In this section I will discuss how various hidden factors can cause you to pay more than you have to for that cheap laptop. In the previous guide we have discussed how laptop components affect it’s price. Visit our laptop buying guide to learn about how to buy the best laptop for you.
#1 Laptop’s Condition: New, Refurbished and Used
Overall, this is probably the most important pricing factor.
New laptops always cost more than refurbished or used laptops. The main benefit from a new laptop is that you are guaranteed that it will work (at least initially), since virtually all, new laptops come with a warranty. However, this guarantee also means that the laptop is more expensive. Just how much more expensive is difficult to say, since it varies depending on the features of the laptop and other pricing factors discussed below. Thus, while new laptops are the most expensive option they are also the most secure. For more on New desktop computers please visit our Cheap Desktop Computers page.
If you are looking for the reliability associated with new laptop but don’t want to pay the full new price, then a refurbished laptop may be for you. These are laptops that have been reconditioned by laptop manufacturers to fix minor problems. On the whole refurbished laptops tend to use slightly older components. As a result of these factors, they tend to be cheaper than a comparable new model laptop. Also, they almost always come with a warranty, but these tend to be for shorter periods of time than those offered for new laptops. Thus, refurbished laptops are a good option if you don’t need a top of the line machine, but still want some form of security that your laptop will work. For more on Refurbished laptops please visit our Cheap Refurbished Laptop page.
Your third and final option to consider is a used laptop. These are, generally speaking, by far the cheapest option. Essentially, buying a used laptop simply means that you buy a laptop that some one else has used before. Also, you generally have a much bigger range of laptop features to choose from since there is such a supply of them. However, most used laptops do not come with a guarantee, or if they do usually no more than 30 days. Also, they sometimes don’t come with all the software you need installed and so this can be another added expense. Thus, while they are by far the cheapest option there are a few tings to watch out for. For more on Used laptops please visit our Cheap Used Laptops page.
#2 Brand Name
A second important hidden pricing factor has to do with, which company makes your laptop. Big computer manufactures like: Dell, IBM, Apple etc. can usually charge slightly more for their laptops because they have a name people know and trust. Often times though, these brand name laptops have the exact same components as those made by less well known companies (except Apple who has the exclusive right to make computers that run on its operating system). On the other hand, these bigger computer companies have been around for a while and so will probably still exist should a problem arise with your laptop. Therefore, choosing a lesser known brand of laptop can save you significant amount’s of money, so long as it has comparable components to those of a brand name model. For more on laptop companies please click here.
Unlike the supermarket, in the laptop world you pay more to get less. If you want a lighter laptop then you have to pay for it. Logically then, heavier laptops tend to be cheaper. This is a result of the fact that lighter laptop components are more difficult and as a result more expensive to manufacture. Moreover, the difference in price is often not proportion to the weight savings. Essentially you pay a lot more for your laptop to weigh slightly less.
#4 Battery Life
Another factor that can affect the price of a laptop is its battery life. The longer the battery life of a laptop the more expensive it’s going to be. This is a result of the fact that laptops with longer battery lives generally have more expensive processors (generally listed as either mobile (M) or centrino). Moreover, the way you use your laptop can also greatly affect its battery life. For example watching videos or making DVDs will use up your battery life much faster than simply using a word processor.
So you have to realistically think how long you need your laptop battery to last. If you don’t need it to last more than 2 hours between charges then you can usually choose cheaper models. On the other hand, some people may need to be able to use it for 4 or more hours at a time, but unfortunately this will cost more. However, one way to save money even if you need your laptop to last for a long time is to consider getting a second battery, and then you can still get a cheaper laptop and the battery life you need.
One area where many people don’t consider the extra costs that can mount up is with a laptop’s software. Getting premium versions of an operating system such as Microsoft Windows can add significantly to the cost. Additionally, buying expensive word processing packages such as Microsoft Office Professional can also add to the cost. Before buying these expensive add-ons consider what you will really be using the laptop for. Generally speaking most people can make do with the basic versions of operating systems and other software bundles. This is one area where you can save hundreds of dollars if you shop smart. Finally, if you know a bit more about computers you can even consider installing open source software such as Linux to save yourself even more money, although, this option is only recommended to those who have a relatively high degree of computer knowledge.
This is another item that can add appreciably to the cost of you laptop without you realizing it. All new laptops and most refurbished laptops generally come with some form of warranty. These can vary in their specific terms, but generally speaking a warranty guarantees that either the manufacturer and/or the store will fix a problem with your laptop for free as long as it falls within the time period the warranty covers. Moreover, many laptop manufactures and/or stores will often agree to sell you additional years of warranty protection for slightly more money. This can be a good way of guaranteeing that you don’t have to pay to fix potential problems with your laptop further down the road. However, I should note that many stores and/or manufactures make most of their profit by selling these additional warranties, so you might want to take that into consideration before buying extra coverage. In the end it essentially comes down to whether or not you want the extra protection and security at the extra price or take a small risk and pay and lot less.
#7 Shipping Costs
Shipping costs only affect the price of your laptop if you buy online. Personally, I think buying your laptop online makes the most sense, since even after shipping costs you usually find the best price there. However, just remember that they can add an extra, unforeseen cost to you laptop, and as a result make sure you read the fine print. If on the other hand you opt to buying your laptop from a real world store you will not have to deal with this cost (Although virtually every other cost will be higher).
#8 Laptop Add-ons
One final thing to consider when thinking about how much a laptop will cost are any other additional things you might want to buy with it. In the first part of this article we talked about external devices that can add to the cost. Here we will add a few other things that may be add on costs to your laptop. The two most common options that people get beyond the things talked about in part one are: an extra battery and a carrying case. This can both be good additions but must be considered in the final price of your laptop.