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Should I Shop Refurbished Laptops?

Nov 09, 2021

A man smiling while on his laptop

Having a laptop at your disposal is very important in today’s digital world. They offer convenience, access and entertainment. As new models continue to become available with next-level features and designs, however, a laptop can be costly. As you weigh the pros and cons of a laptop computer, the thought of shopping for a refurbished laptop might cross your mind. So, should you?

In a Nutshell: What Happens When You Shop for Refurbished Laptops?

The main driving factor behind shopping for a refurbished laptop is their lower price tag compared to new laptops. You can save hundreds of dollars on a refurbished make and model compared to getting it new. However, the newest generation and latest model laptops are rarely available in refurbished conditions. Why? Their first owners are still using them!

One issue with refurbished laptops is that they have already been used previously and they tend to be older models with lower battery life. It is important to check the make, year and model for the laptop you are considering. For example, a very old laptop may not have the same connectivity options as newer laptops. Additionally, they may lack certain performance features as well. Older laptops may not have the necessary resources to run the latest software.

What are the Sources of Refurbished Laptops?

Refurbished laptops may come from any of the following:

●     Sometimes, businesses and computer manufacturers trade older laptops for newer versions. These deals are lucrative for the manufacturers because the businesses usually get their product in bulk, and the returned laptops are in top condition due to safe office use. The manufacturer can make a profit by selling them as refurbished to other users.

●     The same deals are often done by universities, where students return laptops after a few years of usage in exchange for new ones.

●     Customers may return their laptop if they have the option to return it in case the laptop does not meet their requirements.

●     A laptop or a complete lot of laptops with a serious defect may be reconfigured to remove the defect and then sold as refurbished versions.

Because refurbished laptops are second-hand and already used, they are more affordable — a big draw for many money-savvy consumers.

What is the Difference Between Used and Refurbished Laptops?

When a laptop is refurbished, it is completely sanitized by the manufacturer. They are then graded and sorted into batches based on their performance, look and current functionality. For example, lots are created with laptops with excellent batteries, ones with poor batteries and ones that still look as if they are new. Each one is disassembled to check for any damage. Also, screen quality, battery function, power supply, hard drive, optical drive and loose connections are also checked. Therefore, when you are getting a refurbished laptop, you are getting a product that has been tested for quality.

As a side note, secondhand products (i.e. not refurbished) are not required to pass through all these procedures. They may have defective components or have pieces missing. Similarly, some people shop for refurbished operating systems (OS) along with their refurbished system. This can sometimes be a huge problem since a refurbished OS will be against the license that is made with the OS firm, and it can also be very old and may not support the latest software. Older OS could also have vulnerabilities that hackers can exploit.

Some Important Tips if You Are Considering a Refurbished Laptop

●     Always get a warranty for the laptop. In most cases, you will be offered a one-year warranty. Such a warranty is extremely important to ensure that the laptop is up-to-the-mark and has no hidden defects that will waste your investment. Additionally, if any issue arises, you can get it replaced within the warranty period.

●     Examine the laptop before making your final choice. Make sure you check every component. There may be issues with the keyboard keys, the screen or some of the internal functions. A common issue may be with the connectivity system or the drivers. Making sure everything works fine will protect your investment.

●     Never assume that a refurbished laptop is certified as well. A certified laptop on online sales platforms has only been verified based on the commercial details. For example, if you find a certified advertisement on eBay, it means that the existence of the laptop and the genuineness of its owner is confirmed. However, it does not ensure that the laptop has been checked for quality by the manufacturer.

Should I Get a New Laptop Instead?

If you can, it is always preferable to shop for a new one. New laptops are up to date and are quality assured. Additionally, they have not been used by someone else, as instead you are the first user of the product. Similarly, they would have a warranty included on them as well. 

With Acima, it’s not if you can — you can! When you shop using our lease-to-own* alternative to financing, we work with you so you can get the laptop of your dreams –by making affordable monthly lease renewal payments without using credit.* Shop laptops with online electronics retailers with Acima and learn how our process can work for you.

Common Questions About Laptops:

Do refurbished laptops come with a warranty?

Warranties can vary depending on when you got the laptop, when it was refurbished and whom you are getting it from. Before getting a refurbished laptop, make sure to check carefully for any damage or missing hardware/software components in the product description. Warranty is usually not provided in case of refurbished laptops.

Will a refurbished laptop last?

Some refurbished laptops can last, but not all. Repairs and components can be costly, which is why many companies sell refurbished laptops. Furthermore, the life of a refurbishment is dependent upon when you got the device and how well it has been taken care of, etc.

What are the risks to refurbished laptops?

The main risk to shopping for a refurbished laptop is that you won't know whether components have been replaced or an out-of-warranty product has been repaired. So, even though the company cannot sell it as new anymore, they may still offer only a limited warranty that will not cover any hardware problems that were caused by previous owners or incidents that are outside of normal wear and tear.