5 Desktop PCs for under £500

Acer-XC-and-TC

In this smartphone and tablet-powered era, the traditional desktop PC is looking rather antiquated. Moore’s Law continues to facilitate the development of smaller and smaller devices, and even laptops – historically the most functional of business tools – are becoming slimline and cool, with fully rotating screens that can also be detached as standalone devices.

Against this streamlined assault, the time-honoured desk-mounted black box is looking like an endangered species. To investigate whether rumours of the desktop’s demise have been exaggerated, Latest Gadgets has assembled a top five list of PCs that can be purchased for less than £500 – the price of a mid-level tablet – to see whether there’s life in the old warhorse yet.

Acer Aspire XC/TC series
Unveiled last week, Acer’s AMD-powered PCs come in desktop (XC) and micro-tower (TC) guises, with a stylish exterior far removed from the drab boxes of yore. TC models nod to progress by featuring a recess on top where tablets and smartphones can rest, although these computers still pack plenty of punch, with up to 16GB of memory and the ability to get users online in 2.5 seconds.
Price: between £279.99 and £599.99, from stockists including Amazon and John Lewis

Dell Inspiron 660
Let’s be honest, Dell is probably the first name that springs to mind in terms of black-box PC towers, and their Inspiron range of desktops has powered countless homes and offices over the years. The 660 is pretty uninspiring aesthetically, but it retaliates through the sheer brute force of its specifications, including a 1TB hard drive, the newest Intel Core i5 processor, and 4GB of RAM.
Price: £449 when bought from the Dell website

HP Pavilion p6
HP have been keeping pace with the industry trend-setters, and their Pavilion p6 incorporates some features that will attract knowing nods from cognoscenti. For one thing, Beats Audio is installed, with support for 7.1 surround sound, while the p6 can even be controlled remotely via an Android or iOS app from your tablet or smartphone. Two HD ports and 6GB of RAM reinforce its appeal.
Price: £449.99 from PC World (current discounted price)

Lenovo H520
With its brushed-steel-effect frontage and compact dimensions, Lenovo’s H520 series is probably the desktop to choose if you’re going to be looking at it all day, rather than hiding it out of sight. Price is another H520 strength, retailing at less than £430 despite a spec list that encompasses a 3 GHz clock speed, a terabyte hard drive, built-in wifi, and Lenovo’s proprietary content management software.
Price: £429.99 from Currys

ADMI FX-4100
Gamers may be spoiled for choice on tablets nowadays, but complex games require sophisticated hardware, and ADMI’s player-friendly tower fits the bill nicely. That striking red exterior houses a 4 GHz Intel processor, a 2GB graphics card and a 1TB hard drive, as well as full 1080p HDMI output. Uniquely among this round-up, it comes with Windows 7, but the price point is impressive nonetheless.
Price: £414.95 from Amazon (at time of writing)

Lenovo ThinkPad X220: The ultimate business traveller companion?

Don’t be fooled by its unassuming and unpretentious exterior, as the 12.5 inch Lenovo ThinkPad X220 is bursting with the most advanced and sophisticated of technology.

Lenovo-ThinkPad-X220

One of the greatest marvels of this cunningly unassuming tablet is its phenomenal battery life. With the average battery life of modern laptops being 4 hours, the fact that the ThinkPad X220, boasting just a single 63Wh six-cell battery, lasts for a whopping 8 hours, makes mentioning the battery life worthy of the all-important, attention-grabbing, initial paragraph position of a gadget feature. But that’s not all. In addition to the X220’s ground-breaking standard battery life, for an additional $179, ThinkPad X220 owners can extend their machine’s already prolific battery life by almost twofold, as by strapping a second battery onto the laptop, users can enjoy up to 14 hours 30 minutes wire-free usage.

Given its extensive cord-free potential, its ultraportability and weighing an extremely light 3.6 pounds, the Lenevo ThinkPad X220, is the perfect companion for frequent business travellers, who will now being able to fly from Manchester to Sao Paulo in Brazil, with a new sense of convenience and comfort.

Possessing Intel’s new Sandy Bridge 2.5GHz Core i5-2520M processor, the system’s allegedly noticeable ‘zippiness’, even whilst being pushed to multiple demands, is yet more evidence that Lenevo’s latest creation is paying homage to becoming the ultimate business traveller companion. Although the machine’s zippiness and excessive multi-tasking capabilities, could also be attributed to the tablet’s 4GB of DDR3 RAM and its 320GB 7,200 rpm hard drive.

On the software front, in typical Lenevo fashion, the X220 is loaded with all the Chinese company’s own ThinkVantage utilities. These highly innovative features include fingerprint reader configuration, enhance backup and restore capabilities, and power controls.

According to Engadget, the Lenovo ThinkPad X220 is the “longest lasting and fastest ultraportable” they have ever tested. And who are we to argue? Although with a starting price of $889, it would be fair to surmise that the majority of those fortunate to exploit the X220’s many exploits, will be those seated in business class.