The model we tested comes with an Intel Core i7-7500U processor and 8GB of RAM. It did well on the Geekbench test, which measures overall computer performance based on some processor capabilities. The IdeaCentre 520S scored 7,413 – slightly better than average for similar computer models. In our tests we had about 20 browser tabs open and didn't see any slowdown, so this computer can essentially handle everything except for very high-end gaming and media editing on a professional scale.
You also get a whopping 1TB hard drive, and while that is a ton of space, keep in mind that hard drives are usually slower than solid-state drives. You can’t customize this computer at all, so the one we reviewed is exactly the same one you would get. This means it comes with an external DVD/CD burner and wireless keyboard and mouse. The keys on the full-size keyboard felt a little stiff and we didn't love the mouse's shape, but both are generally functional and run on AAA batteries.
The 1080p display is 23 inches, measured diagonally, so you'll have no problem using it to watch home videos or click through a slideshow of vacation photos. For the price, you really can't beat getting a screen this big. We watched several videos and found the colors to be vibrant and true to life, despite not having the ultra-high definition 4K screen that comes with more expensive computers like the Dell XPS 27 7760. In our tests it put out 263 nits of brightness, which is right on par with the category average for comparable computers but not as bright as the Apple iMac with its 5K screen. The iMac, though, costs more than double what this sleek desktop costs.
The stand is sleek and boomerang shaped, giving you a full range of motion between minus 5 degrees and 35 degrees. On the outside you also get four USB 3.0 ports, an HDMI port and an ethernet jack, but they're annoyingly hard to get at on the back of the screen behind the stand. There are USB ports on each side of the pop-out webcam at the bottom of the screen too, so you don't have to struggle every time you want to connect a smartphone.
The webcam takes detailed video as far as webcams go. The downside is it's located at the base of the screen and films right up your nose if you’re not careful. The whole thing only weighs 9.7 pounds too, so while it's not exactly a portable unit, it's the lightest desktop we tested by far.
You get a lot of processing power and a pretty great screen with the IdeaCentre 520S, making it well worth the money. This is the computer to go with if you’ve got a household with a wide variety of computer needs, from gaming to research to watching 10 funny cat videos at one time.