Buying Laptop From Amazon: Safe?

Here’s whether it’s safe to buy a laptop from Amazon:

In general, it is usually safe to buy a laptop from Amazon, but circumstances can vary. 

Amazon.com hosts a lot of different sellers, and they do not all live up to the same expectations. 

If you take the time to vet your seller and the laptop you want to buy, then you can get a good deal and have a good experience.

So if you want to learn all about whether it’s safe to buy a laptop from Amazon and what you need to pay attention to, then you’re in the right place.

Keep reading!

How Can You Vet Amazon Sellers?

Any time you buy something from an online store, you want to vet the seller. You might be thinking that Amazon is the biggest seller in the world and thoroughly vetted, but this isn’t always the case. Contrary to popular belief, not everything sold on the Amazon website is sold BY Amazon.

Look into who is selling the device. 

Ideally, you want to stick to Prime sellers. These are sellers that are in the Amazon infrastructure. The sale is backed by Amazon support and guarantees, and the item will ship directly from an Amazon warehouse.

Any store can make an Amazon webpage. They will not necessarily operate out of the Amazon infrastructure. If they don’t, you have a lot less guaranteeing the quality of your transaction. 

Stick with good sellers, and your entire experience is more reliable.

How Can You Vet the Laptop From Amazon Itself?

Even if you find a reliable seller, it doesn’t mean you’re going to get a good laptop. 

The problem is that laptops come in all varieties, and not all of them are suited to your budget and/or your intended use for the device. 

You need to know what you’re really getting, and a good checklist goes a long way.

Compare Manufacturers

The best place to start is with manufacturers. Who made the laptop? The big names in the industry are fairly reliable for quality (used laptops are another issue and will be covered later). 

Industry leaders are currently:

  • Acer
  • Apple
  • Asus
  • Dell
  • HP
  • Lenovo
  • Microsoft
  • MSI
  • Razer
  • Samsung
  • Toshiba

This is not a complete list of good manufacturers, but it’s enough to get you started. 

If you ever find a laptop that isn’t made from one of these, you can do a little research on the manufacturer to test their reliability as a brand.

Look Closely at Components

Manufacturer knowledge can help, but ultimately, you need to understand what is under the hood of the laptops you are considering for purchase.

Once you learn more about the components of laptops and what you need, your chance of getting a good deal and the right laptop goes up. 

When you evaluate your laptop by its components and verify the seller, you know that you are getting a computer that is right for how you want to use it. On top of that, if something does go wrong with shipping or the laptop out of the box, you have reliable customer support to remedy the situation.

For the most part, you want to look at five core components of every laptop: 

  • CPU
  • GPU
  • RAM
  • Hard drive
  • Operating system

Central Processing Units (CPUs)

The CPU is the single component that matters the most in your shopping. The vast majority of quality processors are made by either Intel or AMD (while Mac computers provide a good exception to this). A brand check is a good place to start.

You can also lookup the processor listed on the laptop to see more about its specifics. One of the most important things to check is the age of the processor. 

As a general rule of thumb, you want a name-brand processor that is no older than three years. Keep in mind that brand new laptops can have older generation processors in them.

You can do more homework on processors to deepen your understanding of what this device does and what specifications matter the most. 

You can learn about clock speeds, cache, and architecture to learn more about what makes some CPUs better than others. It’s a deep dive, but if you start with the advice you just read, it will go a long way.

Graphics Processing Units (GPUs)

The other most important component for a laptop is the GPU. Now, this can get a little complicated, but we’ll keep the conversation on the light side.

Every computer has a graphics processor, but the GPU is not always an individual device. Graphics processing can be integrated into the CPU, and that is, in fact, very common among budget laptops. 

In such a case, you’re not really gauging the GPU of the device. Instead, the CPU does all of the important work, and it controls the graphics processing too.

As you get away from budget laptops, you will find that plenty have a dedicated GPU. In these cases, the graphics processing unit is a separate component within the laptop that has its own specs that you want to compare.

You can always do more research and see what high-end GPUs look like, but to keep things easy, here’s the simple comparison. 

