Wednesday, 27 February 2013

The Subjective And Out-Of Date Recommendation Post

Probably the second biggest bane of an IT professional's life is being asked for recommendations. (We've already discussed the first). So we're going to take our life into our hands and make some. However, please be aware that they are purely what we like and you may not get on with them. And if you are reading this any time after the day it was posted, then it's out of date.

PCs
Dell: Reasonably priced, decent equipment. After-service is pretty ropey though and upgrade prices can be a little steep.
Novatech: Get what you pay for machines, not always the cheapest, but after sales and services is good.
HP & Compaq: Nice equipment, but you get the feeling you're paying more because of the name plate on the front.
Acer: Nice laptops.
Mac: Expensive and not for big game players, but look pretty and are user friendly.

Anti-virus
Firstly, the anti-recommendation...
Panda, Norton and McAfee: Overblown monsters that want to take over your entire system. They will slow your computer down and it's a matter of time before you have a problem that was caused by them. McAfee isn't too hot at detecting some basic and common viruses either.
AVG/Avira: One word - free. And for the regular PC user they provide ample protection.
AVComparitives is a useful comparison tool and Bitdefender won its Product of the Year award, with Kaspersky not far behind.

Office software
Microsoft Office: Fine but there's a good chance you won't use everything you've paid for.
LibreOffice: All the mainstream parts of Microsoft's offering with a 100% price difference.

Tablet
iPad: Still at the top of the heap but there are a number of viable alternatives. Worth trying a few before you commit.
Honorary mention: Paracetamol - Always read the label (True in IT too!)

Monitors
Philips: Nice clear displays with good colours, recently been finding these to give good value for money too.
LG: Good Prices, good contrast ratios
Relisys: The monitors last, but the power packs fail, and they're not the run of the mill IEC leads which most monitors use, so you find yourself stuffed.

Printers
Canon, HP, Epson: Yes.
Lexmark: No.
And if you expect to print from an iPad, ensure the printer supports Airprint.

Peripherals
Trust: Don't. They're rubbish.

We'll try and update this post occasionally, so check back.

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