refurbushed laptop ideas?
April 11, 2005 11:45 AM   Subscribe

I need a older, smaller laptop that's reliable and that I can use for typing and internet - but older laptops are still really expensive as they get even very old, and i'm worried about reliaibility, esp. without warranties. Any suggestions? Any ideas for buying something that's maybe not a full function laptop that I could use for typing/internet that i could also get a warranty with? Looking for something under 450. I bought a refubished P2-400 laptop about three years ago for $420, so i know it's doable...
posted by jare2003 to Computers & Internet (9 answers total)
My recommendation: an IBM x20 / x21 / x22 off ebay. They are extremely solid, light, and last for quite a long time. Main downsides: the screen hinges sometimes fail, making it look like a bobblehead doll. Also, they are super thin - no CD/floppy at all, so you would need to get a dock as well. All told that should run you substantially less than your budget. I use one as my main home computer (700mhz) and it is fine for pretty much everything if you give it enough RAM. One more caveat - you have to like the trackpoint pointing device, or you'll hate the computer.
posted by true at 12:01 PM on April 11, 2005

I got an older Apple Powerbook for around $400 recently. The "Pismo" model seems to have a very good reputation for being a workhorse. The battery has died off but everything else still works great on it.
posted by bonheur at 12:06 PM on April 11, 2005

If you watch Slick Deals and the like, occasionally you'll see brand new laptops for $499. They tend to be somewhat low end (i.e. 1.5GHz Pentium M, 14" screen, small HD), but hell, it's still NEW and will blow away most of the old ones on eBay.
posted by knave at 12:14 PM on April 11, 2005

One more caveat - you have to like the trackpoint pointing device, or you'll hate the computer.

It ain't necessarily so. I don't like the nubbins myself, though I hate trackpads even more, but a wireless mouse will fix you right up. Combine that with a cheap flashdrive, even a 32MB one, and a diskless laptop is much more useful than they were even a couple of years ago.
posted by bonehead at 1:13 PM on April 11, 2005

Dell occasionally dramatically lowers the price of a specific model to generate some buzz. A friend of mine picked up a few doezen dell laptops for around $600 each the last time it happened.

Also keep in mind that the MHz speed of the Pentium-M cpu is more comparable with the Apple G4 than Pentium-4 machines. I have new Sony Vaios with 1.85 and 1.7 GHz Pentium-M CPUs and they are very fast. When the 1.7 ghz machine is unplugged, it often speedsteps down to 500 or even 200 mhz, and is still reasonably fast.
posted by b1tr0t at 1:42 PM on April 11, 2005

Toshia portege models can be found for around that mark, quite nice (4000 model/3490s). I got a Dell C400 for 500 and have been pleased as punch with it (1.2 ghz, 512mb ram etc).
posted by Mossy at 1:47 PM on April 11, 2005

I have a Dell C400 with the same specs and same price as Mossy, and I'm mor than tickled with it. It's been my every-day work machine for the past six months.
posted by SpecialK at 2:54 PM on April 11, 2005

My question :)
posted by Mossy at 3:10 PM on April 11, 2005

I'm an absolute Toughbook addict, and so are several of my friends. They're super-expensive when new, but on the used market these indestructible little machines are usually price-comparable with similar non-rugged models.

I've had no problems with reliability, and the bulletproof construction means you can even have a laptop in the house with toddlers. A few good tumbles down the stairs might scuff the case. The square edges mean the machines can be stood on edge like books for storage, handy for dorm-dwellers. Not needing a laptop bag also saves space, expense, and weight.

Since you said "smaller", I'm going to suggest the 17 or m34. These are subnotebooks, with 8.4" screens and downsized (85%?) keyboards that take a little getting used to. (Expect to add your own external keyboard to any laptop, as they all suck and USB keyboards are cheap.) They can be had on ebay for ~$200, and I've even gotten good batteries with the last ones I've ordered for friends. As with any used laptop, plan to have the battery rebuilt in a year or two.
posted by Myself at 9:08 PM on April 14, 2005

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