Summary

Our Score

7/10

Review Price free/subscription

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Our system shipped with Dell's SE198WFP silver widescreen 19in monitor that is available at a £5.88 premium over the standard 19in widescreen panel. Quite whether the silver bezel really justifies the extra cost, I'll leave up to you, but either way you get a 1,440 x 900 resolution panel, DVI and D-SUB connections and a complete lack of adjustability. Well, not quite complete, the monitor can tilt back and forth.

As with the PC Specialist system I recently looked at, even though the monitor and graphics card can both receive and send a DVI connection, respectively, Dell has chosen to ship the system with a VGA cable and a DVI to D-SUB converter to connect it. For someone like me this isn't a problem as I have plenty of spare DVI cables knocking around, but the average user won't and they'll be stuck using an inferior connection for no good reason. This means, again I've been forced to test with the supplied cable to make a fair judgement about what you should see upon receiving the system.

The monitor's image quality is nothing special and in particular colours are not that accurate. However, assuming you're not going to be editing photos and videos, it'll get the job done. You can of course specify no monitor and source one yourself, which is something I'd be inclined to do.

In a very welcome turn up for the books, our review sample shipped with Logitech's MX3000 Cordless Desktop keyboard and mouse set. Although now deprecated for the MX3200, this set is great to use with a very pleasing keyboard action and fast, accurate mouse movement. Both offer plenty of extra buttons and dials for performing multimedia functions and overall I couldn't recommend it highly enough over the bog standard set. You do of course pay for what you get and the £72 extra is quite a hefty premium to stump up but you certainly won't regret it.

Standard warranty is one year collect and return but this can be extended to three years for £99 or even three years hardware warranty plus one year Presto software support and advice service for £197. You can also sign up to a variety of other services including online data backup which starts at £22.99 for 3GB and accidental damage cover from £68.99 for the first year.

Verdict

Dell's latest range of home user PCs are better looking than ever and for the basic models, they're still as cheap as chips. However, as soon as you start adding extras to your configuration the price quickly rises and alternatives from other manufacturers may be worth a look. Also, the down turn in the quality of Dell's monitors means I'd recommend looking elsewhere for your display.

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