Buying a used laptop online is a good option if you’re on a tight budget but need the device ASAP. Indeed, there are plenty of secondhand laptop options on the market. Some online sellers have even made a name for themselves by consistently offering refurbished yet quality laptops for a fraction of the cost of brand-new units.
Even so, it’s still prudent to thoroughly check the second hand laptop that you’re planning to buy before you finalize the transaction. Here are the parts and functions you should inspect when buying a used laptop:
The first thing you should look at when buying a refurbished or used laptop is the physical condition of the unit. Does it have scratches and dents, and if it does, has the seller mentioned these imperfections when you first reached out to them?
If the laptop comes with stickers, decals, skins, or other accessories, check if they’re being used to hide any signs of damage on the unit. If they’re simply there for decoration, consider whether you want to keep or scrap them once the laptop becomes yours.
Aside from the surface elements, see if the laptop’s hinges are loose or wobbly, check if its intake grills are still complete, and inspect if the unit’s rubber feet are still in good condition.
The laptop’s screen comprises almost half the size of the unit and affects how you’re going to use your new gadget, so it requires a thorough inspection as well. Does the screen have scratches, bumps, or cracks? These could be signs that the laptop has been on the receiving end of an impact. Also, don’t forget to turn on the unit to check if the screen has dead pixels or exhibits flickering, discoloration, or brightness issues.
What types of ports do you need, and how many should the unit have of each type? Once you’ve determined if a secondhand laptop has the necessary ports, test all of them to make sure that they’re working properly. This goes for the headphone jack, SD card slots, Ethernet port, HDMI port, and USB ports for the mouse, printer, and other devices.
Charger and Battery
Determining the battery health of a secondhand laptop is also an important step in making a smart purchasing decision. How long does it take to go from fully charged to running out of power, and are you satisfied with that time limit? Remember, this can impact the laptop’s portability and reliability, especially if you’re planning to take it outside of your home or workplace regularly. Also, see if the laptop is prone to overheating and if it needs to be connected to a cooling pad to work reasonably well.
Keyboard and Trackpad
Even if a laptop keyboard has complete and clean-looking keys, you still need to make sure that all the keys are working as they should. Aside from using each key on its own, pair each one with the control and function keys to make sure that they work together properly. More importantly, see if your hands feel comfortable when you’re using the keyboard. Additionally, check if the trackpad works and explore the gestures that it supports.
Web Camera, Speaker, and Microphone
Laptops are often used for video calls and meetings these days, so it’s a good idea to test a secondhand laptop’s capability for handling this type of task first. Check if you’re happy with the video quality the unit’s built-in web camera is capable of. Additionally, see if the laptop’s built-in speakers play crisp audio and if the built-in microphone clearly captures your voice.
Check what kind of wireless connectivity the laptop supports, and make sure that the unit can easily access Wi-Fi internet networks. It’s also important to test how well the Bluetooth connection performs, especially if you’re planning to pair the unit with a wireless mouse, keyboard, or headphones.
Processor and RAM
Many people shop online for secondhand laptops with specific processors and other technical elements in mind. This is because these components play a significant role in the processing power of the laptop. This processing power, in turn, dictates what tasks the unit is capable of managing on a regular basis.
If you need a gaming-specific refurbished laptop, for example, the specifications you need will depend on the kinds of games you’re planning to play. For more resource-intensive games, you may have to opt for a more recent model or one that features a more powerful processor. But even if you just need a laptop that can work reliably well for online classes, surfing the internet, or viewing films, make sure that the components of the model you want to buy can support these activities.
Software and Licenses
Finally, check if the programs installed on the laptop are genuine, licensed, and up to date. Doing so will help you determine if you can use the unit right from the start or if you need to procure product keys before anything else. Even if you plan to install your preferred software, later on, check the laptop’s existing programs and device drivers before completing the purchase. You can also ask the seller if the price you’re paying for the unit includes certain software or if you need to shell out extra money for them.
Even if it’s bought secondhand, a laptop is a significant investment for many individuals and households. The next time you go shopping for one, make sure to inspect it while using this list as a guideline. That way, you can be sure that your refurbished laptop will not only save you a pretty penny but also get you your money’s worth.