HP Pavilion 500 Review

Updated April 30, 2014
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HP Pavilion 500
Bottom Line

At less than $500, the HP Pavilion 500 provides modern components, good performance and value that's hard to beat. It's also easy to upgrade ... as long as those upgrades don't include adding a second hard drive.

Performance

It's what you make of it. The HP Pavilion 500 is available in several base configurations, and those are user configurable at purchase if you buy direct from HP. For those on a budget, the HP Pavilion 500-200t is a great starting point. As is, you get a 4th generation 3.4 GHz Intel Core i3 processor, 6 GB of memory, a 7,200 rpm 1 TB hard drive, a DVD burner, 7:1 memory card reader, and integrated Intel HD Graphics. If your budget allows, you can opt for a faster Core i3 processor, a Blu-ray player in place of the DVD burner, a bigger hard drive (up to 3 GB), more memory (up to 16 GB) and discrete graphics (though the options offered by HP are strictly low end). After-sale upgrades and add-ons are possible, and the HP 500-200t has open PCIe slots, but the 300-watt power supply will cap what's possible.

Pros4th generation Intel processor, Large, fast hard drive, Low priceConsNo open drive bays, Relatively limited connectivity, Integrated graphics

Design

A big box. The Pavilion 500 is what's euphemistically called a mid-tower design, which means that it is relatively large, and relatively hard to hide. Styling touches such as the glossy black front panel with chrome touches does help a little. External connectivity is relatively skimpy, with just two USB 3.0 ports and four USB 2.0 ports. The video output is DVI-D only, though you can gain HDMI by opting for an upgrade to discrete graphics. We saw one user complaint regarding issues with the bundled keyboard, but one expert reviewer notes that it is pretty well designed, and easy to type on. One plus: Wi-Fi (802.11 b/g/n) and Bluetooth are built in.

Support & reliability

Middle of the road. HP finishes in the middle of the pack, in most regards, in surveys of customer satisfaction, satisfaction with tech support and brand reliability in major surveys conducted by PCMag.com and ConsumerReports.org. There has been a lot of grousing among buyers in the past regarding excessive bloatware on HP systems; those comments didn't crop up in user reviews of the HP Pavilion 500-200t, but feedback is relatively limited. One complaint that did crop up regarded the "challenges" of migrating to Windows 8/8.1. If that's something you'd like to avoid, HP offers a similar HP Pavilion 500 configuration, the HP Pavilion 500-205t (Est. $500 and up), that comes with Windows 7 standard.

Value

Lots of bang for the buck. If you are not a serious gamer or graphics professional, the HP Pavilion 500-200t offers a lot of pluses for not a lot of dollars. It has good-to-excellent performance to start with, and the ability to grow with you (within reason) if your needs change. That's enough to earn it a Best Buy recommendation among traditional desktop computers from at least one expert reviewer.

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HP Pavilion 500t Windows 7 Desktop
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Our Sources

1. ConsumerReports.org

HP Pavilion 500-200t, Editors of ConsumerReports.org, Not dated

The HP Pavilion 500-200t is included among the tower desktop computers tested by ConsumerReports.org. Desktop computers are rated and ranked alongside similar systems. Discussion is provided, and sheds additional light, but is relatively brief. ConsumerReports.org also provides information on brand reliability and the quality of HP's technical support.

2. HP.com

HP Pavilion 500-200t Desktop PC, Contributors to HP.com, As of April 2014

Only a dozen or so users report on the HP Pavilion 500-200t at HP's website, but most are happy as evidenced by the 4.2-star rating. Complaints mainly revolve around issues with Windows 8 rather than with the hardware, though a couple of quibbles on that score crop up as well. Elsewhere on the site, other base configurations of the HP Pavilion 500 receive more feedback and similar user ratings, including the HP Pavilion 500-205t.

3. PCMag.com

Readers' Choice Awards 2014: Laptop and Desktop PCs, Ben Gottesman, Feb. 11, 2014

HP falls solidly in the middle of the pack in terms of customer satisfaction in the latest Readers' Choice awards at PCMag.com. In the overall category, it earns the same scores as Dell and Lenovo.