View Full Version : Buying a 2nd-hand laptop

19-01-2002, 10:02 PM
I haven't owned or used a laptop before and I'd like one for a second machine and for when I'm mobile. I'm thinking of buying one second hand and am wondering if there is any way of detecting whether a machine is faulty prior to purchasing, even if it passes a preliminary 'test drive'? What are the giveaway symptoms and what should I look out for?

Any ideas appreciated. Thanks.

20-01-2002, 08:32 AM
You could be better to buy a low end one new and cheap, than a high end one second hand.

As for reliability, I suppose booting up and shutting down ten times might give you an idea.

Then you could test the usb port, parallel port, network port, etc to ensure they work.

More risk in a bad config or setup, with viruses etc, than actual physical problems.

A warranty that is still current will cover you for the hardware.


20-01-2002, 11:24 AM
Yeah, I would back Rob up on that one. The price of a reasonable second hand one compared to the price of a new one doesnt make it viable to buy used.

Most of the used ones I have seen of reasonable specs are around $2K+. Whereas a new one can range from $2.8k up.

The problem with laptops is if they break they can be expensive to repair and they can use model specific parts.

Another thing I would possibly steer clear of is the specials on new Gateway Laptops, its only a guess but as they have pulled out of NZ they could be awkward to get repaired.

Spend the extra $$$$ and go for new then at least you have a little peace of mind.

But if you do insist on second hand check for these:

How long the battery lasts under load.

Burnt pixels on the screen.

Damage to the case(indicating dropping or rough handling).

Run a thorough scandisk.

Availability of parts should it die.

20-01-2002, 03:24 PM
A couple of years ago my brother-in-law upgraded and we bought his old laptop. Battery didn't last. Battery was replaced with an 'alternative' replacement (original model unavailable). Still no go. It went into the shop and there was a deeper, un-repairable fault. B-in-Law refunded the purchase price.

Suggestion: If you do go 2nd hand have a really good check on parts availablity first. And if it's a battery fault get it checked before parting with cash.

I heard somewhere (don't know the truth in the rumour) that if the keyboard gets flooded with liquid it can take a few weeks to die. The rumour also suggested that urgent sale of a laptop could occur in those few weeks.

Any techs out there who could confirm or deny the rumour?

20-01-2002, 05:54 PM
If you remember back about a month, someone got a real bargain on Ebay (www.ebay.co.nz) it was a brand new toshiba for like $1500.

If he was telling the truth.

20-01-2002, 10:38 PM
Hmmm, sounds like it might be too dodgy an idea to be worth the hassle then.

Rather intrigued by the claim that there are new laptops for around $2.8K as all the ones I've seen in the shops start at over $3.5K. Anyone know the best places to go to for good prices?

Thanks for the info so far, much appreciated.