LaptopsKenya as a country has a big problem. I’m not talking about the kind of political or economic problems you’re thinking of. When it comes to getting the devices and gadgets we truly desire, the furthest we can do is watch their reviews on YouTube and if you have the heart for it, import one from overseas. Otherwise, sourcing for one locally is an extreme sport and I took that leap off the cliff.

Around November of 2017, an unfortunate event rendered me laptop-less amongst other gadgets but the rest were not hard to replace. Since then, I have been in the market looking for a laptop. My search took me to stores such as Saruk, Avechi, Bright Technologies, Ebrahims and many more shops at Jamia Mall, all in Nairobi.

During this search, I realized that there is a serious problem that needs to be addressed. A problem that was consistent with all these shops. To better understand the situation, here’s a list of everything broken in the computer retail space in Kenya:


I have no problem with refurbished units, they are a good way for people to get great laptops at a discounted price and more often than not, they serve you well without any issues. The problem is that Kenyan retailers are selling refurbs as “brand new” – especially shops at Jamia Mall.

The sales agent boldly assures you that the laptop on display is brand new, flip it over and there’s a clear sticker indicating that it is a factory refurbished unit. I noticed this with HPs, other brands didn’t indicate whether the unit was a refurb or not. Even worse, the box they get it out of is clearly marked, refurbished unit.

Several shops at Jamia tried to pass a refurb unit as brand new, only two out of the possible 10 that I visited were honest enough to tell me that they had refurbs and not brand new. Unfortunately, Saruk also tried to pull this one on me, I just walked out and never returned.


Like trying to pass a refurb unit as brand new was not bad enough, you should hear the prices that were being quoted. Jamia Mall shops had refurbs going for over 100k, which is plain crazy.

The most expensive shop was Bright Technologies. The prices there were approximately 10k higher than everyone else for the exact same laptop, actually, in some cases, Bright had an older model but their price was still higher than everyone.

Lack of Variety

Actually, HP and Dell were the only brands with variety. Other like Acer and Asus are far from even being visible. Even for HP and Dell, the variety is just better than the rest but not extensive. Getting a 2017 model HP laptop was a problem. Getting the Dell XPS series was also a problem.

Shops such as Avechi have them on their website but they are not in stock, leaving me to wonder why they could not just indicate that in the first place but I guess e-commerce is not for everyone.

Oh, Ebrahim’s Electronics lost its glory a long time ago. The place now looks like a shack, poor service, don’t care employees and I once thought they were the miracle we needed.

False Advertisement

Speaking of e-commerce, unless you have no alternative, please don’t buy online from any Kenyan shops. These guys will have laptop A on their website but when you visit their shop, they show you laptop B. They use images off the internet and if you fall for it, your heart will be shattered into a million pieces when you find out the laptop you have in hand looks nothing like what they showed you online. The biggest culprits of this were Bright Technologies and Saruk.

I finally got the laptop I wanted, the irony is I got a new one from a shop at Jamia Mall for a fraction of the price but the problems mentioned above are still there and they need to be addressed. Until we get a reliable computer sales shop, anyone looking to get a new laptop, put on your reflective jacket, some protective gloves and a helmet because it’s going to be a bumpy ride.


  1. I have been ranting about this for many years now. My option has always been to import even though it comes with extra costs. The other thing i find irritating is the lack of technical knowledge, you go looking for a laptop with specific specifications and somebody pulls out a refurbished stupid Celeron and tells you “ata hii inaweza tu na haina scratches”.

    • Exactly, Most of these guys prey on Kenyans’ lack of knowledge. Most people find it too geeky to research on specs, and after they have been fooled by sales is only when they realise the gadget they bought doesn’t match the task at hand. Can you be conned online on Ebay, Amazon? sure, but I would rather buy online from highly rated sellers on the site. It’s a leap of faith but it’s better and they usually have a good dispute mechanism set in place.

      I have a 128GB pixel phone which cost me less (+shipping) than a 32GB one sold locally. I understand the needs of business to make profit and pay rental costs etc but not only is the pricing is ridiculous, you are not sure you will get the actual phone as most sellers online use photos sourced from international blogs et al to display the product. If you have it, why not snap a picture of it ? It just breeds mistrust….

    • I get your frustrations. Worry no more. Come to Redington Gulf in westalnds all your problems will be sorted by well qualified pre-sales experts. Redington is the only accredited IT distributor for most brands in Middle Easy and Africa at large

  2. Most of Jamia Mall retailors are con… I once worked with a guy there, sijui kama bado yee uuza hapo, he would replace new CPUs with an old one kwa brand new Laptops… Alafu most of the guys returned faulty devices only to be deceived for months until they gave up. It is almost impossible to get a laptop you need in Kenya at a fair price or condition… unless uende centre ya Dell au Hp but huko they are abnormally expensive (when you compare with international prices). Textbook centre is also an option.

  3. THANK YOU for writing this article. There is no chance to get a brand new laptop in Kenya without visiting 50 different outlets. I now advice people to buy laptops from Amazon, duty free or find someone going to Dubai (you will be surprised how many people do this business). The same thing also applies to the many fakes and refurbs smartphones sold in Kenya.

