Recommended

And the Winners Are ...

Our Picks for Systems and Software

By David Gabel

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

Desktop Systems Over $3,000

Price as tested
Configuration
In brief
Issue
reviewed
Box score

ACMA zPower P133
800-786-6888, 510-623-1212680
$3,399
133MHz Pentium, 16MB EDO RAM, 256KB cache, 1.2GB HDD, 6X CD-ROM, 17" monitor ast CD-ROM, fast video-this system is a winner.
March '96
4.5

Compaq Deskpro XL 5133
800-345-1518, fax 713-518-1442642
$4,999
133MHz Pentium, 16MB RAM, 256KB cache, 1GB HDD, 17" monitor Fast SCSI-2, Ethernet and more built-in.
March '96
4.5

Digital Celebris GL 5133ST
800-642-4532, 508-642-6400692
$4,249
133MHz Pentium, 16MB EDO RAM, 512KB cache, 1.6GB HDD, 4X CD-ROM drive, 15" monitor A loaded, rapid-fire tower of power.
February '96
4.5

Gateway 2000 P5-133XL
800-846-2000, 605-232-2000693
$3,599
133MHZ Pentium, 16MB EDO RAM, 256KB cache, 1.6GB HDD, 6X CD-ROM drive, 17" monitor New design in a feature-packed unit with room to grow.
February '96
4.5

Robotech Cobra XLT/2 P166
800-255-2215, 801-565-0645679
$4,099
166MHz Pentium, 16MB RAM, 256KB pipeline burst cache, 1GB HDD, 17-inch monitor Not just well-built, it's also a super performer.
March '96
4.0

Dell Dimension XPS P166c
800-289-3355, 512-338-4400694
$3,229
166MHz Pentium, 16MB EDO RAM, 512KB cache, 1.08GB HDD, 4X CD-ROM drive, 17" monitor Power and user-friendliness, too.
February '96
4.5

Dell Dimension XPS Pro150
800-289-3355, 512-338-4400695
$6,759
150MHz Pentium Pro, 64MB RAM, 2GB HDD, 6X CD-ROM drive, 17" monitor Pentium Pro puts it into a new performance realm.
December '95
4.0

Gateway 2000 P5-150
800-846-2000, 605-232-2000688
$3,193
150MHz Pentium, 16MB EDO RAM, 256KB cache, 1.6GB HDD, 15" monitor aster than a fast-forward videotape.
March '96
4.5

Micron P150 Millennia
800-243-7615, 208-463-3423696
$3,047
150MHz Pentium, 16MB EDO RAM, 1.2GB HDD, 15" monitor Impressive performance and top-flight peripherals.
February '96
4.5

Micron P166 Millennia Plus
800-243-7615, 208-463-3423697
$4,446
166MHz Pentium, 16MB EDO RAM, 2GB HDD, 1GB tape drive, 15" monitor This Pentium system behaves like a Pentium Pro.
February '96
4.5

Micron Pro 200 Magnum Plus
800-243-7613, 208-465-3423698
$6,147
200MHz Pentium Pro, 32MB RAM, 256KB cache, 2GB HDD, 6X CD-ROM drive, 15" monitor It blew the doors off our tests.
February '96
4.0

NEC PowerMate P166
800-NEC-INFO, 508-264-8000641
$3,399
166MHz Pentium, 16MB RAM; 256KB cache, 1.6GB HDD, no monitor Easy expansion and great graphics performance.
March '96
4.0

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

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

Price as tested
Configuration
In brief
Issue
reviewed
Box score

DESKTOP SYSTEMS

ACMA sPower P133
800-786-6888, 510-623-1212642
$2,599
133MHz Pentium, 16MB EDO RAM, 256KB cache, 850MB HDD, 15" monitor 133MHz power at a value price.
March '96
4.5

AMS InfoGOLD P100
800-888-6615, 408-945-2296699
$2,779 (direct)
100MHz Pentium, 16MB RAM, 256KB cache, 1.08GB HDD, 4X CD-ROM drive, 15" monitor. The InfoGOLD takes the gold.
December'95
4.0

Epson Action Tower 8200
800-289-3776, 310-782-0770700
$2,199 (street)
75MHz Pentium, 8MB RAM, 256KB cache, 850MB HDD, 4X CD-ROM drive, 17" monitor Loaded with all but the kitchen sink and easy to set up.
December '95
4.5

