I made a point of defending second-hand products in my time at ; Buying pre-loved gadgets is a great way to save money and the environment in one go. But since all the gadgets I use are review loans, I haven’t actually had to buy any technology for four years.
However, as I will soon be leaving , the situation is different. Now I’m at a point where I have to start buying my own technology again. I have to spend my own money on devices I own – and not being in that position for awhile makes this change very scary.
A recent purchase I had to make is an iPad. While I’m not a huge fan of Apple products, some of the apps I use in my professional life are only available on iOS, ruling out Android tablets for work.
I’ve been offering tech buying advice for years as part of the team, but having to put my money where my mouth is felt like a big test of what I wrote. However, having finally chosen a refurbished iPad Pro 12.9 (the 2021 model) with 256GB storage and Wi-Fi connectivity and received it last night, I feel justified in recommending refurbished gadgets.
finding a tablet
Buying a new iPad was a pretty daunting proposition because Apple gadgets are insanely expensive – but I kept an open mind as to which device I would buy.
That attitude lasted exactly a second, at which point I ruled out buying an iPad Mini – because who the heck would consider buying a tablet similar in size to some Android phones? Certainly not me.
For a moment, I thought about buying a new iPad (2022), hearing rumors of a redesign, and possibly would have gone ahead with the purchase if the new generation was released alongside the iPhone 14. That didn’t happen, of course, and I don’t. I can’t wait for the October launch event. Also, I’m not a fan of the old-fashioned design of current-gen models, so the entry-level iPad lineup was also ticked off the list.
The iPad Air became my first choice; not the iPad Air (2022) because it’s quite a duff upgrade over its predecessor, but the iPad Air (2020). This tablet offers a premium design that I like, more than enough processing power and a compact body. However, as you already know from the title of this article, it wasn’t the device I chose in the end, for one simple reason: storage. While the iPad Air is priced mid-range, it’s for an impressive 64GB of storage. Opting for the next size, 256GB, raises the price quite significantly.
So where next? The iPad Pro lineup, of course – is the line I’m most familiar with, after all, having used every model since 2018. While the iPad Pro lineup is also incredibly expensive, I like the more generous size of the 12.9-inch model. , plus many other storage options as well.
And while shopping, I discovered that there are many options in the form of refurbished models as well. You see, when checking the prices of the new iPad Pro tablets, I also kept an eye on the cost of refurbished models such as BackMarket, Amazon and Apple’s own stores, noting the cost differences between the two.
My research found that iPad Pro models were available at the best prices comparing new and used. In addition, there was also a greater selection of quality grills on offer; some refurbished websites let you choose device quality, with flawless-looking models costing more than slightly scratched ones.
This is the reason I ended up with an iPad Pro instead of an iPad Air and a 12.9-inch model instead of a cheaper 11-inch device, one with 256GB of storage instead of 128GB. The generous number of refurbished iPad Pro models on the market meant I could effectively buy more tablets for the same amount of money, which actually saved me quite a bit of money.
In the end, I saved around £250 on the iPad I bought, compared to buying it new at launch a year ago. Given that even Black Friday often sees a price reduction of only around £100, this seemed like a significant savings, which I was very pleased with.
Getting more than iPaid to
After clicking “Buy” on Apple’s website (which, surprisingly, offered the model at a better price than Amazon or BackMarket), I immediately had second thoughts – I agreed to spend a large amount of money on a used tablet that I had never seen before. before. Had I made a big mistake?
Full of apprehension when arriving at the Apple Store, something that worsened when entering; I felt like I was in a street bazaar. Why were there so many people just hanging out, not really wanting to buy anything? Why were all the employees yelling at each other on the floor? Why did all the show’s products appear to have served time in a war? By trying to make its Apple Stores more like hubs where you hang out and less like stores, Apple has created a pretty confusing experience for visitors.
What caused even more confusion was that when I received the iPad I had ordered, it was in a box covered with plastic wrap. Did the team member give me a new tablet by accident?
But when I got home, I saw that the box said it was a refurbished product; Apple has simply gone to amazing lengths to make this refurbished tablet look like new. This was evident when I opened the box as well, finding the wall plug and cord inside neatly wrapped.
In fact, if it weren’t for the word “refurbished” on the box, no one would ever know that this is a second-hand device – and the actual tablet is as much an indicator of that as the packaging. It was immaculate, with no scratches or marks. Even the charging port, which can be scratched quickly, looked like it had never seen a USB-C cable in its life.
Annoyingly, iPads don’t come with the Battery Health feature seen on iPhones, so I can’t say for sure how well the battery will hold up. However, after my day of using this tablet, it looks identical to the brand-new test unit I’ve been using for months.
I’m pleasantly surprised at how new this “refurbished” device looks, and it’s made me rethink all my future purchase plans. Sure, Apple is a big company and can be trusted to have a top-notch process for refurbishing its products, but that also means its close competitors (including the revamped Amazon service and popular BackMarket website) likely need to keep up with speed to stay competitive.
My iPad Pro basically looks like new, with the only difference being that I paid a lot less than I would for a new model. So if I can save a similar amount of money by buying other products, of equal quality (something that seems obvious considering the cost-of-living crisis), then I really don’t see the need to buy new ones ever again.