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In a new world of quarantine and social distancing, working from home has become the new norm for many. And having a good setup and working environment at home can make all the difference when it comes to a productive workday.
One way to achieve this is by investing in a great desktop computer.
Consumer Reports rounded up 20 of the best desktop computers on the market, so we turned to two experts on what you should know about these highly recommended options. Whether you're looking for an all-in-one desktop or a tower desktop, we're bound to have at least one option that meets your needs.
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If you want a sleek, easy-to-use computer, the Apple iMac is a solid option.
"This is a beautiful all in one PC, and by far one of the best desktops today for the general-purpose home user," said Kenneth Hale, co-owner of IT Group Technology Consulting. "The 5k screen is stunning and supports up to 1 billion colors. For streaming movies, web browsing, photos, and other general use the Apple iMac can’t be beaten."
"This 'all-in-one' computer packs all its hardware into the display itself, so you don't need a big tower on your desk," added Whitson Gordon, a tech writer with over a decade of experience. "They're a bit more expensive for the performance you get, but for many, it's well worth it."
This Dell all-in-one desktop is comparable to the iMac but slightly less expensive.
"This is a good choice for someone who doesn't want to spend the additional money on an iMac," noted Hale. "It's a decent computer in a brown paper bag. Its chassis design is passable, and the hardware specs are good for your everyday computing."
"The Dell Inspiron is a great way to save space on your desk if you don't have room for a desktop tower," added Gordon. "It's also much less money than a comparable iMac, if Apple's offerings cost too much for your taste."
If you're not interested in using multiple monitors but want the extra screen space, this is a match made in heaven.
"The HP Curved Envy is both beautiful in design an immersive due to the 34-inch curved display," said Hale. "Working on larger screens for many hours makes a world of difference in both productivity and ergonomics."
"Ultrawide monitors, like the one on HP's Envy Curved All-in-One, are amazing," said Gordon. "You get a whole lot more real estate on your screen for putting multiple windows side-by-side, which is great for getting work done. On top of that, HP offers some solid configurations with great performance."
This is by far the most expensive desktop on the list but Gordon says it's worth the upgrade if you're into graphic design and illustrations.
"An all-in-one similar to the iMac or HP Envy, but targeted directly at artists and creatives," said Gordon. "With a gorgeous touch screen that folds down horizontally, you can use the Surface Pen or Surface Dial for art and design in a way few desktop PCs can match. It's more expensive than most, but it's also extremely unique and has great performance to boot."
Best Desktop Computers
The HP ProDesk GF is perfect for those who use a lot of different applications or programs, says Hale.
"For the office and remote worker, I highly recommend the HPProDesk G5," he said. "Having a solid-state drive, the HP Pro Desk will fly you through Microsoft Office documents and websites in a flash. It’s as small as a box of tissues, quiet, and gives off minimal heat, all at a budget-friendly price."
The Apple Mac Mini is a good way to get the support of a desktop computer without shelling out a ton of money and saving some extra desk space.
"If you're on more of a budget, the Mac Mini is a great alternative but you'll need to provide your own mouse, keyboard, and monitor," said Gordon.
"The Mac Mini by Apple is iconic in its design. Small, fast, and starting at $699, it provides everything the home or productivity user needs who prefers the Apple macOS to work and play in," Hale added.
If you want more computer storage and have space at your desk, a tower desktop may be a good choice for you.
"This desktop definitely isn’t the prettiest of the bunch. But the Dell XPS Tower packs enough horsepower for the user into casual gaming and creative work," said Hale. "You get a strong system with enough room to expand (hardware) with its voluminous case for years to come."
The HP Omen Obelisk Desktop is perfect if you like to play video games. You'll have more than enough space for all of your favorite games and plenty of more room for all your important documents and photos.
"The design of the case looks like it was left behind by an alien mothership," Hale said. "The HP Omen will give you out of this world gaming performance with plenty of room to expand. It will get you through all of the new games with ease."
"There are a ton of desktop PCs on the market geared toward gaming, but HP has one of the frontrunners with is Omen line of products," added Gordon. "The HP Omen Obelisk packs a lot of performance into a decently-sized case, with customizable RGB lighting and a transparent side panel. The interior uses a tool-less design, so you can easily upgrade your parts down the road."
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