The high cost of a laptop can be prohibitive, especially when you compare the specs that you are getting with the equivalently priced desktop computer.
As with anything else, huge savings can be had by buying a used or reconditioned laptop, but there are also risks. If you are careful when buying, you can avoid getting an overpriced lemon.
The problem with laptop computers is their size. The need to make them small, light and portable limits the available hardware, with it all needing to be smaller than that which is used in a desktop.
This means that there is a trade off-the hardware either cost more or else it’s specs are not as good as for a desktop. Dollar for dollar you get a lot less computer when buying a laptop.
Used laptops are a lot cheaper when bought second hand and directly from the current owner, and this can make them more affordable. The problem is that when doing that you are buying a laptop with used, and hence worn parts.
The battery and the hard drive are the two parts that wear the quickest. This can lead to hard drive crashes and loss of data, and battery failure.
The battery will only have a limited lifespan, and the first owner may have already used it up. They are good for only a limited number of charge-discharge cycles, beyond which the capacity drops markedly before complete failure eventually occurs.
Another option is to buy a refurbished laptop. Though this is still a used laptop, the hardware inside that is likely to be the most worn and hence most likely to fail, has been replaced.
So instead of a second-hand laptop, you get a pre-used laptop with some new components inside. This means that these are not as cheap as a second-hand laptop, but rather are a middle ground somewhere in between a new and a second-hand laptop. They are cheaper than a new laptop, yet more reliable than a second hand one.
Lower specs are another peril of buying a used laptop. The specs of a laptop are generally always lower than a desktop, and buying one that is a year or so old already will increase the drop in specs. This is because, over the space of a year or more, the currently average specs of a computer will increase.
If you want to buy a used laptop computer, you should see it in operation first. Once you know that it is working, you can then move on to test the battery, and check to see how good the specs and general performance is.
You won’t be able to easily test the hard drive but should ensure that it is at least a good enough size for your needs.
A refurbished computer should have a new battery and will have been tested for you. What’s more, it should come with a limited warranty. Overall it is the best choice available for reducing your risk when buying a used computer.