Legacy Devices Productivity Purchasing

Learn From Home Tech Series – The Back to School Laptop Reframed


If you’re looking for a laptop with a budget under Php 25k, you MIGHT want to consider getting a second hand unit instead of a brand new one.

This week would be another start of term/semester for a number of learners and we just happened to have one with us that falls into this category. To prepare for this, we re-energized a laptop computer that I purchased around September of 2012, an HP Probook 4445s that cost 26k then… this computer is almost a decade old. We’re also keeping with us, at least until we get a proper courier for it, one of Acer’s most affordable computing units that is also targeted at learners – a brand new Acer Travelmate B3… this one cost around 14k (price varies depending on configuration, there’s a lot of SKUs for the Travelmate B3).

So what’s the point of this you might be thinking? Well I’ve personally been a fan of some of the older technologies that have been around. Albeit less elegant in the execution, theirs were continuous innovation informed by the technology of their time. Now, with the relentless march of the pandemic response and distance learning scenarios being the norm, the query is posted as such: Would the purchase of an older device actually be of merit instead of getting one of the latest ones at the entry level price point?

Here are the specifications for both the Travelmate (2021) and the Probook (2012) compared:

Now why is this even up for consideration? The best way to illustrate this is through a pro con list that would largely be representative of the options that are out there right now. Starting off with the new one, the Acer Travelmate B3

Brand new, expect everything to be working without any issues
Warranty exists
Updated features on components – Bluetooth 5, Wireless AC
Not too powerful, usually has Pentium Silver series to a max of Core i3 processors
Could be fragile… not the case with the Travelmate though, but it would be if you opt for one of those “online only” Chinese and/or Local brands. To wit there’s Dere, Chuwi, Ipason, Teclast, among others.

Next here’s the re-energized HP Probook 4445s

Generally faster, more powerful, equipped with older generation processors above Core i3 for the same amount of money to spend
Wider selection of brands, purveyors of such machines take from not just locally available brands and presences
Relatively quirky already, tons better if you can see or try for yourself, harder to blind buy
No Warranty… you can get maybe up to a week’s worth from the seller – if you’re lucky
Outdated component features, cannot fully utilize the speeds afforded by newer technologies that are available presently.

My recommendation is not going for something as old as what’s being compared here IF you’re choosing 2nd hand or used. 3 up to 5 year old units should be acceptable in terms of component integrity. It should be clean, free from major cosmetic issues, keys and hotkeys should all be functioning without the need for any sort of pressure, and the screen free from any dead pixels because this may be indicative of a bigger internal problem.

Otherwise, going for one of the non-mainstream brands is also not a bad idea if you’re looking for just “enough” power. Balance in entry level computing is better than pushing towards a bias in performance. Know what you need, and that’s when you get true value for your money.

About the author

Mark O.

Mark is an architect and artist who endeavors to design most anything that requires a little bit of thought into it.

Although writing is not considered a primary focus, a little too much time can yield many thoughts that are just begging to be written down.

Armed with a trusty array of content creation devices and surrounded with a continuous flux of technology and life, herein lies those that are fortunate enough to have been given presence through a little bit of movement and a whole lot of iterations.

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