Refurb MacBook Pro questions: is this within spec?

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by zettaichan, Nov 10, 2006.

  1. zettaichan macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2006
    #1
    Hi,

    I'm a switcher with a refurb 17" MacBook Pro (with Core Duo.) I was attracted by the amazing screen on the MBPs, and the cross-platform abilities.

    I got my machine from Small Dog Electronics. I was happy with their service, but I wonder if my refurb wasn't quite in the best condition.

    However, I've never had a Mac before, so I don't know if these things might be normal for this machine. Can anyone help me out with some info?

    Here are the things I've noticed.

    1. The hinges seem a little weak. I like to use my laptop while reclining in bed, with my knees up and the laptop balanced on my knees. The lid often falls closed when I have it raised like this. Should the hinges be stronger than that?

    2. The Function buttons across the top of the keyboard also double as controls for things like the display brightness and volume. But it seems like the brightness, volume, etc. are the primary uses of these keys and they don't seem to work as F8 or F9 or whatever. Are they supposed to be that way?

    3. I have a narrow band of light leakage across the bottom of the screen. Under most conditions it's faint and I'd say at worst it's about half an inch thick. The screen was the number one attraction of this computer for me. If all the 17" MBPs have this leakage, I can live with it, but if there's any way to get Apple to eliminate it, I'd like to do that, since the display is such a priority for me. So, is the light leakage in all these machines? If not, is it a hassle to get Apple to repair it?

    4. My MBP has a very small warp in the casing just above the latch button. The case bulges out very slightly there, making the latch button a little harder to press. This is definitely a flaw, but I'm wondering if Apple support would fix it, or whether they'd dismiss it as too small to be repaired.

    5. Another definite flaw: the latch doesn't fully catch. Only one side of the latch seems to connect. Would Apple repair that? It seems to interfere with the Sleep functionality... closing the lid doesn't put the MBP to sleep, I guess because it's not closing completely.

    Thank you for your time and for any information you can give.

    --
    AJ
     
  2. matticus008 macrumors 68040

    matticus008

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2005
    Location:
    Bay Area, CA
    #2
    Yes, they should be, but given that it's used, it would fall under normal wear and tear.

    Like all notebooks, the double-feature keys have to be activated by pressing the 'Fn' button before hitting the F key. If you'd prefer for them to default to F-keys instead of "feature" keys, you can change this in system preferences.

    Not in all of them, but also not a guaranteed part in a refurbished computer. It's one of the possible imperfections of a display from any manufaturer (I have a Dell with this problem but have never experienced it with a Mac unless I peer into the frame from an extreme angle). Apple will not repair it, as it's not a functional defect. Cosmetic appearance is not covered in any way, shape, or form with refurbished machines.

    Again, being refurbished, that is a minor physical imperfection that is possible with a used computer. Your retailer might exchange it for you if it's truly bothersome, but it's not covered by Apple.

    What kind of warranty coverage do you have? This is something that should be repaired and that if you have a 90-day warranty, they would do for free.
     
  3. mklos macrumors 68000

    mklos

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2002
    Location:
    My house!
    #3
    Well first of all, you bought a refurbished product so it is what it is. But to answer your questions:

    1. Normally they are tight. I had a 17" PowerBook G4 (last version before the Intel ones) and it was tight, but if you did get it at enough of an angle the display would start to close. When you have that large of a screen its hard to make it not do that without keeping it very hard to close on a normal basis.

    2. The function keys are basically useless on a Mac, so the way they work as you mentioned is correct for a Mac. I believe you can switch that around if I remember correctly from my PowerBook. I think its in the Keyboard system preference if I remember correctly. Although, like I said, 99% of the time the function keys are useless on a Mac unlike a PC.

    3. Its probably not normal, but then again you bought a refurbished computer so anything is possible.

    4. They probably won't fix it because it doesn't effect the way the computer works.

    5. Apple may repair that because it does effect the way the computer works.

    Like I said in a previous post here, refurbs are a crap-shoot. You can get a really good one or a really bad one. Its the chance you take when buying one. Honestly if I were going to spend that much money on something like that, I'd get a brand new one, but I can understand that some people don't have the money for those things....
     
  4. mklos macrumors 68000

    mklos

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    #4
    All new/refurbished Macs have a 1yr limited warranty. So its covered under warranty. Its just that some of the problems aren't problems that effect the way the computer works so they may or may not fix them. Its a refurbished computer so there's no guarantees its going to look like a new Mac. Its going to have scrapes and scratches on it.
     
