New to You: Save Hundreds on Refurbished and Used Tablets


The most feature-rich tablets often carry top-of-the-line price tags, even when they're a generation or two behind. However, there's a money-saving hack you can employ to get these devices for way less: buy them refurbished or used! To help you find the perfect second-hand tablet, we've rounded up the week's best refurb and used tablet deals. Grab a refurbished Surface Pro at a $100 savings, score a used 4th-gen iPad for $76 off, and save $100 on an ASUS Transformer Pad.

Nervous about buying something second-hand? Be sure to check out our rundown on what to look for — and look out for — when buying refurbished.

  1. Surface 9SR-00001Refurbished Microsoft Surface Pro 10.6" 64GB Windows Tablet
    Store: Manufacturer Certified via eBay
    Price: $399 with free shipping
    Lowest By: $100

    Is It Worth It?: Many a buyer on the hunt for a laptop replacement has fallen in love with Microsoft's Surface Pro, a hard-working Windows tablet with a lot of processing power. If the only thing holding you back is the Surface Pro's price, then grab this factory-refurbished unit from eBay for just $399. At $100 off the price of a new one, this Editors' Choice tablet still comes with a 1-year Microsoft warranty. Performance-wise, Engadget's reviewer said the "Surface Pro more than met our expectations. A cold boot is completed in eight seconds or less, which is quite impressive indeed, and apps launched snappily and reacted well."

    The 2-lb. Surface Pro features an Intel Core i5-3317U 1.7GHz dual-core processor, a 10.6" 1920x1080 (1080p) multi-touch LCD, 4GB of RAM, 64GB of internal storage, 802.11n wireless, Bluetooth 4.0, front- and rear-facing 720p HD cameras, a microSDXC card slot, and Windows 8 Pro. A 1-year Microsoft warranty applies.

  2. iPad MD510LL/AUsed Apple iPad with Retina Display 16GB WiFi Tablet
    Store: CowBoom
    Price: $299.99 via coupon code "13593622" with free shipping
    Lowest By: $76

    Is It Worth It?: Apple recently decided to bring the 4th-generation iPad back to its storefront, offering the legacy iDevice for $399. However, you can grab a used one for nearly $100 less at CowBoom, via coupon code "13593622". That's an Editors' Choice $76 savings on this Retina display-sporting tablet. At the time of this iPad's release, CNET said "the 2,048x1,536-pixel 9.7" IPS screen is unmatched among tablets. Color accuracy is superb, movies look great, and photos look even better. Text is crystal-clear, just like on the iPhone. It makes a big difference when looking at Web pages."

    This 9.4mm-thick, 1.4-lb. iPad also boasts an A6X dual-core processor with quad-core graphics, a 5-megapixel iSight camera, a 1.2-megapixel HD FaceTime camera, 1080p video recording, 802.11n wireless, Bluetooth 4.0, up to 10 hours of battery life, and iOS 6. Of note, no warranty information is included. Also, this used unit may be missing accessories and have scratches or dents.

  3. iPad MD510LL/AUsed Apple iPad 16GB WiFi Tablet
    Store: CowBoom
    Price: $229.99 with free shipping
    Lowest By: $174

    Is It Worth It?: Even the most ebullient Apple critics admit that the differences are slim between the 3rd and 4th generation iPads, as they both boast the Retina display. If you don't crave the faster processor and re-worked OS from the model above, you can save a bundle buying this used 3rd gen unit. At $174 below the price of a new unit, this Editors' Choice iPad is at the cheapest price we've seen for this model. With its elegantly simple design, this iteration of the iPad won over The Verge: "There's little to fault in this design — everything is pretty much where it should be, and functions as it should. For a tablet device where the display is the only substantial method of input available, you need little more than a screen — and that's what the iPad provides."

