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New desktop PCs tested from under £500

Our latest desktop PC tests prove you don’t need to spend big for a great computer, with one of our high-scoring Best Buys on offer for less than ?500. We’ve tested PCs from big-name brands including Asus, HP and Dell in our lab. While some have impressed our experts with speedy processors, others have struggled with slow performance.

Read on for some highlights from our most recent desktop PC lab tests, plus advice on choosing the desktop model that’s right for you. Best Buy desktop PCs[1] – powerful computers for your home office

Picking the perfect desktop PC

Desktop PCs obviously aren’t portable like laptops, but they’re far easier to customise depending on your needs. While a laptop might need replacing completely after a couple of years, a sturdy desktop PC may just need a couple of components swapped out.

Picking a desktop PC over a laptop can save you money for the equivalent specifications, too. It’s often cheaper to buy a powerful i7-processor desktop than an equally powerful laptop, for example. If you’re struggling to pick a PC that’s right for you, see our guide on How to buy the best desktop PC[2] for some handy buying tips.

Desktop PCs from under ?500

Dell Mini Tower Desktop PC (Inspiron 3000) – ?400

This desktop PC from Dell is powered by the latest generation i5 Intel processor and 8GB of Ram, which makes it a speedy pick when it comes to juggling internet tabs and editing pictures and videos.

Tucked inside is a 1TB hard drive, which offers more than enough space for most. We put the Dell Inspiron 3000 to the test in our lab, running it through our video conversion task to see how quick it really is. To see how this desktop PC scores, head over to our Dell Inspiron 3000 review[3].

Asus VivoPC K20CD – ?360

Up for grabs at less than ?400, this Asus desktop has a sixth generation Intel i3 processor, 8GB of Ram and a whopping 2TB of storage.

While the i3 processor on the entry-level model might result in some occasional slowdown, it’s also available with an i5 or i7 processor and up to 16GB of Ram. If you’re after an affordable Windows 10 machine, the VivoPC K20CD should be on your radar. Is this Asus desktop PC a Best Buy?

You’ll have to read our Asus VivoPC K20CD review[4] to find out.

HP Desktop 460-p035na – ?430

The HP Desktop is a little on the chunky side, but it’s certainly worth considering if you’re a buyer on a budget. This model runs on an Intel i3 processor from the last (sixth) generation, has 8GB of Ram and a 1TB hard drive. There’s also a DVD writer on-board, which means you can back up pictures and videos to discs.

For our expert verdict on this desktop PC, see our HP Desktop 460-p035na review[5].

Desktop PCs to avoid

We’ve been hard at work testing some of the latest desktop PCs on the market. Only the computers that boot up quickly and handle resource-intensive software with ease are worthy of best Buy status. Meanwhile, our selection of Don’t Buys are plagued by sluggishness and slow start up times.

To find out more on all of the desktop PCs we’ve tested, head over to our desktop PC reviews[6] page.

References

  1. ^ Best Buy desktop PCs (www.which.co.uk)
  2. ^ How to buy the best desktop PC (www.which.co.uk)
  3. ^ Dell Inspiron 3000 review (www.which.co.uk)
  4. ^ Asus VivoPC K20CD review (www.which.co.uk)
  5. ^ HP Desktop 460-p035na review (www.which.co.uk)
  6. ^ desktop PC reviews (www.which.co.uk)

Printer ink: save money with third-party brands

Printer makers, such as HP, Epson and Canon, would much rather you use their printer ink in their printers. However, in our survey of more than 8,000 printer owners, the top-10 highest-rated printer ink brands were all third-party sellers. You can save around 40% by going for a third-party brand, and that doesn’t have to mean sacrificing print quality.

We show you the best printer-ink brands, and the best places to buy your ink. Printer reviews[1] – find the best-rated inkjet and laser printers based on our expert testing

Save ??? with cheap printer ink

While the big brands can rate higher on quality, when it comes to price they just can’t compete. In our snapshot look at pricing, we found a re-manufactured high-capacity black-ink cartridge from a third-party brand for a Best Buy printer at almost 40% cheaper than a branded alternative.

Third-party sellers often offer ink in value multipacks, potentially giving big savings. We found a multipack of four XL black cartridges for the high-scoring printer for just ?18.50, while a single branded original ink cost ?12.53.

Best places to buy your printer ink

Most people buy their ink online (66%), compared to in a shop (34%), but we have ratings for both so you have options. Amazon is the most popular place to buy ink online, while Tesco is the most popular high street store – however, neither were the highest-rated sellers in our research.

