To Buy or Not To Buy (2 out of 5)
When it comes to new computers hitting the market at “back to school” time, it can sometimes be a tough call deciding which of these low priced computers are best for your student or even yourself. By doing just a little bit of research, however, you can easily find out which perform the best for your money and which you should probably avoid.
For a couple of years, the mainstream PC market for the all-in-one computers have been supplied through just a few major companies: Dell, Apple, iMac, and Sony. Novatech Solo Pro is now trying to break into this market and grab up some sales. While the all-in-one computers are really great for students (as they don’t take up a lot of space in a dorm room), most of the major companies have tried to dress them up a bit so that they don’t look so, well, stark.
The Novatech goes more for a durability factor than a style factor with their Solo Pro. Here is why: the other all-in-one computers that are on the market offer a 20” or larger screen and style that stand out from other computers. They move and swivel to different angles that make it perfect for small desks or for watching movies on the computer system. The Novatech, however, only offers a 19” screen that is a simple gloss black, sitting on top of a sturdy black stand, and only offers a tilt range instead of a wider range of motion. Of course, this does make it more durable, so you have to determine which is more important personally to you. Now, for those that are more concerned with space on their desk, this computer does take up a lot less space than a normal PC and even some of the other all-in-one’s that are on the market today.
The screen itself is all right and is great for surfing the web and working on documents. But when you are looking at it from a graphics standpoint, there are some flaws. Bright whites, for example, show up with a real lack of definition and are hard to distinguish from other bright regions that are close together. This also tends to happen in areas where there are really small details, as they tend to bleed together as well. Users will have to remember that this computer is designed to be used for working and for surfing the web – not for gaming.
One plus for the Solo Pro is the generous number of ports and sockets on the system itself. There are a USB ports, a 3.5mm headphone jack, a microphone jack, speaker jacks, HDMI port, FireWire port, Ethernet, and eSATA ports all located on the computer as well. This is great for those who want to hook up different outside devices to the computer without having to disconnect other devices. But, this is also a problem as well, as the main ports that you will probably be using, such as USB, are on the bottom of the screen and getting to them can be a pain in the neck.
Inside the computer, the components are decent, but they are more of the sort that you would expect to find on a laptop computer. It does come with a new Intel Core 2 Duo P8600 that runs at 2.4GHz, and you also get a pretty decent amount of memory – 2GB of 667MHz DD2 RAM. It is actually because of the newest processor that the Novatech ranks pretty high on many of the scales with me, as well as some of the other major computer sites out there. Most of these sites rank it right under the Dell all-in-one, which is pretty decent in my book. But, it has very limited upgrade options. Really the only parts that you can change out are a pair of SO-DIMM’s.
Without any type of frills on the Novatech Solo Pro, I am not sure that I personally would buy it.There is no TV tuner, so watching TV or movies online is probably not the best idea for this computer. Also, the Solo Pro seems to be made for more business use rather than typical home use, as is shown by the obvious leaning toward durability instead of extras. Here’s an example: when you compare the speakers on the Solo Pro to the ones on the Dell, they just don’t stand a chance. While Dell’s speakers have a great quality and work wonderfully for music, TV, or movies, the ones that are on the Solo Pro just lack any type of “coolness.” I mean, they will work for whatever you’d need them for, but they just provide an “ok” sound experience - no more.
As for the price of this all-in-one, well, it is cheaper than others on the market, such as the Dell. But, you can easily get a traditional desktop much cheaper than this computer that will do more than this all-in-one can. So, if money is what you are the most concerned with here, then you will do better to go with a traditional desktop, even if it does take up more space on your desk.
Overall, I rate the Novatech Solo Pro a 2 out of 5. Personally, I wouldn’t recommend it just because of all the downfalls that it has. But, it is cheap for an all-in-one and is an extreme space saver. So, it is more a matter of personal preference here.