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Buying a computer system/need help identifying comparable laptop



I don't know if this is something you can help with but throught I'd try. I bought a sony vaio from best buy last year; it stopped working this year and they decided to "junk it out" which means I can get another computer with comparable specs. Can you help me identify some comparable laptops?

I know the best buy workers can do this but they've kind of given me the run around and I don't exactly trust what they're saying. I'd rather go in next time more informed.

Here is a link to the laptop I bought:

Thanks for any help you can offer!

ANSWER: Depending on what they're letting you choose from, you should have no problem picking something out that's comparable, if not better. Do you have a list of options that they've provided, or is it more open-ended within a certain budget limit? I ask because, aside from the "Seashell Pink" paintjob, nothing stands out that dramatically on the Sony's specifications, so you may have a very broad set of options depending on what kinds of choices Best Buy will let you make.

If I can know more about what you're deciding between or from, I can better help direct you towards a comparable (if not better) replacement.


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Hello, Thanks for the feedback. I just have to find something at Best Buy that has comparable specs. This is probably the 4th or 5th time Ive had to do this and generally, there isn't a price limit- its just something comparable. However this time they gave me a gift card that I think is much too less. That's why I'd like to go in with my own list of comparable laptops and show them that what they gave me isn't sufficient.

I've had Toshiba a few times and the last was Sony Vaio. I just want a laptop that's powerful, fast and works. I'm somewhat interested in those tablets that come with keyboards but don't know a lot about them. Does that help?

Thank you so much!

How much is the giftcard worth; I ask because in the last year or so prices have come down fairly well on new systems, and it may actually be entirely acceptable to find a replacement.

As far as "powerful" - what kinds of applications do you tend to do? (I'm assuming you aren't a gamer or architect based on the specifications of the Sony, but that may not be so).

Regarding the tablets with removable keyboards - you're probably thinking of the Microsoft Surface:

They run Windows 8 or Windows RT (depending on which model you get) and can be very versatile machines if your needs fit within their limitations (that is, they aren't high performance workstations for example, and they tend not to have extremely large hard-disks; Windows RT equipped systems will have other limitations). The "Pro" model that includes Windows 8 wouldn't be a bad choice, but a more conventional ultrabook wouldn't be a bad choice either, and at $900 you certainly have options on either side.

Looking at laptops available through BestBuy's website, there are a number of options under $500 that should be suitable for "typical" computer use (web browsing, e-mail, social networking, office productivity, multimedia playback, casual gaming, etc); a couple did stand out to me:

The first HP will be fairly comparable 1:1; it includes a relatively similar processor, the same amount of memory, a larger hard drive, the same Intel graphics controller, and Windows 8.

The second HP features one of the new AMD APUs, which combine high performance graphics processing and a CPU into one chip (you can read more about them here:, which will surpass the capabilities of the Intel graphics controller. It also features more memory, a larger hard-drive, Gigabit Ethernet, and a full-size keyboard (the AMD website actually references this specific model as an example of an APU equipped system).

The final Dell costs around the same as Surface Pro, and features a very powerful processor, lots of memory, a very large (1TB) hard-drive, claimed longer battery life, and (perhaps most interestingly) a touch-screen. I would probably go with this route over a Surface for the same price, as the Dell will offer much more performance relative to the Surface. Of the three, the HP Envy is probably the best balance between price and performance/features of the three - the Dell may be faster in some tasks, but the touch-screen is what's driving the price primarily (and it was included mostly as an alternative to Surface Pro).

If there's a specific model you're interested in or that Best Buy is suggesting I'd be happy to look that over as well.

As far as the brands I'm suggesting: in general I suggest HP and Dell based on experience with both. I don't have any issues with Toshiba or Sony, but have not deployed as many of them over the years. The only manufacturer I would caution you to avoid is Acer Group (they also own eMachines and Gateway) as their service/support is generally dreadful.


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I have nearly two decades of experience in IT, computer repair, and related fields and will attempt to provide the most solid, brand-agnostic advice when it comes time to purchase a new computer, or upgrade an existing machine. I can answer anything from the seemingly basic to the downright complicated - and will do my best to provide this information in a clear and concise manner.


I have been an enthusiast of PC's for many years, and can answer questions about the purchase/use of a new computer or the purchase, installation, and use of upgrades for existing computers. There probably isn't a whole lot related to the home computer that I haven't seen over the years.

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