FCS P5-100 Multimedia
800-325-1911, 770-441-1911701
$2,299
100MHz Pentium, 16MB RAM, 256KB cache, 1.6GB HDD, 4X CD-ROM drive, 15" monitor Good looks, great performance, easy accessibility.
December '95
3.5

Gateway 2000 P5-120
800-846-2000, 605-232-2000702
$2,374
120MHz Pentium, 16MB RAM, 256KB cache, 1GB HDD, 4X CD-ROM drive, 15" monitor The performance you need when you get down to business.
February '96
3.5

HP Vectra VL Series 4 5/100M T
800-752-0900, 415-857-1501703
$2,954 (street)
100MHz Pentium, 16MB EDO RAM, 256KB cache, 1GB HDD, 4X CD-ROM, 15" monitor Even the most demanding user will love it.
February '96
5.0

IBM Aptiva PC Model M51
800-IBM-2-YOU, 919-765-1900
$2,199 (direct)
100MHz Pentium, 8MB RAM, 256KB cache, 1GB HDD, 4X CD-ROM drive, 15" monitor It has all the bells and whistles.
February '96
3.5

MidWest Micro P5-75 Office PC
800-235-9148, 513-368-2309691
$2,051
75MHz Pentium, 16MB EDO RAM, 256KB cache, 1GB HDD, 4X CD-ROM, 15" monitor Excellent components are a welcome bonus.
March '96
3.5

Mitsuba Premier System-100
800-648-7822, 909-392-2000704
$2,600 (street)
100MHz Pentium, 16MB RAM, 256KB cache, 1.28GB HDD, 4X CD-ROM drive, 15" monitor Expandability is its middle name.
December'95
3.5

NEC PowerMate V100
800-NEC-INFO, 508-264-8000705
$2,859 (street)
100MHz Pentium, 16MB RAM, 256KB cache, 1GB HDD, 6X CD-ROM drive, 15" monitor This system gets your business moving.
February '96
3.5

NEC Ready 7022
800-NEC-INFO, 508-264-8000706
$2,098 (street)
75MHz Pentium, 8MB RAM, 1GB HDD, 4X CD-ROM drive, 15" monitor It's a solid system, and the IR remote control is snazzy.
February '96
4.0

NEC Ready 9522
800-NEC-INFO, 508-264-8000707
$2,898 (street)
100MHz Pentium, 16MB RAM, 256KB cache, 1.6MB HDD, 4X CD-ROM drive, 15" monitor Loaded with features from IR to telephony.
December '95
3.5

Quantex QP5/120 SM-1
800-632-5022, 908-563-4166 708
$2,599
120MHz Pentium, 16MB EDO RAM, 256KB cache, 1.6GB HDD, 6X CD-ROM drive, 17" monitor You'd expect to pay more for this great-performing system.
February '96
4.0

Desktop Systems Under $2,000

Price as tested
Configuration
In brief
Issue
reviewed
Box score

Compaq ProLinea 575e
800-345-1518, fax 713-518-1442665
$1,788
75MHz Pentium, 8MB RAM, 632MB HDD, 15" monitor Well-constructed and documented, but no multimedia.
March '96
3.5

Dell Dimension P100t
800-613-3355, 512-338-4400709
$1,899 (direct)
100MHz Pentium, 8MB RAM, 256KB cache, 1.08GB HDD, 4X CD-ROM drive, 17" monitor The design emphasizes functionality, not extras.
February '96
4.5

Digital Venturis 575 Slimline
800-DIGITAL, 508-624-6400710
$1,599
75MHz Pentium, 8MB RAM, 256KB cache, 620MB HDD, 15" monitor Spartan design, but it can do the job.
February '96
4.0

Gateway 2000 P5-75
800-846-2000, 605-232-2000711
$1,764
75MHz Pentium, 850MB HDD, 4X CD-ROM drive, 14" monitor All the hardware you'll need for multimedia computing.
February '96
4.0

Quantex QP5/100 M-2
800-632-5022, 908-563-4166712
$1,849
100MHz Pentium, 8MB EDO RAM, 256KB cache, 1GB HDD, 6X CD-ROM drive, 15" monitor Value for the money, but no bundled office suite.
February '96
4.0

Robotech Cobra XL-100
800-533-0633, 801-565-0645713
$1,736
100MHz DX4, 8MB RAM, 256KB cache, 850MB HDD, 4X CD-ROM drive, 15" monitor A good system for students or computing neophytes.
February '96
4.5

