With the back-to-school season upon us, many laptop and desktop shoppers are looking for a new system suitable for dorm room living or high school homework. We've hit the well-stocked store shelves of brick-and-mortar retail stores to find boxed versions of popular PCs, from entry-level systems starting at less than $300, to $1,000-plus high-end multimedia and gaming rigs.
These specific retail models are similar to those you'd be able to configure online from companies such as Dell and HP, but they may have slightly different names and features. Also worth noting, thanks to frequent retail discounts, they can sometimes be a better deal than buying directly from a PC maker.
In addition to browsing the list below, if you pick up a Sunday newspaper sales circular to look for onsale computers, be sure to check here for a review for that specific model number before heading out to the store.
We've got a preview of the entire list of models that will be included in our retail review roundup, and we'll update this page with the final ratings and live links as the systems get reviewed over the next several weeks.
Asus 1018PB-BK801 [4 stars]
Dell iM1012-1091OBK [3.5 stars]
HP Mini 210-1199DX [3.5 stars]
Samsung N150-11 [3.5 stars]
Dell Inspiron iM501R-1212PBL [2.5 stars]
Toshiba C655-S5049 [3 stars]
Asus K50IJ-BBZ5 [3.5 stars]
HP Pavilion dv5-2035dx [3 stars]
HP Compaq G62-225DX [3 stars]
Toshiba L645D-S4030 [3 stars]
HP Compaq CQ62-215DX[2.5 Stars]
Dell s1558-5691MSL [3.5 stars]
Gateway ID49C07u [3.5 stars]
HP Pavilion dv5-2045dx [3.5 stars]
HP Pavilion dv6-3055dx [3 stars]
Sony EA24FM/W [4 stars]
Asus K50IJ-BNC5 [3 stars]
Toshiba A665-S6050 [4 stars]
Asus UL80J-BBK5 [3 stars]
HP Pavilion dm4-1065dx [4 stars]
Dell Inspiron i14R-2265MRB [3.5 stars]
Samsung Q430-11 [4 stars]
Sony Vaio F126FM/B [3.5 stars]
Toshiba A665-S6070 [3.5 stars]
Apple MacBook Spring 2010 [4 stars]
Sony Vaio F12AFM/H [4 stars]
Toshiba Portege R705-P25 [4 stars, Editors' Choice]
Budget (up to $599)
HP Pavilion Slimline s5510y [2 stars]
Dell Inspiron i560-2050NBK [2.5 stars]
Asus Essentio CM5671-05 [3 stars]
HP Pavilion p6510y [3.5 stars]
Gateway SX2801-01e [3.5 stars, EC]
Dell Inspiron i570-7034PBK [3 stars]
Mainstream (up to $899)
Apple Mac Mini [3.5 stars]
Gateway DX4840-03e [3.5 stars]
Asus Essentio CM5675-07 [3 stars]
HP Pavilion p6540y [3.5 stars]
Dell Studio XPS 8100-1408-NBC [3.5 stars]
High-end ($950 and higher)
Asus Essentio CG1330-05 [2.5 Stars]
Gateway FX6840-03E [3 stars]
HP TouchSmart 300-1120 [2.5 stars]
Gateway ZX6900-01e [3.5 stars]
iMac (21.5-inch) [3.5 stars]
> See our favorite picks in the Netbooks category here.
> See our favorite picks in the budget laptop category here.
> See our favorite picks in the mainstream laptop category here.
See more news, reviews, and recommendations in our Laptops and Desktops sections.