What's better than an iPad? A cheap iPad. The iPad is a great device, but it can still cost as much as a lower end laptop even if you go with the cheapest 16 GB Wi-Fi-only model. And if you need a data connection, you can add $129 to the price of that iPad. But before you decide that you can't quite afford one yet, let's take a look at a some ways you can knock a few dollars off the price of the iPad.
Go Last Generation
The easiest way to discount the price of the iPad is to go with the last generation rather than the newest version of the iPad. Apple has kept the iPad 2 in production as an entry level device, and with the release of the second generation "Retina Display" iPad Mini 2, Apple is keeping the original iPad Mini in production. At $299 with the same processor as the iPad 2, better dual-facing cameras and access to 4G LTE and Siri, the original iPad Mini is the best deal for a brand new iPad.
Buy a Refurbished iPad
Another easy way to cut the price of an iPad is to buy a refurbished unit. In fact, this is a good trick with many devices from laptops to gaming consoles. Apple's store sells a wide variety of refurbished iPads and you can usually save $50 or more off the price. If you combine this with buying the last generation iPad, you can get a great device for around $100-$150 off the original price.
It's also possible to buy a refurbished iPad from other retailers like Best Buy or Newegg, but if the unit you are looking for is not available from Apple, it's usually best to wait a few weeks to see if that particular model becomes available. A refurbished iPad from Apple comes with a 1-year warranty, which can ease concerns of buying refurbished.
Buy Used From Amazon or eBay
Did you know you can buy used products from Amazon? You can go to Amazon and search for the iPad you are interested in purchasing. Once at the product's detail page, you will see how many used units they have for sale. These iPads are sold from a variety of different stores, and not only can you see details about the iPad such as what condition the device is in, you can also see the seller's satisfaction rating.
Another good choice for buying a used iPad is eBay. These can be sold with a bidding process, which means you'll have to put in the highest bid and wait for the auction to end, or (sometimes) there is a buyout price you can use to buy the iPad immediately. When buying from eBay, it is important to read all of the details before putting in a bid. You will want to check out the iPad's status, the seller's return policy and the seller's rating before buying the iPad. You will also want to note the shipping cost and compare the total price to other options. You might be surprised at how close in price a place like Amazon can be to eBay.
Avoid Penny Auction Websites
You've probably seen the advertisements promising you a chance to buy an iPad for as cheap as $34.92 or some equally absurd price. And if you've thought that it must be a scam of some type, you are partially right. It's hard to classify them as a straight up scam because they do sell the products, but the way the system works is that you must pay to simply bid on products. This means every time you put in a bid of $16.41 or $17.23 you are paying money to the website regardless of whether or not you win the final bid.
If you are very lucky, you can end up with a cheap iPad without paying much money. But for every person that wins a cheap bid, there are dozens and even hundreds of people that spend $5, $10 or even $20 or more bidding for the product that didn't win the bid. And due to the addicting nature of placing bids, you could easily spend hundreds of dollars trying to win one of these products without ever winning the final bid.
In the end, you might be better off spending a few bucks on lottery tickets and then applying any winnings towards the purchase of an iPad. You'll probably face more favorable odds going that route.
Be Wary of Craigslist
Craigslist and other online classified advertisements can be a great way to get a good deal on a product, but they also present an element of risk. One of the newest tricks for would-be muggers is to list a mobile electronic device like an iPad on Craigslist, luring a potential victim to a specific location.
This doesn't mean you have to completely ignore Craigslist, but you should be smart. Always meet in a public location, like inside of a restaurant. Never meet anyone in a parking lot or "just out front" of a store or restaurant.
If the iPad is in the original packaging, always open the box and turn the iPad on to make sure it works. Familiar yourself with how to set up an iPad for first time use so you will be familiar with what you should be seeing and go through the first few steps to make sure the device is working properly, but don't complete the step asking for your Apple ID.