Things to Consider Before Buying a Second Hand Computer

Laptops are a pretty indispensable part of modern living. It doesn't matter if you're a student or a working professional; you need that portable tech in your life! If you're like most people, your laptop is your source for entertainment, communication, shopping, work, and everything in-between!

But there's one problem: Computer brands know how vital this tech is to your everyday life. So, they often charge an arm and a leg to replace them. That's not to say that the multitude of fancy features isn't worth it. However, those hefty price tags certainly make these gadgets tough to replace in an emergency.

Sometimes, buying new is not in your budget, and that's OK! There are plenty of great secondhand laptops on Lovd just waiting for a new home. Used laptops have just as much to offer and often perform just as well as those untouched models.

But before you go out and buy the first used laptop you see, pump the breaks. There are many things to consider before you commit to buying. Even used laptops can be a significant investment, so you must ensure that what you buy fits your needs to a tee.

Scratches, Dents, and Other Physical Damage

One of the first things to check is the overall physical condition. You never know how the former owner treated the laptop, so you can never be too careful. While modern laptops are tough, they're not indestructible. The last thing you want is to pay for a device that looks like it's been through the wringer.

Pay attention to the screen the most. The screen is where all the action is, and deep scratches can make the device unusable. Look for cracks that could get worse or abrasive damage that ruins image quality.

Have a good look at the case, too. Some light wear and tear isn't going to be a huge issue. Minor problems are pretty standard and don't often affect performance.

But tons of huge dents and major scuffs? They can make your laptop look pretty ugly and may affect some of the internals. If there's a decent amount of wear on the computer, ensure it works well, and the price is reasonable.

Wifi and Bluetooth Connectivity

What good is a modern laptop without wireless connectivity? Think about it: When was the last time you loaded up a CD-ROM or used an open ethernet port? Most devices today aren't equipped with ethernet or CD drives, and some are doing away with the media card slots. Some machines still have those old-school essentials, but they're considered archaic to most.

Wireless connectivity is paramount for everything from downloading problems to visiting your favorite websites. Before buying a used laptop, you need to ensure that it's Wi-Fi-capable. Please don't assume that it's a given. The Wi-Fi antenna could break, and software issues can make achieving a stable connection a colossal headache.

The same goes for Bluetooth. Bluetooth is a reliable short-range wireless protocol used in everything from speakers to gaming controllers. You'd be hard-pressed to find a new laptop that doesn't have Bluetooth. It's a seemingly minor feature that adds tons of convenience and capability to a computer. Make sure the used model you're buying has Bluetooth before going through with the purchase.

Check the Battery Life

Here's something most people don't think to check. Laptops are so thin and streamlined that many manufacturers don't let you replace batteries manually. It's all built-in, making it easy to forget that batteries don't last forever.

The truth is that the battery in a brand-new laptop experiences a steady decline in health over time. With every depletion and charge-up, battery health takes a hit. Eventually, the battery gets so worn down that it loses its ability to hold a charge longer and a few minutes!

Have you ever seen those new device advertisements promising 10-plus hours of battery life per charge? So many people view those claims with skepticism because it seems out of reach compared to what you experience in the real world. However, most people are dealing with an old battery that can't get close to new stuff, so it seems crazy to get several unplugged hours.

When you buy used, check on that battery life. It's easy to see charge cycle counts and overall battery health within system settings. A quick lookup will give you a good idea of the battery's condition and whether you'll need to pay for a replacement.

Test the Keyboard and Trackpad

Next, look at all the input features you'll use to interact with the digital content on your screen. We're talking about the keyboard and the trackpad. Without those two critical components, using the laptop becomes more of a hassle than it's worth.

You could connect a wireless keyboard and mouse if the Bluetooth works well. But that's another thing you'll have to buy. Plus, it eliminates the whole "portable computing" angle of having a laptop.

A quick physical inspection will tell you plenty about how the former owner cared for the laptop. However, don't stop there. Launch a program and test every key. Use the trackpad and ensure there are no dead spots that don't pick up input.

Ask for the Purchase Receipt

Want to play it on the extra-safe side? Ask the seller if they have the original purchase receipt. Now, before you start assuming that's a bit overkill, hear us out.

Laptop theft is more common than most people realize. These gadgets have a ticket price of several thousand dollars. Thanks to their portable nature, it doesn't take much for someone with sticky fingers to steal a laptop and sell it to some unsuspecting buyer for a quick buck. A vast majority of stolen laptops never get recovered.

How does that affect you? Well, you don't want to get into trouble possessing stolen goods. It doesn't matter if you weren't the one to steal it or had no idea it was stolen property. You can still experience the strong arm of the law!

Do yourself a favor and ask for that original receipt. Many people keep a physical copy or can access a digital email receipt. Some stores also offer receipts several years after the purchase, so asking for one isn't unreasonable.

It might feel like a hassle, but that peace of mind is well worth it.

Look for Dead Pixels

Finally, scrutinize the laptop's screens and look for dead pixels. A dead pixel is a small dot that doesn't produce light or color. Without getting too deep into the technical nitty-gritty, they occur when transistors don't supply power to the individual pixel. The result is a permanent black spot.

When the screen is off, you can't distinguish dead pixels from working pixels. So, examine the screen when it's on. You can also check out some online tools that help you spot potentially broken pixels at a glance.

That tiny dot doesn't seem like a huge issue. However, it can ruin the image and make completing specific tasks a nightmare. Try doing graphic design or watching a movie with dead pixels. It's beyond frustrating.

To make matters worse, you don't have many options to correct this issue! Once the pixel is dead, it's there forever! It's best to avoid buying laptops with dead pixels in the first place.

Find the Best Refurbished Laptops on the Lovd Marketplace

Those are the essential things to consider when buying a preowned laptop. But by all means, look into more factors and ask as many questions to sellers as you need. Even buying used is a big deal, so don't be afraid to do your due diligence.

When you're ready to shop, download the Lovd app. The Lovd marketplace has some of the best refurbished laptops money can buy in NYC! Find the model, size, and operating system that works for you. Browse the many listings, reach out to sellers, make an offer, and get your new laptop delivered to you at your convenience.

Buying a pre-loved laptop has never been easier!

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