The idea of going into a local computer store and paying £1000+ for a computer are long gone and there are many computer stores out there that will give change out of £400 for a new cheap computer. I’m here to tell you that there are many other alternatives that will mean you can acquire a cheap computer for less than £200!
There are many options out there to buy a cheap computer, there are many shops looking to sell New, Open Box, Graded Returns, Refurbished and used computers but which do you choose? I have decided to compile a study looking at the differences between the above types of computers and the pro’s and con’s of each.
Cheap New Computers – It is obvious that a lot of the time the best solution is to buy new computers however when you are working towards a budget a cheap new computer can be hard to come by, in the rare occasions the quality is often hindered. There are many “Clone” machines out there that are imported from places such as China & Asia that are sold cheap mainly because of the mass amount that are produced. It is important however to understand that in the future if a problem does occur there may not be much you can do to repair.
Open Box Computer Systems- This type of product is normally apparent because a delivery of a computer has been made to the customer and has been opened however, it has never been tested. These are normally sold at a discounted rate because of this reason. My personal opinion is that this type of product should be avoided and should only be considered if the price really reflects the risk at hand.
Graded Returns – Similar to ‘Open Box’ products graded returns are often new computers that have been delivered to a customer and a problem has occurred, the product is returned to the manufacturer and instead of disposing of the product new parts are used to repair the computer and the manufacturer then sells the product as a graded item. These are often stated as ‘factory refurbished’.
Refurbished Computers – This is where you can get the most for your money with the peace of mind of a warranty! Most of these computers can be up to five years old however don’t be put off by this as although the development of computers has advanced, the tasks that consumers need their computers to perform has not changed at all! If you are part of the majority of users who use their computer for word processing, emails, online socialising (Facebook etc.) and downloading music then a refurbished computer will be more than suitable. Although this all sounds positive there are things to consider, when buying a refurbished computer ask yourself the following questions: –
o How much warranty is with the computer?
o Will the particular computer match your needs?
o If buying online does the company have a contact number if so is it ‘real person customer service?’ or is it automated?
o Is the price ‘to good to be true?’ If so it probably is.
Used – If you are really “Strapped for Cash” there are flea markets and charity shops that stock second hand used computers at very low prices. Often in these cases, there is no ability to test the item and computer often comes with no warranty. This may be an extremely cheap alternative, however in some cases by spending just a little more money you can purchase a refurbished computer that includes a warranty.
Things to consider – If you are buying a laptop, shop around and look at cosmetics as well as specifications. Most laptops come with similar specifications so it is more about personal wants such as colour, shape and additional specifications such as card readers and built in webcams.
When looking to save money and sourcing cheap computers, consider only buying the desktop/tower base unit, if you have a working monitor, keyboard and mouse consider only upgrading the base unit.
Well that about completes my guide to finding cheap computers, the examples I have provided hopefully illustrate my point that getting used computers over new computers is one smart way to go. The sheer selection available means that you can get any specification you want, fully refurbished and warranted.
If the specification you are looking for is not available why not consider buying the extra parts yourself such DVD-RW and fitting them to your new purchase or alternatively contact the company and see if upgrades are available.
Remember only look for a computer that matches your needs today, it is easy to get carried away looking for features that you might and most probably will never use and you will spend more money than you had to. Look for websites that give you options and look for websites such as the ones I mentioned above.