Software

Vendor
Price
In brief
Issue
reviewed
Box score

BUSINESS

Accounting
M.Y.O.B. Accounting
Version 6.0
BestWare
800-322-MYOB, 201-586-2200714
From $79.95 (street)
Features enhanced job tracking, unlimited payroll accrual categories and Cue Cards.
March '96
4.5

Accounting
QuickBooks 4.0 and QuickBooks Pro 4.0
Intuit
800-624-8742, 520-295-3110715
$99 disk;
$129 CD; $189 Pro (street)
Eases the chore of starting a new business accounting system.
February '96
5.0

Expenses
Quicken ExpensAble
Intuit
800-624-8742, 520-295-3110716
$49.95 (street)
An envelope metaphor makes sure nothing slips through the cracks.
October '95
4.0

PIM
ECCO PRO 3.0
NetManage
408-973-7171, fax 408-257-6405717
$139
Offers great customization, workgroup scheduling and file synchronization.
September '95
4.0

Contact Manager
WinSales 3.0
WinSales
206-747-2464, fax 206-747-2955718
$495
Sales reps will appreciate its persistence.
August '95
4.0

Planning/Analysis
Cashé
Business Matters
800-993-3600, 617-899-8700719
$995
(street)
Works with as much information as you can give it.
February '96
4.5

Project Management
SureTrak Project
Manager 1.5
Primavera Systems
800-423-0245, 610-667-8600720
$299
(street)
Has tools for budgeting labor and material resources.
February '96
4.0

Scheduling
OnTime Enterprise for
NetWare 3.0
Campbell Services
800-559-5955, 810-559-5955721
$427
(3 users)
Usability improvements highlight this mature group scheduling product.
January '96
4.5

Tax Management
TurboTax for Business
Intuit
800-624-8742, 520-295-3110754
$69.95
(street)
It may let you smile on April 15.
February '96
5.0

COMMUNICATIONS

Asynchronous
QmodemPro 2.0 for Windows 95
Mustang Software
800-999-9619, 805-873-2500722
$129
This 32-bit communications software lets you download in the background.
December '95
3.5

Internet Browser
Netscape Navigator 2.0
Netscape Communications
415-254-1900, fax 415-528-4140723
$49
The latest version adds good e-mail and newsgroup readers to the usual great Web browser.*

Remote Control pcAnywhere32 Symantec Corp.
800-441-7234, 541-334-6054724
$149
Wizards put you in touch with what you left in the office.
February '96
4.0

Suite
CommSuite 95
Delrina Group, Symantec Corp.
800-441-7234, 541-334-6054725
$99
(street)
Asynchronous communications, fax and Internet tools.
December '95
4.0

Terminal Emulation
Reflection Suite for X 5.0
WRQ
800-872-2829, 206-217-7100726
$599
Several connectivity products, including TCP/IP and Windows VT terminal emulator, are bundled.
May '95
4.0

Entry
FileMaker Pro 3.0
Claris Corp.
800-544-8554, 408-727-8227727
$199
(street)
An easy-to use FileMaker has entered the relational database world.
January '96
3.5

Professional
Visual dBASE 5.5
Borland International
800-233-2444, 408-431-1000728
$349.95
(street)
It's equally easy to build databases using point-and-click or code-twiddling.
August '95
4.0

DATABASE

UTILITY

Antivirus
Dr. Solomon's Antivirus Toolkit for Windows 95
S&S Software International
800-701-9648, 617-273-7400740
$125
A healthy dose of preventive medicine.
January '96
4.5

Backup
Arcada Backup
for Windows 95
Arcada Software
800-3-ARCADA, 407-333-7500741
$99
The features that Windows 95's Backup
applet lacks.
March '96
4.5

Systems Enhancer
Long File Names for Windows 95
VIEW Software
800-487-VIEW, 415-856-8439742
$30 (street)
Win 3.x users can share Win95's long filenames transparently.
March '96
4.5

Systems Enhancer
PowerDesk 1.0
MicroHelp
800-777-3322, 770-516-0899743
$49.95
(street)
Puts menus, applications and monitors within easy reach on your Win95 desktop.
January '96
4.5

Uninstaller
CleanSweep 95
Quarterdeck Corp.
800-354-4757, 310-309-3700744
$29.95
(street)
Lose unwanted files easily.
January '96
4.5

*Not formally reviewed-consensus choice of WINDOWS Magazine editors.

