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Tech For Less - Buying Refurbished Laptops - How To Guide

Buying refurbished laptops can be a very rewarding process as it's easy to Get More For Less.

When it comes to laptops or notebook computers, most of us are casual users. We use it for checking email, surfing the web, writing a document or playing an online game with friends, video chatting or watching a movie. The good news is that you don't need the latest, most powerful fancy computer to do all this. So really, most often buying a shiny new laptop, for a lot more money is unnecessary because you can get the same item but pay less when you buy a refurbished laptop instead.

Here are 5 Points To Consider When Buying A Refurbished Laptop

1) Why Buy Refurbished Laptops?

  • Price -If you could buy a luxury car at the same price as a regular car, wouldn't you do it? The same goes for laptops. You can get a faster laptop, bigger hard drive, more RAM, bigger screen - all for a lower price when you consider buying a refurbished laptop.
  • Value - Consider this... just like when you buy a new car, the moment you drive it off the lot, the value drops. This is very similar when buying a new laptop or notebook. When you buy a new laptop the average price range is 10-25% higher than an equivalent refurbished laptop would run you. So you can just pocket the money you just saved, or use it to buy that printer or accessory that you couldn't afford had you bought a brand new laptop. Now that's smart savings!
  • Be Kind to The Environment - Everyone wants to help the environment right? When you buy refurbished laptops; instead of hitting the landfill, they get a second life.
  • Already Been Tested - Usually a computer's first real test is when you buy it and take it home. If there is a problem, YOU are the one who gets to discover it and deal with it. So refurbished means your laptop has been given an extra dose of personalized expert service, removing problems and bringing it back to manufacturer standards before you buy it.

2) What Do You Need In a Laptop or Notebook?

The question really is, not what you want in a laptop, but what you need. Consider the type of laptop user you are first and make your decision from there. If you are a casual user (which really is most of us) then you do not need the latest and greatest technology. If you are business user, you may be looking at performance, weight and battery life. Hard core gamer, you might need a system that can support 3D graphics and has a processor with enough power. Students will want a laptop that can handle their day to day tasks in and out of classes.

  • Processor - This is commonly known as the GHz (Gigahertz or Megahertz clock speed) in most specs you see for laptops. You usually see around 2.0 GHz Processor in most laptops, but can be as high as 3 GHz. Honestly, there are a lot of confusing specs when it comes to processors in laptops (AMD uses A2, A8, etc. while Intel uses Core i3, i7, etc.). The good news is that with today's laptops, even the lower speed processors are all more than capable of handling most people's needs.
  • Memory - This is probably the most important component in a laptop and determines how much you can do at once on a laptop. Most of us really do not need more than 2-4GB of RAM. Unless you are a gamer or video editor, and have a lot of applications open, or programs that require more dedicated RAM, you just don't need it.
  • Storage - This is also referred to as the hard drive (HDD) and is where you store all your information as files. Hard drive size has greatly expanded in the past few years, all the way up to several Terabytes (TB) in some laptops. Most laptops however will have between 250 and 500 GB hard drives, and with the ability to store information in the cloud, even this is less of an issue anymore.
  • Wireless - An important component that makes laptops appealing, the ability to take your computer anywhere and access the internet without wires. Luckily most laptops these days come with wireless (WiFi) modems built-in, just check to see if the specs. show it as part of the laptops components..
  • Weight - Unless you are a business user or on the go constantly, you most likely do not need to factor in the weight of the laptop. Even then, most laptops for everyday users will not weigh more than 6 lbs, which even if you have to carry, will not seem too cumbersome.
  • Optical Drive - You'll need this if you plan to watch DVDs on your laptop. Also needed if you are installing software from DVD's or CD's. However, this is becoming less and less important as manufacturers offer the option to download their software from the internet and with broadband connections a 5 GB file for instance, will only take a few minutes to download.
  • Screen Size - Laptops today can vary from 10" (measured diagonally) to over 17". Typically the smaller screens are referred to as netbooks, as they have smaller keyboards and slower processors. Anything above 13" inches is usually classified as a laptop. Most of us find a 15" laptop to be an ideal size. Business users find the 13 to 14" size to fit their needs for weight and portability.
  • Battery Life - The average user of laptops and notebooks will typically leave their laptop plugged in and use it as a replacement for their desktop, meaning battery life is not really important to most of us. Laptop batteries typically will give you 2 to 4 hours of use, less if you are watching videos or doing a lot of processing. You can opt for a larger battery to give you more laptop use, but you trade off weight for this (keep this in consideration when choosing your laptop).

3) What Should You Look For When Buying A Refurbished Laptop?

