certified refurbishedYou don’t have to buy a new tablet or computer to get a good one, any more than you have to buy a brand new car. “Refurbished” machines are items returned to the store or the manufacturer, but they’re not lemons.

According to Digital Trends, an online magazine, refurbished tablets and computers are subject to more rigorous testing than ordinary machines. After a person returns something to the store, retailers want to be darn sure there’s nothing wrong with it. From our own experience, we know that some equipment labeled as “refurbished” is brand new and has never been opened; a company ordered too many and returned the surplus.

Apple has an online store where refurbished iPads sell for $420, an $80 savings. At other company sites, smartphones, tablets, computers, laptops, cameras, and TVs are discounted by as much as 50 percent. To find the Apple refurbished department, go to, click “store” and scroll down to the bottom of the page. In tiny print, you’ll find “refurbished and clearance.”

Similarly, Amazon has an outlet store at You can find others by going to or any other search engine and adding the word “outlet” to your search term. For example, a search on “Sony Outlet.” or doing the same for Dell, HP, Nikon, New Egg, Best Buy and many others, turns up their bargain basement divisions.

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