Using the Lenovo B50 all-in-one PC as an external monitor

A few weeks back, Microsoft asked if I’d be interested in writing some Windows 10 blog posts if they could arrange a demo machine for me for a few months.  I thought it seemed like a good idea, signed the paperwork when it came through, and promptly forgot about it whilst I immersed myself in work!

Then, earlier this week, I got a text from my wife that said:

“[…] We have a mystery parcel from Lenovo here… [my son] is speculating… what time will you be home this evening? […]”

At first I had to think “what have I bought from Lenovo?” (funnily enough, that’s what Mrs W was thinking too…) but then I remembered the PC that Microsoft were sending…

I got home to find my two geeks apprentices, aged nearly-9 and nearly-11, desperate to see what was in the box and help me set it up.  Within minutes, the Lenovo B50 all-in-one PC was taking up a sizable chunk of my desk and, over the next few months I’m hoping to write at least one Windows 10 post each week.

Having an all-in one PC has another use though: I’ve been considering buying a new monitor for a while, to use with my company-supplied Surface Pro 3 when I’m working at home and I wondered if the B50 would do the job for the next few months. As it happens, yes it will – the tech-specs include both HDMI output (to a second monitor) and input – but I couldn’t work out how to get it working (and both ports are labelled as output). I knew it was possible though as Brian Fagioli’s Betanews review mentions using the all-in-one as a display.

Eventually I found Lon Siedman’s video review which showed how to do it – pressing a tiny button on the lower-right side of the screen, just above the power button, to accept input on the HDMI port closest to the left-side of the screen.  It’s still amazing though that the Surface Pro 3’s 12″ display runs at a higher resolution than this 23.8″ beast!

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