A lot of people think they have to buy a new computer. How many of us buy a new car? No, we save money and get a fairly new car for a lot less.
I did buy my desktop new as I had an exact specification that I required (lots of speed, RAM and super-fast storage) so I customised a desktop spending money on parts where I got the best value for me.
But for the two machines we are discussing, I looked down the refurbished channel. These are reconditioned computers. Most are ‘open box’ where a customer has returned the computer as not what they wanted or ex-demo. Others are repaired faulty units. Some are office computers replaced on a periodic cycle. All have some form of warranty and will be graded from A (like new) downwards.
Personally I wouldn’t go too old as the processors on older computers won’t have the power to run modern programs properly. However my customer is on a tight budget and really just wants to get on the web so we can relax here.
First thing when buying a refurb is to look a for a new computer that has the spec you want. This gives you a top-line price to compare against.
Now use a search engine to find sites that sell refurbished computers – there are a lot out there. Many are attached to new computer stores so look for a name that you recognize and read some reviews. If you are unsure, Currys sells refurb items on eBay and even Amazon sells them!
Most sites will have filters where you can narrow down the results to closer to your specification. Then sort by cheapest first.
Now browse the results and find items that you like to look of, especially if it is a laptop, tablet or phone. You will spend a long time staring at it, so buy one you would like to look at!
Review the spec against your needs and also use a search engine to find reviews of the item to get an idea of how old it is and that it does what you want. Search for something like
ASUS ZenBook 13 Flip UX363JA test
Make sure you put in the product number (in this case UX363JA) to make sure you are searching for the right specification. Modern laptops, especially, have more variations than a Volkswagen Golf! Also search for ‘test’ rather than ‘review’ as the latter brings up customer feedback rather than professional reviews.
Use a credit card to buy it to get more protection in case of problems but pay it off in full.
Finally I would stay away from second-hand items, except on auction sites. Most owners have an optimistic view of the value of the item and it clearly isn’t doing what they want so will it help you?