You all have convinced me to buy a refurb Lenovo - question re options
December 31, 2017 12:36 AM   Subscribe

Should I wait until there's something appropriate on the Lenovo outlet page and pay more for a refurbished laptop with a 1 year warranty or go with a lower price and 90 day warranty at Newegg? Details within.

I have relatively simple needs. The computer will be used for research (I often have a few dozens open tabs), simple website development (e.g., custom WordPress, genealogy websites), streaming movies, and a typical mix of routine tasks and programs. No games. For the sake of portability, I prefer ~12" screen, but most of the time it will be connected to a desktop monitor. Budget: under $500.

Re out-of-stock options on the Lenovo outlet page: can I assume that these will eventually be back in stock or are these items left up to basically serve as examples, but won't necessarily ever be available again at the listed price? (Like "missed deals" on Amazon.)

Assuming the former, is this ThinkPad x270 worth waiting for? (I just noticed another listing for an out-of-stock x270—apparently a slightly newer model, but the listed features are virtually identical. However, it's priced $230 above the first listing and over my budget.)

Alternatively, this x240 is currently available through Newegg for $375. The biggest difference (other than warranty) seems to be screen resolution. Will this difference matter when the machine is plugged into another monitor? Is the Lenovo machine worth the wait and the extra $100?
posted by she's not there to Computers & Internet (10 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I've bought half-a-dozen refurbished Lenova Thinkpads over recent years. Unsure why this question is being presented as a Lenova outlet/Newegg either-or since there are many sources for refurbished Thinkpads. Although I've never paid much attention to the warranties (being used machines) I have had to return two of 'em right out of the box. One had the wrong OS, the other, a noisy fan and they were swiftly replaced. The return procedure was the least painful with my most recent purchase, a T-400, which I got via Amazon.
posted by Rash at 6:07 AM on December 31, 2017

Response by poster: Thanks, Rash—re why the limited options—I'm a bit nervous about buying a refurb laptop and I figured the Lenovo outlet would be the safest bet. Perhaps that's unnecessarily cautious?
posted by she's not there at 6:36 AM on December 31, 2017

I bought my refurbished T420 from Newegg and the only issue I've had with it is that it shipped with a faulty cord for the power adapter (it was literally being held together by masking tape). Luckily these things are about $2 at the local Free Geek and I was able to replace it on my own.
posted by invokeuse at 8:19 AM on December 31, 2017

This Lenovo Thinkpad 11e is less machine than some that you have indicated, but it is under $400 brand new. I outfitted my wife and two teenage daughters with them last year and they love them. They are rugged as hell, convertible with touchscreens, and as light as you are going to get without invoking cost premiums. Without the touchscreen, you can find them for $300.
posted by mumblelard at 8:58 AM on December 31, 2017

Best answer: I bought a T410 (i5, 8gb RAM) off Craigslist and it's been a terrific laptop. I work in IT, and most problems will be right out of the box. Refurbished usually means the laptop was leased and the lease is over. They run diagnostics and repair/replace components as needed, re-image the hard drive, meaning a fresh copy of Windows and the Lenovo software and drivers. If you can, opt for a little more RAM, 8 gb is fine. As far as the next model - there will always be a new model coming with some technology improvements, but that way, you'll wait forever. I typically have several Firefox windows open, with up to 80 tabs all together, a Chrome window, text editor, maybe a simple game. I can watch Hulu and browse facebook. If I get too many tabs open with too much activity, it will hang a bit, and I'll close stuff. But for an older laptop, it's doing very well.

Batteries on refurb laptop typically are warranted to be non-defective and hold a charge. Laptop batteries are a consumable. Over time, they lose capability. I'm impressed that this one will run for a couple hours, but this is a variable.
posted by theora55 at 9:08 AM on December 31, 2017

Best answer: One thing that may be a factor is that the _40 series has a truly godawful clickpad. It's fixed beginning with the _50 series, and the predecessors are also fine, I think. You can upgrade at least the T440 with an aftermarket touchpad, but the pads aren't that cheap and are kind of a pain to install.

I got a refurbished T440s three years ago or so and it's been fine except for the touchpad, plus the keyboard needed replacing due to a flaky right Shift key ($25ish, easy fix that I put off for a long time because it wasn't critical). The battery is also completely dead now, though I think that's partly Ubuntu's stupid default suspend's fault. Other than that, great, very capable machine. Screen res has never been an issue for me (I use it occasionally to hook up to TV/projectors).
posted by en forme de poire at 11:02 AM on December 31, 2017

Best answer: I've had great luck with Thinkpads from laptopcloseout. They ship to the US and Canada. They rate the quality of each refurbishment. I only buy the ones rated Grade A and that have a one-year warranty. (Only because that seemed safest to me; maybe the others are fine too.) My brother has bought from them too so that's 3 certified successful purchases. So far they've all seemed like new laptops.

I also bought a refurbished Thinkpad from Staples. The laptop was fine but the power cord didn't work, and the battery degraded quickly. Could have just been bad luck.
posted by lockedroomguy at 2:11 PM on December 31, 2017 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Another vote to skip the _40 series. My employer bought dozens of T440s because they were cheap because nobody wanted them because the trackpad is terrible. We have them in laptop carts for student use, and I have had students cry with frustration over the trackpad.
posted by hydropsyche at 3:43 PM on December 31, 2017

Best answer: Thirding the trackpad issue on X240 laptops. They are rage-inducing, particularly with the right-click function corresponding with the lower-right corner of the trackpad. You'd think it should be the upper-right corner of the trackpad that you'd click to bring up the right-mouse context menus, but apparently not so!

My employer switched to Lenovo in 2013, and at the time of the switchover, I was stationed in the IT repair shop. The X230 was a bit small, but in my opinion, was solidly built. The X240 was the first iteration of the current Lenovo laptop design, and I'd charitably call its form factor "brittle." I saw lots of screen issues come through the shop, many of which were due to poor wiring locations near the laptop hinge. Power supplies also have been an issue with the X240, as they'd simply die with no warning. At this point, the X240 is either out of warranty coverage or is close to its end, so unless you can get a few eyes to look over it, I'd steer clear of the X240.
posted by stannate at 5:39 PM on December 31, 2017

Response by poster: Thanks to all for the advice. I just ordered a ThinkPad t430 from Laptopcloseout for $320, which is significantly less than I expected to spend.
posted by she's not there at 8:32 PM on February 1, 2018

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