If you have ever looked longingly at the high-end laptops from the big manufacturers, but baulked at the price tag, then consider this.
Those very same high end models will soon appear on the refurbished market at a fraction of the original cost. Take a look at what refurbished laptops are on the market today and you will be surprised - you will regularly see prices 50% or less than the original.
So let’s explore the refurbished laptop scene and examine the reasons why buying refurbished can be a wise choice.
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Make depreciation work for you
Nothing falls in value faster than brand new IT equipment. As soon as the box is opened and discarded and the warranty seals are broken the real world value of an item tumbles. So it makes sound financial sense to make this work in your favour.
Large corporations need to have their executives seen in the boardroom with the latest models, so large quantities of lightly used high end laptops are regularly traded in when they upgrade. Refurb companies buy these machines in large quantities which is how they can sell you last year’s flagship models at a fraction of the original price.
No need to compromise on performance with component life cycles being much longer nowadays, increases in performance tend to be incremental rather than “quantum leap”. In practical terms this means that there isn’t a huge difference in performance between the current specification and that of a year or so ago. But with corporate laptops being generally of a higher specification that retail models, if you are upgrading from a really old model you will find that a refurbished high end laptop can offer a substantial performance increase.
Ex corporate laptops tend to have CPUs with more cores, fully populated RAM slots and high capacity SSD drives. If you are upgrading from an older laptop with a traditional mechanical hard drive you will be amazed at the speed of modern SSD drives.
Feel the quality
Corporate customers demand nothing less than the highest level quality and reliability from their laptops. The top manufacturers like Dell, HP and Lenovo have to manufacture to the highest standards using the best components and they subject their machines to rigorous testing and quality control.
As soon as you sit down to use a laptop from one of the top makers you can feel and see the difference - keyboards have a solid and precise action, screens are sharp and bright and you can feel the quality as you open and close the case. Even though a refurbished big name laptop may be a couple of years old, owning and using one is still a very satisfying experience.
Grading - the language of refurbishment
Grading isn’t an issue with brand new gear - it is perfect and unblemished out of the box. But when you buy from a refurbisher you will see machines listed with various grades and it is important to know just what these mean. The usual standard is to use the letters A and B, with A grade being obviously the highest quality. Some refurb companies also offer A+ for the very highest condition.
A quality refurbishment company will always have a detailed section on their website that details exactly the criteria they use in grading their machines. It is also important to remember that refurbished equipment suppliers actually do refurbish - they never simply pass off machines as they receive them - they make them better.
Because they are processing hundreds or even thousands of similar items, they have a ready supply of components. A+ grade laptops can often be indistinguishable from new, but it is worth remembering that while B grade machines may have a cosmetic blemish they will be fully functional and at an ever better price. Taking a few minutes to understand the concept of grading will help you make a better informed purchase.
The ecological argument
Not only do you get a quality laptop at a great price when you buy a refurbished laptop, but you also get that warm feeling of doing your bit for the planet. Every piece of equipment that gets used to the end of its useful life contributes that little bit extra to conserving the world’s resources.
While it is true that most people love the experience of unboxing a brand new item, opening the plain packaging of a refurbished laptop and giving it a new home and lease of useful life can be equally if not more satisfying. Suppliers of quality refurbished equipment sing loudly about their green credentials, and not without very good reason.
Warranty comes as standard
It may seem counterintuitive to expect a warranty on a refurbished laptop - you certainly wouldn’t get one from a private seller. But the refurbished market is highly competitive and warranty comes as standard. A good refurb supplier will have state of the art test equipment and quality control is carried out by experienced engineers.
Because they process thousands of similar machines on a regular basis they have large inventories of spare parts so in the event of a warranty claim they can handle it quickly and efficiently. You can also expect a high level of after sales service from a modern refurbished supplier.
They are technical companies first and foremost and their engineers know the equipment inside out so are well poised to answer any post sales questions you may have.
Be prepared and ready to move fast
Now you are familiar with how the refurbished laptop market works all you have to do now is do your research and decide what specification you want and how much you want to pay.
Reviews and specifications for just about every laptop ever made are all online so it is easy to find out about any particular model. But remember that you may have to act quickly because refurbished laptops tend to become available in batches of a particular model and the best deals usually sell out quickly.
It pays to keep an eye on the websites of the refurbishment companies because they update their stocks in real time. You won’t be the only person looking for a high end laptop at a bargain price so it pays to be informed and ready to act fast.
Adam RamsBottom, Manager at BargainHardware
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