Apple Refurbs: Should I or Shouldn't I?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Caitlyn, May 26, 2006.

  1. Caitlyn macrumors 6502a

    Jun 30, 2005
    Hey guys.
    So as some of you might know, I'm in the market for an Intel Mac. I've been planning on spending about $1300-$1399 on it, at most. So that means a 17-incher. But I was looking at the Apple Refurb Store just for fun and came across the fact that 20" iMac 2GHz Core Duos come stock refurbished for $1399. So, I'd get a bigger screen, bigger hard drive and more powerful processor. The only thing that I'm a bit weary about is the fact that it's refurbished. I mean, am I buying someone else's problem? Has anyone had some nice experiences with refurbs from Apple they'd like to share?

    Thanks! I really appreciate it. :)

    PS: Oh, and a quick question, the new Intel iMacs have the ability to expand their desktop correct to a DVI screen such as the 20" ACD? Just double checking. :)
  2. jsw Moderator emeritus


    Mar 16, 2004
    Andover, MA
    First, yes, the desktop can be expanded to a 20" (or larger, in fact) screen (DVI or VGA or even S-video), which is great. Supported resolutions are quite good.

    Second, the refurb stories span the whole spectrum, but, given that people with problems complain the loudest, I'm guessing that you're probably going to be just fine with one. Yes, there might be a minor issue, but it's still probably worth the discount - and any real problem would be covered under warranty.
  3. Abulia macrumors 68000


    Jun 22, 2004
    Kushiel's Scion
    My refurb iMac (about a year ago) was DOA. Returned for a full refund; wasn't playing that game with them.

    Unit looked like new, paperwork was fine, etc. Some small external signs of wear.
  4. kevin.rivers macrumors 6502a


    Dec 4, 2005
    I would say go for it. I have heard more good stories than bad ones. Even the magical upgrade model(which would be awesome indeed). I opted for the used router to save a litte more cash.

    Most refurbs as far as I have heard have some signs of use, like scuffs scratches, etc.

    The other reason I opted to go used was because I would rather buy from a fellow Mac user because:

    1: It helps them out
    2: I know where it is coming from and it's history, granted appl reconditions, but I have no idea why they had to and who had it before. It could have been an evil switcher for all I know, :p
    3: Chances are they took good care of it
    4: You still have the Apple Care option(if it is relatively new of course, I am getting 20" iMac intel so it still have warranty left)
    5: I like having the retail box. I have found when reselling computers it helps.
  5. eji macrumors 6502


    Jun 8, 2004
    Inland Empire
    My sister just bought a refurb 17" Intel iMac and is thrilled with it. The remote was a bit scuffed, but she took it to her local Apple store and got a brand new one, no questions asked.

    I've often heard that refurb models are better than fresh factory models because they've been rigorously inspected for hardware flaws. The DOA comment above proves that's not one hundred percent true one hundred percent of the time, but on the whole you might be better with a refurb than a factory model -- and there's no beating such great prices.
  6. Caitlyn thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jun 30, 2005
    Kevin, good points. Thanks. But I will be buying from Apple directly so I was hoping there wouldn't be much if any signs of use. Can anyone vouch for that using an Apple refurbed computer? Also, what is the magical upgrade?
  7. Abulia macrumors 68000


    Jun 22, 2004
    Kushiel's Scion
    You'll get, at a minimum, the machine your ordered. It isn't uncommon to get more memory, a larger hard drive, etc. It's the nature of refurb hardware.
  8. kevin.rivers macrumors 6502a


    Dec 4, 2005
    Almost all refurbs have been used by someone, as the about comment pointed out you will see scuffs, scratches etc. You may get lucky and get a fresh return that was inspected and therefore was not used. I don't know how Apple treats returns or how they come across the models they refurbish. Chances are though you will see some signs that is has been used. So prepare for the worst and maybe you will be surprised.

    I am buying a used one that was treated very well. So I am not too worried about it being messed up.

    The Magical Upgrade is a model that had been upgraded at the time of original purchase(hard drive, gpu, memory). When you buy a refurb you are buying a base model, so you are guaranteed at least that much. You may get some upgraded components though. This doesnt happen in every case. It can happen though.
  9. Danksi macrumors 68000


    Oct 3, 2005
    Nelson, BC. Canada
    I've just ordered a refurb'd Airport-Express, for the shared-network printing and airtunes in the study. Hoping it's a worthwhile option.

    My next Mac will either be a new Intel-PowerMac or a refurb'd PowerMac G5 (I'm assuming there won't be any refurb'd Intel PowerMac's for quite some time).
  10. Caitlyn thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jun 30, 2005
    Cool, thanks guys. So, basically, refurbs are just computers people returned because they didn't want them, not because they didn't work, correct? Meaning, my would-be machine would work without any issues, as Apple would have already taken care of those in the refurbing process?
  11. m-dogg macrumors 65816


    Mar 15, 2004
    I think they could be returned for any number of reasons. But if it was returned due to some hardware issue, it is safe to assume that they should be fixing whatever is wrong before if goes out again as a refurb. And if there is an issue, you have the exact same warranty that a new product has. You can even buy applecare like if you were buying new.

