Used Laptops vs. Refurbished Laptops – What’s The Difference?

I received this question yesterday and wanted to help clarify the meaning for some readers who may be wondering the same thing.


Used Laptops


Used laptops, as the name suggests, are laptops that have been used by a company or individual, and are resold to another individual or company. Just like used cars, these notebooks come in various conditions and levels of performance. In the industry, used laptops come in 3 different categories



7 day, (or similar amount), DOA

30 day warranty


We’ll discuss each briefly.


“As- is” – used notebooks


Again using the used car analogy, “as-is” means that there is no warranty expressed or implied when purchasing this notebook. You bought it, you deal with it. These notebooks should either be inspected before purchase by someone who knows about laptops, or should be purchased at such a cheap price that if it has mechanical problems shortly after purchase, it won’t be a strain on the users budget.


“As- is” notebooks should be thought of as units that will get you by. As-is units are also acceptable as replacement parts units if purchased at a cheap enough price.


7 day DOA


This type of DOA notebook warranty can be any amount of days; however, 7-10 days is standard. This is essentially a notebook that has been given a warranty of 1 week. These units rarely make sense for the purchase of any notebook computer that you expect to use heavily unless.


The price is incredible

You are very skilled at diagnosing and repairing laptop computers


30 day warranty


Most Used laptops will fall into this category. These notebooks have been at least certified by the vendor to boot up to an operating system without crashing, have a decent display quality, etc. Believe it or not, some great bargains can be found in this lot, depending on many factors such as The initial quality of the notebook. Thinkpad Notebooks are usually very good in this category because of their high quality and good durability.


Used laptops can be good bargains, however the saavy shopper will attempt to stay away from AS-IS or 7 day DOA systems unless they can inspect the laptop beforehand or have great knowledge of how to repair such systems if something were to go wrong.


Refurbished laptops


Refurbished Notebooks and Laptops are systems that have been returned to the factory due to some initial mechanical flaw. The system is repaired with the correct replacement parts, and re-tested again to insure that the laptop works to original specifications. Refurbished Laptops are an exceptional bargain for the following reasons:


1.) Systems are given steep discounts. Some models are available at up to 50% off of the original retail price..


2.) Systems have been thoroughly tested. – Refurbished Notebooks have been checked and re-checked for quality control and will have a lesser defect rate than a new system.


Refurbished Notebooks and Laptops come in various categories:


Grade A Refurbished


These Notebooks are in pristine condition. They may only have minor scratches.


Grade B Refurbished


These Notebooks are in good condition. They may only have minor scratches and such other things as dings in the case.


Grade C Refurbished


These Notebooks are in used condition. They may be off lease returns from a leasing companies.


Why consider refurbished notebooks?


When I am asked this question, I always respond, “Why consider a recertified used car?” Yes it’s great to have the “new car smell” but is that new car smell worth an extra couple thousand? It’s the same with a notebook. A brand new whiz bang Laptop 3000xyz may cost $1000, but a refurbished whiz bang Laptop 2500xyz may cost $759 and probably has many the same features, looks, and even processors but may be one step behind the current one in speed or memory.

In those situations, is it really worth the extra $250.00 to say that I have an extra 0.9 GHz on my laptop and an extra USB port that I won’t use? This situation is one in which a refurbished notebook is a no brainer.



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