View Full Version : Second hand laptops... advice please

Sick Puppy
07-11-2008, 12:48 AM
Hi everyone, I'm toying with the idea of purchasing a second hand laptop as part of a present this Christmas (there's a bit more to this as subsequent threads/posts of mine will reveal- thankfully my fiancee doesn't surf here! lol)

She is contemplating purchasing a ultra-portable (say, a 12" screened one) or a netbook like the Acer Atom/ EeePC, basically to take it out on weekend trips like study etc, current laptop is a bit big for that (ironic, it being a laptop and all! :D). She also has a large music collection that she'd like to be a bit more accessible in general.

I have to say right now that the net books are a bit out of my budget, and the screens are... a bit small (just sayin'). On the other hand though, an ultra-portable with a 12" screen is better size wise and with a more readable screen- the bigger hard drive will also come in handy for the music!

1. Firstly, how advisable is buying a second hand laptop in the first place? I'm more than happy to have it services as soon as I get it. So long as it works and isn't falling apart/ scuffed to buggery, it's all good!

2. I'm currently looking at two 12" ultra-portables - the ASUS M5200N and the Toshiba M200 tablet? Reviews indicate both are very good, but I've never seen or used either model, although we both have ASUS 15.4" ones- they're pretty good, and have never had a problem.

From what I can see, the Toshiba is more upgradeable and a bit quicker- problem is that it doesn't have a DVD/CD drive though! (just thinking of loading OS software, or ripping future CD's to the collection- could file transfer I guess, just a hassle!). Plus that tablet function will be pretty cool and she loves gadgets... ;)

The ASUS has the DVD drive, but is limited to 768MB RAM and is slightly slower, but then this will only ever be a glorified music player you can type on!

Pentium M, 1.5GHz (Centrino?), 512MB RAM, Intel 855GME chipset
60 GB HDD, Type II PC Card slot, Card Reader, DVD/CDRW combo drive
12.1" screen - LCD technology TFT Screen resolution (max) 1,024 x 768

Toshiba M200 Tablet
Intel Centrino Pentium M 1.6 GHz, 512MB DDR SDRAM Ram - 333 Mhz (2 GB max), 40 GB HDD, Card reader only (DVD Drive - can get an additional one I guess);
Display Type: 12.1" TFT active matrix, Max Resolution: 1400 x 1050 ( SXGA )
Graphics card: NVIDIA GeForce FX Go5200 - AGP 8x
Video Memory: DDR SDRAM - 32 MB
Microsoft Windows XP Tablet PC Edition

3. Anyone have any thoughts in general re: tablets? Can't say I've ever used one, being able to turn the screen the other way would be useful for its intended use- basically connected to a stereo system as a music player, and occasionally to be taken away on study trips (will be on a desk)

(NB. yes, I'm also considering an MP3 player/ MP3 enclosure for a HDD, but that is for another thread coming soon- want to keep these separate! I'll also be purchasing a separate hard drive as backup...)

Anyway, these are my thoughts for now, I will be interested in any thoughts and ideas you have. It's getting late, I'm off to bed- Cheers!

Edit - advice, not advise! lol

07-11-2008, 09:53 AM
Second hand is highly dodgy. No warranty. Usually no CDs, and if off Trademe, I see 2nd hand ones all the time with a COA for one O/S but with a different one installed.

As for Acer, avoid them like the plague.

“Name Brand” notebooks/laptops are not always manufactured by the company on the label. The so called "Name Brand" notebooks/laptops manufacturers just label their own. They get them from various Original Design Manufacturers (ODM). A few examples of ODMs are Quanta, Compal, Clevo, Mitac, Asus, Arima.

Most ODMs sell their notebooks/laptops barebones to the different companies who then have CPU, Memory, Hard Drive and other accessories installed at a 3rd party factory. These companies stick their label (Brand) to it, and call themselves manufacturers.

Why buy an ASUS?

