Buying a Refurbished Gaming Laptop – Things to Keep in Mind

There may be many reasons to buy a refurbished gaming laptop, but the most deciding factor is of course cost; the price tag on a refurbished gaming laptop or any other pre-owned laptop is always much less than that of new one, but buying a refurbished and inexpensive gaming laptop still has both its pros and cons.

A new laptop is always a rock-solid option compared to buying a refurbished or used laptop. There is also a clear distinction between a “used” and a refurbished/recertified laptop, even if this isn’t always obvious.

A used computer is a machine that has literally been used by someone who then wants to sell it for various reasons. Such laptops do not come with a warranty or return policy or any other assurance of its functionality. It is a one time deal whether it comes out as a great one or a complete disaster. A refurbished/recertified laptop, n the other hand, is a machine with the backing of a dealer or manufacturer. It has been thoroughly checked by a professional and comes with a limited warranty–usually 90 days or so, which leaves you enough time to discover any flaws.

In other words it is nearly always preferable to buy a refurbished/recertified laptop than to buy one at random from a stranger. Although the former might save you a few dollars, it is better to get the small insurance that comes with shopping from a trustworthy retailer or manufacturer. Here are a few other pointers that you may want to consider refurbished or recertified gaming laptop:

  • Suitable features for gaming: This is the foremost factor besides the fact that it actually works as intended. Make sure that it has all the hardware that is needed for gaming. This includes, first and foremost, a dedicated graphics card. If the laptop doesn’t have a dedicated GPU, it is not a gaming laptop plain and simple. Moreover, the GPU has to be a powerful one to run the latest games at comfortable frame rates. Notebookcheck’s GPU reference page is a great place to compare relative performance of different mobile graphics cards.
  • A better processor comes second, as does a reasonable amount of Random Access Memory (RAM), interfaces and controllers, a fast hard drive (7,200rpm) or SSD, a high resolution panel and wide screen ratio. Also make sure that all accessories and devices that originally came with the laptop are in good physical condition, i.e. webcam, keyboard, battery and other auxiliaries.
  • A note about the battery: You can sometimes check in the laptop’s BIOS if the battery is in good condition. Press F1, F2, Esc, or Del, depending on the manufacturer to enter the BIOS menu at startup. It may or may not show the number of battery cycles. If it does and when the number is close to 300, the battery is all but dead.
  • Price: A deciding factor for anyone buying gaming laptop—whether it’s refurbished or new—is its price tag. Special care has to be taken when shopping for a refurbished laptop. You should have a reasonable understanding of the price ranges of new gaming laptops with similar capabilities that are currently available on the market. The prices on refurbished laptops should be at least 30 % to 40% less than that of equivalent new ones to be considered affordable.
  • Warranty and support: It is very important for buyer to have full confidence in the warranty from the seller or dealer and its reputation regarding after-sales services. Refurbished notebooks may have had some sort of intermittent problems earlier, which may or may not have appeared regularly, so you should have at some sort of support for any sort of problem you may encounter. In other words: only purchase a refurbished gaming laptop from a trusted retailer and make sure that a warranty is included. Don’t expect a full year’s warranty, but at least three months/90 days.
  • Return Policy: Make sure to read up on the return policy of the seller—you shouldn’t have to pay to return a faulty laptop for repairs. Any refurbished and/or recertified gaming laptop should have been evaluated prior to shipping, and if any potential problems haven’t been entirely taken care of before delivery you should not have to pay for shipping costs.
  • Other precautions: Make it sure that all the mechanical parts of the gaming laptop, like the keyboard, CD/DVD drive, hard drive and chassis are physically okay, and in the case of the latter, free from any major scratches or cracks. Also ask whether any of its original parts like RAM or even motherboard has been replaced. Movable parts are always more prone to wear and tear, but sometimes the internal parts also have issues.’

What is the best place to look for refurbished gaming machines? There are lots of places, but Amazon’s Marketplace is a good place to start. And before you decide on buying refurbished, also have a look at our deals pages for the latest and best deals on new gaming laptops–you might be surprised how much you can save on a brand new machine.


Site founder and gaming hardware enthusiast.

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