Help Me Laptop! Should I Buy a New or Refurbished Laptop?

In the search for the perfect gaming laptop, sometimes you have to make sacrifices. Forum member tanner775 has narrowed their search down to the Alienware 17 R4. However, with only a $2,000 line of credit, tanner775 has to choose between getting a brand-spanking-new system and a refurbished system. One thing tanner isn't compromising on is the display; they're adamant that whatever system they choose, it must have a QHD (2560 x 1440) 120-Hertz Nvidia G-Sync panel.

The new laptop tanner is eyeing costs $1,899.98 and has a
2.8-GHz Intel Core i7-7700HQ processor; 16GB of RAM; a 128GB M.2 SATA SSD with a 1TB, 7,200-rpm hard drive; an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 GTX GPU with 8GB of VRAM; and a 17.3-inch 1920 x 1080 display. If the notebook is configured with the QHD G-Sync display, the price jumps to $2,149.98, which is a bit over budget. However, tanner will also get the integrated Tobii eye-tracking technology, which opens up some interesting functionality,

The refurbished version of the Alienware 17 R4 that tanner's considering costs $1,938 and has some serious power, with an overclockable 2.9-GHz Intel Core i7-7820HK CPU ; 8GB of RAM; a 1TB, 7,200-rpm hard drive; an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 GPU with 8GB of VRAM; and the QHD G-Sync screen. Both notebooks are great choices, but like most of us, tanner is worried about the quality of refurbished gear.

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According to our Refurbished Laptop Buying Guide, tanner shouldn't have anything to worry about if they did their homework, and it looks like they did. The model tanner's checking out at Dell Outlet is the current version of the Alienware 17 and is listed as "certified refurbished." According to the Dell Outlet Info Center page, certified refurbished means that the laptop might have been used or powered on by another customer and could have a scratch or two. Before Dell resells these laptops, the systems are totally wiped and retested to make sure they match the original factory specifications. 

Similar to their new brethren, laptops purchased from Dell Outlet come with a one-year limited warranty. However, since the Alienware 17 is a top-tier Dell product, it gets a year of Dell's Premium support, which includes 24/7 on-site support after remote diagnosis, international support and assistance with more mundane software issues.

With all of that to consider, I'm going to recommend that tanner775 choose the refurbished Alienware 17 R4. It's got more powerful specs than the new system, including the QHD display; has the same warranty; and is actually cheaper than the brand-spanking-new system. The money tanner saves can be used to buy a game or two for their new system.

Credit: Jeremy Lips/Laptop Mag

Sherri L. Smith
Editor in Chief

Sherri L. Smith has been cranking out product reviews for since 2011. In that time, she's reviewed more than her share of laptops, tablets, smartphones and everything in between. The resident gamer and audio junkie, Sherri was previously a managing editor for Black Web 2.0 and contributed to BET.Com and Popgadget.