Faq

A long list of frequently and less-frequently asked questions about seeksolve. Use Ctrl + F, Cmd ? + F or the Table of Contents below to quickly find what's relevant to you.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

ETHOS
Why does seeksolve exist?
But wait, there are other laptop comparison sites out there, right?
Who founded seeksolve?
Who should use seeksolve?
Who am I buying from?
How does seeksolve make money?
Information quality and accuracy
What if I find an error?
What if I make a purchase based on a seeksolve error?
What does seeksolve do if specifications describing a laptop are not available from the retailer or manufacturer?
What other products will seeksolve compare in the future?

FINDING THE RIGHT LAPTOP
What help content can I look at?
Where do I start?
So I applied my first filters. What now?
Ok, I definitely applied all the filters that matter to me. What now?
How can I find a laptop that is right for who I am?
I want a laptop for a specific purpose - how can I find a laptop that is best for this?
What if I don't know what I want?
Buying
Is there anything else I should do before purchasing?
I want to share my search with a friend - how can I do this?
Country Selector
The Product Environment
The Factors
The Fine-Tuning area
Search for a specific model
Save My Search
Top Results
The Good, The Bad and The Average
Full Specifications

UNDERSTANDING SPECIFICATIONS
What form factors do computers come in? What even is a 'form factor'?
Brands
Total Speed
Passmark benchmarks

ETHOS

The underlying character and workings of seeksolve.

Why does seeksolve exist?

Seeksolve was built to give you the power to find the right laptop for you from the thousands available quickly and effectively. Before seeksolve we simply found that, if you wanted to make a rational purchase decision, there was little option but to struggle through dozens of jargon-filled reviews. Either that or give up, just buy something and hope that it does what you were wanted. We thought there had to be a better way!

But wait, there are other laptop comparison sites out there, right?

There are, however they're all flawed to varying degrees - otherwise we wouldn't have needed to build seeksolve. The broad department-store style comparison websites are simply awful for finding a complex product like a computer. Dedicated laptop comparison sites are a little better, however none combine:
- the ability to choose from hundreds or thousands of laptops
- the ability to filter these down to a shortlist quickly, effectively and visually
- something that tells you what the good, bad and average points of each of your shortlisted options are, compared to your other shortlisted options
- specifications that are as complete as possible
- the use of common language where possible, rather than jargon
- the use of benchmark scores to assess computer speed, rather than misleading numbers like Processor clock speed (GHz).
We do all of the above to the best of our current ability and are constantly trying to improve further.

Who founded seeksolve?

Seeksolve was founded by a small team who were frustrated with the state of electronics shopping. We built this site to work well for ourselves and other people like us. The idea originated back in 2010 and development began in August 2011. We finally launched the first public version of seeksolve on June 20, 2012. Read more in About Us.

Who should use seeksolve?

Seeksolve is not for everyone. Some people just won't 'get it'. Some aren't driven by good value or trying to make a purchase that is anything close to the best possible. Others are sucked in by types of marketing that have nothing to do with the actual product. Finally, there are some people who want to know absolutely everything about a product and actually enjoy spending solid days or weeks researching in great detail before purchasing.

If you just want to make a good, logical decision in a reasonable amount of time then seeksolve is for you. You can be confident that you've taken into account the hundreds or thousands of options available and, providing you've used some criteria that really suit your needs, received a good-value laptop that is right for you

Who am I buying from?

Seeksolve does not sell laptops directly. Use us to find the right product amongst thousands of options from dozens of retailers, then 'click through' from our site to the retailer's site. We provide information, the retailers provide the transactions (shopping cart, order processing etc) and the actual products. So when you buy you are buying from that online retailer, whether they are a big well-known store, a manufacturer selling direct or a small internet-only store. We only want to work with retailers who are reputable, honest and provide good customer service - if you are not happy with the service provided by a retailer pleasl provide feedback to us using the feedback tab at the right of your screen.

How does seeksolve make money?

