If you can afford it, it is always better to buy new laptops with factory warranty and latest software upgrades. But when you need a cheaper laptop you may consider buying a used or refurbished laptop. A good used/refurbished laptop can perform as good as a new one and can as well be reliable.
But before you buy a used or refurbished laptop, there are some important things I will like you to know to guide you in making the best decisions. Bearing in mind that most used or refurbished laptops are a generation or two behind, you need to be able to find one that will meet all your needs or at least most of them, one that will cheap enough for your budget and one that is reliable.
Inspect its physical condition:
Before you purchase a used laptop ensure to inspect its physical condition. It’s unfortunate that the condition of laptop begin to degrade after use for awhile depending on how the previous owner handled and maintained it. Most times the screen or body gets scratched, ensure the keys of the keyboard are complete, ensure there is a CD Drive available and check the number of ports available.
Ensure to take your time and inspect the used laptop; ensure the keys on the keyboard are complete, test each key to be sure it works.
Try running a CD on the CD Drive to ensure it works because you will definitely need it in installing applications or transferring data from CDs.
Ensure the screen is not broken or cracked, power the laptop to be sure the screen is functional and has good lightening.
Used laptop batteries are often weaker and the portability of laptops means you carry your laptop around always and will most likely use it without power on the go, so you must ensure to test the battery to see how long it can hold power. Plug the power adopter on the laptop to ensure the battery also charges properly.
While buying a used laptop one of the thing you must look at is the size of the hard drive and its conditions. Ensure to choose only a used laptop with big enough hard drive, listen to the sound of the laptop when its powered on to see if the hard drive has any sort of disturbing sounds because faulty hard drives always give out some sort of disturbing sounds while running.
Of course no one wants a slow laptop whether new or used. It is very important you consider the size of RAM before deciding to buy any used laptop. While it is upgradable do you have extra money for such? If you don’t ensure to choose a used laptop with good enough RAM to carry out your operations without wasting your time and resources.
Ports, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Webcam, Microphone & Connectivity:
Check the used laptop for faulty ports; ensure it has enough ports for your needs. While some laptops may have fewer USB ports to accommodate HDMI port, consider if you have need for such ports. Plug in USB drives, Plug n Play devices on the ports to ensure they work. Test the internet connectivity to ensure the laptop can connect to the internet.
Also ensure to check the Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Webcam and Microphone for proper functioning. While you may not have the opportunity of checking the motherboard, many these are attached to the board. If any of these are broken, it may cost you a lot to replace.
This is yet another important factor to consider while buying a used laptop. While some people will like to use a specific version of an operating system some other may totally prefer a different operating system entirely. Ensure to choose only the laptop with your preferred type and version of OS so you won’t have to go looking for how to change the OS and thereby spending more money.
I admit while you may want all the above listed features to be available and functional in a used laptop the case may not always be so. So you must consider what you really want in respect to your available budget to making your choice.
Your budget plays a very big role to the type of used laptop you can buy. And you must remember that while new laptops may come with warranty, used laptops may not depending on where you are buying from. So ensure to buy from stores where they can give you a certain amount of warranty in case something goes wrong quickly.
Must Read: Netbooks Vs. Laptops: Things To Consider Before Buying
I will recommend before you finally buy any used laptop take a test drive. Spend some hours with the laptop, discharge and charge the battery to see how effective the charging and use are, spending a few hours with a used laptop can help you in choosing the best used laptop for yourself.
If you are buying online ensure to read feedback from people who have purchased the same laptop before you, while every case may not be same, don’t leave feedback until you have checked everything if possible use the laptop for some days.
Don’t get frustrated if everything don’t work as smoothly as that of a new laptop, remember it’s been use by someone and wear and tear may have taken its effect on some parts.
I believe I have covered everything you must consider while choosing a used laptop to buy. Someone recently asked me to publish “Used Laptop Buying Guide” because he trusts my judgment and will like to know what I will consider if I am to buy a used laptop.
Robert Singh says
Wonderful guide, I was looking to buy a new laptop for my brother and I guess this guide is really helpful to choose a laptop. I’ll choose an acer laptop because it would be really cheaper and affordable too.
Frank Joseph says
Thank you for this guide, it is very important that one inspect to the fullest all the features of the used laptop before parting with his/her money.
Most of them develop faults the moment you are off the shop- and there is no warranty.
Mavtrevor you might want to share with us, some places where you can purchase used/refurbished laptops online?
Nwosu Mavtrevor says
Ebay is always a great place for such.
My Favourite Laptop is Samsung And Acer Because i use both laptops and i know all about my laptops.If someone ask me for buy a good laptop so i always suggest samsung company ,acer, dell.Anyway You Article is really good I will share this article with my friends.
Saad Ansari says
Handy guide I should say. I still remember I’d been hunting for decent configuration on internet but It was hell difficult to choose out of hundreds. This post will really help people who are willing to get one soon!
Nate Leung says
Some useful tips for buying a laptop. It’s actually perfect because I was actually in the market for one. Perfect timing! Thanks for sharing!
Ryan Biddulph says
The keyboard one is a biggie. Most of us abuse our keyboards by typing away for years on end, for hours each day.
Carefully inspect the keyboard to make sure you are getting a good deal.
Thanks for sharing Nwosu!
Aditya Singh says
Great article, if any want to buy article they should read this article, Buying the article is the most difficulty things as lot of thing we have to see before buying the laptops.
Akaahan Terungwa says
Used laptops can be a deal and the tips you’ve offered here remain classical especially checking the keyboard and battery capacity. But the fact remains that its better to go for a new one…
However, if you cannot get a new one, check every point enumerated twice!
SK Saini says
Certainly, purchasing and old laptop can be the tedious task for a consumer. There is no warranty, no replacement so, it becomes very essential for a buyer to check out above mentioned points before buying a computer.
Nwosu Mavtrevor, I agree with you that it is most necessary to check the status of hard disk of old device too. I have recently experienced that the hard indicates itself that it is going to be fail soon. For this, one just need to hear the running sound of drive. If there is clicking or drumming sound coming out of running hard disk, it means its at risk.
Nwosu Mavtrevor says
Yes, while the other physical features may seem good, the ones we don’t easily see can still affect our use of the device greatly. So the need to check the hard drive before buying a used laptop.
Great share which I have not tried any used laptop I have preferred only new pieces as many used laps causing an issues one of my friend bought it and felt bad.
Mohammed Ali says
Useful post, The good thing about this post is that it contains laptops that are affordable.
Thanks for sharing the information since Laptops became one of the most important part of our generation .people.
Mohammed Ali recently posted Interesting Apps-Try These Must Have Apps For 2014
You didn’t mention their priced in naira.