Pros & Cons of buying Refurbished...

Prise

macrumors regular
Original poster
Dec 14, 2008
241
0
Up until now, I've always eschewed refurbished products when it comes to computers, it's components, and basically anything where semi-conductors are involved. The premise being that refurbished products were problematic in some way whereby they were returned.

All things being equal, once chips (RAM, cpu, gnu and motherboards) burn in and run properly, it is unlikely any will fail; hence, refurbs were returned products where one of the afore mentioned main components were defective (bad chips which made it pass the throughput quality control process), which is why I've never purchased used or refurbed computers and/or components.

I've seen some recently good deals on Apple refurbs. Just wondering on some of the generally accepted pros and cons with Apple refurbs?
 

GGJstudios

macrumors Westmere
May 16, 2008
44,427
786
Apple refurbished products are considered by most to be a very good deal, as they're pretty much like buying a new Mac, except for the box.
Apple Certified Refurbished Products are pre-owned Apple products that undergo Apple's stringent refurbishment process prior to being offered for sale. While only some units are returned due to technical issues, all units undergo Apple's stringent quality refurbishment process.
Click the link in that quote for more details on the refurbishment process.
  • Apple Certified Refurbished Products are available online from the Apple Refurb Store and are not sold in local Apple stores
  • Educational discounts do not apply to refurb products.
  • Refurb products come with the same warranty as new products, and qualify for AppleCare
  • Refurb products have a changed serial number that identifies them as refurbished
  • Refurb products come with whatever OS version and software they originally shipped with as new
  • Refurb products come with the same items in the box as new products, only the box is a plain one, not the new box.
  • A refurb product could have some cosmetic signs of prior use, but rarely do
  • A refurb Mac may have some cycles on the battery, but not a significant enough amount to affect usable life
  • The refurb store inventory changes frequently, sometimes several times a day, and doesn't have any direct relation to upcoming product releases. What's available in the refurb store is determined by what has been returned to Apple.
  • If you're looking for a particular item, refurb.me can alert you when it becomes available.
 

Bear

macrumors G3
Jul 23, 2002
8,088
4
Sol III - Terra
...
I've seen some recently good deals on Apple refurbs. Just wondering on some of the generally accepted pros and cons with Apple refurbs?
What I am saying here only applies to refurbished equipment sold directly by Apple.
Pros:
  • Get the same 1 year warranty as new equipment sold by Apple.
  • You can add AppleCare if you want.
  • Save money.
  • If you didn't see the box, often you can't tell the difference from new.
There is one con and that only applies if you care about the box that the gear comes in. Refurbished gear comes in plain white boxes - some people care about their cardboard boxes.

I have twice ordered refurbished gear and will do so again and soon at that.
 

Prise

macrumors regular
Original poster
Dec 14, 2008
241
0
Thanks!

Good info here, never realized Apple's refurbs go through a process of quality control internally.

Agreed on the pricing. I couldn't care less about the retail box. For a good deal, Apple can put it into a paper bag, for all I care.
 

noisycats

macrumors 6502a
Jun 1, 2010
772
862
The 'ham. Alabama.
I don't believe I've ever purchased from Apple direct without going through the refurb store (excluding iPhones).

iMacs, laptops, iPods, iPads, etc. Probably 20 products over the past 10+ years, only one was a dud and it was replaced via express mail in less than 2 days.

To answer your question, zero cons.
 

GGJstudios

macrumors Westmere
May 16, 2008
44,427
786
i wouldn't buy a used device from a single teenage guy (goes more for laptops/handhelds)
We're not talking about buying used devices from individuals. We're talking about buying refurbished devices from Apple. There's a world of difference.
 

IA64

macrumors 6502
Nov 8, 2013
413
0
I think I'm getting confused. Refurbished can also be used machines but certified by Apple?

Correct me if I'm wrong but assuming that a HDD lifetime is 3 years with continuous power on, if you buy a one year used-refurbished iMac chances are that the drive will fail sooner after hitting its lifespan... ( it also applies to LCD and other components )
 

GGJstudios

macrumors Westmere
May 16, 2008
44,427
786
I think I'm getting confused. Refurbished can also be used machines but certified by Apple?
They're not always used machines and those that are, are not simply used. Read the quote from Apple in my first post, as well as the link to understand the refurbishment process.
Correct me if I'm wrong but assuming that a HDD lifetime is 3 years with continuous power on, if you buy a one year used-refurbished iMac chances are that the drive will fail sooner after hitting its lifespan... ( it also applies to LCD and other components )
How did you come to the assumptions that a HDD lifetime is 3 years, or that a refurbished Mac has been in use for a year? Many Macs are returned with little or no use, and I've never had a HDD fail in 3 years unless it was defective. Also, refurbs come with Apple's 1 year warranty and qualify for AppleCare, which extends coverage to 3 years.
 

