Your editor is generally a fan of Apple Certified Refurbished hardware. Macworld UK’s Ashleigh Allsopp weighs the pros and cons of buying an iPad from Apple’s Refurbished store, noting that you can save loads of money by opting to buy refurbished from Apple rather than ponying up a brand new iPad.
Allsopp notes that while refurbished Apple products are technically pre-owned, they undergo such a rigorous refurbishing process that it’s unlikely you’ll even notice. My last two Mac systems, plus a couple of iPods purchased, have all be indistinguishable from new hardware, the only clue being the distinct packaging refurb. Apple products are shipped in. All four devices have given excellent service.
When you buy a refurbished iPad from Apple, you get the same one-year warranty as a brand new iPad, all of the manuals and accessories that come with a brand new iPad, and a brand new battery and outer shell. All refurbished iPads are rigorously tested, and any parts that were defective when the iPad was returned by its previous owner will have been replaced. Refurbs are also eligible for extended AppleCare Protection.
A downside of buying refurbished is limited and fluid model availability. For example, all that I’ve seen offered in iPads on Apple Canada’s refurbished site this summer are 3rd-generation iPads, although the prices are decent enough.
However, if you can find what you’re looking for, I agree with Ashleigh Allsopp that it’s definitely worth considering buying a refurbished iPad from Apple’s Refurbished store. It’ll look good as new, so you won’t notice the difference anywhere other than in your bank balance.