Laptops are traditionally a wee bit more expensive than their desktop big brothers, which is why many people prefer to buy second hand. Whilst this can save a decent amount of money off the RRP, it’s important to be vigilant: you never know quite what you’re getting.

That’s why we’ve put together these tips on what to look for when taking the second hand approach (an approach that can also work for tablets from Lenovo and other companies).

Check the battery

Laptop batteries will always wear down over time and they tend to have a life of about 3 years overall. Ask the seller what the battery life is like: if it’s too low, you might end up having to spend the money you’ll be saving on a new one! Check how much a new battery for the unit would cost: you might be better off just buying a new laptop with a guarantee and a warranty instead.

Check the condition

This tip is obvious but covers a number of factors. When checking a laptops condition, you need to look at the case and the chassis for signs of impact such as slight cracks, loose hinges, warped plastic and lids that don’t align properly. You should also check out the screen when the machine is being used to ensure that there are no problems such as flickering or uneven brightness. These can indicate loose connections or faulty backlights, both of which can be expensive to repair. White spots on the screen usually represent either dead or stuck pixels.

Check the peripherals

Also double-check the peripherals such as the keyboard and track pad. In terms of the keyboard, it’s a good idea to simply load up a word doc and try out all the keys to make sure they function properly and if there are any issues such as keys that stick. The same goes for trackpad, try it out and make sure that it operates perfectly. If you’re buying a unit that contains a CD drive, then test this out as well.

Ensure that the proper software documents and licenses are included

Not every sale will actually include this documentation – those that don’t will usually be cheaper – but if you want to be guaranteed of receiving your software updates or being able to upgrade licenses, you should need this. It’s also important for machines that have some warranty remaining, as this will need to be transferred to the new owner.

Make sure the connections work

It’s important to double check that the wireless works, as well as any USB ports. The latter is used for almost every modern accessory from cameras to Kindles, so there’s little point investing in a machine where they don’t operate properly.

Try and go with a reputable brand

As a general rule, the more respectable the brand, the less likely you are to have problems when buying second-hand. Lenovo, for instance, are renowned for ongoing quality, as are Dell. Apple machines also have excellent retail value due to their quality of construction. The better a company’s reputation is for building durable laptops, the more you can rely on the fact that a second hand laptop built by them will go the distance.

Written By: Tech on the Go Staff

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