    This 3rd-generation iPad is 9.4mm thick, weighs 1.4 lbs., and features a 9.7" 2048x1536 Retina display, an A5x dual-core processor with quad-core graphics, a 5-megapixel iSight camera with 1080p video recording, a front FaceTime camera, 802.11n wireless, Bluetooth 4.0, up to 10 hours of battery life, and iOS 5. Of note, no warranty information is included. Also, this used unit may be missing accessories and have scratches or dents.

  4. Galaxy SM-T3100ZWYXARRefurbished Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 8" 16GB Android Tablet
    Store: Groupon
    Price: 169.99 with free shipping
    Lowest By: $55
    Expires: April 7

    Is It Worth It?: Not into iPads? For the price of a new, middle-of-the-road 7" tablet, Android fans can score a factory-refurbished Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 with a little more screen real estate. When this tablet first came on the scene, Digital Trends said "the extra screen size is worth the premium, and the combination of long battery life and great design round out what we think is one of the best 8" tablets available." At $170, this refurb has dropped $30 since our previous mention and is a current price low by $55.

    The Galaxy Tab 3 has a 1.5GHz dual-core processor, an 8" 1280x800 touchscreen LCD, 16GB of internal storage, a 1.3-megapixel front camera, a 5-megapixel rear camera, 802.11a/n wireless, Bluetooth 4.0, a microSD card slot, and Android 4.2 OS (Jelly Bean). A 90-day Samsung warranty applies.

  5. ASUS TF300-A1Refurbished ASUS Transformer Pad 10.1" 16GB Android Tablet
    Store: A4C
    Price: $149.95 with free shipping
    Lowest By: $100

    Is It Worth It?: If you're looking for a quad-core Android tablet, you'd be hard-pressed to find a better value than this refurbished ASUS' Transformer Pad TF300 in Blue. At $150, this Editors' Choice refurb is $100 cheaper than a new unit and still holds up as a solid contender in its class. "Don't expect iPad levels of clarity ... but it's still excellent compared with most tablets," CNET said at the time of its release. "Also, there's still that great, smooth Tegra 3-induced, 60-frames-per-second screen transition effect when closing apps or swiping through apps and widgets."

    The Transformer Pad sports an NVIDIA Tegra 3 1.2GHz quad-core processor, a 10.1" 1280x800 IPS multi-touch LCD, 1GB of RAM, 16GB of internal storage, an 8-megapixel rear camera, a 1.2-megapixel front camera, 802.11n wireless, Bluetooth, a microSD card slot, and Android 3.2 (Honeycomb). A 90-day A4C warranty applies.

Senior Blog Editor

Michael adds the finishing touches to most of the Blog articles you'll see on DealNews. His work has appeared on sites like Lifehacker, the Huffington Post, and MSN Money. See him rant about video games by following him on Twitter @ThatBonebright.
DealNews may be compensated by companies mentioned in this article. Please note that, although prices sometimes fluctuate or expire unexpectedly, all products and deals mentioned in this feature were available at the lowest total price we could find at the time of publication (unless otherwise specified).
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michael bonebright (DealNews)
Just FYI--
CowBoom lists used items individually, so the buyer is able pick the one they want. (Select "choose best available", then scroll thru the list. It may be several pages long.) The site grades each item, and lists any cosmetic damage and missing accessories. The full grading scale is available here:
I got a PS3 super slim 500GB for $125 and it was give a 6 which mean minor scuffs and scratches. It has a tiny scratch my the power input and a small scuff on the top. It is well worth the money I saved. As far as accessories, it included everything in great condition, it even included the box (that wasn't listed). I'd but from them again!
It would be neat if dealnews conducted a reader "audit" of exactly what buyers get when they purchase a used item at, say, Cowboom. Everyone expects a factory refurb to be pretty much like new. But how does a typical Cowboom purchase match up with their "may contain scratches and dents" disclaimer? Does the seller rate appearance conservatively? How often are accessories "missing" compared to the original package? I probably would buy more from Cowboom, but I can't tell if their disclaimers are them being accurate or them covering their ***es.