Where to find quality discounted PC and Mac laptops

By Hyde-Bath Technology Director Joel Randazza

At the risk of portraying myself as a tightwad, my second contribution to this site is a quick rundown on the benefits and cost savings of buying refurbished computers and laptops.  If you recall, my first was about low-cost or free software for students. Although I do like to keep my money where it belongs, under my mattress, I don’t consider trying to save some money on overpriced electronics being too cost conscious.

Being the default tech support person for my extended family definitely has its challenges (and rewards, of course).  Like, “Could you just take a look at my computer between the Turkey dinner and dessert?” and “I think my computer has a virus, can you fix it this week?”  One of the more common requests is “What computer should I buy, and where should I buy it?” It is easy enough to go to Staples or Best Buy and buy something off the shelf, but if you want to spend a little time, you can get a better device at a lower cost.

Believe me, that is what my family is all about!

I have found a couple of great places to buy computers online that can save some serious money. The first is www.Dellrefurbished.com. Dell often leases computers to businesses, and at the end of the term, they get them back. This division sells these laptops, desktops, and accessories at great savings.

Dell rates them according to condition: A, B, or C. Over the years, I have bought around 7-8 of these Dell laptops, with the grade B designation. They have all been practically like new.

Make sure you read the details though; some don’t come with an operating system, so unless you own a copy, you’ll need to shell out about $100 for a copy of Windows.

One advantage of this store is the computers don’t come loaded with extra junky software.  They are also generally business-class devices and more solidly built.

If you want a laptop that will last a while, look at the Dell Precisions on the site. Some are still even under the Dell warranty period. You can check this by getting the service tag at checkout and going to the Dell site to check. Great coupons can be found for use there also.

If a Mac laptop is in your future, look at www.macofalltrades.com. Although I have never used this site, co-workers rave about it and the discounts available. They sell refurbished laptops, desktops, iPads, iPhones, parts, and accessories. All the laptops come with a 90-day warranty, and you can purchase an extended one-year warranty for $59 or a two-year extended warranty for only $99. If you are an Apple fan, this site is a not-to-miss.

Tune in next month on how to save money on Internet service. Just joking about that one. That’s practically impossible!*

*Editor’s note – If you live in Maine and can get Time Warner, ask for their “Everyday Low Price” Internet service. It is $14.99/month before taxes and easily streams movies.