We bought this PC back in July. My husband's laptop was on its last legs, and as my daughter was just starting school, we figured a desktop was the way to go. He could use it for his stuff, it could be used as storage for photos and such like, and my daughter could use it to get used to computers, play games, and eventually for school homework.
I'd done a bit of research into processors as I was also getting a new laptop myself around the same time. HP is a brand we trust, and after much researching the different desktop models available we settled on this one. It was £499.99 at Comet at the time, but we got 10% off through my husband's work scheme.
The box it came in wasn't too big, and contained the usual packaging which wasn't too excessive. Along with the base unit were a wireless keyboard and mouse. No recovery CDs, which is disappointing, you're supposed to create your own. Having read that this can take over 4 hours and require multiple DVDs I haven't got around to doing it yet!
This model is just the base unit, you need to purchase a monitor separately.
The base unit measures approximately 11cm wide, 39cm deep and 30cm tall. It's black with silver trim, and shiny black on the front.
It's very easy to set up once out of the box. Just plug the monitor cable and the power cable into the back of the base unit. There are 2 USB ports on the front, along with a SD/MS/xD slot, plus a headphone socket. On the back of the unit are 4 more USB ports, a 1394 socket, ethernet socket, optical audio out, and a DVI socket. The front is also where the CD/DVD drive can be found. It opens by way of pressing the button underneath and CDs are inserted vertically into the tray that slides out. We have our base unit positioned under a computer desk on the left hand side, and I therefore find it a bit tricky to insert CDs as they go from the left side into the tray.
Setting up involved the usual process of clicking through a number of screens and the optional registration. We couldn't complete this at first because I'd failed to realise that it isn't equipped for Wi-fi. I had to go out and buy a USB wi-fi adapter and slot this into the front USB drive to be able to get online. This was very frustrating as the main thing we use this PC for is to go online.
It's average spec by current standards, with an Intel Core i3 3.2 GHz processor, 4GB DDR3 SDRAM, and 1 TB hard drive.
We've been perfectly satisfied with the performance so far, although haven't installed much software as yet and have mainly only used it for getting online.
It comes with Windows 7 installed and starts up very quickly when switched on.
As for pre-installed software, much of it is trial versions. Microsoft Office Home is included, but is only a 60 day trial. There are loads of games, including kids' games such as Dora the Explorer, but again they are trials and will only work for so long. "Magic Desktop" on the programs menu takes you to a child friendly desktop, where they can surf the internet, play games, play music on a keyboard, do puzzles and use a paint program.
The wireless keyboard is very easy on the eye, being black with a silver trim. The keys are nicely spaced, and there's a number pad to the right. Above the number pad are three volume keys. It measures approximately 43 x 16cm. The mouse is also wireless and is shiny black with a wheel in the middle of the buttons. Both the mouse and keyboard work off a small USB stick that fits into the base unit. The mouse runs off 2 x AA batteries, and the keyboard off 2 x AAA batteries. Being wireless is great as you have no extra cables running from the keyboard or mouse.
We're pleased with the computer, it's fits the bill perfectly for what we wanted. Just remember when buying to budget for a monitor and wi-fi capability, such as a USB adapter.