Should You Buy a Refurbished Laptop?

Consider buying a refurbished laptop if you want to get the most bang for your buck with your next laptop purchase. While you won’t always find the most up-to-date information,

You will often be able to save money and get slightly more functionality by considering a product that is not fresh off the factory line if it is sold as refurbished.

Getting a refurbished laptop comes with some caveats and risks, as you might expect. We’ve compiled some advice below to help you decide whether or not to buy a refurbished laptop.

Lower Cost, But Worse Battery Life and Performance

The latest-generation laptops, on the other hand, are unlikely to be available as refurbs unless the model has been on the market for at least six months. Depending on the make and model, as well as where you shop, buying a refurbished laptop can save you hundreds of dollars.

Apple sells refurbished units of its laptops because it doesn’t refresh them very often. 12-inch MacBooksOn Apple’s website, a refurbished model costs $1,099 and comes with a one-year limited warranty. The same unit is available on Amazon for $899.99 with a 90-day warranty. A new 12-inch MacBook 1.1GHz Dual-core Intel Core m3 (released in April 2016) costs $1,299 brand new. , which debuted in April of this year.

However, if you’re looking for a refurbished Dell XPS 13When we first checked, Dell Outlet was selling a two-generation old XPS 13 with a touchscreen. , you might have to make do with an older model. Core i5-5200U CPUThe stock had changed a few days later, and some newer units were now available. A new XPS 13 with the current-generation Core i5-7200U CPU and similar specifications costs $999, which is more than $250 more. For $739, you can get a 128GB SSD and 8GB of RAM with a one-year warranty.

However, the model year is significant because the current-generation XPS 13 has significantly improved performance, battery life, and Wi-Fi connectivity. That performance difference may not be as significant to you today as it will be two or three years from now, when you’re using a computer that’s four or five years old and incapable of running new software.

As a result, if the refurbished model you buy has been in active use for a year or two, its battery life may be significantly reduced compared to a brand-new unit. Keep in mind that over time, laptop batteries lose their ability to hold a full charge.

If your budget is tight and you want a higher-quality laptop, such as a Dell XPS 13, a refurbished model may be the best option. There’s no doubt that you can find a good brand-new laptop for under $200, but you can probably afford a higher-end system. superthin ultraportable or a powerful business laptop ― if you consider refurbished models.

Where Do Refurbished Laptops Come From?

Refurbished laptops come from a variety of places, including businesses that trade in their old laptops and customers who return systems because they no longer want them or because they have a serious defect.

A certain percentage of refurbs are due to failures and defects. According to one source, Consumer Reports Reliability Survey Between 2010 and 2015, new Apple laptops failed at a rate of 7 to 9% per year, whereas Windows machine failure rates hovered around 15%.

“Most Microsoft refurbishers work with enterprise equipment, but even though the laptop started out as enterprise, you get it at a consumer price,” said Willie Cade, the company’s founder and CEO. PC Rebuilders and Recyclers“If you’re looking for something for work, shopping, email, or other basic tech needs, refurbished is the way to go.” , a Microsoft Authorized Refurbisher (MAR), is a Microsoft Authorized Refurbisher (MAR).

However, this isn’t the only option: Jim Lynch claims that TechSoup Global’s Buying refurbished from name-brand computing companies is also a good way to go, according to electronics recycling/reuse director.

As a result, the best sources for your purchase are either the laptop manufacturer or authorized refurbishers. “In this area, the big OEMs are quite good. “Because Apple, Dell, and HP put their names on their refurbished equipment, they generally ensure that the IT Asset Management companies that refurbish and recondition it do a good job,” he said.

The Difference Between Used and Refurbished

They disassemble each one, inspecting it for damaged components, battery functionality, screen quality, power supply, loose connections, hard drive, and optical drive, among other things. Manufacturers or third-party authorized refurbishers typically sanitize, sort, and grade the units based on physical appearance and functionality, regardless of how they arrived at the laptop spa. If a seller does not follow this procedure, the product is considered used rather than refurbished.

Before being packaged for its new home, the laptop is tested, cosmetic flaws are repaired, and a new operating system is installed. RAM, graphic cards, capacitors, ICs, and hard disks that are missing or defective are replaced, and the machine is given a complete data wipe.

Some sellers may attempt to reinstall the original OS and resell it, but this is not a legal license. Microsoft has agreements with MARs that allow them to copy properly licensed operating systems (primarily Windows). That last software point is crucial, according to Cade, because some people buy refurbished computers without the operating system installed, which is a no-no. Windows 10) onto refurbished units.

The unit is certified to be in good working order and returned to the retailer or manufacturer for sale at a discount after a refurbisher inspects, cleans, repairs, and restores a used or returned laptop to factory settings.

Quick Tips for Buying a Refurb Laptop:

  • Look for a one-year warranty.
  • Examine your refurbished laptop.
  • Note the difference between refurbished and certified.
  • Purchasing a refurbished item does not have to scream “slacker.”

Tip 1: If at all possible, get a one-year warranty.

Your refurbished laptop purchase should come with a guarantee from the seller. Check for a solid warranty on the equipment — a year is considered standard these days, but it is not universal. It’s not like you got it from the trunk of a car downtown (which is where I once got a great used Apple notebook).

