Which option is more reliable: Open Box or Refurbished?

WhoBitTheApple

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Sep 26, 2013
18
2
Hello everyone, I'm looking to buy a MacBook Pro after my most recent laptop is on its last legs after 4 years.

I don't really want to pay full price for a MacBook Pro, so I'm looking at 2 potential options to get one at a good price.

Was just wondering what are your experiences with the Refurb store (Apple) and with Open Box purchases (I'm looking at Best Buy, but it can be at any store). Just want to know if you've ran across any problems with either option and which one I should pursue so I can save some money! Thank you in advance.
 

sonicrobby

macrumors 68020
Apr 24, 2013
2,375
394
New Orleans
I would say the refurb is more reliable. Apple makes the fixes and does extensive tests to make sure it doesnt have any problems. Open boxes are new computer that someone used and didnt like, so they returned it. Though open box you'll get immediately, refurb you have to wait for it to ship. The choice is yours, but I would choose whichever one is cheaper :p
 

GGJstudios

macrumors Westmere
May 16, 2008
44,365
703
I can't speak for open box products, but 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 notebook 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.
 

0007776

Suspended
Jul 11, 2006
6,634
8,052
Somewhere
Probably the refurb would be a bit more reliable in case the open box was a return when someone should have used the warranty. But Considering you have the same warranty on each if you have an issue right away with the open box one you can get it fixed without much issue.
 

robE89

macrumors regular
Oct 9, 2011
166
58
Personally, i would go for refurbished since there is a chance you can receive a better machine than the one you ordered! :D
 

Marty62

macrumors 6502
Mar 11, 2010
394
0
Berlin formerly London
I'm told that the Apple refurbs have MORE testing than NIB products !
That came from Apple Ireland office, on the phone.
I have gone that route at least twice and the items have been perfect.

M.
 

Mr Rabbit

macrumors 6502a
May 13, 2013
637
4
'merica
Refurbished for sure. I wouldn't by any means expect or refer to a new in box or open box Mac as unreliable, but the fact is that Apple's refurbished Macs go through more stringent testing and quality control.

With that said, I'm specifically referring to Apple's refurbished Macs. Best Buy refurbished, Bob's computer's refurbished, etc. are a different story that I would exercise caution with if considering.
 

InquisitiveAmI

macrumors member
Jul 16, 2012
80
0
Out of interest , has anyone got a better refurb model than ordered? Just bought 2nd macbook pro 13 retina 512 model and was wondering whats the chance of me getting a better model?
 

GGJstudios

macrumors Westmere
May 16, 2008
44,365
703
Out of interest , has anyone got a better refurb model than ordered? Just bought 2nd macbook pro 13 retina 512 model and was wondering whats the chance of me getting a better model?
I've ordered refurb models and gotten more RAM than I ordered or a bigger drive capacity. I don't think it's realistic to expect an upgrade in the model or processor. Of course, none of this is guaranteed, but comes as a pleasant surprise on some orders.
 

0007776

Suspended
Jul 11, 2006
6,634
8,052
Somewhere
Out of interest , has anyone got a better refurb model than ordered? Just bought 2nd macbook pro 13 retina 512 model and was wondering whats the chance of me getting a better model?
I think I got extra RAM with the mac mini I bought a few years back, and I've heard of it happening to other people but I don't think the odds are that great.
 

campyguy

macrumors 68040
Mar 21, 2014
3,418
932
I'd go the refurbished route. I did, actually. I bought a maxed-out 15" rMBP a couple of months ago, and there's no way that it's a refurb - it looked new, was less than 2 weeks old, and has been working perfectly. I'm happy.

My business partner got a faster rMBP with more RAM than the machine we ordered in January - and it looked brand new as well, showing up as 10 days old.

Both rMBPs were more than $500 off retail. That'll pay for Applecare and several bottles of great Irish whiskey!
 

dmccloud

macrumors 6502a
Sep 7, 2009
991
14
Anchorage, AK
Refurbs are essentially new machines tested by Apple before reselling them. Open Box are basically used machines that Best Buy (in this case) simply reinstalls the OS. All Best Buy does is a basic check to make sure the system boots and that the keyboard/trackpad/display are working.
 

maflynn

Moderator
Staff member
May 3, 2009
64,177
30,754
Boston
I'd go with refurb. Both are returns but at least the refurb is cleaned up, examined and tested. An open box is just that a return put back up for sale by the retailer. You may get an amazing buy and you may get something that is a dog
 

Cancelliere

macrumors newbie
Sep 1, 2007
22
0
Parma - Italy
Out of interest , has anyone got a better refurb model than ordered? Just bought 2nd macbook pro 13 retina 512 model and was wondering whats the chance of me getting a better model?
A couple of weeks ago I ordered a 2.6 Ghz i5 13" rMBO and received a 2.8 Ghz i7. Non that much of a difference in performace, but don't look a gift horse in the mouth.