Music lovers who want the convenience and cool of an iPod, but who can’t necessarily afford Apple’s highish prices, seem to be left to two choices: buy an MP3 player from another company or go without. Neither’s very appealing.
But there’s a third choice: buy a refurbished iPod.
Refurbished iPods will save you some dough, but are the tradeoffs worth it? That decision’s ultimately up to you, but it you’re considering buying a used iPod, here are the things to take into account and some suggestions for where to look for your digital-music bargain.
What to Watch Out for with Refurbished iPods
While a used iPod can be a good deal, there are a few things you should watch out for to make sure you won’t feel a penny wise but a pound foolish.
Battery – iPods have batteries that can’t be replaced by the user when they die. A lightly used iPod should have decent battery life left in it, but anything more than a year or so old should be regarded cautiously. Ask the seller about the battery life or see if they’ll be willing to replace the battery with a fresh one (something repair shops can do) before you buy.
Screen – If a refurbished iPod hasn’t been kept in a protective case, its screen may be scratched. That’s the just the result of day-to-day use. But those scratches can really be a pain if you’re planning to watch a lot of video or browse the web (and is a particular problem for used iPod touches, since scratches will mar the touchscreen). Get a look at the screen of the used iPod you’re considering if you can (even if it’s just a photo) and think about how important scratches may be to you.
Capacity – While the allure of a lower price is strong, remember that used iPods aren’t the latest models and that they’ve got less storage space as a result. While the difference between a 10GB iPod and a 20GB iPod may not matter too much to you, the difference between a 10GB iPod and a 160GB iPod may, so be sure to weigh the value of saving money against getting more for your dollar when you’re buying.
Price – The same holds true for price. A refurbished iPod may save you $50 (for instance), but is that $50 worth getting something that’s not quite new and may have less storage? For some, the answer will be yes. Others will value the latest hardware and are willing to pay for it. Make sure you know your preference.
Warranty – If you can get a refurbished iPod with a warranty – even extended warranties - do it. The most reputable sellers of refurbished iPods will stand behind their work and offer warranties. And while one repair in the life of the device doesn’t necessarily mean trouble in the future, it may, so consider spending the extra money for an extended warranty (I think it’s the thing to do with new models, too).
Where to Buy a Refurbished iPod
If a used iPod is right for you, next you’ll need to decide where to pick up your new toy. Your options range from the source to a neighbor. But choose wisely.
From Apple – Apple makes refurbished iPods available through its online Apple Store all the time. You can expect to save a few bucks and have the experts fixing your device. Not a bad combo.
From iPod resellers – Some of the companies that sell new iPods also sell used iPods. These are mostly mail-order or online stores and they offer prices similar to Apple’s.
From eBay/Craigslist – eBay and Craigslist are two of the key places to find bargains online, but buyer beware. Unless you’re buying from an established company with a good reputation, you may get stuck with a broken iPod that doesn’t have the specs you thought you were getting, thanks to a scammer.
Selling Your Used iPod
If you’re buying a refurbished iPod, you may have an older model you want to get rid of. If so, review your options for getting the most value out of your used iPod.
When it comes to buying a refurbished iPod, you can save money and get a good music player at the same time. You just have to be smart and careful about how and where you buy. With the tips above, you should be well on your way to doing that. Happy shopping!
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