Sunday, September 19, 2010

I have 200 dollars. What can you get me for a laptop??

     I get this a lot. Like.... probably 4-5 times a month. I understand budget constraints, I really do, but lets be brutally honest. Unless the laptop is stolen or broken somehow or OLD, it wont be 200 dollars. I've had a saying for about 5 years now and it still holds true "If it has a screen and a keyboard, its worth 200 dollars."

     Having said all this, what can you do if you're looking for a laptop on a budget, be it Back-to-School or otherwise? And what should you know when buying a laptop?

  •  First off. You're buying a used laptop, so buy something Name brand, Tier1, and something really common. That way when it breaks later on, parts will be easy to get and wont cost an arm and a leg. Clear winner in this category is this Dell D series laptops. These were the ONLY choice of large businesses for almost 6 years, and a solid 80% of the parts are interchangeable. Making them cheap and amazingly reliable. This is probably the #1 Used laptop I sell, and I sell them with such confidence because they almost never die.
D620. Seriously. Just get one.

  • Second. Don't buy from some college kid. Buying a laptop is a lot like buying a used car; You want to find the one in the best condition with the lowest miles. Buying from some kid who used it for 3 years in school is probably the WORST place to buy from. The keyboard is full of Cheetos and if they smoked, the internals probably aren't looking so hot. Pun intended. So who do you buy from? The "old man" of the laptop world, Off-Lease. Most Laptops coming Off Lease from Dell, IBM and Apple are like new, or have minimal signs of wear and tear. They may cost a few dollars more than the college kid, but you'll know where your money went.
  • Finally - have SOME grasp of technology. And if you don't know a CPU from a CUP, then this is the time to ask a geeky friend for help. Be honest with them, you don't know jack about computers, you just need one to work, and to be upgradable later. Your geeky friend should be able to make a decent recommendation about what to buy to stay current on your budget.
     After all of this, remember, if you're not spending more than 400 dollars on a laptop, please don't expect it to last for 3 years.  Laptops are the most abused pieces of tech on the face of the earth (next to my BlackBerry) so at least TRY to treat it well and it should last you.

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