We earn a commission paid by the retailer if you click through to their site from seeksolve and then make a purchase. In this way we are completely aligned with you, the customer - if we can provide you with the best laptop selection tool possible then you will save money buying through us and we will make money too. We do not receive extra payments to promote some brands over others, or some retailers over others ('Featured Sellers' that you see on other comparison sites). Please note that seeksolve is completely free to use for all customers - you would not find the same product cheaper by navigating to the retailer without going through our site.

Information quality and accuracy

We go to greater lengths than other comparison sites to bring you complete specification information. We aim for 100% correct information displayed on our site; not just the big things but the little things need to be right too. We double check everything that is published to our site for accuracy.

What if I find an error?

If you do find an error, then we apologise and please tell us about it using the Feedback tab. Errors in specifications on our site are not ok and we aim to fix them within 24 hours. Sometimes the retailer may alter or correct something on their site without telling us (particularly with customizable products direct from manufacturers). We aim to capture these as quickly as possible also.

What if I make a purchase based on a seeksolve error?

This is something we really want to avoid. Although the transaction is between you and the retailer and we are not responsible for this, if a purchase is made based on wrong information from us then please contact us using the Feedback tab and we will see what can be done.

What does seeksolve do if specifications describing a laptop are not available from the retailer or manufacturer?

This happens sometimes when we are adding a product into the system - we search for a particular specification of a laptop in multiple places but cannot find it. Our policy then is to make a conservative assumption. This means we assume the laptop comes with the least good option. An example: A laptop hard disk drive typically spins at a speed of either 5400RPM or 7200RPM. The faster speed gives a performance boost to the user. So, if the laptop specifications do not state a figure for spin speed, we assume it is just 5400RPM. This should mean when you receive your laptop, you won't get a nasty surprise (that it's less good than was advertised), and you might in some cases even find that it is better than advertised.

What other products will seeksolve compare in the future?

The seeksolve tool is very powerful and we plan to apply this to different product categories in the future. Tablet and desktop computers are the obvious next steps after laptops. Beyond that, we are interested in which products you would like to see compared on this site - let us know using the Feedback form. Possibilities include financial products, services such as electricity and internet, white-goods, trade tools, industrial equipment, even cars. The seeksolve system works with any complex, commoditised specification-based product that people like to assess objectively. 

If you or your organisation may be interested in licensing seeksolve's technology, please refer to About Us.

FINDING THE RIGHT LAPTOP

How to make the seeksolve tool work for you.

What help content can I look at?

This FAQ provides written help details including a brief guide to get started, descriptions of how the process works and notes about laptop specifications. The scrolling Tips section on the main page also provide a lot of help on how to find the right laptop and notes on laptop specifications. You may also rest your mouse on many of the words or images on the main page to cause a tooltip relevant to that word or image to appear.

Different people like information presented differently, so we are also preparing tutorial clips and written guides depending on who you are or what you want the laptop for. Unfortunately as this is a beta version of the site, these are not yet available. 

Where do I start?

Start by applying a filter on the Product Environment. If you have a budget then grab the handle at the top right of the Product Environment and drag this down to exclude laptops that are too expensive. Notice that the Price slider in the Fine-Tune section moves also. This is a record of the filters you have applied and can also be used to alter the filter at any time as you wish.

It is likely that you will also have some ideas about the size of the laptop you are looking for. Laptop sizes (assessed by measuring the LCD screen from corner to corner*) are categorized as shown in the Product Environment. Drag one or both of the handles at the top of the Product Environment to exclude laptops that are too big or too small.

The best way to work out what you are looking for in a laptop is to explore the site by selecting the different factors that can be displayed in the Product Environment and the factors in the Factor cloud. You may also find it helpful to write out roughly what you are looking for.

* so this is not the full physical size of the laptop as there will be some amount of plastic/metal around the outside of the screen. Measuring laptop size in this way is industry standard, as it is for televisions etc.

So I applied my first filters. What now?

