computer, so consider setting it up on carts without restricitive side walls for easier access later. Also take that into consideration when using this machine in a double monitor setup and place the two so you can plug things in easily.
Overall we were impressed by this computer, and considering it’s a 23 inch full HD monitor with a full sized hard drive and a powerful processor, it all looks relatively compact. Great touch capability that works with gloves on, a physical camera and microphone off switch, and only a power cable going into the system makes it a versatile choice for anything from exam rooms to being bracket mounted along other equipment in surgical environments. Easy, toolless access to the internal components makes it easy for the IT staff to get in and out in no time.
But we’d have to give it a B+ due to insufficient audio speakers, a poorly implemented front control bar, and somewhat difficult to access side ports and DVD player. If those issues are no concern for you, this computer is a clean, solid, and powerful choice.
Product page: Lenovo ThinkCentre M90z…