Reader Dan wrote in to say that he'd missed the 17-inch Dell Studio notebook deal from a couple weeks ago, and wanted to know if this HP Pavilion G60-235DX from Buy.com was just as good.
Well, let's take a look. For starters, the HP costs just $469.99 shipped--a full $80 less than the Dell. It's not quite apples to apples when it comes to specs, but it's very close.
For example, the Pavilion has a 2GHz dual-core processor, as opposed to the Dell's 2GHz Core 2 Duo processor. Real-world difference? Not much. The Pavilion also has 3GB of RAM instead of 4GB--still more than enough to run Vista Home Premium at a speedy clip.
Other features include a 16-inch LCD, 320GB hard drive, Webcam, and LightScribe DVD burner. There's also an HDMI port, should you want to connect the system to a big TV or monitor.
Curiously, Buy.com seems to have the wrong model pictured. As shown in CNET's review video (above) and HP's own product page, the G60-DX235 sports a 101-key keyboard (meaning it has a separate numeric keypad, just like a desktop keyboard). Buy.com's photos show a notebook with a smaller keyboard.
However, the accompanying specs do reference the 101 keys, so I do think it's just an honest error. At least one of the user reviews makes specific reference to the G60-DX235's larger keyboard.
And speaking of reviews, the Pavilion averages 4.5 stars out of 5 from Buy.com customers and CNET readers. That's pretty impressive.
My only real complaint is HP's 90-day warranty; Dell covers its refurbs for a full year. Of course, 90 days is pretty typical, and the conventional wisdom is that if something's going to break, it usually happens within the first couple months anyway.
Bottom line: this is a lot of notebook for the money. I think you found yourself a winner, Dan!
Update: First-time Buy.com customers can save an extra $10 by redeeming this coupon.