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Above is our video review of a Certified Refurbished Apple Watch Series 3 that we purchased directly from the Apple Store here in the UK. This is the non-cellular version and has a case size of 42mm. In this video we feature the unboxing experience and give you our first impressions of what it is like to purchase a Certified Refurbished item directly from Apple.
About the Apple Watch Series 3
The Apple Watch Series 3 was released a few years ago in late 2017, as a timely update to the Series 2. As with all Apple watches they could and can still be purchased via the Apple website in either GPS or cellular variations and sold in two sizes with that being the 38mm and the 42mm case sizes. They are designed as a fitness tracker, notification centre and a way of not using your phone as much as you normally would.
In the review below, we are taking more of a look at what you get from Apple Certified Refurbished as opposed to the watch as we mention later that for a smartwatch that has been out for two years there are plenty of videos and articles written about it, but we do give you a little bit of an insight into how the watch has been like to own for the last three months. We hope you enjoy the article.
What is Apple Certified Refurbished?
The Apple Certified Refurbished program is a strict program of rigorous processes that Apple undertakes to fully refurbish Apple products that have been returned to Apple because they are faulty or simply because the consumer doesn’t want any more or it is the wrong product for their needs.
The refurbishment process includes replacement of parts and full testing so the refurbished products leave the Apple stable in a like-new state, as it mentions on its website.
As it has been refurbished to Apple’s exacting standards and is like new you also gain the same benefits that you would enjoy from Apple if you were to buy the same item brand new. This would include (at the date of typing this article) a one-year limited warranty, up to ninety days of technical support and the option to extend the Apple Care warranty.
The other added benefit of buying an item via the Apple Certified Refurbished program is that you can get it cheaper when compared to the same item that is brand new. This could mean a saving of up to 15% in some cases and when you factor in the above-added benefits then it could be an attractive way of saving you money.
As well as the benefits you get from buying Apple Certified Refurbished it also comes with the required accessories that you would get if you were to buy the same item new plus it comes in a white premium package that you would expect from Apple with the words Apple Certified Refurbished emblazoned on the front of the box.
As a footnote, before buying the Apple watch featured in this article, in the past, we purchased a MacBook Pro via the Apple Certified Refurbished program many years ago and we have to say that the quality of the item was as near perfect as you can get for something that is like new and seven to eight years later it is still going strong so buying the Apple Watch via Apple Refurbished we had a fair idea of what to expect and we weren’t disappointed.
What is the quality of an Apple Certified Refurbished Watch like?
In short, you can view our YouTube video with the unboxing experience and our initial impressions. You can also click or tap follow the link https://youtu.be/N62viI1PoUI to be taken to the YouTube video directly.
Otherwise, read on…
As is known with Apple, the unboxing experience is just as much part of the design of the product as is the product itself and buying an Apple Certified Product doesn’t skimp on that experience, to be honest, it is as close to the retail experience as you can get while saving you money.
While you don’t get the item in an Apple-branded retail box you do get the well thought out experience of unboxing an Apple product. The box is pure white and the only thing to adorn the box is the name of the product and the words Apple Certified Refurbished, and that’s it. It is simple, pure and stunning in itself. The quality of the box was unbelievable. The packaging was super sturdy and the cardboard used for the box alone was thick, sturdy and just reeked of quality. The funny thing is that if you search eBay for Apple packaging you can find various product packages to buy ranging from £5 upwards so even the packaging can have a value to it, which is mad for what is seen as essentially a recyclable item.
Once the Apple Watch Series 3 was out of the box then it was all about peeling off the various plastic protective covers and putting on the respectively sized watch strap. To say that the quality of the watch was outstanding is an understatement and when I compared it to what was purchased for my wife as a retail spec Apple Watch Series 3 there was no difference as to the quality of the item, how it powered on and how it worked. The only real difference was that the watch featured here is the Nike + 42mm version, which came with a stunning grey silicon strap, whereas my wife’s version is the standard 38mm Apple Watch Series 3.
The body and screen of the watch were closely inspected for any scratches, dents or scapes and there was nothing to be found. The strap was examined for any evidence of previous ownership and there was simply nothing. It powered on, charged ok and linked to my Apple account with no dramas at all. It was, in essence, a brand new Apple Watch just with its certified refurbished status. Overall an item that you would expect if you were to walk into the Apple Store and pick up from the shelf, which just shows how great their refurbished items are.
Apple Watch Series 3 – three months on
As there are plenty of online reviews of the Apple Watch Series 3, which can be easily located via a Google or YouTube search, we are not going to talk about the specification of the watch as it has been out for the last two years so there is plenty of coverage of it but it is worth taking the opportunity of mentioning what it is like to own.
First of all, wearing the Apple Watch is as comfortable as you can imagine. The accompanying grey silicone strap makes it an item that you know is on your wrist but not in an invasive way just like basically any other watch and with easy adjustment, the strap can be tailor-made to fit most wrists.