IA64

macrumors 6502
Nov 8, 2013
413
0
They're not always used machines and those that are, are not simply used. Read the quote from Apple in my first post, as well as the link to understand the refurbishment process.

How did you come to the assumptions that a HDD lifetime is 3 years, or that a refurbished Mac has been in use for a year? Many Macs are returned with little or no use, and I've never had a HDD fail in 3 years unless it was defective. Also, refurbs come with Apple's 1 year warranty and qualify for AppleCare, which extends coverage to 3 years.
I read the quote from Apple and it isn't really clear. Most refurbished iMacs are a year old or so. I'd really like to believe that they're barely used after that time.

I am not assuming, I'm just saying. This article has some statistics.

http://www.extremetech.com/computing/170748-how-long-do-hard-drives-actually-live-for
 

GGJstudios

macrumors Westmere
May 16, 2008
44,427
786
I read the quote from Apple and it isn't really clear. Most refurbished iMacs are a year old or so. I'd really like to believe that they're barely used after that time.

I am not assuming, I'm just saying. This article has some statistics.

http://www.extremetech.com/computing/170748-how-long-do-hard-drives-actually-live-for
Most of the drives I've used, including those built into Mac models, are still going strong after 5-6 years or more. If you buy a year old refurbished Mac and get AppleCare, it's covered until the drive is over 4 years old.

With the overwhelming majority reporting very positive results from buying Apple refurbished, it's a safe bet. If the age of the drive or components is of major concern, perhaps buying only new Macs is the best choice for you.
 

Nismo73

macrumors 6502a
Jan 4, 2013
885
481
I read the quote from Apple and it isn't really clear. Most refurbished iMacs are a year old or so. I'd really like to believe that they're barely used after that time.

I am not assuming, I'm just saying. This article has some statistics.

http://www.extremetech.com/computing/170748-how-long-do-hard-drives-actually-live-for
How do you account for the late '13 iMacs that are already in the refurb store? (just a general statement) They were released late September.
 

IA64

macrumors 6502
Nov 8, 2013
413
0
How do you account for the late '13 iMacs that are already in the refurb store? (just a general statement) They were released late September.
That's why I said " most " which implies that although some refurbished Macs may be barely used, it's not the case with the others.
 

NewbieCanada

macrumors 68030
Oct 9, 2007
2,574
35
Thanks!

Good info here, never realized Apple's refurbs go through a process of quality control internally.

Agreed on the pricing. I couldn't care less about the retail box. For a good deal, Apple can put it into a paper bag, for all I care.
Another issue in favour is Apple's generous return policies. A lot of refurb units, perhaps most, never had anything wrong with them. They just weren't what the original purchaser wanted.
 

Prise

macrumors regular
Original poster
Dec 14, 2008
241
0
Also, all things being equal, new PCs (Macs or otherwise) will always have a DOA risk, however remote. New PCs are all manufactured by machines in an assembly line and shipped with minimal testing. It's impossible, nor would it be feasible, to quality test every new PC before it ships. Moreover, each chip (whether the cpu, gpu, mainboard) has a small chance of being faulty, which can only be noticed after the burn in period.

According to Apple, they "rigorously" test each refurbished unit replacing any of parts which may be faulty. In this regard, buying a refurb may entail less risk, since (assuming Apple is true to their process) a refurbed unit has been tested with all of it's components amply burned in.

At the very least, it should eliminate the chance of getting a DOA computer, or one that fails within the first 72 - 100 hours of operation.
 

mcpix

macrumors 6502
May 13, 2005
289
69
The 15" Macbook Pro with Retina Display I'm currently typing on, and my last two iMacs were all refurbished machines. They all work great. I've also bought several refurbished Mac Minis, one of which shipped with a bigger hard drive and more memory than I paid for.
 

robgendreau

macrumors 68040
Jul 13, 2008
3,349
261
I've bought probably 6 refurb'd Macs of different types over the years and never had a problem with them I didn't also have with non-refurbs. Lots of folks return Macs or other computers because they can't figure out how to run or fix software; the hardware is often fine.

iMacs are problematic IMHO because of the HDDs, as you mention. But I've had ones go bad after 2 years on Macs bought new, and last longer on refurbs. YMMV. Apple sorta forces everyone into Apple Care now because they make it so difficult to do something as simple as replace a fungible part like the HDD. So you need the same warranty coverage either way, much as it pains me to say that.

The big diff vs new is the lack of BTO options.
 
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