Recommended

And the Winners Are ...

Our Picks for Systems and Software

By David Gabel

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Software joins our Recommended list of products this month. The software products we like best follow the systems listings. Next month, we'll supplement our existing systems section with a new hardware category that covers notebook systems and peripherals of all types. From April on, we'll provide you with this complete set of recommendations.

The items listed here represent the best in their categories of the products we have seen and tested at WINDOWS Magazine. If you see a product listed here, that's your guarantee that one of our testers has used it and that it passes our critical test: Would I recommend this product to a friend or family member?

Software products are rated on installation, usability, supporting materials, functionality, performance and utility. Reviewers score each of these categories from 1 (Poor) to 5 (Outstanding). The WinMag Box Score is the reviewer's overall evaluation of the product. Desktop systems are scored for setup, documentation, ergonomics, construction/serviceability, expandability and basic requirements (does it have the appropriate buses, ports and so on.) Again, we use a 1-to-5 scoring system for each category.

--David Gabel

Desktop Systems Over $3,000

ProductConfiguration Price as testedIn brief Issue

reviewed

Box score
ACMA zPower P133

800-786-6888, 510-623-1212

133MHz Pentium, 16MB EDO RAM, 256KB cache, 1.2GB HDD, 6X CD-ROM, 17" monitor ast CD-ROM, fast video $3,399This system is a winner. March '964.5
Compaq Deskpro XL 5133

800-345-1518, fax 713-518-1442

133MHz Pentium, 16MB RAM, 256KB cache, 1GB HDD, 17" monitor $4,999 Fast SCSI-2, Ethernet and more built-in. March '964.5
Digital Celebris GL 5133ST

800-642-4532, 508-642-6400

133MHz Pentium, 16MB EDO RAM, 512KB cache, 1.6GB HDD, 4X CD-ROM drive, 15" monitor $4,249A loaded, rapid-fire tower of power. February '964.5
Gateway 2000 P5-133XL

800-846-2000, 605-232-2000

133MHZ Pentium, 16MB EDO RAM, 256KB cache, 1.6GB HDD, 6X CD-ROM drive, 17" monitor $3,599New design in a feature-packed unit with room to grow. February '964.5
Robotech Cobra XLT/2 P166

800-255-2215, 801-565-0645

166MHz Pentium, 16MB RAM, 256KB pipeline burst cache, 1GB HDD, 17-inch monitor $4,099Not just well-built, it's also a super performer. March '964.0
Preproduction
Dell Dimension XPS P166c

800-289-3355, 512-338-4400

166MHz Pentium, 16MB EDO RAM, 512KB cache, 1.08GB HDD, 4X CD-ROM drive, 17" monitor $3,229Power and user-friendliness, too. February '964.5
Dell Dimension XPS Pro150

800-289-3355, 512-338-4400

150MHz Pentium Pro, 64MB RAM, 2GB HDD, 6X CD-ROM drive, 17" monitor $6,759Pentium Pro puts it into a new performance realm. December '954.0
Gateway 2000 P5-150

800-846-2000, 605-232-2000

150MHz Pentium, 16MB EDO RAM, 256KB cache, 1.6GB HDD, 15" monitor $3,193

(Lowest Price)

Faster than a fast-forward videotape. March '964.5
Micron P150 Millennia

800-243-7615, 208-463-3423

150MHz Pentium, 16MB EDO RAM, 1.2GB HDD, 15" monitor $3,047Impressive performance and top-flight peripherals. February '964.5
Micron P166 Millennia Plus

800-243-7615, 208-463-3423

166MHz Pentium, 16MB EDO RAM, 2GB HDD, 1GB tape drive, 15" monitor $4,446This Pentium system behaves like a Pentium Pro. February '964.5
Micron Pro 200 Magnum Plus

800-243-7613, 208-465-3423

200MHz Pentium Pro, 32MB RAM, 256KB cache, 2GB HDD, 6X CD-ROM drive, 15" monitor $6,147It blew the doors off our tests.

(Fastest Performer)

February '964.0
NEC PowerMate P166

800-NEC-INFO, 508-264-8000

166MHz Pentium, 16MB RAM; 256KB cache, 1.6GB HDD, no monitor $3,399 Easy expansion and great graphics performance. March '964.0

Note: Pentium Pros have level 2 cache in the package.