Vendor
Price
In brief
Issue
reviewed
Box score

DEVELOPMENT Environment

Delphi 2.0
Borland International
800-453-3375, 408-431-1000729
$500 Desktop;
$800 Developer
All the power and ease of use you need for Windows 95 development.
March '96
5.0

Environment
Symantec C++ 7.0
Symantec Corp.
800-441-7234, 541-334-6054730
$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 '95
4.0

HTML Development
WebAuthor
Quarterdeck Corp.
800-354-4757, 310-309-3700731
$49.95
(street)
Works with MS Word to design and debug Web documents.
May '95
3.0

Charting (entry)
DiagramIt
Softcraft Technologies
206-643-7929732
$47.48
(street)
A drawing package with panache.
November '95
4.0

Charting (professional)
Visio 4.0
Visio Corp.
800-24VISIO, 206-521-4500733
$149
(street)
Assign data to objects, summarize numbers and use MS Office 95's Binders.
October '95
4.0

Desktop Publishing
PageMaker 6.0
Adobe Systems
800-42-ADOBE, 206-622-5500734
$895
Frame-free layouts, new drawing tools and plenty of mouse-activated menus.
October '95
4.0

Draw/illustration
CorelXARA 1.1
Corel Corp.
800-772-6735, 613-728-8200735
$289
Anti-aliasing, bitmap support and unique special effects.
March '96
4.0

Graphics Suite
ABC Graphics Suite
for Windows 95
Micrografx
800-676-3110, 214-234-1769736
$299.95 (street); $149.95 upgrade
Graphics tools fully integrated with MS Office 95.
November '95
3.5

Paint
Fractal Design Painter 4
Fractal Design Corp.
800-297-COOL, 408-688-5300737
$549
The most innovative, natural media paint program on the market.
March '96
4.5

Presentation/Entry
ASAP WordPower 1.95
Software Publishing Corp.
800-366-8360, 408-537-3000738
$99
Good gets even better in the latest release.
March '96
5.0

Presentation/Professional
Lotus Freelance Graphics 96
for Windows 95
Lotus Development Corp.
800-343-5414, 617-577-8500
$355 (street)
Sleek and powerful presentation graphics package.
September '95
3.5

Screen Capture
HiJaak 95
Quarterdeck Corp.
800-354-4757, 310-309-3700739
$49 (street)
There are 75 different graphics formats supported.
December '95
3.5

GRAPHICS

OFFICE AUTOMATION

Forms
OmniForm 2.0
Caere Corp.
800-535-SCAN, fax 408-354-2743745
$349
An especially easy-to-use tool.
March '96
4.0

OCR
TextBridge Professional Edition 3.0
Xerox Desktop Document Systems
800-248-6550 x3, 508-977-2000746
$329
Access this easy-to-use OCR package from within other applications.
November '95
5.0

Spreadsheet
Microsoft Excel
for Windows 95
Microsoft Corp.
800-426-9400, 206-882-8080747
$339
(street)
More wizards and smarts make this one a pleasure to use.
September '95
4.0

Suite
ClarisWorks 4.0
for Windows 95
Claris Corp.
800-544-8554 748
$49
(street)
Full-featured word processor, database and spreadsheet.
February '96
4.5

Suite
Microsoft Office for
Windows 95
Microsoft Corp.
800-426-9400, 206-882-8080749
$499 (street);
$599 (w/Access)
(street)
Takes advantage of the best of Win95.
September '95
4.0

Suite
PerfectWorks 3
Novell
800-451-5151, 801-225-5000750
$79
(street)
Nimble, feature-packed, with excellent output and a disk-space miser.
February '96
4.0

Word Processor
WordPerfect 6.1
Novell
800-451-5151, 801-225-5000751
$199 (street);
$99 upgrade
(street)
It offers superior file handling and great interface.
March '95
5.0

Word Processor
Microsoft Word 7.0
Microsoft Corp.
800-426-9400, 206-882-8080752
$339
(street)
Spell-check on the fly and use the terrific customizability.
September '95
4.0

Groupware
Collabra Share 2.0
Collabra
800-474-7427, 415-254-1900753
$995 (NT Server);
100 users, $6,995
(Workgroup edition)
Uses your installed VIM or MAPI e-mail system to create a groupware environment.
January '96
4.5


Copyright © 1997 CMP Media Inc.