Here at Central Mega Pawn, the Inland Empire’s leading pawn shop, we’ve had numerous customers ask us this question. After all, a laptop is a vital tool for many people these days, for everyone from high school students to professionals. Because quality laptops are not cheap, they can also be considered an investment; as such, smart consumers should do whatever they can to get the most bang for their buck.

We’ve bought and sold hundreds of laptops over the years and are excited to present a guide to buying a laptop computer at your local pawnshop.

Keep reading to learn about some variables to consider when making your decision.

Your daily computing needs

When buying any computer, an important question to ask yourself is what you will need your computer to do regularly. If it’s for gaming, for example, your needs will be far different than someone who needs a laptop primarily for word processing. Knowing what you will need your computer to do will help your pawnbroker find you the perfect laptop. You should consider things like:

  • Battery life: if you plan to use your laptop mainly near an outlet at all times, battery life may not be a concern. However, if you will need to take it with you, look for computer models that offer 8+ hours of battery life.
  • Platform: Windows vs. IOS is an ongoing debate, but knowing which platform works for you will help narrow down your search considerably
  • Size: in this instance, size does matter – if you plan to carry your laptop around, the difference in size could mean pounds. The smallest laptops, at around 11 inches, weigh around 2 pounds, while the largest, around 18 inches, weigh about 6 or 7 pounds.

Brands and platforms

Sometimes, consumers try to cut corners by buying an off-brand laptop at retail. While we won’t point fingers at the less dependable brands, we can say that buying a brand that you’ve never heard of often results in high failure rates, subpar performance, and a short life span.

On the other hand, buying from your local pawn shop can mean getting a top brand at the same lower price as a lower-tier model. Your money will go much further than buying retail or online, netting you more features and capabilities without the added expense.

Some of the highly-regarded laptop brands that Central Mega Pawn always has on hand include:

  • Apple
  • Dell
  • Asus
  • Microsoft
  • Samsung

The computers stocked at Central Mega Pawn, and at any other reputable pawn shop, are gently used and have been tested for functionality before they go out on our shelves. We would never sell inferior merchandise; our thoroughness means that not only will you save money, but you will also get a machine that will likely last for a long time.

Why buy your next laptop computer from your local pawn shop?

Your local pawn shop will only offer you the best merchandise they can find. They will not buy inferior brands or broken or out-of-date computers. As a result, the stock of computers at your local pawn shop will likely be current or recent models at significant savings.

When you buy from a reputable shop like Central Mega Pawn, you can rest assured that you are purchasing legitimate goods in proper working condition.

There are many pawn shops in your community. Each one is as different as the people who run them, so be sure to visit as many as you can in your area before you decide where to buy. Some shops specialize in jewelry, firearms or antiques. Others, like Central Mega Pawn, are experienced enough to offer top quality items of any type.

Best practices for buying a laptop at your local pawn shop

Before you step foot into the first shop on your list, do your homework. Know what you will need your computer for, what peripherals you may need, and what similar machines are going for on sites like eBay. Although you may expect a slightly different price than what you see at auction sites, completed auctions will give you an idea of your computer’s current market value.

If possible, bring a USB drive with you to test the computer’s ports, or a CD or DVD to test its optical drive. A reputable shop like Central Mega Pawn will be open to letting you boot up the computer, checking drives and wifi within reason while in the shop.

In addition to testing features like drives, you should also test out:

  • The keyboard and trackpad: are they responsive? Do any keys stick, or are there dead spots on the trackpad? Any signs of unresponsiveness in these heavily-used features will mean trouble ahead.
  • The display: are there any cracks, scratches, or dead pixels? While display issues will generally not impede a laptop’s performance, any sign of these could imply damage.
  • The power adapter: is the cord in good condition? Fraying or discoloration of the power cords and adapter are signs of fault, damage, or overheating.
  • The case: is it excessively scratched or dented? Even if the computer boots up fine, if you are looking at a computer with a hard disk drive, a damaged case could mean that the drive took some bumps with its previous owner.

Be prepared to negotiate. While your pawnbroker needs to make a profit, their priority is moving items off their shelves. If there are faults you can live with, ask if they can bring the price down a little. For example, if the power adapter that comes with the computer is discolored a little, you can try to use that as leverage, since you will need to buy a replacement power cord soon.

At the end of the day, where you buy such a vital tool like a laptop is a personal decision. But, we can tell you from experience that buyers can find great deals on laptop computers at pawn shops on a nearly daily basis.

If you’re on the hunt for a high-quality and relatively new laptop at a price far below retail and market value, you owe it to your budget to give your local pawn shop a chance. If you are in the Inland Valley area, come visit Central Mega Pawn and see what we can do for you!