    • I get your frustrations. Worry no more. Come to Redington Gulf in westalnds all your problems will be sorted by well qualified pre-sales experts. Redington is the only accredited IT distributor for most brands in Middle Easy and Africa at large
      You will get value for your money.

  4. The concept of e-commerce retailers in Kenya is try to convince you to get to their shops. Once you get there, they’ll do everything possible to try convince you into buying a different device.

    Lile someone has mentioned on the comments, unatolewa kitu ingine mtu anakuambia “Hata hii ina weza” or even worse they’ll tell you “unajua hiyo unatafuta mtu amenunua sahii sahii nikama hata mmepitana” or something like ” unajua hiyo brand zilikua na shida zikatolewa kwa market so wame replace na hii (showing you a celeron while you looking for an i7).”

    The first time I shopped for a laptop in 2014 niliona maajabu. I wanted something sleek and high end. I went from being shown clearly cracked laptops on the casings to laptops with a charging and touchpad that was worn out and they were being advertised as brand new or slightly used for 1 month.

    Unaitisha receipt na original box ya the slightly new device unaambiwa owners wamebaki nazo ama zilitupwa. To me, that clearly meant that the laptops were stolen. I have sold a few devices on OLX na original box and receipt is something that makes my devices not last even a day on OLX. Too bad, they’re winding shop.

    Eventually, I found the laptop on Ebrahims Electronics and they were selling it at a whopping KES. 120,000/=

    I decided to contact a friend in Dubai and she walked on all Mega Malls there and did not find the laptops I specifically wanted. I had a choice of three to choose from. All were Asus. I kind of liked the pricing on laptops in Dubai. Kitu ya 70K huku huko ilikua around 40K and goodies were attached for free. Wireless headphones, wireless mouse, and free Kaspersky Internet Security. But Still I just wanted what I was looking for.

    So I decided to buy from the United States. Found it on Ebay. No goodies attached but at least I got it for 70K complete (Shipping costed 7000/= on USPS and the device arrived exactly in 2 and a half days). Device was 60K. If you ask me about taxes. Of cos I did not pay 3K. Jijazie.

  5. I’ve been buying my laptop computers at Arctic computer shop ( I’m yet to be disappointed. I’ve checked out bright but I found their prices way too high.The shops at Jamia are full of conmen in my opinion. I never buy anything from those shops.

  6. Getting a laptop in Kenya is a big challenge. The refurbished market makes it difficult for shop owners to stock brand new as buyers demand low priced gadgets. I miss the likes of Bestell, Bloomberg and Mitsumi computer garage. You’d get a laptop whose serial number on the packaging matches the one on the machine.

  7. Saruni you are a bad excuse for the fine blogging community in Kenya, apparently, whether you like it or not, Kenyans have already embraced convenience brought about by electronic shops… We even order meals and they are delivered pronto to our workplaces! Wacha panganga yako wewe!! Kenyans continue shopping online and build your country.

    • I’d rather he tells it as it is. Kenyans are been conned everywhere and it’s people like you who will continue to suffer if you can’t ask to get your moneys’ worth. Been an I.T pro, I get calls requesting to direct them where they can buy gadgets at a good price and with warranty. I do so gladly since a happy customer will always come back and refer you to friends too.
      But clearly all you shop online for is food…KFC and the rest have made a name for their quality. That’s why your yet to be disappointed!!!

  8. Jumia is good,Jamia mall can also deliver as long as you are ready to do your research and apply some common sense buying logic….Bright is expensive but the also do sell good and new stuff too…One could also check out supermarkets with electronics sections…..There used to be a store at Adams arcade called BJs….They were like an electronics supermarket but they closed shop for some reason….Maybe that’s what we need…an electronics supermarket with a wide variety of PCs and Laptops….personally I bought a nice new laptop from a distributor in Westlands at a very good deal.Been using it for years now so one could also try such

  9. Thank you for pointing out this issue with Avechi “Shops such as Avechi have them on their website but they are not in stock, leaving me to wonder why they could not just indicate that in the first place…”. This happens to like all the products and not just laptops. Like I once saw very nice phones and I went to check at their shop in person (3 brands), ponly to realize that NONE OF THEM WAS IN STOCK! They start giving you other varieties to choose from which, though not a bad thing, is still not a good thing either coz it is wasting a customer’s time. I suggested they update their website but it seems my pleas fell on deaf ears coz I was again shopping for another phone and saw one model which I liked. I decided to call first rather than visit like I had done the first time, only to learn that model (and four others I had picked as alternatives) were not in stock! A lady there told me she would text me other varieties that were in stock but she didn’t even bother! Avechi needs to style up and stop wasting our time!

    • That is what the majority of online retailers in Kenya do. Advertise what is not there to get you to their shop. Once you reach there, they try as much as possible to convince you into purchasing something else.

  10. I was planning to sleep at Mid-night, but this blog is hilarious. Nakufa nakicheko. “Ati hata hi inaweza, hata haina scratches” Hahahaha! Poor Kenyan Shopper, bogus sales guys & shops. Not just in IT, Electronics this craz is all over, Auto, Real Estate, Clothing, Food, Supermarkets, Fundis, Politicians, at schools, Hospitals etc. SUMMARY?? CORRUPTION, CONMAN/WOMANSHIP.

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