the specs are usually awful for the price
You have failed to read the spec correctly.
OEMs with HP being the biggest offender deliberately announce bogus max RAM and other upgradeability figures for AMD so it looks worse than Intel. AMD APUs are limited in their memory capacity _ONLY_ by slot numbers and maximum DIMM size. This is different from Intel where the memory limit is hard and you cannot just throw bigger DIMMs in as they become available. So you should ignore the market positioning drivel and pay attention solely to slot numbers and slot physical dimensions (for disks).
Example in hand - my current fleet (in reverse chronological order):
HP TouchSmart, purchase price 229, spec - 2/4G RAM, real (not HP spec) upgradeability - up to 8G RAM.
HP 255, purchase price 260 (because of one lid scratch, usually 290) - spec 6G, real (not HP spec) upgredeability - up to 16G
Vaio VPCYB3V1E, purchase price 230, spec 4G RAM, real (not Sony spec) upgrdeability - 16G RAM.
If the next density DDR-3 SODIMMs become available, all of these should be able to take 'em, eat them and smile (to 16G or 32G respectively). Throw in a decent flash or hybrid drive and you have a machine that will run circles around anything Intel based under 800.