New or refurbished iPad "3"?
August 24, 2012 9:02 PM   Subscribe

Is it better to buy a new or refurbished ipad "3"? Apple is selling a refurbished current generation iPad 16GB Wireless for $50 off the retail price. Comes with 1-yr warranty too. My husband thinks it's not a good enough deal and that I should go for a new one. I'm tempted to save the $50. What would you recommend?
posted by lirael2008 to Computers & Internet (18 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
My refurb iPhone 4 has happily survived about two years with me and arrived looking indistinguishable from new. YMMV, but it's a risk I'd take again.
posted by gracedissolved at 9:05 PM on August 24, 2012

Every refurb gets a new battery and a new casing, which includes a new screen. That's pretty much covers 99% of the problems you're likely to ever have with an iPad, unless you get it wet. I'd say it's worth it.
posted by skewed at 9:12 PM on August 24, 2012

I've had good experiences with Apple refurbs (iPhone 4 and MacBook Air). $50 would buy a lot of apps. But if $50 isn't a lot of dough to your family, going brand new wouldn't be the end of the world. Do whatever causes the least amount of marital strife :)
posted by puritycontrol at 9:14 PM on August 24, 2012

We've bought a couple of Apple refurbs (an iPad and an iPod Touch), I wouldn't have known they weren't brand new. I've had my iPad nearly a year and it's fabulous, no problems. The touch is newer, but I expect it will be the same. I would buy the refurb and a $50 itunes card.
posted by upatree at 9:55 PM on August 24, 2012

I'd go for the refurb because it's been totally checked over by a tech. A new one fresh off the assembly line won't have had as much personal attention.
posted by hazyjane at 10:06 PM on August 24, 2012 [2 favorites]

I've had my refurb Touch for just over two years now. The home button has become intermittent, which is a pain but there's a workaround, and other than that it works just fine. I think the home button is a problem no matter how new the device, too - I've heard people who have had new ones flake out on them.
posted by PussKillian at 10:14 PM on August 24, 2012

I only ever buy refurbs for myself and family. No disappointments.
posted by MonsieurBon at 10:18 PM on August 24, 2012

Most refurbs have probably actually never been used, or at most barely been used, and they have a full warranty, so I see nothing at all wrong with refurb.
posted by Dansaman at 10:22 PM on August 24, 2012

On the other hand, 50/500 is only a 10% discount. If you buy a higher end ipad its less. Not worth it IMHO
posted by zia at 1:01 AM on August 25, 2012

You get the same warranty for a refurb iPad than you do if it is brand-new. A refurb is also eligible for AppleCare. So if you decide within that first year to get the extra two year warranty, you can do so.

I say get the refurb, take the savings where you can. I've had Apple refurb products before and have never regretted it.
posted by inturnaround at 3:55 AM on August 25, 2012

I have a refurb iPad 1 which I bought months after it came out. It's still going strong. Apple refurbs are excellent.
posted by katrielalex at 5:28 AM on August 25, 2012

Buying refurbed Apple products is indistinguishable from buying new. It's one of the best no-brainier type deals you can do.

To me, anytime I save money without giving up anything that's a good deal. Do you guys have a savings account? How many months or years does it take for you to accrue $50 in interest?
posted by zephyr_words at 6:48 AM on August 25, 2012

I've owned nothing but Apple refurbs since 2004, with the exception of a retail-purchase iPod Shuffle (which is okay, since the Shuffle never ever appears in the refurbs section), and I love 'em. I'm writing right now from a 2007-era Mac Mini refurb that's been trouble-free, and have 2 iPod Touches, an iPad 1, and an ancient G4 iBook that's still working great, albeit in a very limited capacity. The refurbs get a reconstruction and testing that actually makes them better inspected than the new stuff, and the same warrantees apply. My only clinker so far was the G3 iBook I bought in 2003 new from an actual Apple Store, which had the motherboard failure gremlin that was their bugaboo (though Apple replaced it under warrantee when the issue happened in the last month of my Applecare).

Mainly, you need to watch the Store refurb section for a while, as the availability of refurbs varies, and deals do, too. I find Tuesday mornings a good time for good deals.
posted by sonascope at 6:58 AM on August 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

I've not bought iOS refurbs, but I have happily bought Macs from the refurb shop; if anything, it's a better deal for an iPad, because the annual updates make it clear what you're paying for, and you don't have to check the specs to see whether you're buying the very last refresh or the one before.
posted by holgate at 8:34 AM on August 25, 2012

I bought an iPod Touch refurb and it developed a screen problem that I didn't notice until App,eCare had expired. Now I can't not notice it. Refurb is a good idea only if you're very careful about checking those things.
posted by gern at 9:48 AM on August 25, 2012

I bought an ipad 2 refurb and it arrived fresh from the factory in China looking and acting for all the world like a brand new ipad. A salesperson from the local apple store highly recommended the refurbs confirmed what skewed posted upthread. I got a great deal though --$319-- so for me it was a no-brainer. The money that I saved covered apple care, a smart case and a keyboard. Still $50 is $50. It will cover 1/2 of the apple care or a smart cover, a ton of apps, etc.
posted by kaybdc at 12:03 PM on August 25, 2012

I asked an Apple salesman about the refurbs and what it is that they deem as a refurb and what they do before they resell them. He told me that the refurbished items could be anything from a small glitch issue to a person who purchased and returned an item that has not even been taken out of the packaging.

The refurbs go through ten checks of every point that a new item does and he says that is nine more times than the new items.

His suggestion: buy a refurb if it is the model that you want with the specs you want but only from an Apple store. It still gets the same warranty as a brand new item so you really don't have anything to lose.
posted by Yellow at 12:45 PM on August 25, 2012

If you don't have an immediate need for an iPad 3 (or if you haven any interest at all in a possible cheaper, smaller iPad), you might want to wait until October.
posted by zanni at 5:00 AM on August 26, 2012

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