Some refurbished laptop warranties You should get at least 30 days, and may be less than for new products and do not usually cover battery life, but each vendor is different, so read the fine print before adding the item to your shopping cart. Microsoft requires a minimum 90-day warranty. Apple PCRR, for example, offers a year’s warranty on their laptops.

Also, look for a generous return policy that allows you to test the machine and ensure that it is right for you. Be aware that some 14-day money-back return policies include a restocking fee, so keep that in mind. You’ll want to make sure your refurbished laptop can hold a charge because rechargeable batteries are considered consumables and have a natural lifespan. According to Amazon, new, used, and refurbished products purchased from Marketplace vendors are subject to the individual vendor’s return policy.

Tip 2: Examine Your Laptop Right Away

Instead of specific keys looking shiny or worn, the keyboard should have that new keyboard look. The screen should be bright and clear. Anything less might be a disappointment. You hope to see a gleaming, undamaged exterior free of scratches and dings when you or a loved one opens the box containing a refurbished laptop.

Apple’s website has a general statement of standards linked to each refurbished product for sale, but no condition report is available on each product page. On the refurbished product page, buyers should always look for a condition statement. A general condition link on Amazon leads to a pop-up page with general condition guidelines. Cosmetic flaws are usually disclosed in the product description, but not always.

MORE: Tips from the Experts: How to Set Up Your New Laptop Like a Pro

“We try to make the product look good — especially keyboards, cases, and palm rests — those things have to be in Grade A shape,” Microsoft refurbisher Cade said. If you receive a laptop that doesn’t look nice, has scratches, or a wonky keyboard, it’s possible that they didn’t do a good job of making the computer run.”

However, buyers should look for telltale signs that the new unit isn’t up to par, such as dead pixels on the screen, noisy hard drives, loose or squeaky hinges, or obvious signs of wear. Nonetheless, there are differences in cosmetic standards. Buyers of refurbished laptops should expect a product that does not look factory-fresh, as the case may have some dings and imperfections that do not affect the unit’s computing power.

3rd Tip: Understand the Difference Between Refurbished and Certified Products

Online marketplaces such as eBay and Craigslist do not inspect the condition of laptops for sale; they simply connect buyers and sellers, who are on their own. While online trade-in sites such as Gadget Salvation, and others provide various levels of certification; however, their standards differ and are not always transparent.

Gadget Salvation’s operations manager, Cesar Navarro, says the company’s items go through a certification process that includes hardware testing, cosmetic inspection, and a software check to ensure the gadgets are fully functional, reset to factory defaults with genuine operating systems, and malware-free.

“We don’t replace any parts or components,” Navarro explained. “Electronics that fail to meet our certification standards are wiped clean of all stored data and resold in bulk to various refurbishing companies.” Gadgets that can’t be salvaged are sent to recycling centers in the area.” “We do not refurbish electronic devices.”

Some media outlets are even more ambiguous. “Light refurbishment” at Gazelle, which sells used MacBooks, entails a 30-point functional and cosmetic inspection to ensure that the devices are in good cosmetic condition and working order, as well as a factory reset.

These are covered by Best Buy’s Return & Exchange Promise and come with warranties ranging from 90 days to a year, as well as extended holiday return and exchange dates. Best Buy claims that its refurbished items are repaired and restored to like-new condition, with all parts and accessories (original or comparable substitutes) included. The Best Buy Outlet sells refurbished, open-box, and pre-owned electronics that have been tested and are in good working order.

For individuals and businesses, Microsoft maintains an extensive network of authorized refurbishers who can connect you with a refurbished laptop.

Amazon’s Certified RefurbishedYou can search for the best model for your needs on Amazon using a variety of criteria such as the number of cores, hard drive size, RAM, and more. Laptops are thoroughly tested by qualified manufacturers or third-party refurbishers such as PCRR to ensure that they appear and function as new. They are covered by a 90-day limited warranty at the very least.

Amazon’s Amazon Warehouse Deals site also sells refurbished, used, and open-box laptops. Despite the fact that the company tests and grades the functional and physical condition of the products it sells before putting them on the market, there are no warranties for such used items, with the exception of optional extended warranties that you can purchase.

If you’re looking for an Apple notebook, go to Apple’s website. refurbishing siteApple’s refurbished laptops come with a one-year warranty, free shipping, and no-questions-asked returns. .. Refurb Tracker sends out email alerts and RSS feeds when new refurbished products are added to Apple Store websites.

Tip #4: A Refurbished Laptop Can Be Given As A Gift

Although it is true that it is the thought that counts, a gift of previously owned equipment may still conjure up the word “cheapskate” in the minds of some, despite its superior quality and guaranteed functionality. If you or a loved one wants the most up-to-date, cutting-edge notebook in perfect cosmetic condition and packaged to artistic perfection, and you associate refurbished with icky, old, and used, a pre-owned unit will be difficult to sell. If you’re worried that a loved one will secretly despise a refurbished laptop, think about who you’re giving it to and what they value.

“I can only say that last year I got my wife a refurbished MacBook Air — and she was thrilled,” Lynch said.

Image Credit: Andrey_Popov / Shutterstock

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