Google Productivity Pad: How to buy a used iPad

Saturday, March 30, 2013

How to buy a used iPad

Buying used electronics can be a sticky and risky business. There are a couple of things to consider when doing so. The first point to consider, and this a great tip for productivity and life anyway, is what you want and why. If you just think to yourself, "I want a tablet", or even "I want an iPad" you will either end up with a piece of junk, or something that is more than you need. You have to have something to aim for. Zig Ziggler said "If you aim at nothing, you'll hit it every time."

So here are the things I think you ought to consider when buying any electronic, an iPad especially.
  • Purpose: What do you want to do with it? What do you want to get out of it? Your purpose for having an iPad will help you determine lots of other things about it. 
  • Memory: Based on your purpose you will need to decide how much memory you need to buy. iPads come generally in 3 memory sizes, 16 gig, 32 gig, 64 gig, but apple also just recently released a 128 gig model (for the Retina iPad, not the iPad mini). How much memory you want will make a big difference in the price you will have to pay.
  • Version: You have to decide, based on your purpose, which version of the iPad you need. The iPad has had four different generations, and now there is the iPad mini as well. The versions vary somewhat in features, but the most important thing to consider about which version to buy is how soon you want your iPad to be obsolete(i.e. unable to update to the newest operating system), more about that later.
  • Wireless: Also based on your purpose you will need to decide whether you need a WiFi only model or a cellular model. 
  • Condition: The condition is a really important thing to consider when buying a used electronic, because it is always a question of how bad can it be and still be worth it, you can save a lot of money if you can use a device in less than mint condition, but you probably don't want a large jagged crack down your screen.
  • Pricing: The price is going to be determined mostly by the above considerations, the more you want the more you will pay of course. Once you have determined these considerations decide what it is worth to you. You should not go shopping for an electronic without a maximum priced fixed in your mind.
My purpose in buying an iPad was largely academic, I wanted it to replace my laptop as my mobile school computer. My primary uses for the iPad are note taking, web browsing, reading and writing. I also want it for productivity uses like calendar and todo list. Once I knew my purpose I could decide on memory, because I am not mainly concerned with media (audio, video and pictures) I knew I did not need a ton of memory so I opted to mainly look for a 16 gigabyte model to save money. The 16 gig option is good for those who do not plan on storing large files on their iPad like movies, or playing graphic intensive games. Also if you are good at cloud computing going with the 16 gig is a good way to save money.
As far as the version of the iPad I wanted, I knew I wanted an iPad mini because my purpose was to have it be ultraportable, so I did not have a lot of option when it came to version. Depending on what your purpose is though you can consider older versions that you can get for much cheaper than the newer ones. I do not recommend buying anything so old that Apple will not put the newest operating system on it, right now this only included the original iPad. The reason for that is you will get an empty device and won't be able to load very many apps onto it. However if you want something only for simple functions like web browsing the original iPad would work for you.
When it comes to wireless I really only recommend getting a WiFi only model, you will pay about $130 dollars upfront for a cellular radio and then you have to pay a monthly fee to keep getting data on it. There are people who do have a specific reason they need cellular, but they know already know who they are. Some people say they want it for the GPS functionality, but you can get a pretty good GPS unit for $130 without a monthly fee. All that being said, if you really do need cellular be very careful when buying a used iPad that you get the correct model for the carrier (AT&T or Verizon) that you want to be contracted with, this of course will make finding a good deal that much harder.
I don't like big cracks down my screen, so I'm pretty careful when it come to the condition of the electronics I buy. Do not get caught up in wanting to win an ebay auction that looks like a good deal but is actually a cracked screen, be careful.
Pricing is, of course, the big deal, that is why you are buying used in the first place. So decide on what price you want to get it for and don't go over it. It is easy to get caught up in just wanting to get what you want, but the key is to be patient, get what you really want for the price you really want it.

Once you have set out your plan go looking for it. Personally I like to use ebay. The way I do it is I shop ebay two ways: auctions ending soonest, and buy it nows newly listed. Those are the two ways to find deals, you need to check frequently, often the best deals are buy it nows that surface for only a short period of time before they are bought.
Now there are several caveats to consider. The first one is to periodically check the models with more memory than you want, you might be able to land a good deal there as well, especially if the higher model is one that less people are searching for. The second is to be aware of accessories, the accessories an iPad comes with can make it cost more, but if you are going to have to buy them anyway it is good to take them into consideration. You need to know how much a cord will cost you (I got my lightning cord for about 5 bucks), what kind of case or cover you want and how much that will cost, and if you want a screen protector. Figure this in when deciding if a particular offer is good or not. Also consider if you buy one with accessories you don't need or want if you could resell those individually and make a profit.

So that's it folks, make a plan, then be patient and vigilant, you can get a good deal if you go at it with purpose. If you think this post would benefit others please share it. If you have any questions leave a comment below, and don't forget to subscribe (using the link on the right).

And remember, live better.

No comments:

Post a Comment