Brand New or Refurb?

nocturnal dark

macrumors member
Original poster
Jul 28, 2007
Northern Ohio Valley
Ok, I need some buying help, I am looking into getting a Macbook. Should I buy a brand new one or a refurb one from Apple?

The prices right now on some refurbs are excellent. What's the difference between the two and what risks are taken?

Mac In School

macrumors 65816
Jun 21, 2007
It costs companies a lot of money to accept returns and exchanges. My theory is that, when buying a refurb, you're likely to get a machine that has been tested more thoroughly than a new one. In many cases, they already know that they had a potential lemon on their hands, so they probably work a little harder on it to make sure it's working right.

At least, this has been my experience with buying other refurbished products. I've never specifically bought a refurbished Mac.


macrumors 65816
May 5, 2007
I bought a refurb MBP in April, and I couldn't be happier. Save yourself some money.

In regards to HD's point, the general consensus here on the forums seems to be that refurb items are more heavily QA'd then products fresh off the line.
Also, refurbs come with the same basic 1 year of warranty coverage as the new machines, so if you do end up with a lemon, Apple will replace it.


macrumors 601
Nov 7, 2004
The differences are:

1. The product may be used and returned because faulty (Apple will fix) or surplus to requirements (Apple will check for wear and tear).

2. The products may be part of a cancelled order, and are returned unopened. In the UK, at least, these do not go back in stock, but have to be sold as used, although they are brand new. In the Applestores, these are labelled "refreshed" as opposed to "refurbished" on the online store.

3. All such products are checked before sale and are repackaged with the original accoutrements in a plain box, to prevent these being resold on eBay later on as new. "Refreshed" items are sold in the Applestores in the original packaging.

4. If the products are part of a Built to Order (BTO) and have more than the stock memory, hard drive size etc, then these will be passed on in the refurbished inventory at no extra cost. Most refurbished stock is labelled as per the standard configuration, with some exceptions. It is a lottery as to whether you get 'extras' with your refurbished order.


macrumors member
Jul 12, 2007
new vs refurb

In my experience the age of the refurb makes a difference.
I purchased my refurb 12" Powerbook (2 upgrades below the new version at the time), but found sloppy work inside (missing screws & missing protective foil ). The outer casing also was a little banged up and DIRTY. :mad:

I have had much better luck with iPods - 3G and Shuffle - both of looked like brand new! :)

My only guess would be the Powerbook was a last minute turn in from inside apple (maybe an exec.) since they had better version refurbs of the same model selling at the same time.