So you’re on the market for a new, or at least new-to-you laptop and you aren’t really sure where to turn for the best deal. Well, I’m happy to tell you that often times, pawn shops can be a great source for awesome laptops at affordable prices.
That having been said, is it always a good idea to buy a laptop from a pawn shop?
Is it safe, will it work properly, is it stolen… All of these are good questions that people often have when they are thinking about buying a laptop from a pawn shop and the truth of the matter is that as reasonable as the questions are, they are also a little unfounded.
You see, pawn shops deal in lightly used merchandise just like any other used goods retailer. There’s nothing any different or exceptional about pawn shops that make them completely unique in how they handle things like laptops.
because of that, there’s really no great risk in buying your next laptop from a pawn shop. It’s just a problem most of the time but that having been said, there are still some people who are really concerned about the entire process and need to know that they are getting a good deal and a laptop that will work well for their needs and do what they need it to, just how it is supposed to.
Used Laptop Buying Tips
So you now know that there’s nothing really unique or exceptional about how pawn shops work with laptops. It just is what it is, it’s a used consumer electronics product and pawn shops don’t do anything weird or strange to them.
That having been said, because pawn shops are experienced buyers, you can often rest assured knowing that the laptop was well inspected and tested before the pawn shop decided to accept it for loan or as a buy.
But even with that in mind, nothing is every perfect unfortunately.
Test It Out
When looking at a used laptop at a pawn shop, take it for a spin. Play with it for a few minutes.
It’s not a bad idea to maybe bring a USB drive or a DVD with you just to make sure that all of the USB ports work as they should and that if the laptop has an optical drive (which are becoming less common these days) that it also works perfectly and reads the disc without making any loud grinding noises or anything else that may be odd.
I mean, let’s just face facts – it is a used laptop. Things can go wrong with them but if you inspect it before you buy it, there’s a pretty good chance that it is going to continue to work well for your for years to come.
Is it Restored
Ask your local pawn broker if they have gone through and removed all of the previous owners information from the system.
This is typically done through what is known as a “Reset, recovery or restore” process that is built into most laptops these days, particularly Mac’s OS X and Windows 8.
It’s important to be sure that you are getting a properly restored system so that you won’t have a previous owners problems, programs or files installed on your new laptop. This will save you headaches down the road and if your laptop is going to be used by your family, can prevent them from possibly seeing unwanted files that may have been left over from a previous user.
Check Out The Hinge
An important thing to look at with used laptops is the monitor or display hinge.
You want it to be tight, but not too tight. It should move easily. However, what you really want to be on the lookout for is a hinge that is excessively worn and won’t hold the display in place properly.
If the hinge has excessive “Slop” or play then the display may not stay open properly and there really is no common fix for this problem. It’s normally just age and use related and considered a wear and tear item that you should try to avoid when possible.
WiFi & Webcam
These are two big areas that can have driver related issues and you will want to make sure that they both work properly before packing up your new laptop and taking it home.
For the wifi, you can normally test that right in the store as most pawn shops will have a wifi network available for demonstrating items if nothing else.
For testing the webcam you can use Youtube’s webcam tool to test the webcam and make sure that it is working properly. Of course, if you never plan on using your webcam than this may not be such a big deal to you.
The Nerd’s Opinion
You can get a great price on a used laptop at a pawn shop and they are often things that most pawn shops work with regularly.
That having been said, it’s always smart to put it through the paces and test it out to make sure everything is working well before you finalize your purchase. It’s just good due-diligence and most pawnbrokers won’t have a problem with you being sure about your purchase before handing over your hard-earned cash.