The days of bulky computers and slow desktop impersonators are behind us as a new wave of hardware hits the market.
Streaming video addicts use inexpensive Chromebooks, fashionistas flock to MacBooks, and everybody else gets to pick from a variety of lightweight yet powerful laptop PCs.
From detachable panels to high-end graphics processors, there’s a computer that fits everybody.
And amid reports earlier this decade that tablets represented the future, global tablet shipments have almost halved since 2014, while 2018’s notebook sales reached a five-year peak.
Tablets seldom have full-size keyboards, 15-inch displays or the ability to use an Ethernet link at maximum connection speeds.
Unfortunately, new notebooks aren’t often inexpensive.
A luxury computer in a department store could cost up to 3,000 pounds, but its features could stay cutting-edge until at least the early 2020s.
And although Chromebooks are the cheap end of this market, they are not suited to peripherals, device installations or anything outside web browsing and media consumption.
As for Apple’s classic MacBook series, its tactile interface and user-friendly operating systems are also priced at a premium price.
Everything familiar, something almost modern
If you have Champagne tastes but a Prosecco allowance, one choice could be to purchase a second hand laptop.
This will put in a designer badge or state-of-the-art specs at a temptingly low price.
You can save a few hundred pounds on a refurbished MacBook Pro, then purchase a second-hand one twice as much.
Refurbished notebooks have been returned to an approaching showroom state by the producer or supplier, and they typically benefit from a warranty.
They’re also labelled with letters. A could be an unused but returned piece, B is a solely esthetic wear and tear, and C is a worn but still completely functional type.
The standard resale deal has less guarantees for the customer (caveat emptor, as the Romans used to say), but it can come with a correspondingly lower price tag.
But does this initial saving reflect a fake economy in the long term?
Advantages by purchasing a second hand laptop
- Cost. This is the biggest argument in terms of buying something used. Nobody in Costa will know that your HP Spectre was second-hand – and you might forget that after a while.
- Judicial security, please. Buying in a shop is based on the Consumer Rights Act, with 30 days to deny insatiable items. For online sales, you get 14 days to deny your laptop.
- Warranty. Buying from an approved reseller or directly from the retailer will give you a warranty of up to three years – longer than certain new computers.
- Brand preference, please. A budget of £500 will restrict you to inexpensive new models, whilst the same budget may include a refurbished computer from a more reputable maker.
- Environmentalism. We are both mindful of our environmental footprint. The current laptop has little ecological effect, but ordering a new one uses a lot of natural resources.
- No tooth complications. New computers can have bugs, missing apps, or other minor problems. Buying pre-owned appears to mean that out-of-box snagging has been overcome.
Disadvantages in purchasing a second-hand laptop
- Presentation is also incomplete. Although refurbished computers should come with original packaging, manuals and chargers, all of these could be lacking from second-hand laptops.
- New tech is always working slowly. Older processors will struggle to control memory-intensive modern software applications such as Windows 10 or video editing tools.
- Battery life is always dwindling. An reckless user who continued charging the battery when it wasn’t down would have reduced the life of those batteries, limiting the time between loads.
- There’s no alternative. You can’t configure old computers like you do when you order a new one. Everyone else has selected the dimensions, the hue of the chassis and everything in between.
- Components can fail quickly. Charging ports and screen hinges are subject to severe day-to-day violence. Trackpads are vulnerable to failure, and individual screen pixels can start to die.
- Chance of robbery. This would not refer to refurbished computers, but a For Sale sign in a newsroom window (or on Gumtree) could theoretically be an attempt to fence stolen goods.
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