If you followed the prompts in the hints & tips section or the question above, you have probably applied a filter on price and a filter on size of laptop (screen size). Unless you have a very low budget or very specific size requirements, it is likely there will still be hundreds of laptop options remaining. You could then just choose the laptop shown at the top of the results section - that's the one we estimate to be the best value based on your filters. However most people will want to apply more filters that represent what they really need. An important factor for many people is Speed (total) - we suggest selecting this on the lower axis of the Product Environment. You can often work out what you want/need just by exploring the seeksolve tool and reading the hints & tips and the tooltips that pop up. Do you need a low-weight laptop? A large hard drive? An HDMI port to connect to your TV? A CD/DVD drive? A high-resolution screen to watch movies? Like or dislike certain brands? Playing with the seeksolve system is the best way to make sure you don't miss anything.

Ok, I definitely applied all the filters that matter to me. What now?

Scroll down to the results section and look at the top couple of products. Look at the price, the retailer and the pictures and see what you think (you can often see more pictures by clicking Buy, which opens the retailer's site in a new browser tab). Also look at the listings of The Good and The Bad for the top laptop and the ones below. This compares each listed laptop to all the others that you haven't filtered out. This is important - for example, The Bad might show that your top-ranked laptop does not have a CD/DVD drive and you might suddenly realise 'hey, I need one of those'. So then you go and add the criteria that you're only interested in laptops with a CD/DVD drive, and come back to see what the top recommendations are. When you're happy, click to Buy from the retailer you've chosen and you will be transported through to their site.

How can I find a laptop that is right for who I am?

We are putting together several guides based on some broad groups of people who use laptops and may have similar needs. These are Coming Soon.

I want a laptop for a specific purpose - how can I find a laptop that is best for this?

We are putting together several guides for people who want a laptop for a specific purpose. These are Coming Soon.

What if I don't know what I want?

The seeksolve website may look challenging to some people, so the first thing to understand is the basic principal of the site - that it works as a giant filter operated by you, followed by a best-value recommendation. Once you understand this, the remainder is just a question of working out your own requirements and understanding what laptops and features are available. You can do this! The Tips and mouse-over tooltips should help. If you are still not confident that you understand what you are doing or in making these decisions, we suggest asking a friend or relative who has a little more confidence and understanding to help you use the tool.

We intend to offer support by instant messaging in future. However as we are a small startup company and we want any live support to be of the highest quality, this has not been implemented yet.

Is there anything else I should do before purchasing?

We strongly advise that you check over the specifications listed on the retailer's product page to check it is exactly what you expect, before purchasing. It is also a good idea to take a screenshot or print out the product page from the retailer before or after purchasing, so that you have a record of exactly what was advertised.

Buying

Click Buy to proceed to the retailer selling that laptop (after agreeing to our Terms of Useand Privacy Policy). You may also be able to see promotional material & pictures of the laptop on the retailer's site.

I want to share my search with a friend - how can I do this?

First you need to sign in or register with us. This gives you the ability to save searches so you can use them later. However these can also be shared with other people. Save a search and then go to User Profile - you should see the saved search in the list on the right hand side. Hit Go and the page will load with your filters applied. You will see the url contains the filters that you've used. This can then be emailed, posted online, tweeted, posted to facebook or shared in numerous other ways.

Country Selector

Currently seeksolve can only be used to find products sold by retailers in the United States. If you are not in the United States, you may still use seeksolve to buy from a United States retailer that offers international shipping. There are also online services available that may allow you to have the laptop package shipped to a United States address and then forwarded to your address in your country, for a fee. Note however that this may void the warranty of the product.

The Product Environment

The Product Environment is the core of the website, where all the laptops float around in space awaiting your judgement. Use the left or bottom drop-down menus to select a factor important to you.

The Factors

Each item in the cloud of Factors is something we think you might care about. Some of these contain multiple factors, for example find Bluetooth by clicking Connectivity and then clicking the plus. This causes the factor to appear in the Fine-Tune area so that you may apply filters.