Not only is ASUS ranked in the top 5 ODM companies in the world, their reputation in quality is second to none. Quality and Quality Control is the main reason. And they do manufacture most of the parts and assemble them themselves. With unbeatable quality, customization and unheard of customer service.

Clevo makes the Sager NP9262, the Alienware Area 51, the Voodoo Envy, the Hypersonic Aero ...they are all the same computer.

Compal makes Hewlett Packards, Compaqs and some of the DELL laptops

Quanta makes many of the Dell Latitude and Lenovo (IBM laptops.

Asus currently has notebook orders from Apple computer, Sony, Samsung Electronics and JVC. They also make their own.

07-11-2008, 10:37 AM
I bought a laptop used from the states since 2000 still going. IBM.

For 12" LCDs the laptops are gonna be v $$ unless you want a down tuned like the Eee.

12" laptops may command new prices of say $3,000 and up ... They are slower too, ie., 1.4Ghz vs 2.8Ghz for a heavy duty one but are easier to carry if you only do admin work etc..

Ie., for the latest photoshop version a new $5,000 portable laptop fails to meet its min requirments.

No idea about tablets.
For the internal HDD 160GB tend to be the largest even via new. So the real way is external HDD to overcome that limitation.

Some good ones may have a 3yr warranty that carries over to you maybe .. esp if you look at these portable executive laptops.

Happy Harry
07-11-2008, 12:18 PM
Be aware that most lappies that you purchase 2nd hand, tend to have batteries that are on the way out and don't hold much of a charge.
Usually expensive to replace.


Sick Puppy
07-11-2008, 09:19 PM
Thanks for the inputs- PCTek, ASUS will always be at the top of my list when it comes to looking at laptops- I've used Dells, HP's and IBM's at work, and god help you if you tweak them in any way! My flatmates Compaq Presario is continually crapping out, while our ASUSes have not missed a beat... having said that, Toshibas are meant to be pretty good, hence my listing both makes in my OP... which reminds me- pctek, do Toshiba make their own exclusively? You didn't mention any of the ODM's making theirs...

Nomad, was looking at second hand as new ultra portables at $3k are waaaay out of my budget! Bear in mind it's going to be a glorified MP3 player with occasional word processing/ spreadhsheeting/ surfing... And yeah, an external HDD is definitely the way to go... gotta have a back up!

Thanks Happy Harry, batteries were a concern I have... stuff tends to last with me, I'm pretty easy on my gear, so replacing a battery won't be an issue- it's the rest of the unit that I'm worried about- motherboard, hinges, etc. hopefully more care would be taken with the more expensive ones :thumbs: Yeah right! lol

I hate to say it, but it looks like it'll be an iPod + external HDD for the missus for Xmas- unanimous opinion is to stay away from them. I'm tempted by the tablet for myself, but that will be a mission for after the wedding methinks- a pressie to myself!

Thanks guys, keep 'em coming! (opinions that is!)

08-11-2008, 07:23 AM
T do Toshiba make their own exclusively? You didn't mention any of the ODM's making theirs...


08-11-2008, 12:04 PM
From the two I think the Tosh is a better one.
USB DVD Drives can be sought or via USB or Network connection.

I dunno, for me using music on the computer, a external HDD sorta defeats the purpose of a portable computer. The netbooks I gather the HDD is on the small side arn't it .. and they are around $800 or maybe $600 which might still be out of your price.

08-11-2008, 12:08 PM
I have had two IBM Thinkpads off trademe and never had any problems at all.

Not sure about other companies but Apple sell refurbished computers on their website which are cheaper than new. I think Toshiba do also.

08-11-2008, 01:19 PM
I brought a Toshiba with all the disks etc at a very good price and it has been great.It really is a bit "pot luck" but you need to check out the seller and see their feed back.The
lappy statistics are secondary after the sellers feedback.Avoid Dell at any price.My local
puter shop exists on repairing Dell.