Read our full printer ink results[2] to find out which are the best. If you have a laser printer, we have ratings of laser toner brands, too.

Printer ink problems

You may worry about using third-party ink brands over fears that the cartridges will cause problems to your printer. While the chance of having a problem is a little higher with third-party inks, it’s not by a massive amount.

In our research, some 82% of people with printer-branded ink cartridges didn’t have a problem, and that drops only slightly to 76% for third-party ink users. Few problems are terminal, and you have options if things do go wrong. If you get a ‘cartridge not recognised’ error message, for example, try removing the cartridge and then re-installing it.

This might trigger the printer to accept it.

If not, contact the retailer or seller to request a refund or replacement.

More troubleshooting help is available from the Computing Helpdesk website[3].

References

  1. ^ Printer reviews (www.which.co.uk)
  2. ^ full printer ink results (www.which.co.uk)
  3. ^ Computing Helpdesk website (computing.which.co.uk)

The best tech deals in the John Lewis clearance sale

June isn’t usually the best time for a bargain, but John Lewis is on hand with its clearance sale to slake our thirst for deals. We’ve rooted through the products on offer to find the ones with meaningful savings, so you can decide if they’re worth having. Black Friday is five months away and the January sales are a distant memory, but this sale gives you plenty of offers to choose from, including tablets, laptops, TVs, headphones, speakers, phones and more.

But they won’t all be worth spending your money on – before you rush to buy them, check our reviews to find out how they performed in our tests. These prices are correct at 30 June and, since many of the products available are reduced to clear, once the stock is gone there’s unlikely to be any more. TV reviews[1] – find the best set for you with our expert verdicts

The best deals we’ve found

Samsung UE49KS9000 TV

This curved set is reduced to clear with ?250 knocked off, bringing the price down to ?849. Although it’s being replaced by Samsung’s QLED range, this former flagship is still cutting edge, with 4K and HDR screen technology. It has Freeview HD and Freesat HD built in, so you won’t be short of things to watch.

If you subscribe to Netflix or Amazon Video, you’ll be able to make use of the super high-resolution screen. You can see what we thought of Samsung’s former range-topping TV in our full Samsung UE49KS9000 review[2].

Asus ZenPad 3S 10 Z500M tablet

It’s a bit of a mouthful, but this iPad-rivalling tablet from Asus has ?30 knocked off the price, so it’s yours for ?269.

A quick processor and 4GB of Ram complement the high-resolution screen, and the Android operating system gives you access to millions of apps. If you’re in the market for something more powerful, there’s ?70 knocked off the price of Surface Pro 4 tablets[3]. To find out whether this tablet is a viable alternative to the iPad, see our Asus ZenPad 3S Z500M review[4].

Lenovo Yoga 710 (11-inch) laptop

This convertible laptop has a whopping ?149 off the usual ?700 price. Convertible usually means you can pop the screen off and use it like a tablet, but the Yoga has a different system. It has a flexible hinge, which lets you fold the screen flat instead.

Leaving the keyboard on doesn’t impact portability, either, since the 710 is light, weighing just over 1kg. The 710 is tiny, so does that impact its performance? And is the screen any good?

Find out in our Lenovo Yoga 710 review[5].

John Lewis Spectrum Duo radio

John Lewis has knocked a third of the price of its own-brand radio, which has gone from ?59 to ?39. This DAB radio was cheap to start with and, with ?20 off, it’s a steal.

The Duo is John Lewis’s second stab at a digital radio and includes a second speaker, which means you can enjoy your favourite stations in stereo. Sound quality is paramount on a radio, so to find out if the Spectrum Duo’s audio is up to scratch, head to our John Lewis Spectrum Duo review[6].

HP Envy 7640 printer

At almost half price, this is one of the best deals we’ve found.

It’s usually ?149, but you can get this printer for ?89 in the sale. It has all the features you could want, including double-sided printing, wi-fi and near-field communication (NFC), so you can print from compatible devices, such as a smartphone, just by holding them near the printer. It’s not short of features, but is the print quality any good?

Find out in our full HP Envy 7640 review[7].

References

  1. ^ TV reviews (www.which.co.uk)
  2. ^ Samsung UE49KS9000 review (www.which.co.uk)
  3. ^ Surface Pro 4 tablets (www.which.co.uk)
  4. ^ Asus ZenPad 3S Z500M review (www.which.co.uk)
  5. ^ Lenovo Yoga 710 review (www.which.co.uk)
  6. ^ John Lewis Spectrum Duo review (www.which.co.uk)
  7. ^ HP Envy 7640 review (www.which.co.uk)

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