The refurbished laptops have become increasingly popular over the last few years due to the fact they include most of the same features as new models, yet are far less expensive. Moreover, the fact that they almost always come with a manufacturers warranty means that they are less risky than buying used.
Thus, a refurbished laptop(or often called reconditioned, recertified, refreshed, or like new laptop) can be a great alternative to either new or used laptops. However, there are still a few things to be ware of before buying any refurbished laptop.
Tips to Choose Best Refurbished Laptop
What is Refurbished Laptops?
A refurbished laptop is a used system that has been taken from a corporate or individual’s environment, checked its hardware, freshen up its software, installed new drivers and given a clean external look for the end-user to use right out of the box. Simply put, a refurbished laptop is a laptop that has been reconditioned after its original use.
Contrary to popular belief, a reconditioned laptop computer is not just a second-hand or used laptop. Instead, it is a laptop discovered to have inherent manufacturing defect, which is then taken off from the market. The machine is then sent to the manufacturer’s factory, repaired, repackaged and marked as a refurbished machine. Therefore, when you buy a refurbished notebook , don’t be scared of receiving a defective laptop since it has undergone the same quality control procedures that a brand new laptop undergoes. All earlier defects have been corrected, giving the end-user a desired system.
Sometimes, large companies lease hundreds of laptops. When the lease is up, the manufacturer or retailer will recollect them, wipe the hard drives clean, spruce up the laptops, mark them each as a refurbished computer, and give it a lower price.
According to survey, a reconditioned notebook will meet the needs of over 90% of computer users. Aside from the savings you will encounter from buying a refurbished machine regardless of brand and model, you will also enjoy a personal or business laptop computer that can withstand daily use like any other brand new system. Fortunately, even if the recertified notebooks lose a few hundred dollars of its value, you will still receive all the special features included in a particular laptop model.
In addition, a reconditioned laptop computer can still be upgraded with newer hardware and software. Plus, since your recertified notebook computer should include a warranty for a certain period, you can compensate the wear and tear of your machine within this period free of cost.
A refurbished computer is a mixture between both new and old computer and this explain why they are generally priced between the two. The actual term refurbished refers to process, done by either the manufacturer or some other third-party, to fix minor cosmetic blemishes and/or other minor technical problems with the machine itself. After this the laptops are then tested to make sure that they work and if they do they are certified and then sold. Thus, refurbished computers are new in the sense that no one else has ever used them before but used because they usually contain some used parts.
As a further assurance that your cheap reconditioned laptop will work properly (beyond the manufacturers word on it), all the sites I recommend that sell “like new” notebooks offer additional warranties. However, I should note that these tend to last only 30 to 90 days, which while longer than almost all used models is less than the one you would get on a new one. Again, another example of how cheap these laptops are the middle ground between expensive new models and cheaper used ones.
Finally, if you think that a refurbished model makes sense for you, then there is one more thing to be aware of before you buy. Make sure that everything you need for your laptop comes included with it. Some cheap reconditioned laptops do not come with the proper software installed, such as an operating system. This means that you will have to shell out another couple hundred dollars just to get your machine to work. Not really much of a savings! Thus, cheap reconditioned laptop computers are a great choice to save you some money as long as you double check everything before you buy.
Currently, there are probably thousands of websites claiming to sell cheap reconditioned laptops, but most of them don’t really have great deals, good selection or reputable products. Overall, the sites listed below are the best general places to find refreshed notebooks. However, there are sites that cater to specific brands, which means that if you are looking for a specific laptop brand you should check out my page devoted to them. Either way I hope the sites below prove useful.
Types of Refurbished Laptops
When a buyer of a laptop finds the screen scratched, package dented or laptop with a minor blemish, he may send this back to the manufacturer. Back at the factory, the manufacturer inspects the laptop, tests it for quality, repacks it with a new box and sells it for a significantly lower price. All laptops that undergo these procedures are marked as “refurbished laptop”.
When choosing a refurbished laptop, you may encounter two types of laptops – factory refurbished and custom refurbished.Types of refreshed notebooks
With a factory refurbished laptop, the laptops undergo a comprehensive checkup to determine if the system has any manufacturing defect. The machine passes through several stages of examination. When the system is free of defects, the manufacturer reformats the hard disk and reloads the operating system. The notebook is then checked four to five hours if it is in working condition and replaced defected parts when needed. The reconditioned laptop is then given a new serial number and marked as a factory refurbished laptop. These factory refreshed notebook computers are of high quality, but are available to consumers at a lower retail price.
On the other hand, a custom reconditioned notebook computer is repaired or reassembled to match the consumer’s preference. This way, the customer can own a complete laptop solution of his or her desires at a very affordable price. Having a laptop customized avoids the need to upgrade immediately, which is not the case of used laptops. Meaning, a customer can own a “like new” notebook with desirable features of his or her choice, such as multimedia, hard drive size, screen size, graphics, optical drive, memory capacity, processor speed requirements, accessories and connectivity.
