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Technology Post

  Shop Shopping: Part 2

By Rob Pegoraro
March 6, 1998

A year ago (minus a day) we wrote about the PriceWatch Web site, a first-of-its kind list of different vendors' prices for computer hardware and software. Now, through the magic of capitalism, we have two competitors to choose from, PriceScan and ComputerESP Both outstrip PriceWatch by listing competing prices in much clearer, simpler formats. Say you're looking for a cheap place to buy a 3Com PalmPilot personal digital assistant; PriceWatch will lump every imaginable Pilot-related product, from $4 replacement styluses to $428 hardware/software bundles, into one ungainly index. PriceScan, by contrast, lets you select individual Pilot models (1000, 5000, Personal or Professional), resulting in listings that won't swamp your screen. ComputerESP does the same, covers more retailers and includes more info (some of it only marginally useful, such as vendors' cash-only prices), but is also more confusing to navigate and a lot uglier. Such aesthetic considerations aside, though, both sites are a huge help to stressed-out bargain hunters.

-- Rob Pegoraro

© Copyright 1998 The Washington Post Company

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