    You will see people complain about refurb units that arrive DOA, but you'll see that about brand new units arriving DOA as well. Personally, I think most DOA issues are due to the FedEx guy throwing the computer onto the truck or it falling during shipping, etc...

    Earlier this year I bought a 15" powerbook from the online refurb store. Got a great deal - No problems at all with it. I really love it. It came in a plain brown 'apple refurbished' box, but other than that it was like new (w/ all cables/manuals/discs included).

    Would I buy refurb again? Absolutely. :)
  12. white lady macrumors newbie

    May 26, 2006

    I have bought two MACs both refurbs first was a 12 inch power book 2 years ago where I got exactly what i ordered, but my mate got an extra 20gigs worth of hard drive. Then 3 weeks ago I ordered a imac 17 inch intel and got a gig of ram with it rather than the 512 that was advertised.

    the powerbook was absolutely immaculate and the Imac had one tiny scratch on the front that you can only see at an angle, woudl highly recomend the refurb site.. I am in the UK
  13. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    No, the computer may have been returned because it was DOA, broken LCD screen, caught fire when first powered up or "whatever". But it does not matter if it was defective they've fixed it. Apple does claim the machines have been disassembled, cleaned and parts replaced as required. They are covered with as-new warenty so it matters little why the computer was returned.

    I bought both my Mac Mini and an iPod as refurbs and each was like new. The Mini had some over-spec'd RAM with later datestamp installed so it looked like Apple had replaced the factory RAM as part of the refurbishment process.
  14. NATO macrumors 68000


    Feb 14, 2005
    Northern Ireland
    I've bought a Power Mac G5 and an iBook G4 Refurb within the last 12 months, both working 100%, only a few light scratches on the Power Mac. Couldn't be happier with either of them.

    I would take the refurb option and get yourself the 20" iMac. You'll thank yourself when you see the amount of real estate you have for your desktop :cool:
  15. karichelle macrumors member


    May 26, 2006
    I just bought a 17" iMac G5 refurb for $799 this afternoon. Here's to hoping that I'll get one of the magical upgrades! ;) If not, oh well, that's fine...80 gigs of HD will be a mansion compared to my 30 gig iBook, and I have 256 extra megs of RAM available to me that my fiance took out of his Mini. :) It was the 1.8 mHz model with the modem and no iSight...I just couldn't resist getting that great of a deal and I have no real use for the iSight or the remote anyhow.

    It's encouraging to read previous refurb customers positive stories even though I've already ordered mine. Hopefully I'll be just as pleased as you guys are! But I figure even if I'm not, I can always return it and then I'm back to where I started.
  16. tristan macrumors 6502a

    Jul 19, 2003
    high-rise in beautiful bethesda
    The G5s sound like a great value, especially if your apps aren't universal yet.
  17. X5-452 macrumors 6502


    Feb 16, 2006
    Calgary, Canada
    I never liked the idea of a refurb, simply because I enjoy being the first one to touch a shiny new electronic gizmo; however, I have never heard a horror story about Apple's refurb store, so I say go for it.
  18. Pilgrims Pro macrumors regular

    Jan 30, 2003
    I bought a 15" MBP refurb'ed, and I am extremely satisfied with it. It said it would only be 80GB hd, and 512MB ram, but it came with 100GB hd, and 1gb of ram. The appearance was flawless. The only downside that I can think of, is that you do not get the fancy box.
  19. celebrian23 macrumors 65816


    Mar 12, 2006
    Under the sun
    Moral of the story: Occaisonally a "bad" refurb pops up, but the vast majority of the time you're getting the same computer as someone who bought it new for a discount.
  20. amac4me macrumors 65816


    Apr 26, 2005
    If a refurb is a concern, go ahead and get AppleCare to extend the warranty for 3 years.
  21. dracore macrumors newbie

    May 27, 2006

    Wait did you buy refurb'ed off the site? Or did you get it from the store? Are you sure it wasn't 'refreshed' ? (CTO return)
  22. daneoni macrumors G4


    Mar 24, 2006
    Since i'm a proud owner of a refurb i thought i'd pitch in. I bought a MacBook Pro brand new but had all the issues people have been describing i then started looking for a good deal on a last revision powerbook (to act as a backup system originally) and found a refurb one from apple themselves at less than half the price of the MacBook Pro and even the original price of the PowerBook itself and bough it immediately.

    When it arrived it was flawless and was definately new like you would get from the Apple store as a new machine. To top that it came with a 7200RPM Hard Drive as opposed to the advertised 80GB and i fell in love immediately. However, it had the line issue with the display which is why i suspect the original purchaser returned it.

    Upon noticing this i head to the apple store and ask for the display to be fixed and they took it in no questions asked and replaced the screen. Immediately i picked the machine up from repair and noticed the line issue was gone, i sold the MBP and kept the PowerBook as a main computer (which is what i'm using to type this) saving me boat loads of cash. It was a no-brainer, i mean you get full warranty and support if anything happens and you even have the normal 14-day return period. The only thing you're sacrificing is a pretty box and a serial number starting with 3R instead of W8.

    Would i buy a refurb again?...absolutely and i suggest you do the same.

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