Lenovo ThinkCenter E50

The desktop PC that thinks it is a laptop

Lenovo ThinkStation E50

The Lenovo E50 is a nice little desktop computer that doesn't cut a lot of corners. At £149.99 from Ebuyer including delivery (around $227, AU$290), it is the cheapest brand new desktop computer on the market, a remarkable feat especially as it comes with a keyboard and mouse as well as Windows 8.1 (which means that you will also get Windows 10 for free). Note that Ebuyer offers an optional three-year SquareTrade accident warranty for £32.

Ebuyer also stocks another E50 SKU that might actually be even more appealing. It costs a tenner extra after a £30 cashback but comes with Windows 8.1 Pro and Windows 7.

We liked

Lenovo has clearly taken a lot of time to design this desktop to make sure that it fits in a particular budget. The price might be its biggest lure, but I was pleasantly surprised to find out that not much was taken away in terms of the machine's components. It even comes with a decent keyboard and mouse and a copy of Windows 8.1.

We disliked

There are two things that could be improved. Firstly, the number of memory slots – you're limited to one which means you have to get rid of the existing memory card in order to get a higher capacity one in. 4GB should be enough for most purposes though. Then there's the matter of the USB ports – five ports get filled quite quickly and there's only one USB 3.0.

Final verdict

The Lenovo E50 sets the bar high for entry-level desktops as a sturdy, reliable, affordable workstation. Sure, you can buy a second-hand machine for less, but the E50 gives you peace of mind; what's more you can upgrade the existing warranty to five years for not a lot of dough. Firms, however, are increasingly considering laptops as the performance and price gaps between desktops and notebooks are shrinking. What's more, laptops allow extra flexibility, offer easier connectivity and come with a monitor by default.