Laptops: Buy Cheap or Refurbished?

There are many bargain laptops out there but are they worth it or is it better to buy a Refurbished laptop? To answer this question it’s important to think about why you are buying a laptop in the first place, what you will be using your laptop for and whether the style is important to you.

With that said, there are a number of things to consider when purchasing a laptop. But the most important thing to consider is whether you actually need a laptop. Now, I wrote an article for TechPatio a couple of months ago explaining how to actually chose the perfect device. Feel free to check that out below…

TechPatio | Guest Article by Dominik Kwolczak

But since this article is focusing on laptops, so let’s stay on focus. In order to explain it’s a good idea to look at the advantages and disadvantages on both sides. That way you can make your own decision up. I mean it’s ok for someone like me to say that refurbished laptops are better than cheap ones but that’s for my needs. Your needs might be different. Sure, I can make a professional recommendation but in order for me to do that, I will need to know your needs first!

Buying a Cheap laptop

There are many cheap laptops out there starting at as little as £150 (190 USD) here in the UK. You might think “surely there’s a catch”. Well, yes there is and that’s the hardware spec. These laptops are designed for the lightest usage possible like browsing the internet and writing the odd word document.

The Advantages of buying a cheap laptop

  • The price!
  • The size – Cheap laptops are usually small in size meaning that they are ideal for travel
  • Great for note taking – If you do a lot of note-taking, they are small enough to take with you to lectures and meetings to take notes and show presentations.
  • Good as a laptop to use every now and then
  • Good for browsing the internet
  • Come with a Manufacturers Warranty (Can be different in other countries)

The Disadvantages of buying a cheap laptop

  • The Storage Space – The cheapest Windows laptops have around 32GB of storage space, whilst some of the more expensive model’s that are still considered to be cheap has 1TB of storage.
  • The type of Storage Device – The cheapest laptops usually have eMMC memory which is an embedded chip limiting upgradability, whilst the higher end cheap laptops usually have a hard drive with more storage space but they lack in performance due to it being a spinning disk.
  • The Processors – These laptops usually have low-end processors, in some cases even mobile processors. This will limit performance, meaning that some tasks will either be impossible or will it will be very laggy and slow.
  • These laptops usually have under 4 GB of RAM meaning that you’re limited with the number of tasks you can do
  • The overall performance will be slow when conducting more demanding tasks

Buying Refurbished

Refurbished laptops are laptops that can be purchased either second hand refurbished, ex-display refurbished or brand new old stock refurbished. Whichever it’s sold as you can usually get a great deal. For example, I purchased a Toshiba Tecra Z50 on eBay for about £130. The laptop was being sold as refurbished ex-business. This obviously means that the laptop is second hand. But the laptop had a 4th generation i5 CPU, 500GB hard drive and 4GB of RAM. This type of laptop is much better compared to cheap laptops under £200 because you will never get an i5 laptop brand new for under that price. Obviously, I upgraded the laptop to suit my needs. That can be found in the video below…

The advantages of buying refurbished laptops

  • The Price – You can usually pick up some amazing deals
  • The specs are usually much higher compared to new laptops, this obviously depends on the laptop you go for if in doubt ask forums and maybe even Reddit. These communities are usually very helpful. Feel free to also leave a comment under this article!
  • They are usually more upgradable, once again this depends on the model

The disadvantages of buying refurbished laptops

  • They usually are old generation hardware – but depending on which model you go for they should still be able to outperform most cheap bargain laptops
  • They don’t necessarily come with a warranty
  • They can be old models
  • They can look massive compared to newer models
  • If used, could have signs of wear or even be damaged
  • Might contain an older system

So at the end of the day, the choice is yours! Personally, I like going for spare and repair laptops and desktops if I’m buying pre-built so that I can have the fun of refurbishing and fixing them myself. If you’re not familiar with computers, this is not something I recommend as these laptops are sold for spare and repair for a reason!

What would you buy? Let us know in the comments!