This morning I received a sale advertisement from Tiger Direct which was advertising refurbished Gateway laptop computers for $399.99 on sale. What caught my eye about the sale was the model number of the unit, which just happens to be the same unit I bought for my wife about a year ago from Circuit City and paid $629.00 for.

The unit is a Gateway MX6421 Refurbished Notebook PC – AMD Turion 64 Mobile ML 32 1.8GHz, 802.11g Wireless, 15.4″ WXGA, 512MB DDR, 80GB HDD, DVD RW, Windows XP Media Center. Thus far the wife has been enjoying her system and [knock on wood] hasn’t had any problems with it. My personal system is also a Gateway laptop, two of my daughters have Gateway’s as well as my good bud Denny back in CA.

So why Gateway? Well Gateway has been running some fairly good deals through their retail outlets such as Best Buy, Circuit City & Staples. There are sevral features I like about these Gateway units that Dell and others at the time were not able to match. First, there is the 15.4″ WXGA screen with super bright. At the time, most OEMs were only providing 14″ or smaller screens. Another thing I liked were that this units came with a DVD burner. Again, most OEMs at the time were still using CD burners + DVD players. Also these units have 4 USB ports, built in modems and a superb wireless system. Oh yeah, and a 4 + 1 card reader.

Back on topic. Why a refurbished unit? The first thing that pops in everyone minds is that there must of been something mechanically wrong with the units. Not to say this could be the case, but sometimes it is not. Some of the other reasons units are returned are:

  • The system runs slow. With all of the junk and gunk all OEMs put on these systems, your first out of the box experience may not be stellar. But once you spend a few hours cleaning off the freebies and trialware off of any new system, they spring back to life.
  • Missing parts such as power cables or CD’s. Sometimes the units may have missing hardware when they are shipped.
  • For some people it may have been their first laptop experience and they do not understand that laptop systems will not run as well as their desktops did. That is just the nature of the beast.
  • For others, it my have been a gift that they open, play with, than return.
  • We also have the people who just can’t get use the system and give up thinking that computers are just to complicated.

I am sure there are other reasons why systems are returned as well. But the bottom line is once the box and is opened and the computer is used, they can not be sold as new. They then carry the term ‘refurbished’. The downside is that these units normally come with a reduced warranty period. In the case of the above Gateway it is 90 days.

Do what do you think? Is buying a refurbished a good deal or a waste of money? Let me know what you think and what your experiences with refubished units has been.

Comments welcome.

PS I neither endorse buying from Tiger Direct nor buying a Gateway unit. This is for informational purposes only. However, I have purchased items from Tiger Direct in the past and for me the experience has been just fine. I’m also a Gateway lappy fan so yes, I am prejudiced. 🙂 Your mileage may vary.
Tiger Direct Sale here.

[tags]gateway, refurbished, tiger direct, laptop, computer, [/tags]