May 19, 2012

How to Get a Good Laptop in a Pawnshop Auction?

The Pawnshop is a good place to get a second hand items such as Netbook / Laptop especially in an auction promo.First reason because a pawnshop only accepts good condition / genuine items  and prices are pretty low compared to outside shops .Knowing how to get the best deal that will worth your money is always a win-win.
Know the laptop specifications
Choosing the gadget that has an advance features or latest specification is one of the best criteria you should consider all the time. If not the latest choose at least the one the supports upgrade or has the minimum specs.

Battery
It’s important to check the battery if it can power well the laptop and can charge  without  any issue.6 cells battery can power up to 6 hours of usage but a little heavy while  the 4 cells work over 3 hours. Remember, Laptop battery is expensive it would cost you around 3k to 4k (71 – 100 dollars, shipment fee is not included) for the original replacement. Note also that some Laptop like Dell won’t accept any China made replacement battery so; you will be obliged to buy the original one.

Hard Disk
Choose the Laptop that has a bigger hard disk capacity. Most laptop has 180GB, 250GB, 320 GB and 500 GB of Hard Disk. Hard Disk are upgradable depending on the laptop’s hardware support and operating system (New laptop can support 600GB up to 2TB with Win 7 OS).New HD cost around 3k -5k.

DVD Writer
Make sure the laptop’s DVD Writer is working because it is always needed when installing software or playing your favorite multimedia file from CDs/DVDs. You can buy an external DVD Writer or a replacement one for built in but it’s not wise to expend more in a second hand item.

Motherboard/Processor
For windows-powered laptop choose at least the Dual-Core one(more advance laptop runs i3, i5 and i7 Intel processor suitable for Windows 7).While Apple’s Mac the one that support OS/X or Snow Leopard has the best processor.

RAM and Video Memory
At least the laptop has 1GB of memory card (RAM) for better speed check also if it’s upgradable minium of to 2GB RAM. At least 256mb of built –in graphics card is good yet but if you’re a Gamer or work much on graphics rendering ,choose 2GB Graphics card or higher.

Touch Pad
Some Touchpad of an old laptop don’t work properly or damaged, better to check before getting disappointed of buying a USB mouse in the end. 

Other components (Screen, Keyboard, USB, HDMI, Built-in Card Reader)
Check also the screen if it the display is clear or no vertical lines appearing (don’t buy if it has lots of scratches).Check the keyboard if all the keys works fine. Back cover of the laptop must be intact and no broken parts. Connection ports such as USB, HDMI, and all-in-One card reader is an advantage.

Sample Checklist:
-At least Dual-Core or higher is always advantageous but expensive
-Can run XP, Vista or upgradable to Win 7 .For Mac, at least OSX Tiger or Snow Leopard
-At least 180 GB Hard Disk (500 GB to 2TB is much better for photographers) with high RPM ratings
- At least 1GB RAM (DDR2/DDR3)-Upgradable to 2GB /4 GB has the edge
-Built-in graphics minimum of 256MB (1GB to 4GB best for gamers and graphics use)
-Battery Life –at least could run up to 2 hours of normal use (6 cells batt. works longer)
-Working DVD Writer, Keyboards, Touchpad & HDMI ports
-Display-No excessive screen scratches (laptops with LED Screen consumes less power)
-Has built-in Card Reader & USB port, the better for easy file transfers (USB 3.0 much faster)
-Wi-Fi and LAN ready (if it has a Wi-Fi power on indicator the better)
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Other tips:
-Must be portable. Some laptops are so heavy that you can’t enjoy putting it on your lap. Choose the one that has an average screen-size or thickness (slim is sexy!)

-Don’t peak a laptop that heat much or noisy when power ups (sometimes it’s a sign of bad hard disk or motherboard)

-Don’t forget to test the unit and know the pawnshop return policy (what if it dies on the next day?)

-Before Buying, Ask the Expert! After seeing the laptop specification and you’re still doubtful of your choice it could be best to consult the expert or your IT friend. You can bring him with you in the Pawnshop to help you check the laptop specs. Tell him what you really like with unit and ask his recommendation.

-Compare the Price to Others/ Reserve-Ooops! You’re in the point to buy it but how about checking to other pawnshop there might be another affordable or awesome unit out there that greatly fit your needs and budget. Well, unless you really need a rush buying just pay the reservation fee before the Sales Officer would offer it to others.

My Recommended Laptop / Netbook Brands
  • Asus 
  • LG
  • Toshiba
  •  Latest Acer models
  •  Sony Viao/Gateway 
  • Dell and Lenovo (are good but battery replacement could be an issue especially on old units)
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