The danger for creators of all-in-one PCs is exactly the same as the designers of all-in-one printers: by trying to cram in as many features as possible into a comparatively small space, you risk comprising on quality and pleasing nobody.
Lenovo sees their B series as multimedia machines offering compact entertainment and the B50-35 is deliberately pitched in the middle of the range between 'family' and 'gamer'. Yet despite its relatively modest ambitions, the B50-35 has many features that compare favourably with full-on gaming computers like the MSI AG240 all-in-one.
Although it's not as wafer thin as the AG240, the B50-35 has virtually the same size backlit screen (23.8 inches) and yet weighs three pounds lighter (19.8 lb) despite its sturdily robust 22.9 x 8.1 x 18.5 inch dimensions. While both PCs offer Full HD (1920 x 1080), the Lenovo has the additional bonus of In-Plane Switching (IPS) technology so you can enjoy watching movies or playing games from wide viewing angles.
The only downside is that both all-in-ones also suffer from high reflectivity from the glossy surface and finger marks rapidly accumulate from touchscreen action. Nothing that an efficient soft cloth can't handle but you'd be advised to keep at least some of the curtains pulled to while you're being entertained.
At the base, a stylishly thin strip of silver separates the display from the matt black grille that hides the sound section and the good news is that the sound quality is impressively meaty thanks to a pair of JBL Dolby stereo surround speakers.
When you circle round the back of the B50-35 you can see that it almost matches the AG240 for ports, boasting no less than three USB 2.0 inputs as well as two super-fast USB 3.0s. The version that Lenovo sent us review also included HDMI-in as well as HDMI-out so you can enjoy two-monitor viewing or gaming plus inputs from Blu-ray or games consoles.
In addition, it sports a 6-in-1 card reader, the usual jack sockets for microphone and headphone, plus Ethernet. Further upgrades can be arranged for TV-in and NFC recognition, although they were not included in our demo model. Not bad for a mid-range all-in-one that is £500 (US$770, AU$990) cheaper than the AG240.
It's also reassuring from a safety angle that the B50-35's V-shaped metal base is hefty and rock solid and takes away the worry of that accidental corner brush that could end in disaster. It allows flexibility in viewing angles, too, as the display can be tilted 5 degrees forward and 25 degrees backward.
On the features side, the only disappointment is the absence of a Blu-ray player as standard, with Lenovo having opted for a DVD player instead. The eject button on this unit is also awkward to operate and is positioned round the back of the monitor rather than on the side. It's a shame not to be able to make the most of those two HDMI ports.
No grumbles about the built-in webcam, on the other hand. It provides 1080p HD and is ideal for web conferencing in the office or just saying, "hi," to the folks in Australia via Skype. Younger members of the family will undoubtedly enjoy a few fun effects thrown in which include reflective bubbles and falling snowflakes.
Touch screen operation
Like the AG240, the B50-35 comes with Windows 8.1 pre-installed so you can mix and match between touch-responsive tile apps or programmes and operations better suited to keyboard and mouse.
As the tablet seems to reign supreme in the current generation, using the Lenovo 10-point multitouch technology should be a stroll in the park and several tiles display real-time information such as news, sports and emails.
A virtual keyboard is accessible if you want to keep all your functions touch-friendly. The supplied hardware version is a basic model that feels relatively stiff to operate and contains the odd annoyance like the Function key taking the place of the usual left Control key - that won't be appreciated by gamers.
The mouse likewise is small, lightweight and insubstantial. For long-term use you may do well to replace them both with something more meaty.