How to Evaluate a Laptop


There are at least two times when most people are interested in evaluating a laptop -- at the time of purchase and at the time of sale. It doesn't matter if you are buying a new laptop or a used one; you want to make sure that you get the most value for your money in terms of features, support and replacement warranties. On the other hand, when you sell a laptop you want to be certain that you get the maximum amount of money that your laptop is worth. The ideal outcome is that both buyer and seller agree on the laptop evaluation and a mutually agreeable deal is struck.

Things You'll Need

  • Calculator

Buying a Laptop

  • Decide your primary use for the laptop. If you only need to connect occasionally to the Internet to retrieve email or occasionally visit news websites, you need a considerably less powerful laptop than if you plan to use it for making videos or audio files, or for computer gaming. Smaller, lightweight laptops may be more appropriate if you are planning to travel with the laptop, versus the heavier, larger screen laptops favored by people who want to replace a desktop computer.

  • Consider the physical components of the laptop (how much memory, disk space, CPU power, front side bus speed, speaker and microphone quality, laptop size, weight and keyboard size), the operating system and what programs come pre-installed on the laptop.

  • Ask the seller questions about what is included in the laptop sale (support, service, warranties, peripheral devices, operating system).

  • Look at more than one laptop for pricing and feature comparisons. You can find online reviews, ask friends and acquaintances for recommendations, and contact computer service repair centers to ask questions about a laptop you want to purchase.

Selling a Laptop

  • Calculate the current cash value of the laptop. The Andover Consulting Group estimates that computers lose value at the rate of approximately 2 percent per week from the first usage. This means a laptop that costs $3,000.00 loses $60.00 of its value the first time you turn it on, and 2 percent of its remaining value the next week, and so on. After three years, the laptop value is approximately $300.00.

  • Investigate comparably equipped laptops of roughly the same vintage. The quality of components, extra peripheral devices, and included programs can increase the overall value of the laptop, so add them to your asking price.

  • Include any support, service, or equipment warranties in your valuation. If the manufacturer's warranties are still valid, this can save the buyer the trouble of having to find and purchasing a repair contract.

Tips & Warnings

  • Consider negotiation when setting a buying or selling price. Many sellers are highly motivated to move merchandise quickly, and many buyers are willing to give up some options to be able to afford the laptop as long as the price is deemed fair.

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