Reviews related to : Computers

A very broad subject these days - home computers now come in a variety of shapes and sizes, but in each case the basic architecture is the same. Even the distinctive Apple MAC range now adheres to an Intel architecture under the hood and Apple hardware is capable of running the Microsoft Windows operating systems (but why would you want to having bought a MAC?)

Browse the reviews below of not only a variety of desktop and laptop computers, but also the peripherals that will help you get the most from your machine.

867757 Gigabyte P34W V3 CF1 14 Inch Gaming Lapto

Gigabyte P34

Not that long ago a 14inch notebook would be unlikely to display 1920x1080 this unit is IPS QHD (3K) which shows 2560x1440 and its quite useable. So what other features does this Intel i7 offering with Windows 10 have to offer.
The Gigabyte P34W measures 34x23.5x1.5cm and weighs just under 1.8kilos. This is a mixture of conventional and the latest, a Kensington Lock Port, Ethernet, VGA, USB3 (with charging when off), USB 3.1 and 3.5mm socket for headphone/microphone are the left side. The front has a line of five LED’s. The right side has USB3, SD Slot, USB3, HDMI and DC input. The rear is clear as the lid comes down to 135 degrees. The viewable screen is 31x17.
I have reviewed several Chromebooks before, they are small laptops running the Chrome operating system. This however was the first Chromebox I have reviewed it is a full featured PC all you need to add is a panel via HDMI or DisplayPort.
Small is perhaps an inadequate word in this case. I have reviewed mini PC’s before but never something smaller than even a small mobile phone and this PC runs Windows 8.1 so can something that slips into a pocket deliver?
It is 10x4x1cm with connections once plugged into an HDMI port on the back or side of your TV. It could also connect into a standalone panel. It weighs only 45grams.
A small Tower PC but with everything you need apart from a Panel and speakers and if you connect via HDMI you do not even require speakers. While they are no longer fashionable this is small and has far more connectivity than a notebook.
The Acer XC600 small tower system measures 37x10x26cm and while it will work horizontally it is designed to work vertically. The front has two USB2 ports and a multi card slot it also has 3.5mm sockets for microphone and headphones. Behind a flip open door is a DVD multi recorder drive. The right side and top have extensive ventilation slots.
It almost crossed my mind that I had been forgotten by Acer with regards to review products when an offer arrived to check out an Aspire model. I was reasonably impressed.
In the past I have had the opportunity to look at a number of Acer computers.  These models have been exclusively laptop units belonging to either the Aspire or TravelMate family.  Now it is the turn of another Aspire model to supply my computing needs but this time it is a desktop system.  The Acer unit in question is the Aspire XC600_W.
The most recent notebook I reviewed had Windows 8 – sadly without touch – it also had a Gigabyte motherboard. This is an All in One PC from HP with Windows 8, touch and it has a Gigabyte motherboard and even a TV tuner.
Windows 8 no longer contains Media Centre, so here the card required for TV is provided by Aver Media and of course the remote control to make channel changing easier. Here ‘All In One’ means that the screen contains the PC as well as being a touch flat panel. The external parts are only the Wireless Keyboard, Mouse and Remote Control. The screen is 57x40cm and the stand is attached to raise this by 7cm above your desk.
I am not talking a printer, scanner, copier here, but a screen that has a computer and all the connections built into it, the screen is controlled either from the supplied Bluetooth keyboard and mouse or touch should you wish.
While Desktop PC’s seem to have lost out to Notebooks or even smaller offerings the Touch panel is still emerging. This is all things to all. With the Bluetooth keyboard and mouse provided you can use it hands off but it is still perfectly useable hands on as the screen supports multi touch. For good measure its also a Media Centre. The overall size is 51x40x19cm on its easel type base. The viewable screen is 47x27cm which equates to 21.5inches diagonal.
This is a slimmer, faster and better specified version of the original Packard Bell oneTwo. It is a full featured Windows PC with Touch Screen working out of the box but it is also a Windows Media Centre unit with remote.
The screen is 51.5x32x5.5cm with only the sprung stand increasing the width to a figure of your choice between 22 and 30cm dependant on the amount of back tilt you require to suit you. The diagonal imperial screen size is 21.5inches. This shows 1920x1080 in a clear crisp sharp screen. The left side has headphone and microphone sockets, two USB3 sockets and a multi card port. The top centre of the screen surround has a web cam and beside it a pinhole microphone.
The arrival of a battered box is not always bad news, the arrival of a box with space in it probably is. This unit had been doing the rounds and when it got to me all I got was the system box, not even a power lead or any instructions.
Looking at the various DSG websites it seems there should have been also a wired keyboard and a mouse apart from a ‘Welcome Pack’ and of course the power lead. First switch on was not an improvement as I had to do ‘Windows Repair’ as it would not boot. However this story of doom and gloom does start to become a happier tale. A lot of people would have just boxed it up and said take it back.
Sometimes you discover a little gem; I did earlier this year at a twice yearly press event. They are a PC manufacturer who return your calls and even deliver exactly what you ask for, something certainly worth considering.
Unlike most manufacturers today you can have exactly what you want, find a unit that is close to what you require and then modify it to give you exactly what you want, the price updates with every change that you make. The OP3 Mars seemed a reasonable starting point, a small tower with a reasonable sized power supply a 3.06GHz processor (over clocked to 3.5GHz) an Asus Motherboard that has both USB2 and USB3 ports as well as eSATA, the memory was only 2GB so I doubled that.
646865 hanspree tablet computer 10.1 inc