  5. matticus008 macrumors 68040

    matticus008

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    Location:
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    #5
    Naturally, as I mentioned in my post almost exactly what you said in yours :). The latch is the one that would be eligible for repair.
     
  6. zettaichan thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2006
    #6
    Thank you to all of you for your advice!

    I suspected the case bulge is probably within spec but I did wonder about the latch, since it affects how the machine performs. It's good to hear that it's probably something I can take in and get fixed.

    Well, personally I don't really consider a flaw in the display to be an issue of "cosmetic appearance"-- I don't mind if the case is scuffed (which it is) and I consider that a cosmetic defect only. But the display is important to me, since I'm using this computer professionally for web design, and I bought a MBP primarily for the display, which is miles better than any PC laptops I considered.

    As long as I'm making an Apple Store appointment to have them look at the latch, I'll probably point out the light leakage and see what they say about it. But I'll keep this advice in mind, so if they tell me it's not something they'll fix, I won't be surprised or disappointed.

    Thanks again!

    --
    AJ
     
  7. matticus008 macrumors 68040

    matticus008

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    Jan 16, 2005
    Location:
    Bay Area, CA
    #7
    Just in case they don't offer an explanation (or what they say isn't clear), the reason that's a cosmetic defect is that it results simply from a misalignment of the display frame or a weakening of the adhesive on the flashing of the display.

    If you've experienced purchasing a home, this is the equivalent of that one wall in the hallway being 2 degrees from plumb and making that expensive painting hang slightly off-kilter no matter what you do. Or, to use a tired car analogy, it's your bumper being slightly higher on one side and exposing the wheel well liner. In other words, a fit and finish issue rather than an electrical or mechanical problem.
     
  8. mklos macrumors 68000

    mklos

    Joined:
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    #8
    If you wanted a perfect computer, then you should have bought a brand new one. Especially if something like the display is important to you. God nows what conditions your refurbished MBP went through before it was sent back. Hell, Apple could have shipped you a MacBook Pro with some dead pixels on it and as long as its within the lesser amount Apple specifies, then they won't fix it. With refurbished products, you get what you get...

    But yeah, I agree that about that only thing they may replace is the latch as it effects the way the computer sleeps and can potentially become a threat to the notebook if it gets to the point where it won't stay closed at all.
     
  9. zettaichan thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2006
    #9
    I did a lot of research, and from what I've read about the build problems with MacBooks and MacBook Pros, buying new doesn't guarantee a perfect system by any means.

    Apple claims they inspect and repair all their refurbs and stand behind them. They're supposed to be refurbished, after all, not just thrown back in the box and sold to someone else. If you're saying Apple are liars and the quality of their refurbs are poor, then thanks for the belated warning, I guess.

    I've heard from some other MacBook Pro owners that their new MBPs have a little light leakage too. I'd be considerably more upset if I'd paid the full price for a new system and had this issue.

    For anyone considering refurbs, I'd say that despite some very small disappointments, I'm happy with mine. I just want to make sure I'm getting the quality I'm entitled to under my warranty. I'm going to let Apple tell me if these issues are within spec. If they'll fix them, great, if not, I can live with them. I still like this computer better than any of the others I researched and considered.

    --
    AJ
     
  10. matticus008 macrumors 68040

    matticus008

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2005
    Location:
    Bay Area, CA
    #10
    No, but it does give you a much larger range of options in terms of working toward a flawless machine.

    They are inspected and repaired, but the problems you describe are almost completely cosmetic. They don't take any corrective action for those issues, nor does anyone who sells refurbished goods. Obviously if a computer is in truly poor physical condition, it will not be refurbished and resold. But light scratches, a few small dents or misalignments, a squeaky hinge, etc. are to be expected when buying used. Lots of refurbs look basically brand new; some don't and that's just the nature of the beast.
    This is a common issue with LCD displays. Like dead pixels, it's just a fact of life. If it's excessive, then it becomes a serviceable issue, but mere existence isn't sufficient. Frustrating though it may be, people do not pay for perfection when you buy most products, as no one would like the prices. People instead buy the closest cost-effective approximation of perfection. Everything has a saleable fault tolerance. Sterling silver is 99.9% pure; billiard balls are within 0.006" of perfectly spherical; car panels are usually guaranteed to be within 0.3" of perfect alignment, etc.
     

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