Welcome to The Laptop Project!
Hi 👋 I’m Brandon, and I run The Laptop Project. TLP is a project that was originally sparked around 2016 - when I was in college. For various reasons, it didn’t come to fruition until now. I’m very passionate about this project and I’m over the moon that I’ve finally been able to make it happen! Even if I did wear my desk chair out in doing so 😆
After some feedback from an early adopter, here are some links to relevant headings in this page for easy access:
|Purchase a laptop or gift card.||Getting One|
|Learn about the concessions system.||Concessions|
|Have your say on potential improvements for the project.||Have Your Say|
|Learn how you can support the Project in helping people.||Supporting The Project|
|View recent updates about the project on Facebook.||Facebook Page|
How it works
The Laptop Project is a unique one - in that it is not a charity, I am a sole trader, in fact. I buy laptops from places like pawn shops, Facebook Marketplace, eBay and many other places, repair & refit them if needed and then, if they meet the requirements, they are added to the project’s inventory.
From there, a consumer can either buy one directly, or apply for a concession. Once the transaction is complete, the consumer receives their laptop unit in the mail or, in some cases, by partnered courier or even by hand-delivery and they then own the unit outright.
What consumers get
Every laptop must meet or exceed a certain set of criteria:
- The structure of the unit must be sound
- Screen size of 11 inches
- 2 hours battery life (or 30 minutes in bright sunlight) under a reasonable use case
- 64 gigabytes or storage
- Basic WiFi connectivity
- The keyboard, screen, trackpad & charger must be functional
- The screen should not have cracks or large, deep scratches that interfere with readability
When shipped, every laptop will come with either Linux Mint 20 installed for machines after about 2007 or Linux Mint 19.3 for older machines - this is due to Linux Mint 20 no longer supporting 32-bit processors. Users can opt to install Windows, if they like, but due to licensing restrictions I can’t sell laptops with Windows installed without raising the price of the laptops - they’re already more expensive than I’d hoped during planning.
NOTE: Cosmetic damage like scratches in plastic components is to be expected - these units are second hand. In some extreme cases, you may also find that non-essential components like webcams or DVD drives don’t work. This is generally considered an acceptable sacrifice in the name of keeping unit prices affordable for everyone - so long as the unit still meets the requirements. However, if you need a webcam for video calls, for example, I may be able to swap the unit for you if you contact me.
Every unit comes with a guarantee that it will be capable of basic word processing and web browsing for 3 calendar months. If it fails during this period due to reasonable wear & tear and it was not damaged by the user, it is eligible for a refund or replacement.
If, within 6 calendar months, you no longer need the laptop and it is in good condition, you can return the laptop to me for £100 instant buyback. If this window passes, it can’t be returned in this way.
In my planning, I determined that laptops were the best suited to what this project aims to achieve: helping make tech accessible to everyone who needs it. Let me take you through my thought process:
We can rule these out straight away because everyone has one and they can be obtained very affordably now.
Desktop PCs were considered for a short time because they are really easy to work on and older hardware sells very cheaply on websites like eBay - however, shipping big desktops is difficult and costly, they are not portable, and they require a desk, chair, keyboard, mouse and monitor to be used making them rather budget-unfriendly. In the end, they were ruled out, too.
Tablets can be good to use for work under some circumstances - they’re relatively affordable nowadays, they’re portable, almost all of them have WiFi and everyone knows how to use Android. However, they aren’t ideal for writing things like Word Documents or making PowerPoint presentations and Excel spreadsheets are all-but out of the question, so they’re out as well.
That brings us lastly to laptops. A happy medium between tablets and PCs - some modern laptops can even fold up on themselves and be used as a tablet now. They are ideal because they balance portability, affordability and availability quite well. Besides, I had to pick something or I’d have no business 😆
There is also something I call concessions available for this project. Concessions allow part of the purchase price to be drawn from a fund, making the purchase even more accessible to users who have financial struggles. Applications are considered on a case-by-case basis, and depend on factors like individual circumstances, the amount available in the fund and much, much more.
I will endeavour to undertake fundraising activities when I am able - at present, COVID-19 makes many fundraising activities difficult. Additionally, anyone can donate to the fund at any time (via Square), if they’d like to support the project.
NOTE: The concessions system is separate from regular offers and promotions. Standard offers like £25 off are not drawn from the concession fund.
Laptops via this project currently cost £125. You can checkout a unit here. All payments are managed by my provider, Square. You can also purchase gift cards here if you’d like to help someone you know get a laptop.
However, if you’d like to apply for a concession, please contact me whichever way is best for you and we’ll work together to arrange something.
Supporting the project
The best way you can support the project is simply to spread the word on Faceboook and Twitter - the best thing for this project as of right now is people knowing about it. Additionally, if you’d like to help consumers get a concession, you can donate to the fund - in this case, every little really does help. Whatever you do for the project, I’m very grateful. If you’re a local business, you can also support the project another way;
Partnerships will be key to this project long-term - help is always appreciated in procuring new laptops, fundraising or just raising awareness. However, as the project grows, it will become important to have partners in local distribution, repairs and recycling of e-waste such as end-of-life batteries and much more. All partnered companies will be listed on this page (unless they request otherwise).
If you’re a business looking for more information about partnering or you’d like to discuss terms, please get in touch.
Have your say
I am always open to feedback from users all around my website and services, and that includes with this project. If you have any suggestions for improvements, please fill in this short form or get in touch and I’ll be happy to have a discussion with you!
Staying in the Loop
Last, but definitely not least, if you’d like to receive updates about the project, announcements about fundraisers, promo-codes, and chances to win prizes, you can subscribe to the mailing list or follow the Facebook Page.