Most helpful positive review
141 of 144 people found the following review helpful
Great high end computer at a low end price!
on March 11, 2014
I waited a bit to write this review, as I wanted to test the computer out. I got it as a gift for my girlfriend, so I only get to use it on the weekends. I was shopping for an i3 computer for her and was pleasantly surprised to find this i5 computer for the same price as an i3. I got it for $449 and it's only gone up a little to $479 (I believe). Great price. It was easy to set up and runs fast and quiet. I was pleased to find that, although it said it came with Windows 8, it actually came with 8.1, which allows you to convert this to practically a Windows 7 style computer, for those who don't want to use the tiles. Since this is a desktop computer, I'm assuming that most of you want the classic style and not the tablet style. It's very easy to do by using the following article I got from an IT friend. To find it, just Google "ITPro Windows 8.1 Tips and Tricks". Use the tips in this article and, bingo, you have a Windows 7 computer.
If you're using a different virus software than the McAfee that comes with this, make sure to uninstall McAfee and install your program of choice (I had an open slot for Norton Internet Security so I just went to the website and downloaded it from my account to this computer). Then I went to see if there were necessary Windows updates and there were none. If you want to use Microsoft Office 365 trial version that comes with this computer, fine. Just follow the instructions to activate it. That is an online version of office and you pay about $100 a year, so we didn't want that. I purchased Office 2013 Home and Business (as my girlfriend uses Outlook) and installed it with the key code I got. You have to make sure to uninstall the trial Office 365, first, or it will not work, as it will think the key code is for the trial Office 365 and not the one you are installing. There was no problem with the monitor, keyboard or mouse I connected, even though they were old models. It recognized them automatically. I did the printer last, as I wanted the full HP Solution Center, so I went to HP online and downloaded the complete package, plugging in the printer at the prompt.
Everything went smoothly. Using the tips from the link I gave you, I set it up to boot to the desktop and not the tiles. Then I went to the store (which is in the tiles view) and got a free classic Start button that works just like the Windows 7 Start button (in desktop view, there is no Start button until you get one from the Store). Then I got my libraries back, as the article tells you to. For you XP users, the libraries is simply the Windows 7 version of My Documents, except that it has its own folder-looking icon in the lower left of your taskbar, and separates My Pictures, My Music, My Videos and Documents into separate libraries. Once you get used to it, you actually like this separation better. Also, be aware that if you use Outlook, once you install it and import your Outlook.pst file from your backup, it automatically stores your root Outlook pst file in the Documents section, so you never have to back it up on your computer. Just back up your documents onto an external drive and Outlook is automatically backed up. Set your default programs to be the programs in the classic desktop version, which are different programs from the tiles view (Windows Media Player, Photo Gallery, etc.) so when you click on a file it doesn't switch you to the tiles view. Do the other few hints in the article and you're all set to go. You basically have a Windows 7 computer. It works great.
As it doesn't come with a terrific graphics card I wouldn't necessarily recommend this computer to a heavy gamer. I would think a heavy gamer would want a one Gig dedicated NVidia or AMD Radeon graphics card. That said, a couple of reviewers have said, in answering the question, that it was fine for heavy gaming, as is. The card it comes with is an integrated Intel HD Graphics 4600. So you decide. Anyway, this is a great computer for just about anybody, even heavy multi-taskers. Go for it while the price is still so good. And look at the comments to Techie 1. One person has a link to whatever documentation you need - diagram with specs, user's manual and quick startup guide. Get this computer and have fun!!! Oh, one little thing - the USB3 ports are in the back, a bit of an annoyance if you have a USB3 backup drive and back it up every week. There are 2 USB2 ports in the front (as well as in the back next to the USB3) which we use, so for us that's not an issue - and it backs up fast, even with USB2.
New comment: It's about 3 months, now, and still no problems with this computer. Still running great. It's at $499 this week, which it is when Amazon has it in stock. Still a good price. Remember, it's easy to make it run like a Windows 7 computer. You don't have to pay extra for Windows 7. Oh, I forgot to mention that, although it comes with a CD/DVD burner, I didn't see the burning software in the desktop programs. So I simply went to the store in the tiles view and downloaded a free one. You can always get to the tiles view by clicking on the Windows icon in the lower left of the taskbar. You can get back to your desktop view by clicking on the tile that says desktop. It's easy to go back and forth from one to the other.
Additional Comment: I see from other reviews, and from researching on the Internet that there is another way to restore the classic view. You can download the Classic Shell Start Button. It is actually mentioned in the article I gave you as one of the start buttons you can download. But I didn't see it in the store, so I got Classic Start 8 Button, which I find completely acceptable. To get the Classic Shell Start Button, just Google it, to get to the site, and download it. I saw it on a friend's computer and, frankly, prefer the method I used and the Start Button I chose. Classic Shell, although it does some of the steps in the article all in the one download, gives a different view of the libraries and Control Panel than I am used to. It also takes away the Windows icon in the lower left, which allows you to toggle over to the tiles view. You can still get to the tiles view by moving your cursor over to the upper right-hand corner to get the charms side bar. But this is a bit tricky and I like the icon at the bottom. So if you want the classic view, you can choose your method.