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Why You Should Buy a Refurbished Laptop

Yes, there is a stigma associated with buying refurbished laptops. I understand it to a degree—I mean, there is nothing like liberating a fresh, shiny gadget from its plastic packaging prison.

What I don't understand is how this stigma exists in a society where buying a used car is so widely accepted. As many others have pointed out, the process of buying a refurb and a used car are actually very similar—except the financial risk we take on with the latter is generally much, much higher. So why are we so hung up on this? We shouldn't be—and here is why.

The Facts: 

Fact #1: The economy is busted right now. One of the sticking points people have with refurbished laptops is that they may not be getting top-of-the-line performance and features. While this is usually true, it is important to seriously analyze your computing needs and determine what you really need vs. what you really want. For example, in a recent Question of the Day, I asked Giz readers whether they really need a R10000 laptop. Out of nearly 9000 votes, 42% responded "No", 21% responded "Yes, but only because I like to have the best of everything", and 19% responded "Yes, but only because I am unwilling to sacrifice on the OS."

Basically, this implies that many of us are buying more laptop than we really need. 

Fact #2: The term "used" takes on a slightly different meaning when you are talking about refurbished laptops. Analysis of outlet stores and other refurb dealers reveals that "refurbished" laptops that have been used are most likely returns that have been in circulation 30 days or less. When the laptops are returned, they undergo a thorough inspection and should be good as new. They could also be demos or products with slight defects that are repaired during the inspection. Refurb outlets also sometimes offer discounts on overstocked items. In this case, the laptops have never been used at all. 

Fact #3: Most reputable retailers will offer a return policy and some sort of 1-year warranty for their refurbished laptop—which should help bring you peace of mind. For the extremely cautious, there is usually a warranty extension option that, if purchased, will still put your total price tag well under what it would cost to buy new. (And let's not forget that people buying new laptops are also encouraged to opt for the pricey extended warranty, so the refurb, with protection, remains a much better deal.)