Retail, why pay it?

2014 Authors and contributors June 2014 Señior Tech Technology

By Señior Tech from the June 2014 Edition

This past year I had to replace my computer hardware. My trusty PC, which I built 8 years ago, developed a problem with the voltage regulator chip on the motherboard (the main circuit board on a computer that controls the hard drives, and houses the main processor and memory). The problem also damaged my power supply.

Since I was going to have to essentially replace 80% of the components to get that computer repaired; I decided to replace the PC with Apple’s MAC Mini. I checked the prices online at the Apple Store ( and decided to also check the same configuration in the refurbished products area of the store

The computer in the refurbished area was $275.00 cheaper than in the main store. So after reading about their process of refurbishment, I decided to order a refurbished Mac Mini Computer. Delivery was free and was delivered from California to my door a week later. If Apple sells a computer and the person takes it home and has buyers remorse, and returns it the next day; the returned computer cannot be sold as new. So it goes through their test processes and is repackaged as refurbished.

The computer I received was wrapped and packaged as if it was new. On inspection there were no signs of wear, scratches or defects, and if anyone else were there to witness the unwrapping they would not know the computer was a refurbished machine. A few months after purchase, I did a system report and was delighted to discover that the computer processor I had ordered which was supposed to be an Intel I7 Quad Core with a processor speed of 2.3 Ghz was actually a 2.6 Ghz processor (this was an additional $100 value).

So if you ask me if I would recommend this as a way to get a quality Apple computer at a more reasonable cost? I would have to say yes. In fact, in March of this year, I was sad to have to sell my first MacBook (which I purchased in 2007). One of our readers needed a laptop and since my new Mac Mini allowed me to compute albeit in a stationary location, I reluctantly sold my MacBook.

When I returned home, I started to research a replacement laptop and decided on a 15” MacBook Pro with Retina screen. I was so happy with my previous purchase that I decided to once again purchase a refurbished model. This time the saving was over $500.00. When the computer arrived, I was once again impressed with the packaging. There were no flaws or scratches, and it had that new showroom smell. There was no indication that this computer was ever used at all.

I decided to purchase a refurbished Samsung Color Laser Printer with Automatic Document feeder. The unit is an all-in-one printer, copier, scanner, and FAX machine. The New price was $630.00 but they had a few returns available for $248.00. The technician at the store informed me that their policy on printer returns was to send the printer back to the manufacturer for refurbishment.

On inspection, the printer did not have cables or a power cord, but since I was saving close to $400.00, I was’t going to get picky. The box was the original, not a new one like an Apple refurb, but did I mention, I was saving close to $400.00. I had a spare power cord from my now defunct PC, and a $4.00 network cable was all that was required to connect the printer to my system. Printer drivers are available at no charge from Samsung’s website. The printer diagnostics did not display any mechanical problems and all ink colours were at 100%.

When purchasing a refurbished item, be sure to see what warranties are available. Also ask what their return policy is if you are unhappy with the product. Apple offers the same warranty as if the refurbished unit was new. In the case of the Samsung Printer, the warranty is 90 days.

Refurbished items are not always in stock, so you may have to keep checking the website. If you see what you want, you should act quickly to insure you get the item you want. I have every confidence recommending Apple’s refurbished products; from iPods, iPads, to their numerous computer models. If you deal with other companies, please check online to see what other users say about them. The savings on these products are not worth the grief if you are not satisfied.

I would like to thank Freda Vickery for writing the tech article last month. Between our return to Canada and a commitment to another project, I was unable to submit my article on time.

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