  • Clear Definition of Condition - Different companies use different definitions of what they consider as "Refurbished". Find the definitions on their Web site and make sure you are comfortable with the explanation and if needed, contact the company to ask for clarification. Most often you can expect the laptop to be packaged in a brown box. It might have limited signs of use and it may be missing some accessories that are not needed for the functionality of the laptop. Manuals and software might not be included; however those are usually available for download from the manufacturer's web site.
  • There is a Big Difference Between Refurbished and Used - Typically when you buy a laptop, from eBay for instance; you are getting a used laptop from someone else. You have no real way of knowing what you are getting.
  • Refurbished Means - a laptop (in this case) that was returned, sidelined due to a defect, maybe just a problem with software, or RAM; or even because of supply levels at the manufacturer's warehouse. Whatever the reason, every laptop has been thoroughly tested, repaired as needed, and made just as effective as new.
  • Trusted Retailer - Know who you are buying from. How long have they been in business, do they specialize in selling refurbished product or is this just a side business? Do they have customer testimonials to back them up, do they offer a satisfaction guarantee in addition to a product warranty? Do they have any trusted seller ratings such as being accredited with the Better Business Bureau? Is the site secure?
  • Clear Definition of Condition - There is a big difference between refurbished and used. Typically when you buy a laptop, from eBay for instance; you are getting a used laptop from someone else. You have no real way of knowing what you are getting. Refurbished means a laptop (in this case) that was returned, sidelined due to a cosmetic defect, maybe a problem with software or even because of supply levels at the manufacturer's warehouse. Whatever the reason, every laptop has been thoroughly tested, in some cases repaired, and made just as effective as new. Technically you can't call refurbished computers new, but they operate as new in almost every case.
  • Support - Does the retailer provide you with help after the sale? Do they have a customer service department and are extended warranties offered? Do they even allow you to return the product if it has an issue, or if it ended up not what you wanted after all?

4) Where Can You Buy Refurbished Laptops

  • Local Stores - Some stores sell refurbished equipment, but they do not specialize in it and their definition of refurbished may have been a floor demonstration unit that could have major defects. Always inquire about the source of their refurbished product.
  • Big Box Online Retailers -many online sources will have a combination of new, used and refurbished. You must pay special attention to the description of the condition, sometimes it may seem like refurbished, but it really is a used item, which means it might not have been thoroughly tested and could possibly be damaged. Make sure they define what their conditions mean and even check out their customer testimonials.
  • Direct from Manufacturer - Manufacturers can offer refurbished laptops as well, this source is certainly more trusted, however, the selection and availability of laptops can be severely limited, and sometimes the discount is not as much as you might think.
  • Specialty Retailers like Tech For Less - Ok, so maybe we are setting ourselves up here, but we do specialize in this stuff, this is our business and when you buy refurbished laptops from us, you know you are getting exactly that. Our large inventory also gives you the freedom to select the right laptop to fit your needs.

5) Why Buy Refurbished Laptops/Notebooks From Tech For Less

  • Quality Control - Every laptop that comes to our warehouse is inspected and tested by experienced technicians, so you can feel confident knowing your refurbished laptop is going to work as expected.
  • Selection - We carry hundreds of laptops on our website, but don't worry, we make it easy to search for a laptop that fits your lifestyle. You can quickly narrow your choices by selecting brand, condition, display size, CPU, price range and more.
  • Price - We work hard to search the internet each day and make sure we have the lowest prices on the web. We also buy from our vendor's in large quantities which allows us to pass the savings on to you. You can typically expect to see savings between 15 - 30%, but it is not uncommon to see discounts as high as 50% too.
  • Satisfaction Guarantee - We back your purchase by a no questions asked, 30 Day Money Back Satisfaction Guarantee. When you buy refurbished laptops from Tech For Less, you're buying with confidence. The point is that you are taken care of after you purchase from Tech For Less.
  • Customer Service - Our knowledgeable staff can help you with questions or concern you may have with your purchase or if you want to ask questions about our products before you buy.
  • Return Policy - In the unlikely event that there is an issue with your product, we make it easy to return the item. Simply email or call our customer service department and we will work with you to make the process as smooth as possible. All products carry a 90 Day Tech For Less Warranty, with a full refund or product replacement. So relax, we've got you covered. We also offer extended warranties for even greater piece of mind.

Buying refurbished laptops allows you to try the more expensive brands that may have been outside your reach, but now are available for you to purchase (and still stay within your budget). What's not to like? When you buy refurbished - you're not settling - you are saving because you get more for less!

One final note. Not all refurbished products are sold using the high standards we use here at Tech For Less. That's why it really pays to shop with an industry leader like Tech For Less. We've been selling refurbished right since 2001 to over 1 million customers.

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