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Are you an IT professional looking for your next laptop? If you intend to use it for writing programs and developing applications, you’ll want a computer that has the latest of specifications and other features essential for coding. However, should you opt to buy a new laptop, you can expect to pay a tidy sum that may possibly be above the budget you had in mind. The good news is that it is now possible to get the laptops you need at prices that are at least 10% to 20% off the original price.


By opting for a refurbished laptop instead!

Let’s take a look at a few examples. The new MacBook Pro 13″ with Retina is priced at $1,499, but its refurb is available at $1,249. Similarly, should you check the Lenovo online store, you find that a ThinkPad A275 is worth $840.67. But, look for the same model in the refurbished section, and you’ll note that the price is set at $605.28.

New vs. Refurbished – What’s the Difference?

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A new laptop is just that – a brand new device that has never been opened or used before. A refurbished laptop, on the other hand, is a device that has been returned to the manufacturer or dealer because of some issue. The company restores it to its original factory state and puts it back up for sale.

new vs refurbished laptop

While you’ll buy the new laptop at its label price, with a little research, you can find a barely-used laptop complete with the application development specs you need – but, at affordable prices. The trick is to check the websites of top manufacturers like Dell, Lenovo, Apple, and others. Each of these companies has a page on their sites that list their refurbished collection of electronics including laptops, cell phones, and tablets.

Understanding What is a Refurbished Laptop

When a laptop is returned to the company, trained professionals examine it for missing components, defective parts, and faulty functioning. Having repaired and restored the device to its original state, they place it in the refurbished section for sale. Should you buy a refurb from a reliable company, you can expect to see only minor scratches and dings on the exterior. However, rest assured that the device will include a system in factory condition complete with cables, packaging, pre-installed software, and a one-year warranty.

In addition to the manufacturing companies, several Microsoft-certified dealers like Amazon, Newegg, Best Buy, and ReUseTek, also offer you practically new refurbished laptops at prices that are easy on the pocket.

But, the Question is – Can You Use the Refurbs for Programming?


Given that the refurbished laptops are as good as their new counterparts, they will work exactly the same way for programming. In addition, since the devices come with a warranty, you can always return them in case you feel that the functioning is not quite what you expected. Here are some of the other specifications you should look for that are likely to be compatible with your application development needs. Finding the right machine will ensure good productivity levels and match the specific type of programming you intend to do.

1. Graphics Processing Unit (GPU)

For a developer, one of the most essential features to look for in a laptop is the GPU. You’ll need this spec if you’re creating graphically intensive games that you’ll want to test from time to time. Most new laptops have integrated graphics capabilities so make sure you check for this feature when choosing a refurbished laptop. A good way to be sure is to check for the original release date of the model.

2. Central Processing Unit (CPU)

Given that your laptop’s performance ultimately depends on the CPU, check the thermal design power, number of cores, cache size, and frequency carefully. Since you’ll be developing games or programming in graphics, you’ll need at least an Intel i5 processor or the more advanced Intel i7 processor with a hexa-core. And, like this article on TechRadar advises, if you can get a frequency of 3GHz in your refurbished laptop, you’re all set.

3. RAM or Memory

In case you intend to develop advanced programs like the Electron apps, you’ll need a machine that includes large amounts of RAM. A memory of 16GB can come in handy when you’re running a web browser, code editor, compilers, and local servers all at the same time. If you’re looking to economize by opting for low RAM, know that a minimum of 8GB of RAM is the bare essential. But, if you’re developing a game, you’ll need 12GB or more.

4. Hard Disk Drive (HDD) or Solid State Drive (SSD)

Depending on the amount you think you can spend on your new gadget, buying a device with an SSD can offer you significantly better performance as compared to the standard hard drive. You’ll find that any operation you wish to perform is much faster with the SSD like, for instance, launching the newly developed app, compiling the code, loading previously saved projects, and of course, booting up the operating system.

When comparing refurbished laptops, make sure to get at least a basic 256GB SSD. But, if you can invest more, you could opt for a 512GB or even, a 1TB SSD. Expect to pay $600 or higher for a laptop with an SSD, but you’ll find that the performance of the machine is well worth the price. Even so, keep in mind that although the conventional HDD is slower, it is likely to give you higher storage. Ultimately, you’ll need to make a choice between speed and space, and match it to the performance you need.

5. Operating System

As the folks at Make Use Of explains, the two most common operating systems are Microsoft Windows and Apple MacOS. Should you opt for the Microsoft Windows OS, you’ll find that it is not only more affordable, but it is compatible with most of the programming languages currently used. However, if you’re developing apps of the iOS, you’ll need to get an Apple Mac that has the Xcode necessary for Objective C and Swift. Of course, you can also go for the Linux if you intend to work with PHP, Ruby on Rails, or Python. But, given that Windows supports them all, it makes sense to opt for this OS.

When it comes to developing apps, these 5 specifications are the most important. Of course, you may also want to check for the size of the display, keyboard, and battery life of the machine. Keep these features in mind when searching around for the refurbished laptop, and you should be able to find an affordable device that you can use to create the best of applications.

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