The Fine-Tuning area

The Fine-Tuning area is a secondary place to apply filters and is also a record of all filters you have active at any time. It is difficult to show factors like HDMI or DisplayPorts in the Product Environment, so these types of filters are found in the Fine-Tuning area (once you click the correct heading in the Factor Cloud.

Search for a specific model

If you decide that you are only interested in variations of a certain model or series, type this into the Search for Model box and hit Go. For example MacBook Pro will find only MacBook Pro laptops.

Save My Search

At any time you can save your search so you can come back to it later. Click Save My Search in the fine-tuning area. You will be prompted to register and sign in. It is free to register(of course).

Top Results

The Top Results section below the Product Environment shows laptops we estimate are the best value based on your filters. Check these regularly while applying filters - is one right for you? We recommend you begin to check this section frequently once there are fewer than 50 remaining laptop options.

The Good, The Bad and The Average

After applying some basic filters to exclude what you don't want, what's the next step? To assess your remaining laptop options against each other (and against your requirements). The Good, The Bad and The Average sections provide this for you so you don't need to painstakingly work it out. This can confirm a laptop has good features that are important to you and flag any potential 'Bad' parts. Let's say the top laptop in the Top Results section lists Battery in the BAD section. This might make you think "hey I care about that" so you apply a battery life filter and check results again. Alternatively you might think "that does not matter to me" and you may then be happy to proceed to buying the laptop.

Full Specifications

If you click the down arrow on the right hand side of the Good, Bad and Average section, the Full Specifications of the laptop will display.

UNDERSTANDING SPECIFICATIONS

We've tried to use commonly understood language wherever possible in seeksolve. However in getting to the heart of what makes a laptop good or less good, sometimes it is necessary to understand some of the jargon. The following section helps with this.

What form factors do computers come in? What even is a 'form factor'?

Computers are known by a wide variety of classifications that can be confusing for the consumer. First there are laptops, notebooks, netbooks, ultraportables and ultrabooks. Then there are tablets or slates, as well as convertible laptops that blur the boundaries between tablets and laptops. Lastly there are desktop computers, all-in-ones and net-tops.

Brands

Seeksolve displays laptops from the 11 major laptop brands. These are:
Acer
Apple
Asus
Dell
Fujitsu
HP
Lenovo
MSI
Samsung
Sony
Toshiba

Total Speed

Seeksolve provides a single value to represent the speed of each laptop on the site. While the true speed or performance of a computer is too complex to be fully represented by a single number, the Total Speed score is still a very good indicator of the expected performance of a computer.

There are four main contributors to the speed of a computer - Processor speed, Graphics performance, RAM and Hard Drive Speed. We calculate the total speed from the scores for all of these. We think the Total Speed score gives a great indication of performance, however if you want more detail or more control in your selection, then you can apply individual filters to each of Processor, Graphics, RAM and Hard Drive Speed.

Passmark benchmarks

Passmark (external link) are a company that provides computer benchmarking tools used by consumers to test the performance of their computers. If you are a more advanced computer user then you may benefit from downloading their Performance Test tool and using it to assess the real-life performance of your machine. If you upload your results then these are aggregated by Passmark so that they can display average benchmark scores for all different processors, graphics cards and hard drives, to make comparing them much easier.

The benchmarks used by seeksolve for processors come from Passmark's CPU benchmark site

The benchmarks used by seeksolve for graphics cards come from Passmark's Graphics card benchmark site

The benchmarks used by seeksolve for hard drive speed are in line with Passmark's Hard Drive benchmark site - as laptop hard drive models are almost never quoted by manufacturers it is only possible to use estimated speed scores based on quoted specifications like type (HDD or SSD) and rotational speed (RPM).

The Total Speed score used by seeksolve is calculated from the three scores above and a RAM value. The score is not calculated in the same way as Passmark calculate their total system score, however the calculation used is intended to produce numbers somewhat comparable to Passmark's total system scores.


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