If you want to do intense gaming or video processing with the laptop, you should get one with a dedicated GPU. If that’s not your market, you don’t really need to worry about GPU specifications.

RAM

The computer’s memory, often called the RAM, is what is going to limit your ability to multitask the device. 

RAM is often called the short-term memory of a computer, and here’s the gist. More RAM makes a computer faster (there are conditions where this is not entirely true). Less RAM makes the computer slower.

You don’t need to worry too much about what kind of RAM is in a computer (when you stick with name-brand manufacturers). Instead, the real concerns are how much RAM is in the laptop and whether or not it can be upgraded.

How much RAM do you need? That’s a moving target. At the time of writing this, 8GB is enough for simple computer usage. At least 16GB is needed for intense gaming and video processing. 

Over time, operating systems tend to get more complicated, and they require more RAM to work at even the simplest levels. That’s one reason that upgradable RAM is so important.

Hard Drives

The hard drive is really just there to store all of the information on the computer. Hard drives don’t impact performance nearly as much as the items listed above, but they do matter. 

There are two things to consider for hard drives. First, solid-state hard drives are much faster than other types of hard drives. They are standard on most computers, but you can still find some new budget laptops that don’t have solid-state hard drives.

The other thing you need to think about is capacity. For your average user, a 1TB (terabyte) hard drive is sufficient. If you have tens of thousands of pictures or hundreds of hours of video, you might want a larger hard drive (which raises the price of the laptop). 

You can also supplement your hard drive space with external storage devices like flash drives or cloud storage accounts.

Operating Systems

The last thing to consider is the operating system. It’s a big deal because it determines almost everything about your user experience, and it’s one of the major sources of buyer’s remorse for people who buy computers online.

There are tons of different operating systems in the world, but when it comes to mainstream choices, there are three for a laptop.

Windows is far and away the most common. Windows gets upgraded over time, but for right now, Windows 10 and 11 are both viable. Any laptop with an older version could come with a lot of problems.

Mac OS is another common operating system, and it is only available with Apple computers. If you get a Macbook of any kind, it should come with Mac OS.

The third common operating system for laptops is Chrome. Chrome is a viable operating system that a lot of people love, but it’s important to understand that it is designed specifically for Chromebooks. These are laptops with low-end configurations that are designed for very light use. 

Chromebooks are extra affordable, which is the point. But, depending on how you intend to use your laptop, a Chromebook might not be up to the task.

Check the Sales Conditions and Warranties

As you can see, the most important thing you can do to protect yourself when buying a laptop from Amazon is to check out the specifications of the laptop. 

As long as you do that, you’re in pretty good shape, but you need to look into the conditions of the sale too. Consider a few questions to think about how to protect yourself from potentially unpleasant vendors.

What is the return policy?

This always has to be a concern. A disreputable seller would have a strict no-return policy. In that case, if you receive a laptop that does not live up to your expectations, you might just be out of luck. 

So, stick with sellers with a good return policy. Most Prime sellers will fit this mold, but there can always be exceptions, so keep an eye out for return policies.

Are there special shipping circumstances?

If you have to pay a bunch of extra money for shipping, it can ruin a deal. Similarly, if the laptop is being shipped from another continent, it might not get to you very quickly. 

If you are on a strict timeline, shipping is always important.

Is the computer used?

Some sellers might be shy about this, so make sure the page has a commitment that promises you a new laptop. If you’re shopping for used laptops, that’s fine, but understand the risk. 

Most laptops are only warrantied for one to three years, and typical laptops become obsolete within five years of production.

Always double and triple-check the age of a used laptop. Also, look for guarantees that protect you in case the used laptop has issues.

What are the warranties?

Warranties matter too. Most major laptop manufacturers provide a limited hardware warranty for one year. If you’re ordering a new laptop, you should expect at least that much from your warranty. If it’s used, all bets are off.

Some sellers will offer upgraded warranties that cost extra money, and they might offer these as a default option. That means you could be paying hundreds of extra dollars (USD) for a warranty that you may or may not want. 

Take a moment to look over warranties. Make sure you’re comfortable with the warranty and what it covers.