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Refurbished Laptop Smart Buyers Guide 
Published 2006/6/13
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A refurbished laptop, also known as re-certified or remanufactured, has been returned to the company for one reason or another. Perhaps it didn't work within the customers configuration, was returned from a business lease, or was a review unit. The company will clean, repair, replace parts and test the unit to bring it up to factory specs. Then they resell it at a significant discount. When you're looking for an exceptional deal on a laptop computer, you might want to go the refurbished route.

If you're buying from a vendor you know and trust, a refurbished laptop can be a great deal with no downside. If you're a little nervous about the refurbished laptop route, buy it directly from a trusted manufacturer.

A re-certified laptop is only as good as the warranty and the company honoring it. Expect a minimum 90 day warranty from most merchants. That's pretty much the standard throughout the industry.

Don't confuse a remanufactured laptop with products that are simply used or pre-owned. While a refurbished laptop has been tested and repaired, pre-owned or used laptops may not come with any warranties. You can get some great deals on re-certified laptops from many of the major vendors on-line. Just make sure you read the fine print on the web page.

My current laptop is a Compaq Armada 1500C that was acquired refurbished. It stills performs perfectly after almost two years of heavy use. Just shop smart and buy from a company that has a long-standing reputation for quality and customer service.

Finally, if you purchase a refurbished laptop on or off-line, run these tests when you get it home. If you notice any problems, return it for a refund and try another model. Most merchants have a 30-day return policy. Don't hesitate to use it.
Refurbished Laptop Test

If you purchase a refurbished laptop, here are a few tests I recommend you try when you receive your laptop.

* Reboot the laptop a few times to test the boot process.
* Dial out to test the modem. Visit a few web pages.
* Send and receive a few e-mails.
* Read and write from the floppy drive.
* Try the viewing screen on different resolutions.
* Check the viewing screen for contrast and brightness.
* Check the LCD screen for dead pixels which appear as black dots.
* Try burning a disc if there is a CD-RW drive present.
* Play a DVD movie or audio CD if it has the appropriate drive.

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