Its comfortable and not too sweaty to wear, though I have to admit I haven’t tried running or any real active sports while wearing it. It isn’t a dust magnet which is great and even though the version I am talking about has a multitude of holes in it, there was no dirt caught in the strap. On a side note, one of the features of the Apple Watch is that you can easily change the strap if you so wish, just as long it is to another strap designed for an Apple Watch. My wife purchased a few different, and much cheaper, straps from eBay and with a press of the buttons on the back, holding each of the strap components, the old strap slid off with the new strap sliding easily into place. So if you are looking for a bit of a change with your Apple Watch it can be easily, and cheaply done.
Carrying on with the design of the Apple Watch it isn’t too bulky to wear, the OLED screen is bright and easy to read and when the watch is in its power save state you can simply move your wrist towards your face, as you would do when reading the time, to activate the screen. This method of seeing what is on screen works about 85% of the time and we found that the odd time that we needed to press the digital crown to activate the screen which wasn’t too much hassle.
Carrying on, using the watch is as easy as you can imagine to operate and operating the digital crown and back button is intuitive and you get used to it in no time. The only issue I had from time to time was selecting apps, which due to the size and placement of the icons could be a bit hit or miss, but after a few presses, you do get there. Once the apps have been selected they tended to open after a second or two and worked how they should. As an aside, it would have to be said that while the Apple Watch Series 3 does have an amount of storage the watch featured here never really had many extra apps downloaded to it nor did it have music downloaded to it so this part of the review has been skipped on.
Notifications – This watch, paired with an iPhone, is great for getting the notifications that would normally feature on your phone on the watch. The only thing I found difficult at first was that I was used to the way that the Pebble Classic smartwatch used to do things where even when you are viewing your iPhone you still got notifications on your watch but with the Apple Watch it does handle notifications a little more intelligently than my previous Pebble watch. The watch can also nag you to stand up at various times of the day, which is great when you sit at a desk at work all day and take a few minutes out of your day to breathe in time with Apple’s Breathe watch app. All notifications like email, texts, WhatsApp, Stand, Breathe etc can be switched off via the iPhone app, which with the Breathe App you may find doing so.
Mentioning notifications, you can also take calls on the watch and make them as long as your iPhone is in range and while this is a great feature, if like me to tend to get calls when you are on the toilet, I have found the quality of the call a little hit or miss but if you are in a pinch then its a great option to have.
Fitness-wise this watch is simply brilliant if you are looking to push yourself a little more regarding your general health.
On a daily basis, you have a ring system that the watch urges you to complete which is based on how many calories you have stated that you will aim to burn every day. Its a great system that is easy to understand and allows you to gain a snapshot view of where you are throughout the day with your exercise, movement and standing routine. Also when you are out and about and you are looking to take a walk, run or cycle you can quickly set the watch to record your fitness and married with your heart rate it will record how you do for you to look at and compare later. For me, as a gentleman who is at the mid-point in his life, this watch is great to wear to help boost fitness also with the option selected you can also set the watch to keep tracking your heart rate throughout the day to make sure that there are no real issues with your heart and irregular beats per minutes which can be a sign of an impending stroke and the like. This watch doesn’t have the built-in ECG which checks your heart for electrical irregularities but if you are after that feature then the Apple Watch Series 4 may be more your bag.
Charging the watch is a breeze, with its magnetic charging point, and it tends to take a few hours from a near-zero charge to get 100%. Once the battery is full I tended to get up to about two days use out of the watch before I needed to charge it again and have never really ran out of battery. Your mileage may vary with this as I am not always on my watch and I periodically check it for the time and notifications so if you use it more you may need to charge it more. Generally giving it a quick charge when getting the kids and myself ready in the morning tends to help keep its levels topped up.
Apple Certified Refurbished Apple Watch Series 3 – Conclusion
In summary, the main question we would ask ourselves after laying out our hard-earned money on an Apple Certified Refurbished Apple Watch Series 3 is simple ‘Would we buy it again knowing what we know now’, which is a question we always ask when reviewing any items on this site or via our YouTube platform. For us, the simple answer is a resounding yes!
Not only have we saved around £40 against the retail price there is no real discernible difference that we could see against refurbished or brand new. If you were to ask us would we buy a refurbished item from say a different retailer or an item on eBay that has been identified as refurbished then we would think twice as it would depend on the quality of the refurbishment, the reputation of the business offering the items as refurbished and if there were any customer reviews regarding the items that they had purchased in a refurbished state.
With Apple, we knew what we were getting into when buying a certified refurbished product as we had purchased from them before and as we have mentioned earlier we were not disappointed in any way whatsoever plus after wearing the Apple Watch Series 3 it has been brilliant, so it gets a massive thumbs up from us!