Laptops have replaced the desktop as our main computing tool. Of course there will almost always be a need for desktops for more powerful, important life tasks like Call of Duty Deathmatches. But whenever that time comes to upgrade, there are so many options available, but what if you wanted something with some power? Now my thoughts on what a powerful laptop is might differ from yours, but here are my minimum requirements:
Screen: 15in or better. Although there are laptops with smaller screens that have high resolutions, it’s just not enough for me to avoid stressing my eyes
Processor: a processor that’s strong enough for me to do video/audio editing, watch full HD content, and do some light gaming
RAM: 4GB or better
Hard Drive: 500GB or better
Optical Drive: I need a CD/DVD drive…period!
Now when it comes to buying, the options are near limitless, but if you’re looking for some horsepower below $200, you’re gonna have to look a little harder. There’s basically three main places where people go to buy Laptops:
-Craigslist – which is Internet, but you usually meet physically to complete transaction
On the Internet, there’s so much choice but if you want power for less than $200, your options are usually refurbished or used on EBay. Although these aren’t bad options, I like to physically test the laptop if it’s not new plus I don’t like waiting to receive the laptop or to send it back if there are problems. Craigslist is another option, but I don’t like to get robbed plus I’d like a reliable way to return it if needed.
With the Internet out of the way, that just leaves physical stores. Best Buy is my preferred place to buy electronics and they have a wide variety of laptops available. But at a price below $200, you’re not going to be counting on power as an option. At this price range, you’re normally getting:
-screen that’s smaller than 15in
-less than 4GB RAM usually 2GB or less
-no hard drive. You’ll usually get SD card storage with 32GB or 16GB
-no optical drive no buy!
So what other options do you have when you need power for less? Well my secret Tech source is Pawn Shops. Pawn Shops aren’t the first thought that comes to mind however you’d be surprised what you can find. Although you’re not getting a new laptop, you will find some fairly recent hardware with horsepower plus a great price. I was able to get a HP laptop that was about a year old, but it had a 15in screen, 4GB RAM, 500GB hard drive, and an optical drive plus the processor is an AMD A8 with a Radeon R5 graphics card all for $170 total. Below are my 5 Top tips for laptop hunting at your local Pawn Shop.
Top 5 Pawn Shop Laptop Buying Tips:
- Make sure you play around with Laptop – play around with laptop as best you can to make sure everything works for you. And if you’re not a Techie, bring someone along who is if you’re unsure
- Make sure Pawn Shop is reputable – a reputable shop is one that isn’t known for buying stolen goods also they usually have a Tech available to make sure everything works
- Layaway plan – if you’re on a budget or broke, this is a great way to pay it off
- Make sure the Laptop has been refreshed – all the old data on laptop should be removed and made as new as possible. Ask to them to make sure this has been done or bring a fellow Geek along
- Haggle for better prices – prices are always negotiable at your local Pawn
So there you have it, for less than $200 you can get a powerful laptop without going more broke than you already are.