Although both types of refurbished laptops are easy on the budget, a custom recertified laptop is recommended when buying in bulk because it combines affordability and functionality in one system.
When buying a notebook, many people go for a refurbished notebook to save money. Although several top laptop companies sell used laptops over the internet, it is important to do your research before you decide on sealing the deal.
1) Laptop Manufacturers – When choosing a refurbished computer, make sure you know the top brands. The four major laptop manufacturers are Dell, IBM, Toshiba and Compaq or Hewlett-Packard. Be aware that each company uses different components in their laptops, so it is important to get to know the features of a “like new” notebook before buying.
2) Laptop Components – Each laptop is assembled using a variety of components from different companies. Meaning, a third-party company can make the hard drive, memory, CPU, keyboards and other laptop parts. When you are choosing a reconditioned notebook, it is always important to find out what’s inside the system. While having laptop components from various companies ensure that the notebook features are high quality, some companies may have a bad product year, so it is better to be sure than experience the hassle of returning your refurb laptop.
3) Warranty – So you’ve got yourself a reconditioned laptop from one of the top laptop manufacturers and with incredible laptop components. Before buying, make sure to read the warranty offered by the refurbishing company. Those with superb warranties come from companies that believe in their product’s quality.
4) Price – You are looking for a “like new” notebook simply because you need to save money. As such, you need to keep price in mind. However, be aware that the more features you need in a laptop, the more expensive it will be. If the recertified notebook will be used for entertainment, then it will be much more expensive than a system that will be used for basic computing.
5) Quality – When you think refurbished notebooks are not good quality systems, you’re wrong. Most manufacturers examine and test refurb laptops more extensively than new laptops. As such, you buy refurbished notebook computer that has been made to work as if it were new.
Of course, look for recommendations and customer reviews for the notebook you are planning to buy. Buying the best refurbished laptop at a reasonable price won’t be too difficult if you do your research.
Things to Consider
When buying the best refurbished laptop, you need to look for several features and compare them before sealing the deal. Such features include processor speed, hard drive, system memory, optical drive, operating system, modem and network, expansion slots, upgrades and accessories. The following are the top four features on what to look for when buying recertified laptops.
1) Processor speed – This refers to the speed which the machine can retrieve information. As a rule of thumb, the larger the number, the faster the laptop. So when buying refurbished notebooks you may see processor speeds like 900 MHz or 1.2GHz. Be aware that Gigahertz is more than Megahertz, so the lower the speed, the cheaper laptop you can obtain. For those going to use the laptop for gaming, graphics or any other setting that will use several operating procedures, then be sure to buy a laptop with fast processor speed.
2) Hard drive – This refers to the machine component that holds all memory into the system. Meaning, when buying refurbished laptop, choose a higher number to have more storage. Samples of hard drive space are 20 GB, 40GB, 160 GB, etc. Although most users can only use up to 10GB, it is best to choose a larger hard drive to extend the period before you think of upgrading.
3) Memory – System memory come in 128 mb, 256 mb, 512 mb or 1GB. It is where the machine holds data and programs in use. The memory is needed to hold data, programs and instructions. Meaning, buying a reconditioned notebook with ample amounts of memory allows everything to work and operate multiple functions at once.
4) Upgrades – It is important to choose an upgradeable laptop when buying refurbished laptops to give you freedom of adding external hard drives and optical drives, add wireless internet and more. Meaning, you will have the option of adding just the hardware you need and disregard the rest.
5) Weight – Since laptops are portable, you need to consider the weight of the notebook. For frequent travelers, ultraportable laptops are the way to go. These laptops are designed specifically for those who will bring their systems along anywhere they go.
6) Screen size – The size of the LCD will affect the weight of your laptop. The small screen size you choose, then you can buy a laptop that weighs less at a cheaper price. However, larger screen size means heavier and more expensive laptops.
7) Modem – This refers to how your refurb notebook connects to the internet. Most laptops come with a 56K modem for DSL and dial-up, while wireless internet or “Wi Fi” can also be connected with hardware.
8) Expansion Slots – Most notebooks come with open slots such as USB, Ethernet or serial slots, which allow multiple hardware to be added to your systems. Such hardware includes printer, mouse, modem, external hard drive, digital camera and other gadgets.
As long as you know the things to look for when buying recertified notebooks, you’ll always get the best deal for your money.
Advantages for Buying Refurbished Laptop
If you’re in doubt of buying a refurb laptop, here are the upsides and downsides of refurbished notebook that you may want to consider:
1) Refurbished computers are double-checked for high quality performance during several examinations
2) You can own a branded, high quality notebook with the latest hardware and specifications at a very less price compared to notebooks sold at retail prices.
