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Refurbished Notebooks

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Tip:   A 14" laptop
display has the same viewing area as a 15" desktop monitor

Shopping For Refurbished Notebooks
- 10 Tips For Success

Your buying criteria for refurbished notebooks should be the same as outlined in other sections of this site. In contrast to desktops, selecting a refurbished notebook computer presents a few different questions:

  • How important is screen size?  
  • What are the trade-offs in price, size, and weight ?  
  • How mobile should it be ?
  • Do you need to network? What about wireless?

When you've settled on what you need, you're ready to browse the product pages for used and refurbished notebooks. Be sure to consider these criteria before you break out your wallet:.

  1. Expandability - Expandability allows flexibility. At a minimum, your refurbished notebook should have one serial, parallel, and one or more USB ports. A few used notebook PCs come with a built-in FireWire port. Extra PCMCIA slots will let you upgrade later.
  2. Power - Instead of a faster processor, buy a reconditioned notebook with more memory. Increasing the RAM will give a real performance boost - more than getting the next faster processor.
  3. Notebook Displays - The display is the most important component, so give it priority. Screens on 'generic' models can be dimmer and less crisp, so choose a major brand. The 12" screens on some ultra-small inexpensive laptops are ok only for travel or special uses, but not for long sessions on the computer.

  4. Memory - Minimum RAM should be 128Kbps. If you work with graphics, get more. An access panel will make memory upgrades easier.

  5. Storage - 6GB drives are common in cheap laptops, especially the budget notebook and tablet PCs. But 10GB is best. If your laptop will substitute for a desktop system and be loaded with applications, 20 GB is a minimum.
  6. Networking - Reconditioned laptop computers should have one or more Ethernet ports for networking or connecting  to the Internet. Wireless is growing quickly, and a few refurbished laptops have wireless capability. Or consider adding a wireless card.
  7. Size and Weight - Consider trade-offs. Ultra-Light refurbished notebooks are easy to carry, but sacrifice drive capacity and features. Larger laptops give you more, but lose the easy mobility.
  8. Battery Specs - Ignore them. Battery life for a used notebook is not warranted, so get a spare. Good sources for laptop batteries are everywhere.
  9. Warranty Pre-owned computers come with a 90-day or 1-year warranty. Since laptops are more easily damaged than desktops, consider buying an extended warranty. The peace of mind is worth it.
  10. Security – Laptops are easy to steal and resell. Avoid the financial loss and the loss of personal or business data by using passwords, a locking cable, and a solid computer bag.

Now, jump over to my recommendations for Refurbished Laptops, and see what you can find.

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