This year, Lenovo is looking forward to welcoming a new Horizon . . . a Horizon Table PC that is. Starting in June 2014, the consumers can get their hands on the $1,499 Lenovo Horizon 2, the IdeaCentre Horizon 27’s successor. Just like the IdeaCentre before it, the Horizon 2 is a multimedia heavyweight, full of family-friendly content for hours of fun. Lenovo’s new Horizon also sports some innovative improvements designed to make sharing content between devices a seamless experience.
While we loved the Horizon 27, its massive dimensions (18.4 pounds, 27.2 x 16.9 x 1.17 inches) took some getting used to. Lenovo’s shaved the Horizon 2 down to a more manageable 14-pound frame that’s slightly thinner than a pack of cards. The Horizon 2 retains the 27-inch 1080p touchscreen display of its predecessor, but can be configured with an optional retina-like resolution of 2560 x 1440.
The Horizon 2 will also be outfitted with NFC, a first for the series. The new addition allows for quick content sharing between devices including smartphones and tablets.
Like its predecessor, the Horizon 2 has two modes: Stand and Table. In stand mode, the table PC acts as a massive Windows 8.1 tablet while Table mode launches the multiuser Aura interface. Lenovo also spent some time revamping the innovative interface, adding intriguing new features such as face recognition. During our hands-on, a Lenovo rep cued a picture of a smiling couple. Tapping on one of the faces compiled every image of that person on that tablet for quick, easy search. The feature also works with images uploaded from a camera or smartphone.
Speaking of mobile, Lenovo has created a new app called Aura AI that allows Android users to transfer content such as photos and video to the Table PC. Just by shaking your phone or tablet, you can make photos or videos appear to “fall” onto the Horizon 2’s table surface. The feature was very responsive, allowing us to shake six photos onto the Horizon 2’s display.
Placing the test phones directly onto the table PC’s display opened another Aura dial that surrounded our phone, letting us pull content onto the Horizon 2’s display. Thanks to the multiuser capabilities of the Aura interface, users can transfer photos or other content by dragging and dropping from one Aura dial to another.
We were impressed with the Aura UI’s improved content interface on the Horizon 2. Tapping on an image revealed a white bar with a surprisingly robust set of photo-editing tools. In addition to smoothing out a picture, we could remove objects such as a random photobomber. Once the changes were made, the image we had the option to uploaded to Facebook.
It wouldn’t be Aura without the games and Lenovo doesn’t disappoint with several new titles including Ubisoft’s “Chubby Kings” and “Crayola Songbook” from Legacy Games. The tablet also features chess for the more classic gamers. Horizon favorites such as “Air Hockey” and “Lenovo Tycoon” are there to take advantage of the optional gaming peripherals such as the strikers and E-dice we’ve come to know and love with this series. There’s also a few education apps courtesy of Scholastic.
In terms of specs, users can expect the Horizon 2 to ship with Windows 8.1, up to an Intel Core i7 processor, a 1TB hard drive and 8GB of RAM with an undisclosed discrete graphics chip. The Horizon 2 is expected to ship sometime in the Summer with a base price of $1,299.