Thanks to a robust, low-cost AMD chip and a healthy portion of system memory, HP's Pavilion All-in-One MS225 ably spans the divide between hobbled Nettops and pricier Intel-based all-in-ones. If performance is top of mind, we'd point you to a true budget desktop. Otherwise, the manageable, self-contained design of a smaller all-in-one has a lot of appeal, and it's worth paying a small premium for this $599 HP, whose components are robust enough to handle the day-to-day tasks that confound its competition.
An 18.4-inch display and all-matte-black housing/gray stand combination make the Pavilion All-in-One MS225 an approachable, unobtrusive piece of hardware. It's easy to imagine it perched on a desk or tucked away on a countertop. The screen isn't touch-enabled, and the included mouse and keyboard are both wired devices, so you'll either need to endure some traditional input device clutter, or spring for a wireless desktop set. The good news is that it does come with 802.11n wireless networking, so at least you won't have to worry about running an Ethernet cable through your kitchen.
To the input method, we don't expect to find touch input in a capable $599 all-in-one (at least in the first half of the year). We're actually very skeptical of touch-input in desktops, but HP's TouchSmart all-in-one line stands out for its superb recipe software that can scrape and organize recipes from a wide variety of popular Web sites. We wish HP had extended that software to this system. A mouse-driven version of its Recipe Box program would be perfect in this countertop-friendly design.
|HP Pavilion All-in-One MS225||Averatec D1133|
|Screen size, resolution||18.4-inches, 1,366x768||18.4-inches, 1,680x945|
|CPU||1.6GHz AMD Athlon II X2 250||1.5GHz AMD Athlon X2 3250e|
|Memory||4GB 800MHz DDR2 SDRAM||2GB 800MHz DDR2 SDRAM|
|Graphics||256MB ATI Radeon HD 3200 integrated graphics||512MB ATI Radeon HD 3200|
|Hard drives||320GB, 7,200rpm||250GB, 7,200rpm|
|Optical drive||dual-layer DVD burner||dual-layer DVD burner|
|Networking||Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11b/g wireless||Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11g wireless|
|Operating system||Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit)||Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 (32-bit)|
The Averatec D1133 we reviewed back in September has been around for a while. Averatec offers a new, Windows 7-based model for $599 (currently on sale for $479), but aside from the new operating system, the hardware is the same. From a value standpoint, HP gives you a larger hard drive and more system RAM, the latter of which has a noticeable performance impact.
We're not able to speak to the streaming video capabilities of the Averatec system, as we only tested it with a DVD, which we found satisfactory. The HP's video playback quality for DVDs was also fine, and it handled Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, and HD movie trailers with no trouble. The HP's audio output was perhaps a little louder than the Averatec's, but by no means would it fill a large room. Between the soft audio and 18.4-inch displays common to both systems, neither is a digital media stand-out, but they should be enough to provide decent background entertainment or up-close viewing.
|Rendering multiple CPUs||Rendering single CPU|
Our lab testing puts the Pavilion All-in-One MS225 exactly where we expected to find it. It's not quite as fast as more expensive all-in-ones from Gateway and Acer, both of which run full-power Intel Pentium Dual Core CPUs. But to its credit, the HP outpaces both the Intel Atom-powered Lenovo C300 and to a lesser extent the Averatec, which has only 2GB of RAM backing its AMD chip. We expect that a budget desktop with an Intel Core 2 Duo or Core 2 Quad CPU would be faster still, for roughly the same price, but among $500 to $600 all-in-ones, the Pavilion All-in-One MS225 is a clear winner. As long as you don't attempt any overly ambitious multimedia editing or challenging 3D games, we expect you'll encounter few slow-downs during everyday use.
You also shouldn't get too ambitious in terms of the devices you'd like to connect to this HP. It has a pair of USB 2.0 ports on the left side, and four more on the back, but that's about it for external device support. The system also has a media card reader, a pair of analog audio jacks, an Ethernet port, a Webcam, and brightness controls. All of those features are welcome, although we'd trade the brightness controls for volume buttons or a dedicated display power button. The volume controls on the keyboard work, too.
|HP Pavilion All-in-One MS225||Average watts per hour|
|Raw (annual kWh)||108.20352|
|Energy Star compliant||Yes|
|Annual operating cost (@$0.1135/kWh)||$12.28|
Similar to its program performance, the HP also finished in the middle among low-cost all-in-ones in terms of its power consumption. At just over $1.02 a month, we imagine most of you will be able to stomach the HP's impact on your power bill. More importantly, it's uses energy in keeping with its performance. We like it when computers overachieve on their power efficiency, but we have no problems when they simply meet expectations, either.
Finally, HP's service and support compares well with that of other large Windows PC vendors. It has a toll-free, 24-7 phone support line, a one-year warranty out of the box, and a variety of support services available online as well as on the system itself.
Find out more about how we test desktop systems.
HP Pavilion All-in-One MS225
Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (64-bit); 1.6GHz AMD Athlon II X2 250; 4GB 800MHz DDR2 SDRAM; 256MB (shread) AMD Radeon HD 3200 integrated graphics chip; 320GB 7,200 rpm Seagate hard drive
Acer Aspire Z5610
Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (64-bit); 2.6GHz Intel Pentium Dual Core E5300; 4GB 1,333MHz DDR3 SDRAM; 512MB ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4570; 320GB 5,400rpm Seagate hard drive
Averatec D1133 All-in-One
Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 (32-bit); 1.5GHz AMD Athlon X2 3250e; 2GB 800MHz DDR2 SDRAM; 512MB ATI Radeon HD 3200; 250GB 5,400rpm Samsung hard drive
Gateway One ZX4800-02
Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (64-bit); 2.1GHz Intel Pentium Dual Core T4300; 4GB 800MHz DDR2 SDRAM; 32MB (shread) Intel GMA 450M integrated graphics chip; 750GB 5,400rpm Seagate hard drive
Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 (32-bit); 1.6GHz Intel Atom 330; 4GB 667MHz DDR2 SDRAM; 512MB ATI Radeon HD 4350; 640GB 5,400rpm Western Digital hard drive