Desktop Systems from $2,000 to $3,000

ProductConfiguration Price as testedIn brief Issue

reviewed

Box score
ACMA sPower P133

800-786-6888, 510-623-1212

133MHz Pentium, 16MB EDO RAM, 256KB cache, 850MB HDD, 15" monitor $2,599133MHz power at a value price. March '964.5
AMS InfoGOLD P100

800-888-6615, 408-945-2296

100MHz Pentium, 16MB RAM, 256KB cache, 1.08GB HDD, 4X CD-ROM drive, 15" monitor. $2,779 (direct)The InfoGOLD takes the gold.

(Fastest Perfomer)

December'954.0
Epson Action Tower 8200

800-289-3776, 310-782-0770

75MHz Pentium, 8MB RAM, 256KB cache, 850MB HDD, 4X CD-ROM drive, 17" monitor $2,199 (street)Loaded with all but the kitchen sink and easy to set up. December '954.5
FCS P5-100 Multimedia

800-325-1911, 770-441-1911

100MHz Pentium, 16MB RAM, 256KB cache, 1.6GB HDD, 4X CD-ROM drive, 15" monitor $2,299Good looks, great performance, easy accessibility. December '953.5
Gateway 2000 P5-120

800-846-2000, 605-232-2000

120MHz Pentium, 16MB RAM, 256KB cache, 1GB HDD, 4X CD-ROM drive, 15" monitor $2,374The performance you need when you get down to business. February '963.5
HP Vectra VL Series 4 5/100M T

800-752-0900, 415-857-1501

100MHz Pentium, 16MB EDO RAM, 256KB cache, 1GB HDD, 4X CD-ROM, 15" monitor $2,954 (street)Even the most demanding user will love it. February '965.0
IBM Aptiva PC Model M51

800-IBM-2-YOU, 919-765-1900

100MHz Pentium, 8MB RAM, 256KB cache, 1GB HDD, 4X CD-ROM drive, 15" monitor It has all the bells and whistles. February '963.5
MidWest Micro P5-75 Office PC

800-235-9148, 513-368-2309

75MHz Pentium, 16MB EDO RAM, 256KB cache, 1GB HDD, 4X CD-ROM, 15" monitor $2,051

(Lowest Price)

Excellent components are a welcome bonus. March '963.5
Mitsuba Premier System-100

800-648-7822, 909-392-2000

100MHz Pentium, 16MB RAM, 256KB cache, 1.28GB HDD, 4X CD-ROM drive, 15" monitor $2,600 (street)Expandability is its middle name. December'953.5
NEC PowerMate V100

800-NEC-INFO, 508-264-8000

100MHz Pentium, 16MB RAM, 256KB cache, 1GB HDD, 6X CD-ROM drive, 15" monitor $2,859 (street)This system gets your business moving. February '963.5
NEC Ready 7022

800-NEC-INFO, 508-264-8000

75MHz Pentium, 8MB RAM, 1GB HDD, 4X CD-ROM drive, 15" monitor $2,098 (street)It's a solid system, and the IR remote control is snazzy. February '964.0
NEC Ready 9522

800-NEC-INFO, 508-264-8000

100MHz Pentium, 16MB RAM, 256KB cache, 1.6MB HDD, 4X CD-ROM drive, 15" monitor $2,898 (street)Loaded with features from IR to telephony. December '953.5
Quantex QP5/120 SM-1

800-632-5022, 908-563-4166

120MHz Pentium, 16MB EDO RAM, 256KB cache, 1.6GB HDD, 6X CD-ROM drive, 17" monitor $2,599You'd expect to pay more for this great-performing system. February '964.0

Desktop Systems Under $2,000

ProductConfiguration Price as testedIn brief Issue

reviewed

Box score
Compaq ProLinea 575e

800-345-1518, fax 713-518-1442

75MHz Pentium, 8MB RAM, 632MB HDD, 15" monitor $1,788 Well-constructed and documented, but no multimedia. March '963.5
Dell Dimension P100t

800-613-3355, 512-338-4400

100MHz Pentium, 8MB RAM, 256KB cache, 1.08GB HDD, 4X CD-ROM drive, 17" monitor $1,899 (direct)The design emphasizes functionality, not extras. February '964.5
Digital Venturis 575 Slimline

800-DIGITAL, 508-624-6400

75MHz Pentium, 8MB RAM, 256KB cache, 620MB HDD, 15" monitor $1,599Spartan design, but it can do the job. February '964.0
Gateway 2000 P5-75

800-846-2000, 605-232-2000

75MHz Pentium, 850MB HDD, 4X CD-ROM drive, 14" monitor $1,764All the hardware you'll need for multimedia computing. February '964.0
Quantex QP5/100 M-2

