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Buying an iPad Now?: New, Used, or Refurbished

iPadiPad 1, iPad 2, iPad new? New (3), Used, refurbished? You want an iPad but want to get the best iPad for the best possible price right now. With the release of the third generation of iPad, you now have some interesting options if you aren’t beholden to a new device. This is mainly a story for local Toronto, ON buyers, but you should be able to apply most of this  advice to other locales.

Summary: What method of buying an iPad gives you the best bang for the buck with the imminent release of iPad 3?

New
If you want to buy the iPad right now, you’ll pay the highest premium for your Apple device. Your options aren’t plentiful either – slog it out to an Apple Store and wait in line, Get one of the few available in Future Shops / Best Buys or order online and stand the current 2-3 week waiting time.

The pricing (as you see above) is the same as previous iPad models: 16GB or $519, 32G for $619 and 64GB for $719.

Used
You’re likely to get the cheapest price here, you’ll also (in most cases) get no warranty, no guarantees the device is in good shape and the possibility of running across a fake device. The added benefit of a cash sale is the lack of taxes too. Here is a look at some current prices I pulled from Craigslist and Kijiji today.

iPad-Prices

In some case, these prices vary widely depending on the kind of accessories that are offered to sweeten the pot. You’ll want to make sure you see pictures and generally follow the Laws of Craigsist if you plan to buy this way.

Refurbished
As the iPad has gotten older, this third option has become more and more possible. You have a number of places you can buy an iPad from for various different prices. Here is a list of prices I was able to find at the time of publishing.

iPad-New-Prices

The above locations include the Apple Store and Factory Direct. You can expect 30 days or more warranty on the devices and the peace of mind of buying from a larger retailer.

So, what’s the best way?
Given the above data, it’s always clear that buying used will get you a better price. In some cases the saving can add up to $200 or more over a new device and $100 or more on a refurbished device. The two key factors you should consider when deciding what’s best for you are:

1. Features – The iPad 1 is heavier but still a great product. The iPad 2 includes a camera. Make sure you’re happy with the features you want and go after that device.

2. Hassle  – This is the common denominator in every decision not to buy new. As the price gets cheaper, the hassle in buying goes up. Buying used will likely be the biggest hassle, while a new product will come with the convenience of a longer warranty and free shipping.

My advice to most people is to buy the refurbished product. Get rid of most of the hassle, and get a good product that is still supported and under warranty. You might also consider a recent article by the Globe and Mail about buying a refurbished iPad ↬ here. If you haven’t gotten your hands on an iPad, you should  try it out at the local Apple Store or check out other tablets. I was even asked today “Is the Playbook a good tablet to buy?”. I say, yes, it’s a great value for the price, but…. well, that’s another blog post.