This is the size of a Netbook but it is an Android tablet, as far as I know this is the first non screen type device produced by Hanns.G although of course it has a screen, a rather nice touch screen at that, but its all about what’s inside.
It is 26x17x1.5cm and weights 750grams. The viewable screen is 22x12.5cm that is 10.1inches diagonal measurement. The back is matt black, the edges are silver why then must the screen surround be shiny black and show all the finger marks! The screen is also rather reflective so when out and about in sunlight you need to get the angles right. The bottom left of the face has three LED’s power on (green) charging (red) and wireless connected (green).
I requested to see this in the early summer, now shortly before Christmas after many delays it has arrived. I can see why a touchscreen notebook would be possible but unless short sighted I think reaching out to touch this screen puts it a little near.
The IdeaCentre B Series touch screen computer measures 56x42x8cm. The viewable screen is 50x28.5cm giving the notional diagonal imperial measurement of 23 inches. Behind the screen – in and around the support – are power input, two HDMI ports, Ethernet, SPDIF, A/V in, two lines of two USB ports and Co-Axiel socket. The rest of the connections are found on the sides of the screen.
A rather different PC in that all you get is a small box not a lot bigger than a video cassette and a wireless keyboard and mouse. This can even be mounted on the back of a panel or a TV so maybe ideal for the occasional user.
The computer is 20x19x3.5cm, it has shiny black sides with the edges being off white, it will just about stand unsupported but a stand is provided (clips into the base or it can be fitted so that it fits parallel to the back of a TV. The whole unit is slightly tilted back, on the top is a USB port, the back has a multi card port, two 3.5mm jack ports for earphones (or external speakers) and microphone and an eSATA socket.
Better known for its LCD screens and projectors, ViewSonic has recently expanded its field of operation by entering the notebook market. One of the new models bearing the ViewSonic brand is the ViewBook Pro. Now why, I wonder, does that name have a familiar ring to it?
Not as you may think a printer/scanner/copier but a PC that is built into a flat panel. It comes complete with corded keyboard and mouse. Viewsonic are best known for monitors/flat panels and of course the latter is heart of this unit.
The screen is 44x37x4cm it is raised 5cm off whatever you stand it on by the base that is 22x17cm. The whole PC is located inside the 19inch screen. The only extras are the keyboard and mouse both are black to match the screen. The screen weights a little under 5.4kilos. It uses the same processor as the range of Netbooks but the screen resolution is better at 1366x768. So its Windows XP Home and 1GB of Ram and a 2.5inch hard drive stated to be 160GB and this is normal Netbook fair.
Not everybody needs a full featured notebook and so the netbook was developed. In the same way not everybody needs a high end desktop computer.
Adding to its impressive range of products, Acer has developed the Aspire Revo product which is based on the Intel Atom CPU 230 running at 1.60GHz.  As a netbook is a king of notebook sub-species, so the Revo could be regarded as a sub-species of your desktop system.  In other words the Aspire Revo falls into the category as a small, low powered desktop unit known as a Nettop.
This seems to be a style that has been touched on by several manufacturers but that so far does not seem to be that popular. You have what looks like quite a thick TFT display and this hides the PC everything else is connected via USB.
The ASUS Eee Top 1602 measures 40x30x4cm and weights around 4.5kilos a good part of this weight is in the substantial carry handle and adjustable tilt balance that adds between 5-10cm to the 4cm depth. The screen is 35x19.5cm and gives a best resolution of 1366x768. This is Windows XP and another front ‘easy’ end for the real novice (very like the recent friendly Linux offerings) but it can be clicked away after booting. The biggest surprise is that it is also touch screen.
This is a tiny PC (size wise) of course if you have not got all the bits that connect then the price it costs will increase a good deal. All you get is the PC and a digital to analogue converter, so you need to find keyboard, mouse monitor/panel, CD/DVD drive and speakers.
The Asus Eee Box B202 measures 22x18x2.7cm and weights 1180 grams. Mine was black and as it is designed to work vertically looks a little like a book. All the connections are on the back and the front with the sides bare and the top and bottom having only ventilation holes. The rear has (from the top) wireless aerial, DC input, digital monitor/panel connection (as stated above digital to analogue connector is supplied), two USB ports, Ethernet port and Line In.
Many months after the launch I finally get my hands on one, and yes it was worth the wait. Nice small machine that does not cost the earth and if you only want word processing, email and Internet then why look elsewhere.
It weights under a kilo (984 grams) and is 24.5x17x3cm. Mine was cream with the inside of the lid black. It has an 84 key keyboard with alpha and numeric keys being near full size at 1.5cm square, I say near full size as the space between is of course far less than a standard keyboard. The left side has power adapter input, VGA out, Ethernet, USB and SD card slot. The front has only the slider switch to turn wireless connection on/off.
Having recently joined the Acer family, Packard Bell took the opportunity of Acer’s Global Press Conference 2008 to demonstrate its new product line up. These products included a netbook plus various notebooks and desktop systems with a selection of LCD monitors and storage devices.
Whereas Acer has named its netbook the Aspire One, Packard Bell has opted for the “dot” designation.  Based on the Intel Atom processor with 1GB of RAM, the “dot” has an 8.9-inch display with a resolution of 1024 x 600; 5-in-1 card reader; three USB ports; built-in Wi-Fi (b/g); and a 160GB hard drive.  This netbook comes with Windows XP operating system and has a 6-cell battery as standard.