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Sunday, May 15, 2005

Used Notebook Inspection Guide -- Part 3

Used Notebook Inspection Guide
By: The Editor
Used laptop computers are everywhere these days. How can you sift through the mass of available used laptop computers to narrow your search down to the right laptop for you? This is the third part of a series of articles designed to give you a few suggestions for your next purchase.

Test the Keyboard and Built-in Mouse

When you get an operating system up and running, open a text file like notepad and start typing on the keyboard. How do the keys feel? If they are sticking, this may indicate coffee or another liquid having been dropped on the computer. A definite red flag. (continued...)

Is the built-in mouse functioning properly? If it isn't, understand that this could seriously hamper the portability of the laptop. Using an external mouse when you are on the go can be very inconvenient.

Laptop Battery: Don't expect much

Laptop batteries generally don't maintain a full charge for more than a year or two at most. The manufacture date of the laptop is often found on its underside. If the manufacture date is more than two years and it has an original battery, consider yourself lucky with any battery life you get. Most used computer dealers will not give you any warranty for the battery. An extra battery is always a wise purchase when buying a used laptop. Consider asking the dealer what it would cost to get another one.

Laptop multimedia: Testing the sound and video.

Sound and video are both things that are important to some people and not to others. If you see yourself listening to music using the laptop speakers, try to play some music on them to see how they sound. You may want to cart a music CD with you along with your Knoppix CD. Have realistic expectations though. Laptop speakers rarely sound full. They usually have a tinny sound with lots of treble and little bass.

If you plan on watching movies on the laptop, you may want to consider choosing a used laptop computer with a DVD-ROM drive in it. If that is important to you, I would suggest you carry a DVD movie with you to evaluate how well the laptop plays back video. If it pauses and labors with the DVD, you may want to consider another laptop.

Stay tuned for our fourth and final article on tips you should follow when purchasing a used laptop computer