A Guide To Buying Used And Refurbished Gear

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Over the years I've spent a lot of money on various bits of tech. But as the reliability of hardware has improved and performance of hardware has moved along, I find that I no longer need to buy the latest and greatest gear in order to get hardware that does what I need. That's led me to looking more closely at used and refurbished equipment.

Many of the major hardware manufacturers maintain their own versions of the popular outlet mall.

Before diving in, these may not always be the least expensive option. You'll need to find a balance between cheapest price and a warranty if something goes wrong.

Also, if you're looking for something specific, you may need to be patient. These sites refresh their inventory frequently so having your money ready is important as what you want may not be around tomorrow. Or you might need to check back in each day to see what's available.

If you're after a real bargain there are always sites like Gumtree, Ebay and Facebook's buy/swap/sell groups. But it may be worth paying a few extra dollars to get warranty support just in case.

Refurbished and used Apple gear

Apple sells refurbished Macs, iPhones, iPads and other accessories at reduced prices, through their refurbished goods site. Although the items aren't always shipped in their original packaging, they come with a 12 month warranty and are eligible for enrolment in Apple Care if you feel you need a little more protection.

One of my current office workhorse systems, a Mac mini, was purchased through the refurbished goods store. It's been running for a couple of years without a glitch. Since buying it, I have had the crappy 5400 rpm hard drive swapped out for a Samsung SSD.

I've also purchased iPads and iPods (when they were still a thing) though the refurbished goods store.

Apple seems, in my experience, to always provide new power supplies and cables wth their refurbished goods.

More recently, I purchased an iPad Air 2 from another second seller, mResell (disclosure: mResell is a site sponsor for Macworld Australia where I'm the editor).

That iPad was just a few months old, came in the original box but the power supply and Lightning cable were used. Service was prompt - I ordered late on a Friday night and it was delivered on the following Tuesday.

Dell's outlet mall

The Dell Outlet offers Dell's full range of products including their excellent displays and other accessories.

The have product listings for all their product lines including the Alienware range of gaming gear.

Prices look quite reasonable with items either listed as refurbished or as new. Some of the items seem to be custom builds that were either not collected by customers or prepared for corporate buyers who reduced their orders so you can pickup some configurations that you might have to wait for if you ordered it yourself.

Lenovo's way

Interestingly, the first thing I came up with when looking for used or refurbished Lenovo kit was a web page from Lenovo Australia telling me not to buy used kit.

However, they do run a refurbished goods store although it seems to only be US-based.

I own a couple of Lenovo devices (a small form factor desktop and a Miix 51- 2-in-1). Lenovo often offer great deals online so it may be worth looking at their specials seeing they don't have a local refurbished goods outlet.

HP does deals

HP runs a local refurbished goods store that seems to offer up some decent discounts.

As well as refurbished products, they offer last-gen models at solid discounts. For example, they have an older Spectre X2 convertible at $899 at the moment - not bad for a device with a 256GB SSD and 8GB of memory.


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