PCA's Top 10 Lists

  Woolwell 17:27 17 May 2006

This is stick your head above the parapet time but are the Top 10 lists of real value.

Looking at the July issue (received in May! (discussed elsewhere) - why not stick to edition number and give up all pretence of relationship to month) I have researched a few of the Top 10 (often Top 5) lists.

For example:

Top 10 Budget Pc’s
Results of browsing the manufacturers website:

1. Mesh Matrix Titan Supreme – available
2. Evesham Axis RD Plus – available through Evesham’s review section but listed with the ViewSonic VX712 instead of the VX715
3. Panrix Viper AS 4200X2 - available
4. Watford Aries PowerXS 6442 PCA-04 - Couldn’t find this model. The only PowerXS 6442 costs £1299 and isn’t the same spec.
5. Cube247 Andromeda ST3 – Available
6. Evesham Axix MKR – Now £1,149 with improved specs.
7. Vantage Tornado 42 – Couldn’t find this product
8. Mesh Matrix Titan BFX – Couldn’t find this product
9. Vantage New Star Supercharged System – Couldn’t find this product
10. Gladiator Jupiter II Dual Core 3800 – Couldn’t find product

I could only find 3 of the 10 available for purchase. To my mind this invalidates the list.

Top 10 Budget Laptops – actually only 5 so the Top 5 Budget Laptops

1. Evesham Voyager C540 – Couldn’t find this product
2. Asus A6Jc – Had problems with the uk/asus website and couldn’t view their products. Through one of their resellers couldn’t find an A6Jc with exactly the same specs. There are different A6Jc’s!
3. Acer Aspire 5622WLMi – Available
4. AJP M551G-H – AJP website doesn’t list this product
5. Rock Quaddra T64 MT-34 – Available

Could only find 2 out of 3 through manufacturers’ websites

Multi-function devices – Should the Lexmark X8350 be in the same list as the others? It seems to be aimed at a different market.

Digital Projectors - Top 5 only.
1 to 3 have between 1600 and 2000 lumens projectors 4 and 5 have 3000 lumens and the first 3 are all below £1000. Surely the last 2 are going to be put to different uses than the first 3. 3000 lumens is necessary for large halls. Shouldn’t the last 2 be in a separate category.

18 to 21” flat panels.
You will not find the NEC LCD1970GX at click here this is because it has been replaced by the 90GX2.

No 1 is the Philips 190X6FB. Like many others I would like to see before buying. Philips list the local retailers as ASDA, PC World and the COOP. The link on the Philips site for PC World is to the BT shop. Now full of confidence in Philips I try the actual PC World site. The on-line store doesn’t have it and I cannot remember seeing it in the local store. Finally found some in stock online at Komplett for £249.01. However if you want to buy this monitor with a PC base unit from a major supplier it does seem to be quite difficult.

I appreciate that PCA can only review the products that they get for review and that there is a lead time before print and distribution and that products are replaced frequently but finding only 3 out 10 budget PC’s seems odd. The lists at time do not seem to be comparing like with like eg multi-function devices and projectors.

The other matters are reliability (Which? Never recommends Dyson as a best buy because they reckon that they are below average in reliability – not in my experience but maybe I’ve been luck) and of course customer service. This latter topic has been more than covered in the Consumerwatch forum.

Doing my research I am struck by how poor some of the websites are. Do I really want to buy from a manufacturer which has a poor website and hasn’t got a product in a local store which I can look at (play with).

I have bought PCA for years and now subscribe and I like the mag. I used to feel that the lists in the past were pretty good. What I find I do now is look at the lists, see if I can buy the product and then read as many reviews as I can. So perhaps they still serve a function.

What do others think?

PS - Someone will now prove my research wrong! I’m ready to eat humble pie.

  shunter02 20:59 17 May 2006

The number 1 pc maker, is that not the mesh as mentioned on this 7 many other forums?

If you do have to eat humble pie may i suggest sansburys real apple pie much more nicer to eat;-)

  shunter02 21:00 17 May 2006

Er the 7 above should be &

  Totally-braindead 21:31 17 May 2006

I can't disagree with you. If the PCs are unavailable for whatever reason the Top 10 list makes no sense whatsoever. I can see a lot of the reasons behind this but, I would have thought it would be reasonable for someone to check each month before the magazine is issued that the PC in the charts is actually available.

I was somewhat shocked at your findings, I thought perhaps one or even two might not be available but theres so many.

Is this a one off and if not then whats the point of even looking at it as you'll not be able to get them anyway.

  Forum Editor 19:21 18 May 2006

We always insist that the computers featured in our charts are available from the relevant supplier, but we don't insist that manufacturers feature them on their web-sites. Furthermore, if you had taken the trouble to read the introduction to our top ten charts in the magazine (it's on page 178 in the July issue)you would see that we clearly state:

'Manufacturers are under no obligation to feature reviewed products on their websites.'

Sometimes manufacturers will have a computer listed on their site that has an identical name to the machine in our charts, but which comes with a different specification, and that might be the cause of some confusion.

If you aren't sure, the solution is pretty simple really - just phone the supplier and say that you want the machine that was mentioned in the relevant issue of PC Advisor.If the manufacturer doesn't seem to know what you're talking about, then let us know, either here in the forum or via email and of course we'll follow up on it. The latest magazine has only just hit the shops, so one or two manufacturers might take a couple of days to catch up.

Just try to bear in mind that the chart feature is a fairly complex thing to administrate, and from time to time there are bound to be errors. All we need is a little goodwill from all parties and all will be well. Do check your facts before posting like this though.

  Totally-braindead 20:41 18 May 2006

Well Woodwell you got your answer. FE I'm sorry but bearing in mind what you've said then the chart for me loses some of its relevance. I honestly thought the PCs reviewed were examples of the ones currently available on the suppliers website.

  Forum Editor 22:09 18 May 2006

I'm not sure why you thought that, or even why it would make a difference. Surely, as long as a computer is available it doesn't matter whether it's on a supplier's website or not does it?

I didn't say that these machines are not on sites - it might be that some of them are - all we say is that manufacturers are under no obligation to feature reviewed products on their websites, which seems fair enough to me.

  Woolwell 22:32 18 May 2006

Ok - I'll hold my hands up and admit that I didn't read the introduction on page 178 properly and am currently eating my afore-mentioned humble pie. But I had expected most of the PC's to be listed on the website bearing in mind that most of these sales are likely to be distance sales. Evesham has a section for review systems but the Axis MKR is not listed.

Comparing like for like in a few categories is another matter. Generally I value the magazine and know being a reviewer is almost impossible as what please one doesn't please another. Probably the best buy is the PC the the purchaser is personally very happy with.

I don't want this to carry on so I'll tick as resolved

  Forum Editor 22:45 18 May 2006

No need to eat the pie unless you want to. I think it's more a question of appreciating that a review machine may not be on a supplier's site simply because it takes a while, sometimes, for e-commerce sites to be updated.

Alternatively, a supplier may not choose to advertise a specific machine configuration, and this could be for any one of several reasons. All in all I think that the more important factor here should be that someone who sees a computer in our list should be able to buy it, at least for a reasonable time after review. If it takes an email, or even a phone call to achieve that, then so be it. As I've already said, we'll try to help in cases where hopeful purchasers are met with a blank look.

  anskyber 15:14 19 May 2006

Yep, and FE you cannot say fairer than that. This is a bit off thread I think but, accepting all that FE has said, and I do, the top 10 still needs to be treated with caution since not all manufacturers submit their machines for review. (Dell desktops?) The top 10 for obvious reasons show the mags view of those it has seen rather than it being a top 10 of all machines.

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