I could buy this one: Sony Vaio for £1279.99. (I'm British so using pounds rather than dollars, £1 = $1.61 ).
- Intel Core i7-740QM Processor, 1.73 with Turbo Boost up to 2.93
- Memory Size 8 GB
- Memory Type DDR3 SDRAM
- Optical Drive Blu-ray Disc Drive with DVD SuperMulti
- Screen size 16.4"
- Graphics Card NVIDIA GeForce GT 425M GPU
- USB Hi-Speed USB (USB 2.0) x1, SuperSpeed USB (USB 3.0) x2 - Transfer speed up to 2.5Gbit/s
- Memory Stick Slots Memory Stick Duo x1, SD memory card x1
- Wireless LAN IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n
If you customise that model from Sony it costs more so that seems a decent price.
My other option was this Dell from eBay: Dell for £1049.99.
- 2.93 ghz CPU i7 Quad Core
- 16 GIG DDR
- 640 GB Hard Drive
- Windows 7 Premium 64BIT
- 3GB Graphic Card
- Built in Wireless
- UK Spec
- USB 3.0 Technology
- 9 Cell Battery
- JBL 2.1 Designed & Certified Speakers +Waves MaxxAudio® 2.1 Audio: 2 X 5W + 12W sub-woofer 22W Total
- Integrated Camera
Better specifications than the Sony Vaio and much cheaper than if you bought the same thing directly from Dell. Also a fair bit cheaper than the Sony Vaio.
I'm a bit torn about which way to go. I've had a Dell desktop before, which I didn't find that great with pretty average build quality. Looking at online reviews, apparently the Dell Studio XPS laptops get very hot and can make crackling noises. I've had a Sony Vaio laptop, which was pretty good except that the battery died pretty quickly and wasn't cheap to replace. The laptop other than that did a great job for five years. Vaios outside warranty are pretty expensive to repair by all accounts.
I guess what I really want to know is; has anyone got one of these Dell Studio XPS laptops and if so have you had any problems? I could get the Sony Vaio but is it worth paying more money for lower specs? The general assumption is that Sony have better build quality than Dell, but some reports say Dell have improved this over the past year or two. It's almost like taking a snobbish attitude that Sony is better than Dell just because it is Sony, but is this actually true?
Any help or advice would be much appreciated.