We’ve all been there. You are in the market for a new computer and you start shopping. There are so many options to choose from. Like many people, you begin to do your research online. Options abound such as PC or Mac, high-speed multi-core processors, RAM and RAM expandability, hard drive storage capacity, graphics card, and the list goes on.
If you’re in the market for a laptop, you can also add other very important features such as battery life, weight and dimensions, and screen size. The number of available USB ports is very important in laptops for added storage capacity such as thumb drives and also for hardware. With all of these things in mind it can definitely become very expensive to get everything you want if you’re purchasing new.
An option many consumers are choosing is buying used computers (desktops) and used laptops. Second hand computers can often give you a pretty big bang for your buck, particularly if you’re balling on a budget.
One good option to explore is “refurbished computers”. You can research some of the big online retailers like Amazon and you can often find computers wholesale or at least for wholesale prices. Also, you can explore some of your “brick and mortar” retailers such as Best Buy, CompUSA, Staples, Office Depot, and Walmart either in store or online.
Most computer manufacturers have used or refurb sections on their websites as well. You can explore Dell, Compaq, Gateway, HP, Acer, Lenovo, and Apple, just to name a few. A refurbished computer is often a computer that was returned to the store by the consumer for any number of reasons. It can be either as trivial as a scratch or dent or as major as a defective motherboard, hard drive, memory, power supply, etc.
The computer is then sent back to the manufacturer and is repaired, often undergoing rigorous testing before being returned to the retailer for resale. At this point it can no longer be called “new”. The retailer then offers it as refurbished and at discounts from 20% all the way up to 70% or more.
Be sure to check the store’s policy on refurbished computers. Usually it will have the same factory warranty as a new computer, but for much less cost. You will also want to check exactly what is included with your purchase. For instance, you will want to see if it includes a keyboard, monitor, mouse, drives, and all the appropriate connectors and cables.
If you plan on upgrading your refurb, find out what the expandability options are. This is crucial if you want to extend the viability of your computer. For example, if you can only expand up to 4 to 6 gigs of RAM or are limited on the ability to upgrade the motherboard, processor, or graphics card, you may want to keep looking.
Many of the same rules apply when dealing with second hand computers that are used. Find out as much as you can in regard to the used computer or used laptop. If it was purchased within the last few months and is relatively new, it may still retain its factory warranty. If you are purchasing the computer from a friend, off Craigslist, or from any kind of store or used computers provider, see if you can “boot up” the computer and try it out. Assess the keyboard, mouse, drives, ports, battery, software, and internet capabilities if possible. It is not unreasonable to expect that an informed consumer would want to evaluate and assess a purchase.
If there is too much hesitation from the seller it is probably wise to walk away with your money in tow and in pocket. Now that you are armed with some useful information for purchasing used computers and used laptops, take your time and weigh your options. Slow, steady, and analytical wins the second hand computers race, but don’t paralyze yourself either.
There are plenty of deals out there to be had. Happy computer hunting.