Is it worth buying a refurbished laptop

Is it worth buying a used laptop?

From TECHBOOK | September 22, 2018, 9:38 a.m.

Electronics stores or discounters are constantly advertising with cheap notebooks and PCs. However, they often cost more than 500 euros and only offer technical lean food. If you really want to save money, look around for used computers - but you should know the pitfalls.

Buying a used computer? For many, this is out of the question. But there is actually a lot to be said for second-hand computers. According to experts, decommissioned office computers in particular perform well - at manageable costs.

The prices are attractive and start at around 200 euros. In addition, there are ecological aspects, argues Jens Gröger from the Öko-Institut: “At least 250 kilograms of CO2 are emitted during the manufacture of a notebook, and over 300 kilograms for a desktop PC. Then there are the raw materials. ”Even an energy-saving computer would need decades to compensate for this, according to the expert.

Where can I buy the device?

"I would buy used PCs or laptops from dealers and not from private users," advises Christof Windeck from the "c’t" specialist magazine. The dealers sell the devices as "refurbished" or "refurbished". In the case of private sales, the guarantee is usually excluded. In addition, dealers have a greater chance that the device has been cleaned.

And: “If you want to use Windows, you should pay attention to a license key. That cannot be taken for granted. ”Since Microsoft will no longer provide security updates for Windows 7 from 2020, Windows 10 should be on board.

Used laptops and PCs are suitable for users who need solid work computers and do not expect top graphics performance. Former business devices are often suitable for everyday use at home and in the office - as well as for studying. Windeck calls the computers “modern typewriters”. And Jens Gröger from the Öko-Institut adds: "If you know what your computer should be able to do, you save twice: A modest computer costs less and uses less electricity than an oversized device."

Ideal used laptops are business notebooks that are written off for tax purposes after three years and then exchanged, says Windeck. Hundreds of thousands of sturdy devices from major manufacturers can be found in offices, and they are sold on pallets.

Returns from offices are used by dealers

Ideally, the following happens: "The dealers install new hard drives or SSDs in the cleaned devices and, if necessary, new batteries or keyboards, and take care of a Windows pre-installation and license". There is also at least one year warranty. Up to 300 euros are appropriate for a used device with basic equipment and functioning, but not brand new technology.

"Buyers should pay attention to SSDs as mass storage, because they bring a speed boost compared to hard drives," advises Windeck. The screen is also important: an IPS panel should be on board with a minimum resolution of 1368 by 720 pixels. The computer should be able to display at least H.264 as a video codec, better still the newer H.265. A dedicated graphics card, as is necessary for more complex games, is almost never found in these used vehicles.

The working memory (RAM) of the laptop should be at least four gigabytes (GB), or better still eight GB, advises Windeck. You shouldn't expect miracles with the processors, as they are usually two to three years behind the development. But that is not a problem for most applications.

Replacement batteries, on the other hand, are often expensive or not available at all. Interested parties should clarify this before buying. The laptop hinges are also often a problem area. "It is worth taking a look here immediately after buying," advises Windeck. Often the dealers granted a right of return of 30 days.

Used desktop computers for simple applications

If you never take your computer with you, you can also be happy with a used PC. A three to four year old everyday PC with a Windows 10 license should not cost more than 200 euros, says Windeck. In addition, there are often costs for the monitor, keyboard and mouse. The minimum equipment for modest users on a tight budget: dual-core processor, at least 4 GB of RAM and at least 200 GB of storage. That is enough for basic applications, says Windeck. Here, too, applies: “Anyone who plays 3D games or does video editing is poorly served. Any upgrade can be expensive. "

Business use tax deductible

By the way, buyers can also claim used computers for tax purposes. On the one hand, the prerequisite is an invoice and credible evidence of the proportion of the device being used professionally, explains tax advisor Wolfgang Brandhoff. If the net purchase price is less than 800 euros (until December 31, 2017, less than 410 euros), the computer can be sold in full in the first year.

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