Laptops are considered by many students and business people to be essential for their study and work. In fact, laptops are so popular that they can be found in nearly every school and office building. The first laptops were so expensive that only the very rich could afford them, but sales of laptops have been rising as their prices keep falling. Every day, more and more people are discovering that buying a laptop is a more convenient and affordable option than upgrading their old desktop computer. Still, the prices of the latest models are high enough to make second-hand and refurbished laptops look attractive.
Buying a second-hand laptop can be a risky and expensive adventure for inexperienced shoppers. There is such a huge range between the best and worst models that it can be hard to spot the ones worth buying. Just as a book should not be judged by its cover, a laptop should not be judged by the scratches on its case. There are many second-hand laptops that look fine on the outside but have serious problems. Refurbished laptops are cleaned, inspected, and tested by technicians, and then given a warranty based on their condition. This ensures that only the best second-hand models make it to the stores.
Refurbished laptops typically cost more than other second-hand laptops, but for that you get a decent warranty in case something goes wrong. Trying to get a refund from the previous owner can be more trouble that it’s worth, especially if you have to take them to court. Refurbished laptops are clean and ready to be used, unlike many second-hand laptops which are dirty and need some maintenance before they can be used. If coffee or wine has been spilt on the keyboard, it can take several hours to remove and clean every one of the keys. That chore alone is enough to make refurbished laptops look like good value for money.
When a laptop reaches the factory to be refurbished, the case and components are first checked for major defects. If the laptop requires too much maintenance, it is rejected and sent elsewhere. The remaining laptops are then disassembled and given a good clean. Dust and other foreign matter is removed from under the keyboard and from inside the ports, and the screen is cleaned of fingerprints and other marks. The case is sometimes buffed to remove scratches, but not even intensive buffing can remove deep scratches. Once the exterior of the laptop is all nice and clean, the interior is checked for problems.
To check that the components are working properly, the laptop undergoes a series of tests to find common faults, some of which only show up occasionally. The hard drive is completely wiped to make sure that nothing has been left on it by the previous owner. A new operating system may be installed, but that adds to the cost so many hard drives are left blank. The Linux operating system is a popular choice because it costs nothing to license. The laptop is then given a final check and repackaged before being sent to the store. Refurbished laptops may look and feel like new laptops, but by law they cannot be sold as new laptops.
Refurbished laptops have many benefits in their favor, but some people avoid buying them simply because they are second-hand. If you don’t like idea of using someone’s old laptop, but also don’t want to pay top dollar for a new laptop, there is a new type of computer that may be more to your liking. Netbooks are smaller than laptops and have a lot fewer features, but they stand up well compare to laptops that are several years old. Falling prices have made it harder to find good refurbished laptops, and in a few years they may disappear completely as netbooks become more popular.