Lenovo’s latest PC is about the size of a lunch box, but it’s as capable as an entry-level desktop PC. The tiny little ThinkCentre M72e is not only space-saving but also consumes very little power; less than a light bulb! Let’s see what this small package has to offer.
A compact and power-saving solution for businesses
Design and Features
As soon as we unboxed the M72e, we just kept gazing at it for the first few minutes, admiring its form and design. We have come across tiny PCs such as the Zotac Zbox, but this one’s totally different and also targeted at a different audience. Measuring about 7 square inches, the M72e is one of the tiniest PCs you can buy, if you’re looking at maximizing desktop real estate.
The PC can be detached from the housing if you don't need the optical drive
This device is comprised of two components, the PC itself and the optical drive (DVD-writer). Both are fastened together with two thumb screws at the rear. If you don’t want to use the optical drive, you have the option to detach it from the housing and use only the PC, which becomes even more space-saving (about half as slim). When in its housing, the M72e can be placed horizontally or vertically. The rubber feet ensure that it stays in place and doesn’t slip. When removed from the housing, it can be placed only horizontally as it is a bit too slim to stand upright. However, with the housing detached, you lose the option to mount the PC on the rear of an LCD monitor – the base has the provision for VESA mount.
VESA mount at the bottom
The DVD-writer connects to the PC via USB 2.0. A tiny cable (USB Type A to Type B) is included in the package for hooking up the optical drive to a USB port on the rear of the PC. You also gain another USB port this way as the DVD writer unit has a USB hub built in. The rear panel of the PC has a total of three USB 2.0 ports, VGA and DisplayPort outputs, and a Gigabit Ethernet port. The front has two more USB 2.0 ports, jacks for headphone and mic, and status indicators. The package also includes an optical mouse and keyboard, both wired and with USB interface. The mouse sports an ambidextrous design and the red scroll wheel follows the color scheme of Lenovo’s branding. The keyboard has a standard layout and feels like any other entry-level keyboard. The keys are a bit mushy because of the membrane base.
The wired keyboard and mouse are standard, but they feel good
The M72e is powered by a third generation Intel Core i5-3470 processor, 4 GB of RAM and 500 GB hard disk. The processor has a max TDP of 35 watts only, which makes it possible to run this PC using a 19 Volt adapter.
The build quality of the M72e is excellent. The shell of the PC is made of metal and the DVD-writer is encased in plastic. The PC is all black with a matte finish and it looks elegant.
The M72e logged 2642 points in PCMark 7, which shows that it packs good enough power for basic everyday applications. It took a minute to encode a 1 minute MPEG video to H.264 and about the same time to compress an assortment of files amounting to 100 MB to 7.zip format using the Ultra Profile. The sequential read and write speed logged by CrystalDiskMark was 82 MB/s – upgrading to an SSD will bump this speed to thrice as much! 3DMark Vantage logged 8023 points in Entry mode. This clearly suggests this PC is not at all meant for gaming. However, the on-chip graphics processor is well-suited for accelerating media playback and 3D graphics used by certain applications.
Verdict and Price in India
At Rs 23,500, the Lenovo ThinkCentre M72e is great value for money. Although it’s targeted at businesses, it’s also a great option for a home PC. We didn’t find any flaws, but we feel that an HDMI port would have been more useful than DP, as LCD monitors with DisplayPort are difficult to find. Also, the inclusion of USB 3.0 ports would have added more value. They could have been placed on the front for easy access.