Lenovo's original Horizon was among the first so-called "tabletop" PCs that could take advantage of Windows 8's touchscreen friendly interface. Like the Sony Vaio Tap 20, HP Envy Rove 20, and Acer Aspire Z3-600, the Horizon could function not only as a typical all-in-one PC, but could also be moved around the house and laid on a flat surface to use as, essentially, a giant tablet.
At 27 inches, the Horizon was the biggest, and probably the priciest, entry of the emerging form factor, so it should probably come as no surprise that the company's second attempt at a tabletop PC would be a more modest affair. In fact, Lenovo has just debuted a pair of Horizon 2 models, the Horizon 2s and Horizon 2e, both of which are slimmer and cheaper than their predecessor.
The Horizon 2e is the beefier of the two new systems, starting with a 21.5-inch full 1080p HD display and adding up to an Nvidia GT 820A graphics card and 1TB of solid-state storage. While the 2s also has 1,920x1,080 resolution, its screen is smaller at 19.5 inches, and it offers only up to 500GB of storage and is limited to integrated graphics. Both new Horizons will offer a choice of Intel Haswell Core processors and up to 8GB of RAM. The 2e also provides slightly better battery life once on-the-go, offering 3 hours of HD movie streaming compared to 2.5 hours for the 2s.
Lenovo is also touting some smartphone-friendly connectivity features the new Horizons share. Those include the ability to connect up to four Android devices to the PC at once for easier media sharing, and NFC software (optional for the 2e) that allows you to transfer files wire-free from a NFC-sporting mobile device nearby. The 2e has a built-in stand to allow it to work easily in all-in-one mode, while the 2s can make use of an optional aluminum stand (pictured above) to function the same way.
Both make use of the company's Aura interface that allows multiple uses to access the Horizon screen at once and offers over 40 games and educational apps that can make use of the Horizon's unique design. An app store provides more options to download touch-friendly games, and Lenovo makes optional accessories like a joystick and even "e-Dice" to improve gameplay.
At just over 10 pounds, the 2e isn't exactly mobile (and muscle) friendly, but it still shaves five pounds off the original Horizon's heft. On the other hand, the 2s is a far more manageable 5.5 pounds (the "s" standing for "slim," after all) and just 0.59 inches thick. Also easier to handle is the pricing for the new Horizons, both of which are expected to start selling next month. The 2s will have a starting price of $749, while the 2e runs from $949. (Compare those prices to the current Horizon starting price of $1,499.99.)
Will smaller, lighter, and cheaper tabletop PCs like the new Horizon 2e and 2s fare any better with users? Is this a form factor with a future, or will it ultimately be a dead end? Let us know your thoughts in the Talkback section below.