3) When you buy from a reputable seller, refreshed laptops usually come with a 1-year warrant, which you can extend up to 3 years. This way, you can replace parts and obtain system maintenance anytime throughout the warranty period. Although extended warranties may come at an additional price, you can extend the life of your machine by purchasing additional warranty.
4) Just like new laptops, recertified computers can usually be upgraded. Meaning, even if you buy a notebook with older hardware, you can still upgrade to newer operating systems, faster processors and other up-to-date hardware.
1) Return policies of new computers usually come in 30-day return period. However, with reconditioned laptops, you have less time to return the system when you find some flaws or experience malfunction. For instance, IBM offers only 7 days for returns, while Dell’s policy is 14 days.
2) Although “like new” notebooks computers can save you hundreds of dollars, they cannot be customized. Meaning, when you buy a refurb laptop, you have no option of adding the amount of memory, increasing drive capacity or specifying the processor. Instead, you can only choose the specifications from the available pre-configured recertified laptop.
Just like any other electronics, there are upsides and downsides of refurbished laptops. As such, it is important that you consider these points before deciding to buy new or go refurb.
Choosing the Most Suitable Refurbished Laptop
While most refurbished laptops come at the right price, it is still important to match the laptop with your needs. As such, you need to look at certain laptop components and features to select the most appropriate refurbished portable computer that will perform as you need it to perform.
1) Day-to-day home users – For those who plan to use the recertified laptop at home, a laptop with features same as a desktop PC is just fine. Many manufacturers offer feature-filled desktop replacements or the budget-wise midsize notebooks. For home use, check for key features such as 14-inch display, large hard drive, 1GB memory, DVD burner, wireless networking, Microsoft Vista Home OS or Apple Mac OS X and Intel Core Duo or AMD Turion 64.
2) Students and Budget Conscious People – For those in a tight budget looking for a reconditioned laptop, you need to search for notebooks that are small and light enough to bring along at campus, but rugged enough to withstand daily use. Look for laptops with at least 1GB of memory, large hard drive to hold schoolwork and mp3s, DVD burner to backup files, wired or wireless networking and Intel Core 2 Duo or AMD TUrion 64 X2.
3) Frequent fliers and Travelers – If you spend most of your time on the road, look for a refreshed notebook that are smaller and weigh less. These types of laptops are called “ultraportables” and are designed specifically for travelers. Look for notebooks with 13-inch display or smaller, at least 1GB of memory, wireless networking, extended batteries, port replicator, external DVD drive and any operating systems of your choice.
4) Power Users and Gamers – If you rely on the laptop to do your work, gaming and home use, you should look for a well-balanced refurbished laptop. Meaning, it has to deliver the performance you need to keep up with multiple applications, while providing you with portability. In this case, you need a laptop with at least 2GB of memory, the largest and fastest hard drive available, dual-layer DVD burner, wireless networking, Intel Core 2 Duo, extra batteries, 15-inch display or larger, advanced graphics card, multimedia connectors, external mouse, external keyboards and any kind of the latest operating systems available.
Once you know which type of user you are, you can select the most suitable refurbished laptops for yourself.
How to avoid Refurbished Laptop Scams?
So you’ve decided on buying a refurbished computer. The next step now is to determine where to buy the laptop. Since going for refurb laptops mean you can save hundreds of dollars, many people may take advantage and sell a “refurbished lemon”. To avoid refurbished notebooks scam, follow these several guidelines:
1) Say no to Lemons – Cheap laptops can save you a great deal of money. However, if you end up with a refurb lemon, you will just end up spending more money on trying to fix the notebook. Because of this, it is best to avoid buying from an individual from eBay or Craiglist because you have no recourse when something goes wrong with your refurbished notebook.
2) Warranty is your Friend – Before buying a laptop, make sure it has a good warranty policy and service plans. Most reputable vendors offer up to a 3-year warranty period and great technical support to provide you with peace of mind as you use your reconditioned laptop.
3) Buy direct – Dell, Hewlett-Packard, Compaq, Apple and other laptop manufacturers sell recertified laptop computers on their store. The best way to purchase a clean laptop is to buy directly at manufacturer stores or trusted vendors since these individuals or companies take pride in their products and as such, would not sacrifice their customer’s trust. In addition, some companies even offer financing options.
4) Do your research – Whether you plan to buy on eBay or directly through laptop manufacturers, make sure you do your research about the refreshed laptop computer before buying. This way, you can ensure to purchase a notebook with the most up-to-date hardware, newest operating systems and latest components.
Buying refurb laptop computer can save you hundreds of dollars as long as you avoid refurb lemons and stay away from refurbished computer scams found in eBay or Craiglist. As long as you follow these guidelines, you can ensure to buy a clean laptop that will withstand several years of use.
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