Apple Refurb or Lightly Used w/ Apple Care?

Larrabee213

macrumors regular
Original poster
May 27, 2009
122
13
Need some thoughts on this. After having keyboard issues with my 2017 15" MBP (and two replacements) I decided to go back to the 2015 15" in hopes Apple will revise the 15" MBP to resolve the reliability issues. Also I just hate the keyboard in general. Reliability is a top priority for me and my business.

I ordered a Refurb 2015 2.5ghz/512Gb/dGPU from Apple over the weekend for $1949. But then when I was browsing eBay I found the same model that was lightly used in excellent shape (6 cycles on the battery) with Apple care to mid 2019 for $1599. So basically a $400 savings (considering tax). But there is no way to know how old/used it is.

I decided that was a better deal and canceled the 15" refurb and Apple was going to reroute it back to them and refund the sale. But it looks like they didn't successfully do the reroute as it was just delivered.

Now I am considering just keeping the refurb, which basically should be new and just eat the return shipping on the one from eBay (I might even be about to reroute it back to the sender).

My priorities are to have a clean machine that will be reliable for 18-24 months. The apple store is 30 minutes away and my work keeps me so busy a trip there is hard to do outside of the weekend. While I do a good amount of video editing, most of my work is podcast production. Also this is a business expense. What would you do?
 
Last edited:

newellj

macrumors 604
Oct 15, 2014
7,304
2,306
East of Eden
18-24 months? I'd keep the refurb and buy AC (now AC+) for it. IMHO there's too much that can go wrong with any current laptop but especially the 15" rMBP to take a gamble on a 24 month purchase where the warranty is going to expire roughly 25% of the way through your expected service life.
 

jerryk

macrumors 601
Nov 3, 2011
4,860
2,405
SF Bay Area
I would go with the refurb. With used you do not know anything about the system. With a refurb you know Apple has given it a check, and is willing to provide you a one year warranty, and an optional 2 additional years for a total of 3 years from purchase date.
 

Naimfan

Suspended
Jan 15, 2003
4,669
1,996
It depends on the Applecare on the used one. If it is under the factory 1 year warranty, and you can still add Applecare to it, I'd go that route. If, on the other hand, it was purchased in 2015 and the extended Applecare will run out in 2018, I'd stick with the refurb and put Applecare on it.
 

Larrabee213

macrumors regular
Original poster
May 27, 2009
122
13
It depends on the Applecare on the used one. If it is under the factory 1 year warranty, and you can still add Applecare to it, I'd go that route. If, on the other hand, it was purchased in 2015 and the extended Applecare will run out in 2018, I'd stick with the refurb and put Applecare on it.
The used one is covered under Apple care until April 7, 2019. So I am guessing they got it spring 2016. Also has 6 cycles on the battery.
 

Naimfan

Suspended
Jan 15, 2003
4,669
1,996
The used one is covered under Apple care until April 7, 2019. So I am guessing they got it spring 2016. Also has 6 cycles on the battery.
I'd be more inclined to save the money and get the used one, then. The refurb with tax is probably about $2100, plus ~$300 for Applecare, which saves you ~$800 (depending on tax rate and price of Applecare).
 

Mlrollin91

macrumors G5
Nov 20, 2008
13,480
8,689
Ventura County
The used one is covered under Apple care until April 7, 2019. So I am guessing they got it spring 2016. Also has 6 cycles on the battery.
That few of battery cycles on a potentially 18month old machine could be problematic. Batteries like to be used and if the originally owner only kept it plugged in 24/7, the health could have seriously depleted. You you go that route, make sure to have the seller send you information about the battery health (Coconut battery).
 
Last edited:

Larrabee213

macrumors regular
Original poster
May 27, 2009
122
13
I thought you'd said 2018. 2019 starts to feel like a coin toss.
Sorry about that, I mistyped. Fixed it in the OP.

That few of battery cycles on a potentially 18month old machine could be problematic. Batteries like to be used and if the originally owner only kept it plugged in 24/7, the health could have seriously depleted. You you go that route, make sure to have the buyer send you information about the battery health (Coconut battery).
Super good point, I didn't even think of that. I should be receiving it tomorrow. I will run the battery test app then. Thanks!
 

newellj

macrumors 604
Oct 15, 2014
7,304
2,306
East of Eden
That few of battery cycles on a potentially 18month old machine could be problematic. Batteries like to be used and if the originally owner only kept it plugged in 24/7, the health could have seriously depleted. You you go that route, make sure to have the seller send you information about the battery health (Coconut battery).
Speaking to the OP - this is correct. My lightly used early 2015, purchased in early 2015, has 69 cycles on it. This one looks like it's a year younger, but you don't know (and realistically will never know, even if you ask...) how it was used. Lithium batteries have a finite number of charge cycles but they also have a more or less finite chronological life, and prefer to be stored with a charge state in the middle range. Six charge cycles sounds like it was either kept in the box for most of the time or was left set up on the charging adapter on a desktop somewhere and was never moved around or used outside the house or office where it was kept.
 

ZapNZs

macrumors 68020
Jan 23, 2017
2,310
1,150
If reliability is the top factor, I would keep the refurb - especially if battery life is important.
 

jerryk

macrumors 601
Nov 3, 2011
4,860
2,405
SF Bay Area
Speaking to the OP - this is correct. My lightly used early 2015, purchased in early 2015, has 69 cycles on it. This one looks like it's a year younger, but you don't know (and realistically will never know, even if you ask...) how it was used. Lithium batteries have a finite number of charge cycles but they also have a more or less finite chronological life, and prefer to be stored with a charge state in the middle range. Six charge cycles sounds like it was either kept in the box for most of the time or was left set up on the charging adapter on a desktop somewhere and was never moved around or used outside the house or office where it was kept.
1000 is the estimate Apple gives as to the number of cycles on the battery. If the charge does not hold over 80% charge before that time they will usually replaced the battery under warranty.

https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201585
 

Fishrrman

macrumors P6
Feb 20, 2009
17,209
5,554
Keep the refurb.
It's a "known quantity".

Buying someone else's used model, you never know what you'll be getting.
I've seen numerous posts here from someone with a used computer they bought, that apparently seemed ok at first, then started having problems.
First thing I think when I see a post like that is, "well, that's why the first owner sold it!"...
 

Naimfan

Suspended
Jan 15, 2003
4,669
1,996
I've had a number of used computers and have never had a problem. In point of fact, I've had more problems with the 2016 15" that I bought brand new than with all the used Macs I've bought . . . combined.
 

newellj

macrumors 604
Oct 15, 2014
7,304
2,306
East of Eden
There were early 2015 13" rMBP refurbs with 16 gb on the Apple site today, 512gb and 1tb. Snagged one of the 1tb versions.
 

Larrabee213

macrumors regular
Original poster
May 27, 2009
122
13
Seems like the consensus is the apple refurb is the best bet? Worth the extra $400 to have basically a new inspected machine?
 

newellj

macrumors 604
Oct 15, 2014
7,304
2,306
East of Eden
Seems like the consensus is the apple refurb is the best bet? Worth the extra $400 to have basically a new inspected machine?
That's my own personal feeling. There's a lightly used version of the machine I just bought from Apple for sale here locally for about the same difference you're looking at, and it has AC through some time next year. I feel like the guaranteed like-newness of the refurb, and the chance to buy my own AC+ and run the warranty out for a full three years, is worth the additional cost. I guess I'm saying that if I were voting with my own money, rather than yours - which is what I just did - I'd go for the higher priced refurb.
 
  • Like
Reactions: jerryk