In my time at TechRadar I made sure I was a master of used products; buying your favorite gadgets is a great way to save money and the environment in one go. But since all the gadgets I use are maintenance loans, I didn’t really have to buy any technology for four years.
However, since I will be leaving TechRadar soon, the situation is different. I am now at the point where I need to start buying my own technology again. I have to spend my own money on the devices I will have – and the lack of such a position for a while makes it a really very scary change.
The last 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 for iOS, excluding Android tablets for work.
I have been offering tech buying advice for years as part of the TechRadar team, but having to put money where my mouth is was like a huge test of what I wrote. However, after I finally chose the refurbished iPad Pro 12.9 (2021 model) with 256GB storage and Wi-Fi connectivity and got it last night, I feel right to recommend refurbished gadgets.
Finding a tablet
Buying a new iPad was quite an intimidating proposition, because Apple gadgets are ridiculously expensive – but I had an open mind what device I would buy.
This attitude lasted exactly one second, at which point I ruled out buying an iPad Mini – because who in the world would consider buying a tablet of the same size as some Android phones? Definitely not me.
I had been thinking for a while about buying a new iPad (2022) when I heard rumors of a redesign and would probably go with the purchase if the new generation was introduced alongside an iPhone 14. This obviously didn’t happen, and I can’t wait for the supposedly October launch. Also, I’m not a fan of the outdated design of the current generation models, so the entry-level iPad line has also been ticked off the list.
iPad Air has become my top choice; not the iPad Air (2022) as it’s quite an upgrade over its predecessor, but the iPad Air (2020). This tablet offers a high-quality design that I like, more than enough processing power and a compact body. However, as you already know from the headline of this article, this was ultimately not the device I opted for for one simple reason: storage. While the iPad Air comes at an average price, it is designed for a concise memory of 64GB. Choosing a larger size, 256 GB, raises the price quite significantly.
So where next? Obviously, the iPad Pro series – after all, this is the line I know the most as I have been using every model since 2018. While the iPad Pro series is incredibly expensive as well, I like the more generous size of the 12.9-inch model, and there are plenty of other storage options as well.
And while shopping, I discovered that there are many options in the form of refurbished models. You see, while checking the prices of the new iPad Pro tablets, I also watched the cost of refurbished models such as BackMarket, Amazon, and Apple’s own stores, noting the cost differences between them.
My research showed that the iPad Pro models were available at the best prices compared to new and used ones. In addition, a wider selection of quality grades was also offered; some refurbished websites allow you to choose the quality of the device, and models with a flawless appearance cost more than the slightly obliterated ones.
This is the reason I ended up with the iPad Pro instead of the iPad Air and the 12.9-inch model instead of the cheaper 11-inch device, with 256GB of storage instead of 128GB. The large number of refurbished iPad Pro models on the market meant that I was able to successfully purchase more tablets for the same amount, which actually saved me a lot of money.
In the end, I saved around £ 250 on the iPad I bought, compared to buying a new one when it launched a year ago. Considering that even on Black Friday there is often a price cut of around £ 100 this seemed like a significant saving that I was very pleased with.
Receiving more than for and paying
After clicking “Buy” on the Apple website (which, surprisingly, offered the model at a better price than Amazon or BackMarket), I had my doubts immediately – I agreed to spend a large sum of money on a used tablet I had bought. never seen before. Have I made a huge mistake?
I was apprehensive upon arriving at the Apple Store, something that got worse upon entering; it felt like i was in a street bazaar. Why do so many people just hang out without wanting to buy anything at all? Why were all employees shouting at each other on the floor? Why did all the display products look like they had survived the war? In attempting to make your Apple Store more hangouts and fewer stores, Apple has created a rather confusing visitor experience.
Even more confusing was the fact that after receiving the iPad I ordered, it was in a box covered with a plastic wrap. Did someone on staff accidentally give me a brand new tablet?
But when I got home I saw that the box indicated it was a refurbished product; Apple has simply made every effort to keep this refurbished tablet looking like new. This was evident when I opened the box to find the plug and cable wrapped nicely inside.
In fact, if it weren’t for the word “refurbished” on the box, no one would ever know it was a second-hand device – and the tablet itself is as much an indicator of this as the packaging. It was immaculate, with no scratches or marks. Even the charging port, which can get scratched quickly, looked like he’d never seen a USB-C cable in his life.
Annoyingly, iPads don’t have the Battery Health feature seen on iPhones, so I can’t say for sure how well the battery will last. However, after a day of using this tablet it feels identical to the brand new test unit I have been using for months.
I am pleasantly surprised how new this “refurbished” device is, and it prompted me to rethink all my future purchasing plans. Sure, Apple is a big company and you can rely on it to have a top-notch refurbishment process for its products, but that also means that its close competitors (including Amazon’s renewed service and the popular BackMarket website) will likely have to keep up with speed to stay competitive.
My iPad Pro basically feels like new, with the only difference that I paid much less than I would have paid for the new model. So, if I can save a similar amount of money by buying other products of the same quality (something that seems obvious given the cost of the crisis), I really don’t see the need to buy a new one again.