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Refurbished mini laptops and netbooks – tips and advice

By Andrei Girbea , updated on June 4, 2014

Hey guys. With the given economic situation, I’m sure all of us look to save some money when buying anything new. In fact, that’s probably one of the reasons you would want to buy a netbook in the first time.

As you know, 10 inch mini notebooks are usually pretty affordable. Prices vary from 250 bucks or even less, to 400+ , while the best mainstream choices are well within the 300-350 margin. However, if that’s still above your budget, you can take a look at refurbished netbooks.

First of all, a refurbished product is not new, nor necessarily used. In most cases, these are products that were returned by buyers for various reasons (for reasons when they upgraded them with a new product, giving them back and a money difference) or were used as samples in shops or just products with some minor faults in terms of features or aesthetics.

Refurbished netbooks - a way to save some money

Refurbished netbooks – a way to save some money

These products usually get back to the factories, where technicians check them thoroughly to make sure there are no technical problems with them. After that, they become available in stores, but since these products are not brand new anymore, they become factory refurbished netbooks available for sale.

You have to understand that a refurbished notebook is not in any way different from a regular one in terms of technical details or hot it works. In most cases, these products come with some marks and scratches on the cases. Some can lack some of their features (for instance one of the USB slots is not working), but on the other hand, they can be returned products from unsatisfied customers (they didn’t like the design, the color, etc and they opened the box and then sent the product back) – so barely new.

There are no technical problems with them

There are no technical problems with them

Now, refurbished laptops will sell with discounted prices. According to the nature of the product and its current state, these discounts can be from 10% (for unboxed devices) to 50% or even more for devices with actual problems. In all cases, producers will mention what’s the reason they are selling that device as refurbished.

That means you can get 10 inch mini laptops for just around $220, and more powerful ones for around $250, saving 50, maybe 100 bucks from a new one. So if budget is really that important, these are deals you should not miss.

I’m not going to introduce examples of refurbished products in this post, because in most cases, such offers are only available for a limited period of time.

However, I will ask you to check out the netbook deals category and these subjects on refurbished netbooks. And stay tuned, whenever I spot a good deal, I usually post it on the site (you can subscribe by RSS or Email so you won’t miss anything – see links at the bottom of the post for these).

Still, I have to say I’m not an advocate of refurbished electronics, and here’s why: they usually only come with limited warranty for 45 days to 6 months. And warranty is extremely important on a mobile computer. For instance, motherboard on an older laptop I had just fried and to replace it would cost me more than buying a new latest generation machine. That’s the case with all electronics: if possible and if you plan to have them for a while, try grabbing the longest warranty available (even if you have to pay for extended).

Limited warranty is a big problem

Limited warranty is a big problem

You might save some money when buying the refurbished laptop, but what if something goes wrong a couple of months after? You’ll end up regretting not having that safety belt called warranty. And that’s just how these machines work, something will eventually break: it can happen tomorrow, it can happen in 2 years, it can happen on the product you just bought today or on a 5 years old computer. But it will happen nonetheless.

Plus, you will not find latest generation netbooks available as refurbished, but versions 1 or 2 years old, with obsolete hardware and missing features. And of course, there’s the matter of getting an imperfect machine. Once again, not in terms of hardware, they are all checked out and work fine. But a scratch, some chipped paint, a dead pixel on the screen, all these are something I don’t want on my laptop.

And it’s not like you buy a netbook everyday, do you? I don’t know about you, but the average life span for my computers is at least 1.5 years, if not more. So why buy an old product with faults and limited warranty, while saving 50, maybe 100 bucks tops (for the duration of more than a year)? That’s like saving 20 cents a day, or less. Is this actually worth it? Definitely not if you ask me.

Of course, comments and feedback are appreciated, so don’t hesitate to leave your input on the matter. And if you still want a refurbished netbook, don’t forget to check the deals section here on the site for the latest goodies and offers.

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Andrei Girbea, Editor-in-Chief at TLBHD.com. This project was born as part of my search for capable mini-laptops that I could easily lug around to work, and still provide the performance that I'd need on a daily basis. I'm primarily using such ultracompact devices and have been testing them since 2006.
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Have a mini-laptop or netbook branded Assess. Am looking for a battery model L12S, NOMINAL -7.4 2500amh. AM IN ZIMBABWE. I LIKED YOUR SITE. PLEASE KEEP IT

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