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by Barbara T. Biehler
When you browse the large selection of laptops here on Overstock.com, you may see this icon that labels them as "refurbished."
A refurbished laptop is either a computer that has been returned to the retailer or manufacturer for a refund by a customer or a computer that has just come off a lease. The computer may have had a slight defect or simply not met a customer's expectations. Before a laptop can be resold, any defective components are repaired or replaced and the computer is then carefully examined to ensure it works properly. Any computer that goes through this process must be identified as refurbished or reconditioned. Refurbished laptops can be a bargain compared to some new models, but it's important to make a few comparisons first to make sure you're getting a good deal.
Price: Refurbished laptops are often discounted by 10 to 25 percent or more from the original laptop computer retail price. That can be considerable savings compared to the price of a brand-new model. The tradeoff is often that refurbished laptops don't feature the latest processors and newly released operating systems because the refurbishing process takes them off the fast-moving electronics market for a few months.
RAM: New laptops often feature more random access memory than previous generations, so a refurbished laptop may not have the same amount of memory. A refurbished laptop may have only 1 GB of memory while a new computer might have 4 GB. This may or may not make a difference for you, depending on the system requirements of programs you need your laptop to run.
Hard drive: The size of hard drives can also differ between new and refurbished laptops because memory storage becomes cheaper over time. A refurbished computer may have only a 60 GB hard drive, but a new computer might have a 320 GB hard drive. Depending on your storage needs, you may decide to buy new or buy refurbished and then upgrade the hard drive.
Other features: New laptop models usually have the latest features. Refurbished laptops typically aren't much different. You may see differences between the specifications of new and refurbished laptops, though. At times, however, the refurbished computer may have the advantage, offering better built-in networking features, a premium graphics card, or additional software which you might pay a premium for in a brand-new computer. Compare all listed features of the refurbished laptop to the new laptop to ensure that you are getting an accurate comparison.