What is refurbishment and why is it better than just second-hand?
When your old beloved gaming computer or your writing laptop dies, you know that you have little choice but to replace them. Or your five-year-old gaming computer simply isn’t up to the job of playing the newest games with good frame-rates. Of course, there are plenty of other reasons why you need to replace something or buy something new.
But is a new computer, laptop, or smartphone always the best choice? Especially when you are on a budget, you need to consider all your options.
You may really want to be able to enjoy a new game on the highest settings, but then you see that a computer in that range costs a lot of money.
You may want to be able to open word documents, browser windows, and a graphic editing software at the same time without your laptop needing a minute to load everything. But a seriously good laptop can also cost a lot of money.
The same is true for cameras, smartphones, gaming consoles, etc.
You might think: “Well, I’ll just go and buy something second-hand. That’ll save me some money.”
Yes, you could – but here is where you need to learn the difference between second-hand and refurbished. It’s not the same.
Why not just buy second-hand?
Everyone can sell something second-hand these days. You can find second-hand computers on a variety of online marketplaces. The big problem: nobody will check these second-hand goods. You buy them as they are, and you will not receive any guarantees.
When it comes to computers, you might even receive one that’s chock-full of dust on the inside because the previous owner never bothered to clean the insides. You’d be surprised about how many people have no clue about how to clean the insides of a desktop computer without causing any damage. Some don’t even realize that the inside of a computer needs to be cleaned at all!
There can be plenty of problems with second-hand goods – and if they break down, you usually will not receive any refunds or help. Refurbished goods are a different story.
Dust inside a second-hand computer is not a rare occurrence and lead to many issues.
What is refurbishing?
Before a computer, laptop, smartphone, or camera can receive the label “refurbished”, it must go through quite a strict process. This makes sure that:
- Everything is working.
- Everything is clean.
- Everything is up to date (software, apps, drivers).
Refurbishment isn’t done by private individuals who just want to sell their second-hand computer. It is done by specialists who have the right tools, the right software, the right attitude, and the right skills to make sure the result is of high quality.
How does refurbishing work?
First, a customer returns a product or sells a second-hand product to a refurbisher. Often, the products that are returned only have minor cosmetic issues, or maybe the customer simply changed his or her mind.
The result is the same: a used product ends up in the hand of someone who refurbishes it. This process is divided into multiple steps, regardless of what kind of device it is. In the following, we will have a look at these steps, and use the example of a gaming computer to explain how it works.
Step 1: At first, the products need to be checked. The first step answers questions like: Are there any cosmetic damages? Can these be repaired? Is there any damage to any of the parts? Can this be repaired or do these parts need to be replaced? Is it financially viable to refurbish this product?
Example: A high-end gaming computer has been handed over to the company. It had been in use for a few months, then the owner decided to buy a new system and get some money for his “old” computer. The outside of the computer looks great apart from being a little dusty and having some oily fingerprints on it. The inside is also dusty, but there appears to be no visual damage to any of the components.
Step 2: The product is cleaned with the appropriate tools. In some cases, e.g., when there are deep scratches, there will still be signs of previous use, but this will always be mentioned in the description (more about that later).
Example: The outside and inside of the gaming computer will be cleaned, so there will be no more dust and no oily fingerprints. In the end, the computer will look like new. There will be no visual signs of previous usage.
Step 3: Now it’s time to check the running state of the product and do some other software-related tasks. In this step, all traces of the previous user are removed. This doesn’t just mean that files are deleted. Special software is used to make sure that everything is gone and the new user a) won’t find something embarrassing, and b) the previous owner’s private data remains safe. Once this is done, drivers are checked and updated. In the case of laptops and other devices that use a battery, a battery-check is also done at this stage.
Example: The previous owner did not remove anything from his computer, including software like Steam and games he downloaded. There are gigabytes of data, and apparently, he never looked at his drivers since he bought the computer. After this step, all these files will be gone, and the drivers will be updated.
Step 4: This step can include dozens of steps, depending on the refurbisher’s checklist and the device. During this step, many things are tested (often with the help of special software). It is about questions like: Does a headphone work when it is plugged into the computer? Does the sound work? Do all the USB ports work? And much more.
Example: The gaming computer will go through a series of tests. The tester then finds out one of the USB ports doesn’t work, no matter what you plug into it. He will have to take a closer look at the problem and fix it.
Step 5: After every problem is fixed, there is a final check to make sure that everything works. There will also be a final clean of the product’s exterior. Then the product will be carefully re-packaged and put up for sale.
Example: The gaming computer goes through one last testing stage. Its outside is cleaned once more, and it is put into its packaging. When the original packaging came with the product, it will be used unless there is too much damage to it. Then the computer will be listed on a site like Generation Gamer.
What do the different refurbishing grades mean?
You will notice that refurbished computers and other refurbished devices usually have something about a grade in their description. What does that mean? It tells you what kind of visual condition the product is in. It has nothing to do with its functionality and is only about optics.
Grade A+ is the best you can get. These products look like new, and you will have a hard time finding any signs of use.
Grade A products might have minimal scuffing on a computers case, or there is a tiny scratch on the back of a smartphone.
Grade B is still very good, but you will have some minimal marks, scruff, and/or scratches on the product. These are minor imperfections, and they will have nothing to do with how you use the product. Often, grade B refurbished computers are a little cheaper than grade A.
Grade C products still work like grade A and grade B products, but you will immediately notice that they have been “pre-loved”.
Grade D is just a little below grade C, sometimes there might be an accessory missing with grade D.
Basically, you can translate A as excellent, B as very good, and C as good condition, while grade D is fair, but obviously not quite as good looking as the other grades. Again: the look of the device has nothing to do with its functionality.
If you buy a refurbished grade A+ device, it will look like new.
Why choose Generation Gamer for refurbished goods?
A refurbished computer will cost you less money but will offer just as much as a brand-new product.