It should come as no surprise that a lot of computer companies have a Web presence where they sell anything from a mouse for under a fiver to a CD-ROM network changer for several thousand - with loads of kit in between. But if you're expecting to find that computer companies are at the leading edge of Web design, you're likely to be disappointed.
Ask a search engine to tell you which computer companies have a site on the Web and you'll be inundated with links, but follow them all and you'll be sorely disappointed.
While most computer companies have a presence on the Web, all too often you'll come across a message that says "under construction". So rather than list all the companies on the Web that actually sell computer kit - which would mean pages of sites that are little more than price lists - we've whittled the list down to some 50 odd sites.
The sites we have included in this listing are those that have some element of real online shopping and, at the very least, a facility to request a quotation. A price list and an email address alone aren't enough to merit inclusion, though we have added some sites that promise to have online ordering available by the time this list goes to press.
Action Computer Supplies
This site provides information about the company's mail-order hardware and software catalogue. You can request a printed copy or download the online order form, though the Internet version isn't yet available.
Business on the Move
Supplier of mobile computing equipment, including Psion, Pilot PDAs, and other products for travellers like Global Positioning Systems, Business on the Move makes secure online ordering available on its site.
Byte computer superstores has a large site, with both a Shockwave and an ordinary virtual store. The company promises to make online shopping available soon.
This is an attractive site from a leading mail-order firm. It includes information on Apple systems, peripherals and PC software. You can order online, but while there are lots of technical details on the products, very few have price information.
European Electronique is a supplier whose site is aimed mainly at large companies. An extensive online catalogue is available and if you have an account with the company you can place orders using the online order form.
This site provides a range of accessories and software, with secure ordering, but otherwise very dull pages.
This is a frames-based site offering a range of systems and peripherals.
It provides an online quotation and order form.
Slightly cheesy graphics, but an easy to navigate frames-based site that provides lots of details on the products stocked. You can contact the mail-order department via email.
World of Computers
Not quite as grand as the banner page might make you think, this company provides real-time quotes based on a specification form. Unlike some of the other pages, you'll receive the pricing information immediately.
hardware - Mac
Axiom is an authorised reseller of Macintosh systems. The site contains an online price list, and small items such as consumables and cables can be ordered online. The company will phone you for your credit card details.
There is also a form for requesting a price quote for complete systems.
This is a well-designed Web site from one of the largest resellers of Macintosh equipment in the UK. There is an online catalogue available - although it wasn't up to date when we visited the site.
Mac Line is a UK mail-order supplier of a comprehensive range of Macintosh equipment, peripherals and software. The site contains links to other useful sites and provides an online order form. The company will phone you for credit card details should you decide not to give them over the Internet.
hardware - PC
Active Consumer Database
Active Consumer Database is not strictly a supplier of PCs, but its site merits inclusion for a database that will match a basic specification and target price with the offerings from a number of manufacturers around the UK.
This is a site from a small PC manufacturer offering online interactive quotations via a Java applet. The front page, however, also uses Java and is slow to load.
Computer Connection is a supplier of computer systems and peripherals with online price quotes for customised PC systems.
This is a frames-based site from a small computer builder. An online form to request a price quote is provided.
A slick frames-based site with details of the company's PC range, plus articles and magazine reviews backed up by an online form to request a price quote.
A frames-based site from this PC manufacturer with online price quotes.
The company promises to make secure ordering available soon.
A frames-based site that provides information on the company's range of PCs. It also includes a form for requesting price quotes.
An attractive frames-based site from one of the most well-known, mail-order suppliers in the UK. You can specify a system online and arrange for a salesperson to call you for your payment details, though secure ordering is also supported.
You will find pages from Hi-Grade, a UK mail-order manufacturer, with price quote forms for a range of different systems based on standard configurations.
This is glossy looking site. It contains details of the company's PCs, with a price list. There is no online ordering available, but the sales team can be reached via email.
PC Quote provides a useful page that allows you to request price quotes from a number of different suppliers, all in one go.
Another mail-order manufacturer. The company's site provides you with background information on a range of topics and a quotation form which allows you to specify a custom-built PC.
