DesktopReview’s 2011 Holiday Buyer’s Guide: The Best Desktops, All-in-Ones, Accessories and More!

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♫ Chrissttmaaaass tiiiiime is heeeeeree agaaaain ?? 

All right, maybe it’s a bit too early to start singing the Chipmunks’ Christmas songs, but it’s definitely not too early to start thinking about what you want – and want to give – for Christmas! It’s only five more weeks until the big day, and if you want to jump in and take advantage of the best deals, now’s the perfect time to get started. 

We’ve singled out five of our favorite desktops from over the past year in order to give you an idea of your options. Apple fan? No problem! We’ve got you covered with two different products! PC fans, you’re well represented, too – even gamers get to jump in on the fun. 

Spanning several different companies, we have all-in-ones, super small form factors, touchscreens, TV tuners and and ever our top choices for putting HD content on your HDTV. Need storage? We’ve got that covered. What about new speakers? We’ve got that covered, too! Read on to stay informed with DesktopReview’s 2011 Holiday Shopping Guide!


Apple iMac 27-inch – $1699 ** America’s #1 Desktop! **

Apple’s 27-inch iMac takes our top pick honors for a number of reasons. As the world’s first all-in-one to incorporate a 27-inch display, the iMac puts image quality up front with its stunning, 2560×1440 resolution display. Paired with Intel’s Thunderbolt high-speed interconnect, the iMac avoids the problems that plague many all-in-ones – namely, an inability to expand upon its original functionality with high-speed accessories. For those who want in on the iMac action for a bit less money, Apple also offers a 21.5-inch, 1920×1080 model that starts at just $1199.

Read about the Apple iMacBuy the Apple iMac


HP TouchSmart 610  – $1099

HP has really put a lot of effort into beefing up its all-in-one offerings, and it really shows in the form of the HP TouchSmart 610. The 610 is one of our top picks, thanks to the exciting stand HP engineered – as one of the top complaints with touchscreen desktops stems from the fatigue users experience from holding their arms up to the screen, the 610 can fold back on itself, allowing users a more natural touch experience. Recently, HP updated the lineup to include 3D capabilities.

Read about the HP TouchSmart 610Buy the HP TouchSmart 610


Dell OptiPlex 990 Ultra-Small Form Factor – $899

The Dell OptiPlex 990 USFF is one of the smallest desktops we’ve reviewed – despite that, it manages to pack all the power of a new Intel Core i5 CPU, high-speed RAM, and fast, enterprise-class storage. Even though Dell markets the OptiPlex lineup to big business, there’s nothing stopping smaller businesses or even home office users from picking one up, which we recommend for the world-class business support and warranty that are included with every OptiPlex purchase.

Read about the Dell OptiPlex 990 — Buy the Dell OptiPlex 990


Apple Mac Mini – $599 

The Apple Mac Mini is one of our favorite little desktops for a number of reasons. It’s small. It’s gorgeous. This crafted block of aluminum puts all of the ports in the back, making the front and sides seamless and featureless – it’s a very clean design. Apple eschewed an optical drive to make the new Mac Minis thinner than ever, but make up for it by adding the high-speed Thunderbolt port – so you can hook up faster hard drives or optical drives if you need it. If the base model isn’t enough, you can upgrade the CPU and graphics, making the Mac Mini a powerful little box!

Read about the Apple Mac Mini — Buy the Apple Mac Mini


Dell XPS 8300 – $649

Dell’s XPS series marked the first time a major PC manufacturer really tried to court the high-end, enthusiast and gamer market segments with a well-designed computer that took advantage of high-end components. After Dell acquired Alienware, that company replaced their gaming line and the XPS brand was retired. A recent return, Dell’s XPS 8300 sheds some of the gamer cred it once had, but replaces it with an all-around solid PC that still likes to play video games on the weekends.

Read about the Dell XPS 8300Buy the Dell XPS 8300


Logitech Z623 2.1 Speaker System – $119

Logitech might be best known for their oustanding PC accessories – namely keyboards and mice with a year or more of battery life, and, more recently, some award-winning gaming headsets. But they’ve been in the speaker business for quite a while, too, and the Z623 will offer gamers and media enthusiasts alike powerful, high-quality audio at prices that won’t break the budget.

Read about the Logitech Z623Buy the Logitech Z623


Western Digital WD TV Live – $99

Western Digital is and will always be primarily a storage company, but their recent foray into consumer electronics shows off some amazing hidden talents. The WD TV Live is just the most recent example of really, really good media players that hook up to your HDTV while tying into your home network and Internet connection in order to provide one place for all of your movies, pictures and music. Capable of playing just about every file format we could throw at it, the WD TV Live integrates with services such as Hulu, Netflix, Spotify, Blockbuster, Facebook and more.

Read about the Western Digital WD TV LiveBuy the WD TV Live

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