Desktop Computers: Ratings of Sources
PCMag.com is among the best sources for reviews of desktop computers. Editors test lots of desktop computers each month, and the computers are rated on a five-point scale. The best desktops earn an Editors' Choice award. PCMag.com's analysis is nicely balanced, and it does one of the best jobs of comparing desktops to each other within individual reviews. Several computers earn Editors' Choice awards in their category.
ComputerShopper.com also reviews lots of desktop computers, and its detailed reports are worth a read. Reviews are backed by testing and provide some comparisons among models. All desktops are rated on a 10-point scale, and the very best are distinguished with an Editors' Choice award. An article on the Top 100 Products of 2013 includes a list of the best desktop computers in several categories.
CNET is another prolific reviewer of desktop computers. Reviews are based on testing, and its analysis includes benchmark results and some comparisons among models. Editors show no reluctance in pointing out negatives as well as positives. Ratings are provided, and the very best computers earn Editors' Choice awards. The website also maintains lists of the best products in several desktop categories.
Editors of ConsumerReports.org test and rank full-size, compact and all-in-one computers. Desktop computers are rated on performance, ergonomics, versatility and gaming, as well as the speakers and display, if available. ConsumerReports.org has good testing, but there's very little analysis to accompany the ratings, which makes this source less valuable than ones we rank higher.
ConsumerReports.org conducts an annual product-reliability survey for desktop computers. Most brands have similar instances of repairs or serious problems, but one that does better than the norm, and one that does worse, can be spotted. The editors note that some models offered by a brand might do better or worse than a brands' overall rating and that changes in design or manufacturing details could impact reliability as well. Data covers computers purchased from 2010 through the first half of 2013. ConsumerReports.org also has reader-survey-based ratings of manufacturer and in-store tech support.
PCMag.com also conducts yearly service-and-support surveys of its subscribers. Apple receives the overall Readers' Choice award. Apple desktops continue to dominate the ratings. Asus scores best among Windows PC makers, with Gateway improving enough to receive an Honorable Mention. Acer, which earned an Honorable Mention finish last year, saw its scores crash; Ben Gottesman says that part of the reason might be that Acer had the highest rate of systems that needed repairs.
PC World reviews desktop computers on a regular basis. The site also maintains several lists of the top 10 choices among the different types of desktop computers, including all-in-ones and compact computers as well as traditional mainstream and budget desktop PCs. Although these lists are not updated as regularly as we'd like to see and they include lots of older models, some also include several still-current desktops. Each desktop is rated on a five-point scale, but the analysis isn't quite as thorough as we'd like to see -- or done like some other reviewers.
Macworld has the some of the best coverage of Apple desktops. Computers are compared to their predecessors in illustrated reviews. Testing is hands-on and ratings are provided.
Mark Kyrnin has a selection of reviews for recent desktop computers. The reviews are broken down by category. Roundups are included for major desktop categories, but some are more up-to-date than others. Each desktop is rated on a five-point scale, but you'll have to click through to each review to see the rating. Comments reflect features and expected performance, but testing is not well explained.
Amazon.com sells a good number of desktop computers, but few attract a substantial number of reviews. Most desktops earn only a handful of ratings, which makes it hard to draw any reasonable conclusions, and several of these are discontinued. That said, it is possible to spot a handful of current desktop computers that stand above the rest thanks to their positive ratings following a significant number of reviews.
BestBuy.com sells a wide range of desktop computers, but the user reviews tend to be much shorter compared to the reviews at Amazon.com. Owners can comment on whether they would recommend their desktop to a friend. Although several desktop computers receive a fair number of reviews, those that have the most reviews are often discontinued, refurbished or no longer widely available. Some are models or configurations that are exclusive to the store.
Newegg.com's customers tend to be more technically savvy, which makes it a good destination for user-written reviews of desktop computers. While several pages of desktops are listed, many models are discontinued and only a few earn enough reviews to draw any conclusions.
HP is one of a number of computer makers that allows users to leave reviews. In some cases, these sites are the best place to see owner feedback on desktop computers -- especially for systems that can be custom configured. There's no sign of bias or filtering of negative reviews, and many desktop computers get enough feedback to provide helpful guidance.
SlashGear.com's reviews aren't quite as detailed as some, and the site covers fairly few recent desktops. The computers aren't rated, but it's pretty easy to tell from the concluding paragraph whether a desktop earns a positive review.
TomsGuide.com has published a number of desktop computer reviews of late, primarily focusing on all-in-one computers. Reviews are hands-on, and testing is performed, but discussion is not particularly detailed. Ratings are provided, but you'll need to click on each review to find out how the computer in question stacks up.
HotHardware.com is a well-regarded reviewer of technology. Although the site is a good source for reviews of gaming desktops, coverage of other desktop computers is lacking. On a positive note, reviews are pages long and packed with technical details, including the results of extensive benchmark testing. Ratings are not provided, but top performers earn awards and the very best are named Editors' Choices.
If you are looking for a budget or even midrange desktop computer, you'll find little of interest here. But gaming enthusiasts can find reviews of gaming-related products, including gaming computers. While some basic gaming rigs are covered, the emphasis is on high-performance systems with prices to match.
Britain's TrustedReviews.com doesn't review many mainstream or budget desktops, but the site can have a good number of reviews for specialty products like gaming computers, home-theater PCs and net-top units. The test-based reviews are excellent, and each computer is rated on a variety of criteria.
Wired posts relatively few reviews of desktop computers, but the short reviews that are available are worth a read. Wired's editors pull no punches, and it's easy to see when a computer falls short. Each desktop is rated on a 10-point scale.
DigitalTrends.com has reviewed only a handful of computers during the past year. While the reviews themselves are nicely detailed and reflect thorough testing, there aren't enough reviews of currently available desktops to make this source as worthwhile as some others.
This U.K. site hosts its own reviews as well as reviews from a number of sister sites and publications. It reports on desktops in spurts. Some configurations are not available in the U.S. TechRadar.com's reviews are less comprehensive than some other review sites but still provide some helpful information. Ratings are given, and recommended systems are named.
Several mainstream and budget desktop computers are rated by customers at Walmart.com, although few receive attention from multiple users. In addition, users can leave rating-only reviews, and the majority choose to do that rather than leave descriptions of their experiences.