I was recently in the market for a new laptop, needing something for basic internet surfing that wasn’t my locked-down work Dell Precision (which also runs so hot it can give 3rd degree burns). I also didn’t want to break the bank for a laptop that will see daily, but limited or brief, use for quick tasks. A refurbished laptop fits the bill perfectly for my requirements. Going this route has the obvious advantage of a lower price tag and (usually) a limited warranty to make sure you are able to receive a laptop in working order. Refurbished laptops are obviously used, but in my opinion, it’s a better option than buying a used laptop off Craigslist, for example. The refurbishing company will discard badly damaged units, then clean and lightly repair the rest. A typical refurbished laptop is in pretty decent, lightly used condition. Sometimes you’ll be lucky and receive a unit in like-new condition that had a careful previous owner.
The big downside to buying a refurbished laptop is that you will be relegated to older hardware which doesn’t match the performance of current new laptop models. This really isn’t a big deal in my case – in my opinion, computers hit the “good enough” point for a casual user a while ago, where buying the next generations of CPUs or GPUs probably wouldn’t yield an appreciable difference in performance for the price. That is to say, 20 years ago when I had a Pentium III Dell machine, it was very sluggish and struggled keeping up with modern software after only about 5 or 6 years of use. Years later, I had a Core 2 Duo laptop and a quad core Intel Xeon desktop. Each of these machines provided nearly a decade of service life, never really having the slow, sluggish UX when running modern software on older hardware that I would feel in decades past.
While shopping around, I found an incredible deal on an HP Elitebook 840 G3 through the Amazon refurbished store. At only $230, I bought this immediately; a 6th gen i5 CPU with 16GB of DD4 RAM, a 256 GB SSD, and a 1080 display is plenty of power for casual web browsing, email, chat, music, video, etc. On-board graphics are fine, this is not a gaming or video editing machine.
When the laptop arrived, I was pleasantly surprised to see that it was in excellent condition, having only a few very minor cosmetic blemishes. I’m happy with the battery life + it is giving me 5+ hours of use. But the real surprise was booting up and seeing that they had shipped the model I purchased, with a i7-6600 CPU and not the advertised i5-6200! While there’s not an appriciable difference between the two, I’ll take a free upgrade anywhere, anytime 😃.
Update August, 2022: The EliteBook keyboard stopped working and I was unable to fix it 😢 Instead of spending any more time or money attempting to repair it, I replaced it with a new HP Laptop 14.