Lou has to buy a new laptop. He's looking at Dell and HP, and he hears that they are second and third best. Leo says that stats can be deceiving. On paper a laptop can look great, but in reality, his experience could be different. Usability is more than specs. He'll have to dig deeper. HP looks great on paper, but some features can be annoying. Another frustration of HP is that they traditionally have been loaded up with trial or bloatware. They've gotten better, but still nowhere near for Leo to recommend. They're also about to spin off the PC division. So its future is uncertain.
Leo likes Dell, especially the XPS 13. Nice screen, excellent keyboard, and a good fit and feel. That's his current choice. Asus makes good laptops as well. Acer's S7 is also amazing. There are plenty of good choices outside of HP.
Should he get refurbished? Leo says that refurbished is a great option, but only if he buys them from the manufacturer. Most of the time they are merely open box returns with a full warranty. Third party refurbs have no such protection. If he can get a refurbished Dell, by Dell, that matches his needs, that's the way to go.