You should buy a used laptop

Buying used notebooks: This is what users should pay attention to

Broken laptop? Buying a used notebook can save hundreds of euros in some cases. We explain which devices are worth the money, what buyers should pay attention to and where you can find good deals

If you want to buy a used notebook, you should consider which tasks the device has to take over. Is it "just" a better typewriter? Or a gaming laptop?

If someone just wants to surf the Internet, occasionally send e-mails or write a text, a simple notebook with an i3 processor, 4 to 8 gigabytes of RAM and a 500 gigabyte hard drive is sufficient, says Rainer Schuldt from "Computer Bild".

But if the buyer wants to process large amounts of data or use complex programs, for example for image processing or video editing, then "it should be a mid-range processor, accompanied by as much memory and hard disk space as possible," advises Schuldt.

Pay attention to the screen resolution and graphics card

If you want to use the notebook for gaming, you need a better equipped laptop - with a good graphics card. However, not every game or current software will run on an older device. "Windows 7 devices, for example, are no longer provided with security updates," warns Lisa Brack from "Chip" magazine. If you get involved, you should plan additional money for a Windows 10 license. Here you can find out how you can save money.

It is often worth buying used business laptops such as the Dell Latitude, HP Elitebook or Lenovo Thinkpad series, reports the specialist magazine "c’t". They are more robust than consumer devices and have other features, such as an integrated LTE modem or a docking connection. You often pay more for new devices.

Depending on their needs, buyers should pay special attention to the screen resolution. "C’t" recommends at least Full HD (1,920 by 1,080 pixels) regardless of the screen size.

If you buy classified ads privately via eBay or eBay, you have the advantage of being lucky enough to get a bargain there. Above all, buyers should pay attention to wearing parts. "Hard disks with a mechanical read head (HDD) in particular could still be installed in older models and are very susceptible," says Brack, describing a possible problem.

Check device and functions if possible

Also look out for damage to the display hinge or USB port. If you can take a look at the device, switch it on. Check that it starts properly and that both the keyboard and touchpad are in good condition, advises Brack.

You should check the runtime of used laptops. Because replacement batteries are usually expensive, if they can be exchanged at all. (Source: Andrea Warnecke / dpa / tmn)

Also important: does the device come from a non-smoking household? And do WLAN and Bluetooth work properly? "If the seller is silent on this: hands off," warns Schuldt. The displays are also sensitive. "Sometimes there are shadows or pixel errors, or the backlighting even fails."

You should also check the battery life. Because it decreases noticeably after a few years. "A replacement battery, if it can be exchanged at all, can be paid for like a king by the manufacturer," explains Schuldt. And quickly the bargain is no longer there.

Another possible disadvantage: "The Windows 10 license could no longer be linked to the device," says Brack. Or it is "recycled" on another computer, warns "c’t".

Warranty from the dealer only

Professional dealers have to grant a guarantee - i.e. guarantee that the goods are free from material and legal defects. This does not apply to private sellers. Refurbished devices are available from, or, for example. "The devices have been checked, the software is up-to-date," explains Brack.

According to "c’t", retailers not only give the cleaned devices new hard drives or SSDs on the way, but also new batteries or keyboards if necessary - but customers usually pay a higher price for them than they would have to pay a private seller.