As regards my title: "Have you ever heard of Zoostorm?" the answer, for me, would have been no. However, this all changed about 18 months ago when we found we were eligible for a free computer under the government Home Access Scheme. Once we had been approved for a new computer, we were given a pre-loaded credit card with £400, which we were able to redeem against a new computer from a selected supplier. I presumed that we would get a laptop, but we were given the option of a PC, which I preferred.
The model was the Zoostorm Intelcore Duo E7500. As I was not familiar with the brand I wasn't really sure what I was going to get. To be honest, if I had been buying a PC rather than getting a free one, I wouldn't have even considered this brand and I would have gone for something more mainstream with a proven track record.
The PC comes with everything you need to get started, apart from a monitor. My pack included a Hanns G monitor, but if you were to buy the PC from Amazon or another retailer, the monitor would not be included, so you would need to buy one separately. The PC did include a keyboard and optical mouse though.
The exterior of the PC is rather sleek and in my opinion, it looks like quite a high end product, due to its glossy black finish at the front. The rest of the PC box has a more matte black finish, but as it is only the front that is usually visible, all the effort has gone into making it look as stylish as possible. There are 2 DVD drives at the top of the unit and a DVD rewriter, although I have never personally had to use that feature in the 18 months I have had the PC. The DVD drives are easy to open via a button at the side of each drive which allows them to flip open. The DVD drive has an LG logo at the front, which is synonymous with high quality and I certainly have had no problems playing DVDs or games as they always run smoothly.
Underneath the two drives, there is a slim silver panel which has two small phono jacks for headphones or microphones, and two USB jacks, very handy for plugging in my digital camera to upload pictures for my reviews on other sites. Beneath the panel is a large square blue button, which lights up. This is the power button and you can't miss it! Unfortunately, as I have my PC in a computer cupboard, the button is quite low down and has a tendency to get knocked by my foot as I type, which can be a bit disastrous if I have just spent an hour tapping in a review! I would have actually preferred an on/off button which was a bit more tricky to access to prevent accidental loss of work!
The computer was a doddle to set up, with all of the Windows 7 software pre-installed. This meant that setting up the computer was a simple as plugging in the mouse, keyboard and monitor into the various jacks at the back of the PC and then I was ready to go, which was ideal, as I am not technically minded at all! Later on, I was also able to set up my printer, which again was relatively easy, although it did require me downloading a driver from the internet, as the CD that came with the printer was not compatible with the new computer. Despite that, it was still a painless job, and I have had no major issues with printer connectivity.
The computer runs very smoothly and quietly, compared with my previous PC which had a noisy fan. I haven't had any problems with the computer crashing or freezing up on me. I tend to use it for internet browsing and word processing, so I don't place any huge demands on it. It suits me fine for what I use it for.
The graphics are well defined and sharp and I have no issues with visuals at all. The sound, on the other hand, is a bit of a problem. The sound does not play through the PC tower, so you need either separate speakers or speakers on the monitor. I use the speakers on the monitor, which are pretty basic and the sound is a bit muffled and quiet, adequate for most things, but not great if you are watching video clips or DVD's.
The optical mouse is a pleasure to use and glides nicely over the mat, a nice change from my previous mouse, with its tracker ball which was always getting clogged with lint! The mouse has a roller in the centre that glows red, which is great when working in limited light. The mouse is also a perfect shape for a comfortable hold.
The keyboard on the other hand, was a huge disappointment. Within a couple of weeks, my prolific typing had worn off nearly all of the letters from the keys and the kids had trouble typing when they came to use it, as they are not as familiar with a keyboard layout as me. I have since replaced the old keyboard with a new one.
In conclusion, I am more than happy with the Zoostorm brand and would definitely buy another computer from them in the future. The PC fulfils all of my computing needs perfectly and it is very easy to set up and use, even for a beginner or someone with limited technical knowledge. The specs, from the Amazon website are as follows:
* Zoostorm Advanced PC with Intel Core 2 Duo E7500 Processor
* 3 GB DDR2 800 RAM, 500 GB SATA HDD
* Keyboard and Optical Mouse
* 22x Super Multi DVDRW
* Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium
Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo E7500, 2.93Ghz, 3MB Cache, 1066Mhz FSB
Hard Drive: 500 GB SATA 2 HDD, 7200RPM, 16MB Cache
Memory: 3 GB DDR2 800Mhz
Graphics: Intel® GMA 3100
Optical Drive: 22x Super Multi DVDRW
Connectivity: 6 x USB 2.0 ports (2 Front)
10/100 Ethernet LAN
1 set 5.1 channel Audio jacks (3 jacks),1 x PCI Express x 16 Slot, 1 x PCI Express x1 Slot, 2 x PCI Bus Slots
2 x PS2 Ports (Keyboard and Mouse), 1 x Parallel Port, 1 x Serial Port, 1 x VGA Port
Operating system: Windows® 7 Home Premium
Additional Hardware: PS2 keyboard and optical mouse
In conclusion, this is a great PC for less than £400 and in my opinion Zoostorm has performed as well as my previous mainstream branded computers.
Box Contains: Zoostorm Core 2 Duo E7500 Dual Core, Windows 7 Home Premium PC, Keyboard & Optical Mouse, A5 Manual, A5 Quick Set Up Guide, UK Powercord