If you want a Surface Pro, is a certified refurbished option the way to go?

Microsoft will sell you a refurbished Surface Pro 3 or Surface Pro 4 in various configurations, and as you'd expect the starting prices are lower than if you went and bought a brand new one.

But refurbished isn't new, by definition. It's a used product made good again. So what do you actually get, and is it worth the investment?

The cost

Surface Pro 3

Based on current Microsoft Store pricing, here's what you're looking at for a certified refurbished Surface Pro 3 and Surface Pro 4

Surface Pro 3

Processor Storage RAM Price
Core i3 64GB 4GB $429
Core i5 128GB 4GB $499
Core i7 512GB 8GB $989

Surface Pro 4

Processor Storage RAM Price
Core m3 128GB 4GB $639
Core i5 128GB 4GB $729
Core i5 256GB 8GB $979
Core i7 256GB 8GB $1,279
Core i7 256GB 16GB $1,449
Core i7 512GB 16GB $1,789

The Surface Pro 3 is a last-gen product so there's no current pricing to compare to, but $499 for the 128GB Core i5 model is the best value you can currently get.

The Surface Pro 4 has recently had some price cuts and starts right now at $699 for the 128GB Core m3 model, so refurbed versions offer less savings. You have to go up to the Core i7 256GB with 8GB of RAM to see a savings of $220, which might make a bit more sense. At the lower end, you save less than $100, and frankly, you'd be better off stumping for the brand new ones.

What does certified refurbished mean?

Surface Pro 4

Each refurbished product is a pre-owned device that Microsoft puts through a rigorous course of love and care, with new parts and repairs when necessary.

As part of the refurb process, each Microsoft-Certified Refurbished Product:

  • is screened and tested to be fully functional.
  • is reloaded with the Windows OS and software updates.
  • is put through a thorough cleaning process and cosmetic inspection.
  • is repackaged with appropriate manuals, cables and power cord in a new box.

When you receive your product it should be indistinguishable from a brand new one. You also get a 12-month limited warranty from Microsoft with all refurbished products should anything go wrong.

Should you buy one?

Surface Pro 3

There's no reason not to buy a refurbed device from Microsoft, because you're getting a professionally-refurbished Surface Pro at a discount price directly from the source. If you want an older, cheaper Surface Pro 3 this is probably a better idea than buying a used model from a third-party.

However, if you're looking at the Surface Pro 4 it only really makes sense at the higher-end, so you get substantial savings. Sure, savings are savings, but at the lower end you won't save enough with recent price drops to justify taking the plunge.

See at Microsoft