Whether you are replacing an old laptop, want a more powerful laptop or just buying a brand new laptop for the first time in Zimbabwe, getting yourself the best deal can be a confusing task. A laptop is a big buy and you don’t want to make mistakes.

We buy laptops often and have figured out a thing or 2. We also asked our techie friends and they had some great tips to share. Here’s what you need to know before making the laptop investment:


1. Know what you need

Before you even start shopping and price checking, first define your needs clearly. Laptops come in all shapes and sizes and their power and what you can do with it, varies from laptop to laptop. When buying a new laptop, you need to be clear about what you need the laptop for.

Are you just going to use it to browse the internet? A very basic laptop in the $350 – $400 range will do. Most laptop needs fit in this category. However, if you open many internet pages (tabs) at once, while watching a movie and playing songs at the same time, it can quickly get sluggish and frustrating.

If you’re going to be editing photos and doing heavier work you need more power and should budget around $550 going up. Tasks like editing videos will need even more power, so will playing heavy games and you may even need to budget more than $1,000.

2. Second hand or brand new?

Try by all means to buy a brand new laptop. Second-hand laptops are usually the kind of stuff a person wants to throw away but still get some money out of it. Unless your budget really, really won’t allow you to, go brand new of course, but then know you may be getting into problems. The other problem with second hand, unless buying from someone close is, you may buy a stolen laptop, or, if you’re not technical enough, you may buy something that has had it’s insides compromised.

3. Not all brand new HPs are HPs.

If you’re not sure about a shop and they are not accredited by the manufacturers of the laptop you want, then avoid it. A lot of suppliers of laptops buy cheap imitations from China and brand them with ‘official’ brand names.

All major laptop brands have official retailers in Zimbabwe. To find out if a retailer is an authorised reseller just Google for the list of authorised resellers in Zimbabwe by that manufacturer. For example, Googling “HP authorised partners resellers Zimbabwe” will show this HP page and it’s easy to check if that shop is listed.

Another thing to look out of is that if a dealer doesn’t offer you a warranty of some sort and gives you the “no refunds after you walk out of the door.”  That’s a sign you don’t want to buy from them.

Finally, if it’s too good to be true, it’s probably not true. If the shop says the price of the brand new laptop is less than $200 be very suspicious, you’re probably buying a fake, or refurbished machine being passed off as brand new.

4. But sometimes you can’t afford brand new

In those cases where you really can’t afford brand new, then be on the lookout for this: If the price of the second hand laptop is less than $100 be careful –  9 times of out 10, it’s a bad lemon.

5. Which HP brand should you buy?

So depending on who you ask, one techie will tell you “Lenovos are the best!”, another, “HPs are awesome”, or “Careful buying a Toshiba!” and some will swear by their lives that “Dells are the only credible machines out there”. Or Acer this, Asus that and Apples taste the best!

Unfortunately, we won’t tell you which is the best, because the truth is that, it depends on a lot really. This really is a matter of preference and how much money has gone into marketing for the brands.

So when buying a laptop in Zimbabwe (or anywhere else really) just know what you need, avoid second hand, avoid fakes, and remember, if it sounds too cheap to be true…

Thanks to @263CodeNinja  for most of the tips!

This article was first published on Techzim