I would like to buy a laptop from Costco. I need help.
July 24, 2014 7:49 AM   Subscribe

So long story short, my macbook's screen cracked out of warranty and I don't want to fork up the money to fix it. I am planning on nabbing a laptop from Costco, but their selection is... sparse, to say the least. Help me nab the best one!

Although I would like another Mac, I'd like to try out a cheap PC this time around since I'd like to try something new. So, I'm thinking of getting a computer from Costco, since their return policy is so good; I haven't used Windows for a long time, so I figure that if I can't get used to it I can just return the computer and purchase another Mac. I am hoping to keep whatever computer I buy, however.

I'm not too confident with picking out a Windows laptop, and could use some help. It seems like they don't have much of a selection, but there's a number that are currently being discounted. I would buy from the site as it has a larger selection, but it seems like most computers would take at least two weeks to ship and I need a computer now. (If you see a computer on the site that is heads above the rest in terms of quality/price, let me know and I might wait for it).

Here is a list of the laptops available through their website:


Based on what I could purchase in-store, it seems like the 3 best choices are an HP15-RO53CL, an HP Pavillion 15-N243CL, and a Toshiba L-55. All of them are around the $600-$700 range. I'm not sure which others are in the store - these are the ones I remember seeing. There's no way to search for other in-store laptops on the site, unfortunately. These are all 15-inch screens.

The only requirements I have are that the screen is 13-15 inches (preferably 15), and that the battery life is halfway decent - at least 5 or so hours. Anything else (price, make, processor, hard drive size, etc.) isn't as important - I'm planning on upgrading to an SSD in any case. Oh, it would be nice if the computer is discounted.

Please only give Costco options, since I can't find a return policy as good as theirs and want to have a decent amount of time to preview the OS. Thanks in advance!
posted by CottonCandyCapers to Computers & Internet (6 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
This one: HP Envy 15t 2.5/16GB is a legit great deal compared to the other Envy 15t at the same price: faster CPU, more RAM and an internal DVD writer compared to the other 15t.

It's $50 more than the Pavilion, but the Envy series is... very Macbook Pro in its design influence, and the Intel/Nvidia guts are much more robust then the AMD APU in the Pavilion laptop.
posted by Oktober at 7:59 AM on July 24, 2014

That being said, the screen on that one is kind of crap. The 15z uses AMD parts, but also has 16GB of RAM and a full 1080p screen, and is only $625 through next week.
posted by Oktober at 8:12 AM on July 24, 2014

Make sure you check out the screen resolution in first person somehow before you buy. There is a huge, huge difference between the two machines Okt. suggested.
posted by nostrada at 9:56 AM on July 24, 2014

At a basic level, ordinary laptops are very similar one to another, so unless you have some special needs, the choice doesn't matter a lot.

I have a Toshiba from two years ago. Good points: I like the lighted keyboard. There was some bloatware, but a lot less than I was getting from Dell. Bad points: there was/is a common defect with Toshibas which causes the battery to go flat if not used for a week or so. This causes lots of settings to go awry. I should hope that the have fixed it by now. My computer was on sale at Staples in May and was probably built the previous November or so. That caused a big time suck with software updates.

The biggest minus with the Toshiba compared to the Dells is reflection on the screen. If I had realized, I would have gotten a different brand. I have a number pad keyboard which makes the unit quite wide, 15", which limited the choice of case to carry it in.

The laptops in stores all had the Home edition of the OS which cannot be put on a domain. I upgraded for less than $100 (bought at Costco) since I needed it for work. This was one of the things made more difficult by the lag between build and purchase.

I got a satisfactory version of MS Office from Costco.

A relative has a MS Surface with, I believe, Windows 8. You can switch between a traditional Windows UI and a touch screen UI.
posted by SemiSalt at 11:54 AM on July 24, 2014

I have a Toshiba L55 and I love it. It too replaced a MacBook Pro (which crapped its logic board well out of warranty).

On previewing the site, it's not the same exact model as mine (L55 vs L55D). However, the specs are comparable (mine is a current gen Intel i7+) although mine only has 8 GB RAM. I can't make mine break a sweat.

Would buy again. A++
posted by kathrynm at 12:55 PM on July 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

As a general computer-choosing thing: i5 is exactly as good as i7, 8 gig is as much as you're likely to need and always get more hard drive space than you think you'll need. But yeah, that Envy is a pretty good deal.
posted by Sebmojo at 4:39 PM on July 24, 2014

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