800-632-5022, 908-563-4166

100MHz Pentium, 8MB EDO RAM, 256KB cache, 1GB HDD, 6X CD-ROM drive, 15" monitor $1,849Value for the money, but no bundled office suite. February '964.0
Robotech Cobra XL-100

800-533-0633, 801-565-0645

100MHz DX4, 8MB RAM, 256KB cache, 850MB HDD, 4X CD-ROM drive, 15" monitor $1,736A good system for students or computing neophytes. February '964.5

Software: Business

ProductVendor PriceIn brief Issue

reviewed

Box

score

AccountingM.Y.O.B. Accounting

Version 6.0

800-322-MYOB, 201-586-2200

BestWareFrom $79.95 (street) Features enhanced job tracking, unlimited payroll accrual categories and Cue Cards. March '964.5
AccountingQuickBooks 4.0 and QuickBooks Pro 4.0

800-624-8742, 520-295-3110

Intuit$99 disk; $129 CD; $189 Pro (street) Eases the chore of starting a new business accounting system. February '965.0
ExpensesQuicken ExpensAble

800-624-8742, 520-295-3110

Intuit$49.95 (street) An envelope metaphor makes sure nothing slips through the cracks. October '954.0
PIMECCO PRO 3.0

408-973-7171, fax 408-257-6405

NetManage$139Offers great customization, workgroup scheduling and file synchronization. September '954.0
Contact

Manager

WinSales 3.0

206-747-2464, fax 206-747-2955

WinSales$495 Sales reps will appreciate its persistence. August '954.0
Planning/

Analysis

Cashé

800-993-3600, 617-899-8700

Business Matters $995 (street) Works with as much information as you can give it. February '964.5
Project

Management

SureTrak Project

Manager 1.5

800-423-0245, 610-667-8600

Primavera Systems$299 (street) Has tools for budgeting labor and material resources. February '964.0
SchedulingOnTime Enterprise for

NetWare 3.0

800-559-5955, 810-559-5955

Campbell Services$427 (3 users) Usability improvements highlight this mature group scheduling product. January '964.5
Tax

Management

TurboTax for Business

800-624-8742, 520-295-3110

Intuit$69.95 (street) It may let you smile on April 15.February '96 5.0

* Not formally reviewed-consensus choice of WINDOWS Magazine editors

Communications

ProductVendor PriceIn brief Issue

reviewed

Box

score

Asynchronous Qmodem Pro 2.0 for Windows 95

800-999-9619, 805-873-2500

Mustang Software$129 This 32-bit communications software lets you download in the background. December '953.5
Internet BrowserNetscape Navigator 2.0

415-254-1900, fax 415-528-4140

Netscape Com-
munications
$49 The latest version adds good e-mail and newsgroup readers to the usual great Web browser.* *
Remote Control pcAnywhere32 .

800-441-7234, 541-334-6054

Symantec Corp$149Wizards put you in touch with what you left in the office. February '964.0
SuiteCommSuite 95

800-441-7234, 541-334-6054

Delrina Group, Symantec Corp.$99 (street) Asynchronous communications, fax and Internet tools. December '954.0
Terminal EmulationReflection Suite for X 5.0

800-872-2829, 206-217-7100

WRQ $599 Several connectivity products, including TCP/IP and Windows VT terminal emulator, are bundled. May '954.0
EntryFileMaker Pro 3.0

800-544-8554, 408-727-8227

Claris Corp.$199 (street) An easy-to use FileMaker has entered the relational database world. January '963.5
ProfessionalVisual dBASE 5.5

800-233-2444, 408-431-1000

Borland International$349.95 (street) It's equally easy to build databases using point-and-click or code-twiddling. August '954.0

Utility

ProductVendor PriceIn Brief Issue

Reviewed

Box

Score

AntivirusDr. Solomon's Antivirus Toolkit for Windows 95

800-701-9648, 617-273-7400

S&S Software International$125 A healthy dose of preventive medicine. January '964.5
BackupArcada Backup for Windows 95

800-3-ARCADA, 407-333-7500

Arcada Software$99The features that Windows 95's Backup applet lacks. March '964.5
Systems EnhancerLong File Names for Windows 95

800-487-VIEW, 415-856-8439

VIEW Software$30 (street) Win 3.x users can share Win95's long filenames transparently. March '964.5
Systems EnhancerPowerDesk 1.0

800-777-3322, 770-516-0899

MicroHelp$49.95 (street) Puts menus, applications and monitors within easy reach on your Win95 desktop. January '964.5
UninstallerCleanSweep 95

