How to Check If a Used Laptop Is a Good Buy

Buying used electronic goods is always a tricky proposition. Recent models like the ones launched last year make for a good buy. A new laptop purchased from an authorized dealer comes with all the necessary warranties and guarantees, but that is not the case when buying a used laptop. While online market places and auctions help you find the product of your choice, the gadgets are rarely certified and there are no assured warranties. However, if you are buying through a reputed online seller of used laptops you can be sure of the quality of your purchase, and a limited warranty may also be offered on the buy. The type of laptop you purchase should depend on what you intend to use it for. If you are going to use it for routine office work, Web surfing, gaming, and downloading movies or for listening to music any standard laptop will suffice. If you have more extensive needs you may have to look for an expensive laptop loaded with specs. A recent model of a well-known brand purchased through a reputed seller can be a good buy. There are several other factors and concerns that you need to address when purchasing a used laptop. Here are a few tips to help you out.

Know Your Needs

It is very important for you to recognize and be aware of your needs and requirements. What you intend to use your laptop for determines the model and the make you should go for. Here are a few factors you need to take into consideration. Size and Portability- If you travel a lot for work then portability is an important consideration. You need to have a laptop that caters to all your needs and also offers easy portability. There are many small and powerful models available today, but they do not come cheap. If you are looking for cheaper options you may have to compromise on specifications and performance. Specifications- They are of foremost concern if you are a fan of high-end games with complex graphics. Batman: Arkham City or Deus Ex: Human Revolution is best suited for a loaded Mac. Memory-intensive usage requires higher storage space. It is essential for your laptop to have the necessary expandability for extra memory. Also find out how much memory your system can hold and support. Designing and video editing calls for powerful systems. You need to consider whether your laptop will be able to support the apps you use. If you are sure the laptop will be able to handle all your requirements and can easily upgrade to cater to your future needs as well, then it is a worthy buy. Power- Used laptops normally come with weak batteries. A battery that cannot hold charge for long can make things difficult. Check if the battery has lived out its recharge cycles and is ready to be replaced. Find out the costs involved in replacing the battery for your model. If you are planning to travel or work in multiple locations a weak battery will cause problems. A good quality battery charger or a power adaptor is also important. If the model you are considering does not have one, a replacement needs to be purchased. Look up the costs involved. This is not much cause of concern for a desktop or a laptop which you can afford to keep plugged in during use. So analyze your needs, lifestyle, work demands and other requirements. Choose a laptop that is up to the challenge.

Other Key Factors

All of us are comfortable with the idea of purchasing a laptop that works, at least for us. There are several broken laptops and those with missing parts available at throwaway prices. But not everyone prefers shelling out money for products that need further extensive repairs and modifications, unless you are an expert technician yourself and can manage on your own. Here are a few points you need to keep in mind when looking up a used laptop with an intention to buy.

But not everyone prefers shelling out money for products that need further extensive repairs and modifications, unless you are an expert technician yourself and can manage on your own. Here are a few points you need to keep in mind when looking up a used laptop with an intention to buy.

The screen is one of the most important considerations when buying a laptop, and also the most expensive to replace. It is vital that you inspect the screen properly. A purple or pink haze or discoloration on the screen spells big trouble. Don�t buy the faulty laptop because it is not worth the trouble of repair or replacement. A flickering screen or uneven brightness also means further repairs and hassles. Dead pixels appear as white spots on the screen. One or two may not hamper viewing experience, but more than a few would definitely disturb picture quality. Check the screen thoroughly to avoid a stupid buy.

Examine the Keyboard and the Frame

The keyboard is not as expensive as the screen to replace, but a faulty one can ruin your user experience. One or two missing keys may not pose a problem, but unresponsive or hard-to-press keys call for servicing and repair. Worn-out or broken keys on keyboards point towards a need for repair. Always choose a laptop that has a comfortable keyboard format. Keyboard problems appear minor but if possible go for an entirely trouble-free laptop. The case and the chassis should ideally be free of dents and chips. Any sign of impact should be noted. These are, however, cosmetic effects and do not interfere with the functioning of the laptop and if you manage to get a good deal, they can be overlooked.

Ensure Licensed OS/ Software

Check the peripherals and the operating system provided. Always ask for the original software CDs or disks, drives, and operation manuals that the OEM provided with the laptop. It is always advisable to wipe the hard disk clean or get a new one before you start using the laptop. Transfer the remaining warranty, if any, to your name. If you are buying from a reputable online seller of used laptops, you may get an OEM license for the operating system and a limited service warranty. Make sure your system has licensed software and OS installed. It is against the law to use unlicensed software. If possible you can purchase your own licensed software, or install the one you may already have. In this case, a machine without software can also prove to be quite a good deal.

Consider Costs Involved in Upgrades

Many people snap up a bargain instantly. A $300 used laptop in shipshape condition may look like a good buy. But throw in the costs of upgrades- quality external hard drive, memory upgrades, licensed OS and software programs, and any other peripherals or programs required, and the laptop seems less like a steal. If an SSD is required the costs can escalate through the roof. So be careful with your choices. Properly gauge the specs of the laptops and go for one that will require minimum additional expenses.

Get the Pricing Right

Competitive pricing makes buying a used laptop an attractive option. There are several online buying sites which give you free instant quotes for used laptops. All you need to do is type in the relevant details and obtain the market price of the used model you are eyeing. You need to weigh in the expenses incurred for upgrades and minor repairs when considering the total cost involved in buying a used laptop, and compare it with the price of a new comparable system. You can use this info to drive a god bargain with the prospective seller and knock off a few bucks from the quoted price.


Buying a used laptop is by far the best option if it works out to be cheaper than buying a new or refurbished comparable system. You are doing your bit for the environment as well, and not contributing to the ever growing pile of e-junk. So be well-informed and educated of your needs and requirements, and find a suitable used laptop to serve you well.