| New Delhi |
Published: August 23, 2020 9:12:00 am
As schools and colleges move classes online amid the pandemic, millions of families are feeling the need to buy their first computing devices, ideally a laptop. But for many lower middle-class households, battling job loss and depleted incomes, buying a new laptop is proving to be difficult. With decent laptops costing over Rs 35,000, buying a used notebook from a local seller on a site like Olx may seem like the best option. While a used laptop can be a sensible option, it involves some risks pertaining to the condition of the device and ensuring it was not stolen.
Here are a few factors to consider before you buy a second-hand laptop.
Think about what you need
Before you hunt for a used laptop on platforms like Olx, Quikr, or Facebook Marketplace, think about what you need from a notebook. Different people have different demands. While a business professional might spend more and settle for a laptop with better RAM, processor and storage, a child taking homeschooling might not need much memory and other specs. However, keep in mind that the minimum requirement is a dual-core processor, at least 4GB RAM, and at least 500GB of storage space.
Research for the right price
Pre-owned devices can save you a lot of money, but don’t be impulsive while making the purchase and do some research. Before you finalise the deal, compare the quoted price with that of a brand new laptop with similar specifications. If you’re buying a used laptop over a year old for a price that’s closer to the new model, the deal isn’t worth it because you will end up losing on warranty. Also, make sure to compare prices for the same model from different sellers across all platforms.
Size and form factor
Since laptops come in various screen sizes and styles, it’s not so easy to choose the right one. Laptops sizes typically start at 13-inches and go all the way up to 17-inches. If portability is a top priority, you should consider a used laptop with a 13-inch screen size. If your purpose of buying a second-hand laptop is limited to attending online classes and light work, you can settle for a larger notebook.
Used MacBook vs Windows laptops
This is a tricky one – some prefer the Mac operating system, while others prefer Windows. If you decide to buy a used MacBook, you’ll want to make sure that you’re actually getting the right model. A used 2011 MacBook Pro for Rs 18,000 price might not make much sense in 2020, even though it would be perfectly fine for running basic tasks. Instead search for used mid-range Windows 10 laptops from Dell, HP, and Lenovo under Rs 20,000. That would be a better deal than dropping cash on the vintage MacBook with no latest OS support.
Always buy a fully functional laptop
Don’t get fooled into purchasing a laptop that doesn’t work on the premise that you can get it fixed. Here are some basic tests to do:
*Make sure you turn on the laptop and use it for a few minutes.
*Test all the ports and see if the optical drive is there.
*Examine if the webcam is working.
*Play some audio to test out the speakers.
*Make sure the power button works properly.
*Also check if Wi-Fi works.
*Inspect external condition for wear and tear as well as dents
If the seller has written in the description that the laptop does not work, don’t go for it.
Ask for model name or serial number
There have been times when sellers on Olx and Quikr won’t tell the model number or the year of manufacturing. In that case, ask the seller to provide you the serial number. If you are buying a used Mac notebook, each MacBook has a serial number that identifies it. By looking up the serial number, you can get the information about the date of purchase, model number, and the warranty period. Importantly, ask to see the original proof of purchase. It’s always better to get a used MacBook or Windows laptop from the person who originally bought it.
Check the battery and the power adapter
You should always ask the seller about the battery health of the laptop. This is an important aspect because newer laptops do not have replaceable batteries. Just remember that replacement batteries are usually expensive or even impossible to get. Also, examine if the laptop battery charges properly and doesn’t drain too quickly. Make sure the seller will be including the charger with the laptop. If not, ask him for a discount.
Check display and keyboard
Inspect the screen carefully. Look for dead pixels, flickering, or spots on the screen. Open Chrome or Safari on the notebook and open YouTube to watch a video. This way you can check whether the screen is comfortable to look at, considering you probably end up staring at your laptop screen for hours at a stretch. If you find a fault in the screen, do not buy the laptop. At the same time, you should also check how well the keyboard and trackpad work. Check for broken or missing keys, type it on the keyboard just to feel it, look for key travel and response. Buy a laptop with a functional trackpad that not only has a bigger footprint but also supports gestures like pinch to zoom, two-finger scroll, etc.
Meet the seller in person in a public place
If you are buying a used laptop from websites like Olx, meet the seller in a public place. Avoid meeting at the seller’s house or in a secluded location. Avoid night time deals.
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