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Is a refurbished Xbox Series X worth the savings?

Xbox Series X
(Image credit: Matt Brown | Windows Central)

Finding an Xbox Series X still proves challenging, with Microsoft's latest gaming console consistently out of stock at most retailers. High demand and supply shortages are primarily to blame, and while the situation appears to be improving, we're still far from consoles sitting readily available on store shelves. However, if you're looking to upgrade and hope to skip the wait, a refurbished Xbox Series X could be your best option.

Refurbished Xbox Series X consoles only started popping up back in March, providing an opportunity to score a small discount on pre-loved hardware. The Microsoft Store and some third-party retailers currently offer refurbished units, pitching an easy and reliable alternative to auction sites and resellers. But should you buy a refurbished Xbox Series X, and are they worth the extra savings? Here's a deeper dive into what's being offered.

Refurbished Xbox Series X: Price & where to buy

Microsoft has started selling refurbished Xbox Series X consoles via the Microsoft Store, repacking its latest consoles at a discounted price. With Xbox Series X stock still limited, they're also a little easier to find, making this a convenient way to skip the wait. While pricing and discounts vary between regions, expect to save around 6-7% on refurbished consoles.

Purchasing a refurbished Xbox Series X from the Microsoft Store presents a safe and hassle-free opportunity to upgrade to a latest-generation machine. Microsoft details rigorous checks, cleaning, and repairs as a part of its "Certified Refurbished" program, with devices usually arriving in like-new or gently used condition. Microsoft includes a one-year warranty with every purchase, with an upgrade to a three-year plan also available.

Certified Refurbished Xbox Series X consoles cost $470 in the U.S., translating to a $30 saving. Similar discounts are available in the U.K. and Canada, with consoles available from £420 and $565, respectively.

Microsoft has also launched its first U.K.-exclusive promotion on refurbished Xbox Series X consoles — you can pick up a free £25 gift card to spend on Xbox games, accessories, and subscriptions like Xbox Game Pass. This offer isn't available in other regions at this time.

Refurbished Xbox Series X consoles are mostly limited to the Microsoft Store, with many third-party retailers yet to offer similar services. GameStop offers refurbished Xbox Series X consoles both online and in-store, although they're hard to come by, likely due to limited stock in the wild. The Microsoft Store also has superior warranty offerings versus GameStop, making it hard to recommend its offering over the official alternative.

Refurbished Xbox Series X: What's in the box?

Purchasing a refurbished Xbox Series X offers all the same accessories as brand-new devices, with its reduced price simply reflecting its used condition. The device performs like any new Xbox console, though you might find some minor scuffs or marks in some cases. Here's what's in the box:

  • Refurbished Xbox Series X 1TB console
  • Refurbished Xbox Wireless Controller (New 2020 Model)
  • Refurbished Ultra High Speed HDMI cable (HDMI 2.1 Ready)
  • Refurbished Xbox-compatible power cable

The included Xbox Series X console is tested and functional to the firm's standards, with an accompanying Xbox Wireless Controller. The same revised Xbox controller ships with all Xbox Series devices, defined by tweaked ergonomics and a dedicated "Share" button. Microsoft also bundles its HDMI 2.1-ready "Ultra High Speed HDMI Cable," a special cable supporting 4K up to 120Hz on compatible displays, with the appropriate power adapter and manual for your region.

However, you won't get the usual retail packaging under Microsoft's Certified Refurbished program. Microsoft ships these devices in a custom box, clearly labeled as refurbished to prevent confusion, even if otherwise similar to the standard packaging.

Are refurbished Xbox Series X consoles reliable?

Xbox Series X

(Image credit: Matt Brown | Windows Central)

Reliability should be one of the first questions for any refurbished hardware. It's important to understand where the device is coming from, the complete refurbishment process, and what protections are in place should an issue arise. Luckily, Microsoft has a strong track record, and with Xbox Series X, it outlines a thorough refurbishment process, backed with a strong warranty starting at one year. 

Refurbished Xbox Series X consoles purchased via the Microsoft Store undergo a "rigorous certification process," according to store listings. Microsoft engineers screen every console with extensive testing and potential repairs using official parts. Repairs upcycle the device "to its original specifications for electrical performance," meaning it should work like any console out of the box. There's little reason why a refurbished Xbox Series X should be different from a new console, especially in terms of performance and function.

Microsoft does warn of potential "cosmetic imperfections," although they'll likely be minor if present. While any notable damage probably won't slip past checks, scuffs to the chassis, scratches around ports, and other everyday wear are possible. Microsoft also cleans all products and accessories before shipping them to buyers.

It's also worth considering that the Xbox Series X is a relatively new console, with all devices under two years old. With the first refurbished consoles only hitting the market earlier this year, most should be in good shape with minor wear. Many users report getting like-new consoles, suggesting these devices saw little use or were returned out of the box. In this case, it's practically a new unit for a discounted price.

Refurbished Xbox Series X warranty: Free 12-month coverage and 'Microsoft Complete'

Microsoft reassures buyers it maintains a high standard for its Certified Refurbished program, and it backs those devices with an added guarantee. Refurbished Microsoft products sold via the Microsoft Store come with a standard 12-month warranty, should any defects arise. As stated via Microsoft's support pages, it may choose between repairing, replacing, or providing a refund for the console over the period.

Every refurbished Xbox Series X console also comes with the option to purchase its Microsoft Complete extended warranty. Microsoft Complete provides further coverage on the Xbox Series X and its included controller, ideal "against accidents and mechanical or electrical breakdowns." It covers one console replacement and two controller replacements over the period, with full terms found via the Xbox Support site. (opens in new tab)

Microsoft Complete coverage clocks in at $49 for three-year coverage in the U.S. Microsoft also offers the same plans in the U.K. and Canada, priced at £39 and $49, respectively.

The standard 12-month warranty should cover most buyers, with the generous coverage likely to catch any console defects. The Microsoft Store is well reviewed for its refurbished devices, with added checks and protections versus some third-party services. However, when choosing refurbished, the added peace of mind of Microsoft Complete might be worth the small investment.

Is a refurbished Xbox Series X console worth it?

(Image credit: Matt Brown | Windows Central)

While Xbox Series X availability has improved over time, it's still harder than it probably should be to buy Microsoft's primary console in 2022. The arrival of refurbished consoles presents a different avenue when shopping for the next generation, both more accessible and cheaper than new. When left weighing up your options, it's crucial to consider stock in your region, pricing, and deals.

Buying a refurbished Xbox Series X isn't all about saving cash. With discounts between 6-7% depending on your location, the savings are relatively mediocre compared to the total price of the hardware. However, in regions where it's still hard to buy an Xbox Series X, it's cheaper and easier to go refurbished, making the offering much more compelling.

Opting for refurbishment through the Microsoft Store also benefits buyers with a generous warranty — 12 months standard on all devices. The coverage provides some added peace of mind around Microsoft's already rigorous refurbishment processes, making it an overall safe alternative to a new console.

We also recommend looking out for promotions, with an ongoing U.K. deal offering an extra £25 of value with refurbished units. Factoring in the included gift card cuts the relative cost of the console below £400, sweetening the deal in a region where Xbox Series X stock remains more widely available at many online retailers.

While it depends on whether buying a refurbished Xbox Series X makes sense for you, it's an ideal way to get started with the latest generation of Xbox for a little less.

Matt Brown is Windows Central's Senior Games Editor, Xbox & PC, at Future. Following over seven years of professional consumer technology and gaming coverage, he’s focused on the world of Microsoft's gaming efforts. You can follow him on Twitter @mattjbrown.