Only a few years ago, it was supposed to be the end of the traditional desktop computer. The popularity of tablet computers, laptops and new genre’s such as “2-in-1” laptops led to a big drop in sales of desktop PC’s (or home computers as they were once known). The desktop PC has however survived and sales are on the rise again for a number of reasons. They are generally more powerful than laptops and the prices are good for the processing power you get in a desktop PC. For this reason, many people still prefer playing games on a desktop PC than a laptop. There is also a fast-growing market known as the “mini PC” where people plug a small computer into their TV as a living room entertainment device. A small PC is ideal for downloading and storing movies and TV shows and offers a much better web browsing experience than the slow and clunky portals built into today’s “smart” TV’s.
There has been an impressive amount of innovation in desktop PC’s over the past few years and we expect this year to be another impressive year. Curved screens from Samsung are something we’re particularly excited about. Here is our list of the top 10 PC’s available to buy in the UK – covering general home computing, gaming and mini PCs for home entertainment. We’ll keep the list updated as new products are released throughout the year.
HP Pavilion Wave
This is about as stylish as a desktop PC can get and you’d be forgiven for thinking its some kind of fancy bluetooth speaker – because it is, and a desktop PC to boot. Thanks to a partnership with Bang & Olufsen it is a very good speaker and it looks good enough to sit on a shelf in your home rather than be hidden away as most PC’s are. This impressive device comes with an Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM, TB of storage and a multitude of ports including USB 3.0, HDMI, Displayport and USB Type C. Available for around £729.
Apple iMac with 4K Retina display
If you are an Apple user then you can’t go wrong with this mid-level desktop computer from Apple. Its a 2015 model coming in at around £1,000 with a 21.5 inch 4K screen, Intel Quad Core i5 processor, 8GB Ram and 1TB of storage. There are more powerful (and more expensive) versions of this desktop with screens up to 27 inches but at this size, and this price, with these specifications we think this is the ideal iMac for most home users.
Palicomp AMD Avenger
Not a household name for most people, Palicomp is a UK company best known for making great gaming PC’s – in other words, powerful machines at good prices. The Avenger is a great budget PC, perfect for the average user at at a price close to £450 its great value for money. It comes with an AMD Athlon processor running at an impressive 4.5GHz. It comes with 8GB Ram, 1TB HDD storage and 240 GB SSD storage. The SSD storage is designed to ensure a fast boot time and shorter loading screens. The desktop comes with Windows 10 Home Edition.
Apple Mac Mini
A personal favourite of the writer of this article and the one I use as an entertainment center plugged into the back of my TV. The base model costs around £399 and comes with an Intel Dual Core i5 processor, 4GB ram and 500GB HDD storage. This is comfortably enough to hold 300+ movies and I combine it with a 1TB external drive to hold thousands of hours of box set TV shows. Its an excellent option for the casual home user. You’ll need to buy the mouse/trackpad and keyboard separately but combine it with a good TV and you’ve got a perfect computer for home use, web browsing and playing music and video.
Acer Revo Build
This is a stackable media PC that comes with plenty of storage space. Available from as little as £149, the Revo is a modular computer that lets you click together different parts to add functionality. The base unit comes with an Intel Pentium or Celeron processor and 8GB RAM and 2 TB of storage. The building blocks available include a 2TB external hard drive (you can add up to 3 of these for total storage of 8TB), an Audio block with stereo speakers, a graphics block allowing playback up to 4K and a wireless charging unit and external battery you can use to power all your other gadgets.
Acer Chromebase 24
This excellent value desktop is an all in one – meaning the computer is built into the screen so no need for messy cables all over the floor. This a Chromebook based PC – not windows. It uses Android as its operating system and soon will be able to use Android Apps as well. This desktop is designed for cloud use which is reflected in the fact it only comes with 32GB of storage. It is however excellent value at around £350, it looks great and is easy to use. It is powered by a super fast Intel Celeron Core i7 processor and up to 8GB RAM.
Lenovo Ideacentre AIO 700
Another stylish all in one computer with plenty of computing power. Available for around £700, the Lenovo Ideacentre is a stylish machine for the price. It looks not too dissimilar to an iMac but is powered by Windows 10 of course. Its available in black or white and comes with a quad core Intel Core i5 processor spitting out 2.7GHz of processing power. It has 8GB of RAM and a massive 2TB built in storage making it perfect for storing videos and photos. A very good value, all round but mid range machine.
Yoyotech Warbird RS10
This beast of a machine is built with gamers in mind and delivers a lot of processing power into a circa £700 price. The machine is powered by a quad core Skylake Intel Core i5 processor (the very latest) and delivers 4.4GHz of speed. It offers full HD gaming via its Nvidia GeForce GTX 960 graphics chip and comes with 8GB RAM and 1TB of storage. This is a good all round machine, allowing regular day to day computing as well as hours of nightime online gaming. One for all the family.
Acer Revo One RL85
A very capable alternative to the Mac Mini, this tiny Acer device is perfect as a dedicated media PC for your living room and available for under £300. While its not the fastest computer in our list, it comes with a whopping 2TB of storage which means it can hold over 2,000 hours of movies and TV shows. It is powered by the dual core Intel Core i3 processor with 4GB of RAM which means its not the best for heavy computing tasks but its fine for video playback and surfing the web. It looks great as well and can be bought with a remote control if you don’t want to fuss around with a keyboard and mouse.
Asus Vivo Mini
Another beautifully designed device thats incredibly portable for everyday computing, the VIVO Mini is a budget friendly option available at around £200 powered with by an Intel Celeron or Pentium processor. It offers between 2GB and 8GB RAM and up to 128 GB of SSD of storage space in a pocket sized machine you can take on vacation with you. The SSD storage won’t hold many HD quality movies (unless you add an external drive to the set up) but it boots up and plays 4K movies fast and is perfect as a streaming device or web browser plugged into the back of your TV.