Is a refurbished Mac worth it?

I always wanted a MacBook Pro. The 15″ one with the i7 processor and all the RAM and the big screen and good sound and retina display. Except, the thing costs $2,000 or more. That’s three mortgage payments here in Indiana.

Enter the refurbished store at apple.com and its trove of good deals, guarantees, and 1 year warranties on new Macs. But … it’s refurbished. What was wrong with it? Why was it broken to begin with? Will it break again?

What you get with the Apple refurbished store

I’ve ordered two Macs over the years from the refurbished store. I had excellent use of both. In fact, I had better luck with the refurbished ones than I did a new white plastic MacBook back in 2006.

When you order from the Apple refurbished store you get the product in a nondescript box. It doesn’t have the fancy packaging you get for new products, but they’re tightly packed, secured, and in an ordinary box. It’s about like ordering something from Amazon.

On Macs, Apple gives you a one year warranty and because you’re getting something that was known to be broken once before, it gets hundreds of dollars knocked off the price.

I would personally recommend the refurbished store for anyone on a budget trying to get their hands on a better machine.

What you don’t get with the refurbished store

The thing you don’t get is why the machine was broken to begin with. It could be the processor was a dud. Maybe the hard drive failed to start. Or maybe it was just a weird space bar key. I like to tell myself it was probably a loose key on the keyboard, but what you don’t know can’t hurt you and the ignorance is bliss.

Between the MacBook Air I ordered refurbished several years ago and the MacBook Pro I have now, I’ve had an excellent time with them (knock on wood). I’ve had two Macs that have broken. The aforementioned white MacBook with a bad motherboard that would just overload and shut off randomly, and a MacBook Air with a hard drive that just up and quit suddenly and without warning. Both were fixed under warranty, but both were also new.

Buying new doesn’t guarantee you any success vs the the refurbished models. And unless the packaging is just that important to you, go refurbished and save some money.

About the author

Justin Harter

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