This review appears in the April 07 issue of PC Advisor, available now in all good newsagents.
The run-up to its launch saw all sorts of protests about the price of Windows Vista. But with Vista Home Premium costing £200 in the UK, why not pay an extra £300 and get a PC thrown in? That's the premise behind the 2-3305 Versatile PC, a system that shows you don't need to have the most sophisticated technology in town to sign up to the visual extravaganza of Vista.
Sure, you won't be able to enjoy super smooth video and sizzling graphics, but even with XP, you'd need a significantly more expensive PC to indulge yourself properly. The fact is, Vista Home Premium's bells and whistles (including Aero) work pretty much flawlessly on this relatively modest PC.
Of course, it's not all plain sailing. Some PCs at this price point come with a shining new chip from Intel's Core 2 Duo range. The Zoostorm's 2.8GHz Pentium D processor does actually have dualcore support – so you should be able to take some advantage of the promised flood of multithreaded multicore Vista applications – but it's far from being the fastest of chips. The WorldBench score of 89 is adequate given the price, but there are bigger performers available for under £500. 1GB of DDR RAM is the bare minimum for the memory. Luckily, the 2-3305 has obliged here.
We're glad Zoostorm didn't take the easy route and kit out this PC with an inferior integrated graphics controller. The 256MB 7600 GS is a decent performer for the money, and comfortably within Microsoft's stated minimums for Vista Premium. The AOC LM765 is a merely competent flat-panel – although you could certainly do worse – and the onboard sound and Logitech speakers are fairly uninspiring.
At £500, this was never going to be a stunner, but it's more than good enough to run Vista Home Premium at a decent lick. None of the hardware is fantastic, but neither is any of it atrocious. This is a solid PC for those on a budget.