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Does the keyboard suit your preferences? Are the CPU and graphics processor sufficiently responsive? Is the particular model you received defective in any way?
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If there's something that bugs you in the first week or two, chances are you won't get used to it later. So take advantage of return privileges. Apple's return policy for Macs you purchase directly from the company is 14 days. If you're buying from a third-party seller, pay special attention to restocking fees, which can be painful if you return an item that isn't defective.
Newegg, for example, charges a 25 percent restocking fee for "opened, non-defective notebook and desktop PCs" that you send back within their return window. Refurbs are products that were returned after purchase. They've been cleaned up and repackaged so that they're almost indistinguishable from new merchandise one exception is Dell's "scratch and dent" category, which offers even deeper discounts if you're willing to accept minor cosmetic flaws.
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Typically, refurbs have the same warranty as new merchandise and qualify for extended warranties as well. Apple makes the refurb section difficult to find.
Here's a direct link: Apple refurbished and clearance. Dell refurbs are available in the Dell Outlet , which has separate sections for Home and Business. Even if you're looking for a business PC, it's worth checking out the Home selection. It's also worth following delloutlet on Twitter, where you can regularly find coupon codes to slash the price even further. HP and Lenovo also have refurb outlets, as do some third-party sellers, including Amazon's Woot.
With third-party sellers, be sure to check the warranty and return policies carefully.
Most new PCs and Macs include a basic warranty that covers defects in the first year. While that warranty is in effect, you can typically purchase an extended warranty that covers you for a second or third year. For laptops, the cost of a screen repair or a battery replacement, especially in a sealed unit, can be exorbitant, making a warranty worth considering.
For a Mac, AppleCare covers defects but not accidental damage. PC makers typically offer a range of warranty options. Dell offers similar accidental damage coverage that covers liquid spills, drops and falls including a damaged or broken LCD , and any damage caused by a power surge. The best time to buy this coverage is with the original purchase. In some cases, that's the only time you can buy it. And consider third-party protection policies as well. My colleague Jason Perlow has done a roundup of best and worst warranty options that contains some excellent advice.
It's no secret that hardware makers squeeze their very highest margins out of hardware upgrades on custom configurations. If you can do the upgrade yourself, you can sometimes save hundreds of dollars, even if you have to replace the manufacturer-supplied parts. If you want extra memory or a bigger hard drive, you need to buy a configuration that matches those specs. But some older MacBooks including models available new and as refurbs do allow upgrades. Newer PCs also sometimes offer the capability to increase storage.
On the HP Spectre x and the Dell XPS 13, you can replace the built-in storage with a higher capacity part that you buy separately. Make sure your replacement part is compatible! The storage in the latest MacBook Air is also reportedly upgradeable, although it's not easy.
You need the right tools and a bit of patience, but it's not a difficult job, especially if you search YouTube for videos that walk you through the process. That upgrade option isn't even available directly from Dell; and today, thanks to relentless price pressure on SSDs, you can get a 1 TB SSD as an upgrade for that price from Amazon and other third-party sellers.
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