Refurb question?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by mac0624, Dec 23, 2008.

  1. mac0624 macrumors newbie

    Aug 16, 2008
    Since my Dell PC is finally entering its death throes, I plan on purchasing a Macbook in the coming weeks. Since money is a bit of an issue, I've found that if I buy the higher-end black Macbook from the previous generation in the Apple refurb store (plus the software/accessories I need), I will save over $400 than if I bought the higher-end aluminum Macbook + accessories/software. I feel that the black Macbook would be sufficient for my needs, since I will be using the notebook in college for Internet and writing papers, and I'm not a gamer nor do I do any sort of video/photo editing. Also, I have bad eyes and suffer from migraines, so the glossy screen on the aluminum Macbook has me worried about eye strain (I already use a glare protector on my PC, so it's a big issue for me).

    My question is, however, is the refurbished black Macbook going to be as good as new? Generally, are refurbs lightly used Macbooks or are they old traded-in notebooks that are then totally refurbished by Apple? I'm concerned about getting a machine that will last me as long as possible (preferably all through college). Is it possible to get a brand-new black Macbook that's just left over from the previous generation's stock?

    I did a search of the forum for an answer to this, but I've had trouble finding out exactly how "old" and "used" refurbished Macbooks are. :-(
  2. dringkor macrumors member

    Jan 8, 2008
    I've bought a few refurb products from Apple. Honestly the only difference I could identify was the brown box they came in, as opposed to the retail box. The MacBook Pro I'm typing this on could have been new as far as I knew. It had not a scratch or a smudge, had sealed docs with the Apple stickers, and the screen had a protector on it, all as though it had been bought new. I don't know if this is typical, but it has been my experience. It's not like buying something on eBay or Craigslist. It's like getting a new item for cheaper!
  3. iToaster macrumors 68000


    May 3, 2007
    In front of my MacBook Pro
    Refurbs are products returned due to a defect (which has been corrected for resale) or because the buyer didn't want the machine. Apple goes through stringent processes when refurbishing them to ensure that they are in like new condition. The only difference is the lack of a fancy box and the serial number being changed to reflect its refurbished status. Apple has a short blurb about the refurbishment process.
  4. cohenben macrumors member

    Dec 19, 2008
    I've wondered the same thing. I've asked a lot of people.

    First of all, a refurb from Apple is promised to look brand new when it arrives - at least that is what Apple will tell you. I trust them and a few friends of mine that have ordered reburbed machines will confirm this, too. It will also come with all the peripherals, manuals and start-up discs that a new computer comes with. The box is even sealed so it is not considered "open box" until YOU open it. Apple treats their refurbs like new computers with a COMPLETE warranty and option for full Apple Care extended warranty and support. In fact, the price difference from a refurb basically will pay for your Apple Care.

    Speaking of Apple Care...If you want your computer to last through college, I highly suggest spending the money on Apple Care. It guarantees that your computer will work for 3 years. You can wait and buy the Apple Care within the first year of owning the computer, but the 3-years starts from the date of purchase. Apple will gladly fix ANYTHING wrong with the machine, free of charge, aside from you dropping it in a puddle, etc.

    Among all my friends, I know two that have bought refurbed from Apple. One was a very early Macbook Pro model and the other a white Macbook. Both were extremely happy and confirmed that their computer arrived in "new" condition. Again, there shouldn't be ANY signs of wear on the machine - no fingerprints, scratches or rubs.

    How can this be?

    Many refurbed Apple's actually never left the factory. All their machines go through some standard quality control tests and some fail. Apple doesn't just throw these machines out, they fix them with new parts and thoroughly retest them until they pass Apple's strict quality standards.

    Some of these machines might have been sold to customers and returned in a good enough quality to be considered for refurbishment - but I would bet a greater number are the in-factory refurbs I just mentioned. I suppose Apple could replace the cosmetic parts that show signs of use from customers, but hey - new parts = new computer, right? There might be a few stories out there to the contrary, where people received refurbed books that appeared "like new but clearly used," however I personally have yet to hear that.

    I say go for it - that black MacBook is a great machine and refurb is a MUCH better option than used.
  5. mac0624 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 16, 2008
    Thanks! I feel a lot better about buying a refurbished Macbook now. And yes, I do plan on getting Applecare - it's factored into my calculations. :)

    By the way, if I'm buying a refurbished machine that did have a defect at one point, will Apple tell me so in one of the documents?
  6. cohenben macrumors member

    Dec 19, 2008
    Unfortunately, no. There is no way to know why it was refurbed and Apple won't tell you... 'tis better to just treat is like NEW! Enjoy your "new" mac!
  7. spacecadet610 macrumors 6502

    Mar 11, 2006
    i've bought maybe 4 refurbs and they have all been like new. would def do it again.
  8. iObama macrumors 6502a


    Nov 16, 2008
    I know it's not the same, but when I bought a refurbished 80GB iPod 5.5G, it looked BRAND new. No scratches on the front or the back.
  9. zama36 macrumors member

    Mar 21, 2007
    Go for it!

    Apple refurb products are a great alternative to price sensitive Mac users.

    I have purchased several refurb'ed products and would do it again in a heart beat. I purchased a refurb MacBook Pro at the same time my sisters and I purchased a Dell laptop for my other sister. In the first week I had called Dell 10 times because the laptop didn't even have WinXP even properly installed among other things, yet didn't call Apple about the MacBook Pro until just recently which resulted in Apple replacing the damaged part under Apple care.

    The Apple experience is great (Product and Service), no matter if it is new or refurb'ed and 99% of the times you can't tell the difference between the two.:)
  10. robkat macrumors member


    Dec 22, 2008

    recently elevated my position from pc to imac. bought refurbished 20" Imac, great, better spec than cheapest new model and a lot less of a price.
  11. scienide09 macrumors 65816


    May 5, 2007
    My MBP and my AEBS were both purchased refurbished. Both arrived in pristine condition (the AEBS still had its plastic film). I'm completely satisfied.
  12. Scepticalscribe Contributor


    Jul 29, 2008
    The Far Horizon
    Refurb is a great way to go, especially if finance is an issue. As other posters have pointed out, it is as new, and comes with Apple's warranty (and the option to upgrade to Applecare, which, along with cohenben, I highly recommend). The machine has been tested and tried, and individual glitches will have been well and truly ironed out. Moreover, it is an excellent way of acquiring a first class computer for a reasonable price. Go for it.

    Cheers and god luck
  13. justflie macrumors 6502a


    Nov 29, 2005
    Red Sox Nation
    Someone just mentioned that current generation unibody laptops are making their appearance in the apple online store so give those a look.
  14. Tallest Skil macrumors P6

    Tallest Skil

    Aug 13, 2006
    1 Geostationary Tower Plaza
    In Canada, at least.
  15. mac0624 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 16, 2008
    It seems that the consensus is for the refurb Macbook. Thanks for your opinions!

    Just two last questions:

    1. Does the refurb come with the most recent operating system? I'm not very knowledgeable when it comes to Macs so I have no idea if I need to buy extra software for that.

    2. Will a Logitech wireless mouse made for Dell be compatible with a Macbook or do I need to get an Apple mouse? They're so expensive...
  16. skwij macrumors 6502

    Apr 10, 2006
    Belleville, ON, Canada
    You can use pretty much any mouse with a Mac, these days.

    I believe that Leopard will be the OS that a refurb comes with, and yes, that's the latest.
  17. snguon macrumors newbie

    Apr 5, 2009
    is your refurbished ipod still in great condition? battery life and everything else?

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