Buying a Used Laptop, is it Worth it?

Are you thinking of buying a used laptop? We all know how much risk is involved when buying used electrical goods or anything else for that matter because they become less reliable over time. However, where money is an issue, you can consider buying a used laptop in good condition and at a reasonable price. Here are some tips for you to consider before buying a used laptop.

DETERMINE WHY YOU NEED THE LAPTOP

This should be the very first and important step you take when you are planning to buy a used laptop. This is important because laptops come in different sizes and specifications and as such, choosing a laptop with the wrong features would end up frustrating its owner. Some criteria to look-out for are portability, specifications and power.

Ask yourself this question: what do I want to use this laptop for? Do you need it just for desktop publishing (word processing), web browsing, gaming, music, movies or other bespoke applications? With that in mind, you would need to consider the specifications of the laptop you intend to buy. For example, if a buyer intends to run memory (RAM) or processor (CPU) intensive applications such as video or audio encoding applications and gaming applications, then a laptop with a large enough RAM and CPU should be considered. In addition, if you intend to store a lot of files, you should consider buying a laptop with a large enough hard disk size. Using the laptop for just web browsing or word processing is not RAM or CPU intensive, so you do not need to consider buying a laptop with a large RAM and CPU.

Another factor to put into consideration is portability. If you are always on the move or you always take your work with you, then weight and size may be of concern to you. A buyer should consider portability as an option for convenient carriage. However, a buyer should be aware that often (not always) with portability, come trade-offs in price, power and specifications.

When buying a used laptop a buyer must also consider how much it would cost to replace the battery especially since it’s been previously used. This is important if you plan to work in various locations and travel a lot.

All things considered, a buyer must carefully consider how he/she would put the laptop to use. If your routine involves running lots of web-services, web apps with a few applications, a lightweight laptop (medium CPU speed and RAM size) may do for you. However if you do a lot of video editing, design and gaming, you should consider a heavyweight laptop (very high CPU speed and high RAM size) instead.

 

CONSIDER IF BUYING A NEW LAPTOP ISN’T BETTER

Before buying a used laptop, a buyer must make sure that he/she would not be better off buying a new one. A buyer would want to consider the lack of a warranty on a used laptop. Purchasing a new laptop would give the buyer a manufacturer’s warranty with a minimum of one year; other manufacturers give a warranty of up to 3 years. Buying a used laptop would not give you any warranty. In other words, if the laptop gets damaged after its purchase, you cannot return it to the manufacturer to be repaired or replaced. In this case, you can bargain with the seller or retailer for a warranty deal. If you are lucky, you can get a seller or retailer warranty for 28 days or less. Considering the warranty factor would allow you to balance the cost of fixing a used laptop with little or no warranty and that of a new laptop with a warranty. Well, it’s all about risks and uncertainty. If the risk of the used laptop getting damaged is very high and its repair and purchase cost put together are greater than the cost of a new laptop, then it is more economical to buy a new laptop.

Pricing is another huge factor to consider before shedding your cash for a used laptop. A buyer may think he/she is getting a bargain when buying a used laptop, however when a buyer considers how much he/she has to spend on upgrading it, it becomes an unwise investment. For example, you may need to buy an external hard drive, upgrade the Windows version and so on and so forth and then at the end of the day you find out that you have almost spent as much money as you would have if buying a new laptop.

TEST THE LAPTOP

A buyer should take time to test the laptop before buying it. A short period of use (an hour or so) can make a huge difference, for example, it could mean the difference between knowing if it will boot and hold charge and not knowing at all.

Some things to check for are;

  • The body and frame for surface damage and cracks;
  • Its operation; whether it turns on and stays on for over 45 minutes
  • Its cooling system; Check under the laptop and feel how hot it is after 30 minutes
  • The keyboard (for missing keys) and touchpad (if all the buttons are functional)
  • The screen for dead pixels, haze or discolouration
  • The ports, inputs and optical drives for any malfunction or damage (take along peripherals and DVDs/CDs to carry out the tests)
  • The included software (if any) and make sure the keys of any licensed software is available to you.

 

Buying a used laptop does not necessarily mean that you must have regrets. When you carefully follow the steps above, you should have a laptop that would serve you optimally.