800-354-4757, 310-309-3700

Quarterdeck Corp.$29.95 (street) Lose unwanted files easily.January '96 4.5

Development

ProductVendor PriceIn Brief Issue

Reviewed

Box

score

EnvironmentDelphi 2.0

800-453-3375, 408-431-1000

Borland International$500 Desktop; $800 Developer All the power and ease of use you need for Windows 95 development. March '965.0
EnvironmentSymantec C++ 7.0

800-441-7234, 541-334-6054

Symantec Corp.$399 (street) Supports a wide range of platforms (Win95, 3.x 32s, NT, OS/2 and DOS) with an excellent environment and good debugging tools. August '954.0
HTML DevelopmentWebAuthor

800-354-4757, 310-309-3700

Quarterdeck Corp.$49.95 (street) Works with MS Word to design and debug Web documents. May '953.0

Graphics

ProductVendor PriceIn Brief Issue ReviewedBox

Score

Charting (entry)DiagramI

206-643-7929t

Softcraft Technologies$47.48 (street) A drawing package with panache.November '95 4.0
Charting (professional)Visio 4.0

800-24VISIO, 206-521-4500

Visio Corp.$149 (street) Assign data to objects, summarize numbers and use MS Office 95's Binders. October '954.0
Desktop PublishingPageMaker 6.0

800-42-ADOBE, 206-622-5500

Adobe Systems$895 Frame-free layouts, new drawing tools and plenty of mouse-activated menus. October '954.0
Draw/

illustration

CorelXARA 1.1

800-772-6735, 613-728-8200

Corel Corp.$289 Anti-aliasing, bitmap support and unique special effects. March '964.0
Graphics SuiteABC Graphics Suite for Windows 95

800-676-3110, 214-234-1769

Micrografx$299.95 (street); $149.95 upgrade Graphics tools fully integrated with MS Office 95. November '953.5
PaintFractal Design Painter 4

800-297-COOL, 408-688-5300

Fractal Design Corp.$549 The most innovative, natural media paint program on the market. March '964.5
Presentation/

Entry

ASAP WordPower 1.95

800-366-8360, 408-537-3000

Software Publishing Corp.$99 Good gets even better in the latest release. March '965.0
Presentation/

Professional

Lotus Freelance Graphics 96

for Windows 95

800-343-5414, 617-577-8500

Lotus Development Corp.$355 (street) Sleek and powerful presentation graphics package. September '953.5
Screen CaptureHiJaak 95

800-354-4757, 310-309-3700

Quarterdeck Corp.$49 (street) There are 75 different graphics formats supported. December '953.5

Office Automation

ProductVendor PriceIn Brief Issue ReviewedBox Score
FormsOmniForm 2.0

800-535-
SCAN, fax 408-354-2743

Caere Corp.$349An especially easy-to-use tool. March '964.0
OCRTextBridge Professional Edition 3.0

800-248-6550 x3, 508-977-2000

Xerox Desktop Document Systems$329 Access this easy-to-use OCR package from within other applications. November '955.0
SpreadsheetMicrosoft Excel for Windows 95

800-426-9400, 206-882-8080

Microsoft Corp.$339 (street) More wizards and smarts make this one a pleasure to use. September '954.0
SuiteClarisWorks 4.0 for Windows 95

800-544-8554

Claris Corp.$49 (street) Full-featured word processor, database and spreadsheet. February '964.5
SuiteMicrosoft Office for Windows 95

800-426-9400, 206-882-8080

Microsoft Corp.$499 (street); $599 (w/Access) (street) Takes advantage of the best of Win95. September '954.0
SuitePerfectWorks 3

800-451-5151, 801-225-5000

Novell$79 (street)Nimble, feature-packed, with excellent output and a disk-space miser. February '964.0
Word ProcessorWordPerfect 6.1

800-451-5151, 801-225-5000

Novell$199 (street); $99 upgrade (street) It offers superior file handling and great interface. March '955.0
Word ProcessorMicrosoft Word 7.0

800-426-9400, 206-882-8080

Microsoft Corp.$339 (street) Spell-check on the fly and use the terrific customizability. September '954.0
GroupwareCollabra Share 2.0

800-474-7427, 415-254-1900

Collabra$995 (NT Server); 100 users, $6,995 (Workgroup edition) Uses your installed VIM or MAPI e-mail system to create a groupware environment. January '964.5

Copyright © 1997 CMP Media Inc.