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I’ve had my 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display for a week. I’ve oggled the device at every angle, put it through every test – and now, it’s time that I tell you if Apple’s “stringent refurbishment process” produces a device that’s worth the savings.

Apple gives its customers a fairly detailed outline of the refurbishment process on the refurbished products page. According to the outline, each product up for refurbishment:

  • is fully tested (including full burn-in testing).
  • is refurbished with replacement parts for any defective modules identified in testing.
  • is put through a thorough cleaning process and inspection.
  • is repackaged (including appropriate manuals, cables, new boxes, etc.).
  • includes the operating software originally shipped with the unit and the custom software offered with that system. See each product’s “Learn More” for more details.
  • is given a new refurbished part number and serial number.
  • is placed into a Final QA inspection prior to being added to sellable refurbished stock.

Apple assures its customers that every refurbished product lives up to the company’s “premiere quality standards.”

After a week of owning the device and throwing every single thing I could think of at it, I am glad to say that Apple isn’t lying. For all intents and purposes, this MacBook Pro is just as fast and aesthetically-beautiful as a brand new unit.

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Make no mistake: there is a tradeoff for buying refurbished. When you order a refurbished unit, the box in which it’s shipped is a nondescript, white cardboard box; the fancy packaging that normally armors an Apple product is saved for new products. Still, every manual and cable is included, as is a foam housing that protects the product during shipping. If you can get past the fact that your packaging won’t have a picture of your new product on it, then refurbished products from Apple are essentially the same as buying new.

So… is it worth the savings?

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My MacBook Pro’s body is as perfect as a brand new unit’s body would be; there are no scratches, dents, or smudges anywhere. The screen is immaculate, too, as are the keyboard and trackpad. Under the shiny hood are perfectly speedy and quiet electronics.

Concisely: my refurbished MacBook Pro feels like a brand new one. In over a week of hardcore use as my only computer, I haven’t run into a single problem with the unit. It’s simply a flawless, discounted Mac; I’d call it new if I had a better box.

If you’re thinking about purchasing a refurbished Apple product but needed a bit of extra comfort in knowing that the company does a great job with them, let this article be that comfort. Let us know in the comments if you decide to buy something!