Hardware - second-hand
Not the most exciting of sites, but if you're after second-hand Sun equipment, this site will provide you with a price list.
Ashlyn Computer Services
Ashlyn is a reseller of second-hand Sun and Apple Mac equipment. Online pricing information is available, but orders can only be placed by phone.
A computer broker with an online stock list, Brokernet's online form allows you to enter details of the equipment you want to buy or sell.
A home page for the Computer Exchange stores. Other information about the shop appears sporadically, but finding your way around can be confusing.
Second Byte Computers
A mail-order supplier of Macintosh equipment and peripherals.
peripherals and components
BlackBox is a specialist in communications products. Its site contains a searchable catalogue online, though it appears somewhat unreliable.
Orders can be placed via email.
The site is well laid out, though you will need a frames-compatible browser.
There is a reasonable range of products and secure online ordering is supported with a promise of next-day delivery for orders that clear by 6pm.
Computer 88 is a specialist in memory and upgrades. Its site emphasises portable computing and a wide range of PC card accessories. Online ordering is available.
Suppliers of the BlackWidow range of scanners and other imaging products, Devcom's site provides an online catalogue, including sample images scanned with the products for sale. There is also an online order form with a phone back service for credit card details.
Foremost Systems Limited
Foremost is small company offering a selection of peripherals and components.
The background music on the home page is novel, but best missed. An online order form is available.
Micrology is a supplier of CD storage systems. Its site contains online product information and an order form.
Pine PC Direct
Graphics and sound cards are available direct from Pine PC Direct, as well as other multimedia products. Its site provides secure online ordering.
Premier is a supplier of a range of peripherals including PC cards and cameras. The site provides price quotes and an order request form.
Roldec supplies a wide range of computer parts, and some complete systems.
A fairly wide range of products is available on its site and secure online ordering is promised soon.
SEG is a supplier of data communications equipment, including modems, routers and ISDN adaptors. Online ordering is supported via a standard form. There is a PGP key to be used with email for those who want more security.
Solwise is a specialist in communications and networking products. Its site is frames-based and provides an online order form, plus instructions for secure email ordering with PGP.
Turnkey is a specialist in electronic music. Its site includes a range of products for use with Mac and PC systems and supports secure online ordering.
Graphics cards for Macs are available on Village Tronic's site, plus a wide range of hardware and software products for the Amiga. Online ordering is available, but there is no provision for a call back for credit card details.
Barkman Online is a shop that specialises in games for PCs and other platforms, but also supplies other software. The site contains a comprehensive online catalogue, an order form and a call back service for credit card details.
A specialist in Microsoft software and products for children, Cathedral's site supports online ordering.
CD Direct is of the largest suppliers of CD-ROMs. The site lists products from over 140 publishers and features a virtual shopping basket system with secure online ordering. You can register for updates, view games and quizzes or browse through the catalogue.
Computermate is a software supplier with an online order form. Its site contains a searchable, not browsable, catalogue.
F1 is an Amiga software supplier. The site provides online ordering via a credit code given after supplying your credit card details by phone or post. The site is frames-based and allows you to download a disk-based catalogue.
Intuit's site provides information about Quicken's range of accounting products with secure online ordering.
MacGold Direct is primarily a supplier of software for Macs, but it also supplies some accessories. Its site currently supports online ordering, but a full virtual shopping basket system will be introduced shortly.
One Stop Direct
One Stop Direct supplies a range of software from smaller companies.
The site includes an online order form that instructs you to phone in with payment details after submitting the form.
Sierra Online is one of the few software companies that has its own online shop. You can use the secure server to order copies of PC and Mac games and educational software.
This company will not only sell you software, it will also buy your old products from you. Online ordering via a form is supported, and you can download a complete stock list. The main page provides you with a choice between a fast text-based site and a Java-enhanced one.
Software Warehouse's site lists a comprehensive range of software for both PCs and Macs. It also contains information on a number of additional peripherals products. The site also features a virtual shopping basket system, though it doesn't yet provide a secure form for submitting your credit card details.
Special Reserve has a frames-based site that offers a wide range of games for platforms, including the PC. Secure online ordering is available via a virtual shopping basket system.
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