For the last few years, the electronics market has become increasingly competitive. Only a decade ago, most people were content in owning an iPod, a Razr cellphone and possibly a Dell laptop. But as the usability and popularity of personal electronic devices continues to rise, and more companies are producing a wider array of affordable gadgets than ever before, making the choice of which is best a somewhat tricky one, especially when you’ll be investing in a laptop or tablet that you’ll be using throughout your college career. But there’s a new website called Sortable that aims to make that choice a little simpler.

Sortable is a “decision search engine,” designed to rank and compare various electronic devices according to your choice of criteria as a means of helping you decide which product is best for you. First, a user decides selects whether they’d like to view comparisons of cameras, smartphones, tablets, laptops or TVs while setting a maximum price. Then, Sortable ranks products within that field and price range according to a “score” function in which product specs, Sortable community reviews, performance and external reviews are averaged together. Users may then add specific fields by which to filter products, such as the presence of an HDMI port or 3G on a tablet, or the carrier company for cell phones.

To help narrow down the selection even more, users may then perform a side-by-side compairson of two products. This user-friendly feature is perhaps Sortable’s best, as it clearly and concisely displays pertinent information for each type of product in an easily digestible manner using graphs and other visualizations. For example, a comparison of the iPhone 5 and the Samsung Galaxy SIII shows exactly how much larger the Galaxy is than the iPhone, while a line graph demonstrates how much faster its processor is. Even better is how Sortable will also use a third product with the best specs for a specific criteria as a base-line comparison, letting you know exactly where the two products fair against their competitors. The comparisons conclude with a summary of the exact differences between the products, a series of external reviews, and then a selection of other, similar products.

As college budgets continue to tighten, an in-depth comparison of a product you’ll be shelling out hundreds of dollars to pay for is extremely welcome, and Sortable is the best tool for this that I’ve seen so far. So if you’re in the market, try Sortable first and see what you can find.