Of course, choosing HP also means you get Windows Vista, in this case Home Premium. We found no problems with this system and general Windows Vista usage, but we were sad to see that HP's software desktop remains overrun with icons pushing various products and services. They're easy enough to delete, but we wish we didn't have to.
We criticized the last HP desktop we reviewed for the same icon clutter, but we're glad to report that unlike that system, HP incorporates a Pocket Media Drive slot into the Slimline s3020n without sacrificing an internal hard drive bay. This is because the Slimline's motherboard only has two serial ATA inputs on it, which are both currently occupied by the hard drive and the DVD burner cables. You don't lose anything then, if you opt to purchase one of HP's external hard drives, and it slides neatly into its dedicated bay, which you can hide with a slide up cover on the front panel.
Finally, HP's service and support is still one of the most robust in the industry. The default plan gets you one year of parts and labor coverage, and 24-7 toll free phone support, whose only limit is on software support, which you can get for the first 90 days after your purchase. HP's InstantCare service gives HP's techs an efficient means to fix your PC remotely while leaving you in control of what they can see. We also like HP's Total Care Advisor software, which comes on every new HP PC and provides you with the tools and information necessary to perform some basic troubleshooting steps yourself.
Find out more about how we test desktop systems.
Windows Vista Home Premium; 2.8GHz Intel Pentium D 820; 1,024MB 533MHz DDR2 SDRAM; 224MB (shared) Intel GMA 950 graphics chip; 250GB 7,200rpm Western Digital hard drive
Windows Vista Home Premium; 2.0GHz AMD Athlon 64 X2 3800+; 1,024MB 533MHz DDR2 SDRAM; 128MB (shared) integrated Nvidia GeForce 6150LE graphics chip; 250GB 7,200 rpm Samsung hard drive
Windows Vista Home Premium; 2.13GHz Intel Core 2 Duo E6400; 1,024MB DDR2 533MHz SDRAM; 256MB Nvidia GeForce 7600GS graphics card; 320GB 7,200rpm Seagate hard drive
Windows Vista Home Premium; 1.66GHz Intel T2300 Core 2 Duo; 1,024MB 667MHz DDR2 SDRAM; 256MB (shared) Intel 950 GMA graphics chip; 250GB 7,200rpm Seagate Barracuda hard drive
Windows Vista Home Premium; 1.86GHz Intel Core 2 Duo E6300; 2,048MB 533MHz DDR2 SDRAM; 256MB Nvidia GeForce 7300 GT graphics card; 300GB 7,200rpm Samsung hard drive