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My experience as a student looking for a new laptop and why I decided to rent

Ten in the morning, my coffee ready and the desk tidied up, with all the determination and drive I finally sit down to work on my thesis, I try to turn on my laptop and it doesn’t respond. I check the charger and the light comes on, but the computer doesn’t notice. I hold the start button for record time, I try all the keys in a kind of crazy piano symphony tending towards desperation… the machine resists, impassive, stubborn. Everyone is aware: technological breakdowns usually happen at the least opportune moment.

It’s hard for me to accept what I already saw coming: I need a new computer. After all, my Acer Aspire has been with me for 7 years now. She accompanied me throughout the entire master’s degree, we went around half the world, we wrote acceptable amounts of papers. It’s fair to say that after a good life her time has come. It’s also fair to say that technology has become increasingly disposable, the speed of advances seems to have the opposite effect on the longevity of many gadgets.

Na ja! That’s how my self-sacrificing search for a new work and study partner began; a search that I thought was appropriate to document, since it is inevitably a situation that will happen to everyone at some point. Looking for a new computer is overwhelming to say the least when students have deadlines to deliver, pending work coming up, a ridiculous budget, and a limited notion (unless your career is informatics) of the existing equipment that suits our possibilities.

So I started by making a list of what a student like me looks for on a computer:

good value for money, lightness because I want to take my laptop everywhere, a lasting battery for long sessions of writing, graphics creation, photo and video editing, but above all we return to the quality ratio where the most important is the PRICE.

Considering these factors, I decided to limit my search to the following specifications:

a 14” screen, a weight of less than 1.5kg, an advertised battery life of at least 12 hours, no less than 8GB RAM, preferably 16, and a (at least) i5 processor. I added the latter on the advice of a friendly clerk at Mediamarkt. My parents kindly offered me their help in financing; However, I wanted to look for something I could purchase with my own student balance.


On my path of ideas, the first thing was to approach, along with my list of specifications, the stores for new electronics: I visited three branches of Mediamarkt and one of Saturn (which for practical purposes is the same). The day I was at Saturn, no one could help me because the employees were on strike. I was invited to return another time. At Mediamarkt I did receive advice. I was interested in one of the Notebooks, but I was disappointed to hear that with my status as a temporary resident foreigner I do not qualify for monthly financing in the store. The purchase there was ruled out, since my student budget does not allow me to buy the equipment in a single payment. However, they told me about the equipment rental service associated with the store (I will explain the details later).


At the same time, I consulted other ideas with friends and colleagues, who suggested I opt for a more economical and sustainable alternative. Why buy a new product when we can give new life to one that is no longer useful to someone else but is in good condition? For this there are different possibilities, I reviewed three: One idea was buying the equipment through Amazon. The company has a “Warehouse Deals“ site dedicated to used or refurbished products with lower prices and significant offers. It’s also possible to buy them with monthly payments. However, I’m not a big friend of this consumer giant, so I was more interested in the alternatives Refurbished Deutschland and mySWOOOP.

Both digital stores announce the possibility of buying repaired technology up to 40% cheaper than new one. They also offer a warranty that ranges from 12 months (in the case of Refurbed) to 36 (with myswooop) and includes shipping costs. Both are very good possibilities if you are interested in this type of alternative. According to my comparisons, the first has a broader catalog and even lower prices. Although the computer I ended up purchasing was not offered in any.


As I mentioned earlier, Mediamarkt and Saturn partnered with a technology rental service: Grover. One option is to ask in physical stores what equipment can be rented (honestly there are very few of those on display), or (I highly recommend it so as not to waste your valuable time and have access to the discount) you choose directly in the digital portal. To do this you will need to create a profile on Grover.com and verify your identity by scanning your ID and allowing a short video of your face.

On the portal you can see what equipment is available and this changes fast (even in one day, so don’t think about it too much). I sense that they have a fairly limited quantity of certain models, since my favorite options went out of stock very quickly. You can also select the duration of the contract (from 1 to 24+ months), the price changes (cheaper the longer the rental time) and most importantly: YOU CAN ACCESS A STUDENT DISCOUNT!

Student discounts.
Source: Grover.com

In the menu section Studentenrabatt it is explained that you normally have two discount options when you are a student: a) 15% less on each month of rent, or b) the first month completely free. It is up to you to figure out what is best for you based on the price of the equipment and the duration of the contract. Outside of this there may be other interesting temporary offers, such as 20% less for new members, 20% on certain Apple or Lenovo computers. The point is that there are several discounts, although they are not combinable. To access any of them you need to register, in turn, in their partner service StudentBeans, which is very simple. If you register with the uni email you do not need to present any other document to prove your student status. Additionally, Grover offers discounts of 10% per month for Uni-Absolventen (those who have completed their studies within the last 2 years) and professors.

I ended up being convinced by the service and chose a Lenovo ThinkBook 13s from the catalog (one of the cheapest options offered with the specifications I was looking for), paying around 25 euros per month for 6 months. I consider it a trial period to see if I really like the laptop and to see what life has in store for me between now and then. By then, my thesis should be finished and perhaps I’ll take the opportunity to take a break from the digital world. I also believe it’s a good alternative to ensure that you always have a functioning equipment, that repairs will not be at your expense if the damage is at an operational level and that, if you wish, you can update your technology more often participating in the circular economy, which is also sustainable.

After almost a week waiting for the arrival of the computer, I received a message stating that by mistake they had offered it when it was not really available in the warehouse. Now I have to choose another one from the catalog. A somewhat unfortunate situation, but I suppose it happens.

Finally, and to illustrate my observations, I present a comparison of two favorite Notebooks in my search, which as you know are very popular in the university world:









Lenovo Yoga 7 899 € 420-770 € 44,90 € (pro Monat, 12 months)
MacBook Air 13” 879 € 206-750 € 514-990 € 44,90 € (pro Monat, 12 months)

I hope that my experience will help you if at some point in the future (I hope very distant) you find yourself in the same situation. Where would you have acquired a computer? I’m always happy to read your comments and preferences. Wishing a long life to all your tech equipment, see you soon!

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