One can't help but notice the amount of buzz (Boy Genius Report, PCWorld, Engadget, CNET, etc...) that has been driven in the recent price reduction of the refurbished iPhone 3Gs from AT&T. The telecom slashed the already low price of iPhone 3G refurb from $199 down to $149 (16GB) and $149 down to $99 (8GB) on their website.
Should one take advantage of this deal?
I'll answering that by saying the price, unlike the1st gen. iPhone refurb deal last year, this time, the purchase will force you to open a 2-year contract. This means you'll have to live with this refurbished iPhone 3G hopefully trouble-free for the next two years. According to the fine print, all refurb iPhone 3Gs are warranted for 90 days or more. The "more" is based on the number of days left in since activation of the original one year warranty.
That said, I will go over couple of experience I've had with the 1st gen. refurbished iPhone deal I picked up last year. As mentioned above, the 1st gen. iPhone refurb can be had for $250 shipped. My refurbed 1st gen iPhone, however, had a failed touchscreen after 6 months of use. While AT&T originally promised a 1 year warranty as it was mentioned on the refurbished box label, APPLE store did want to honor it. They kept using the original registration info off of the previous owner as the time stamp for the one year warranty period. After much perusation, they finally agreed to exchange for another refurbished iPhone for an extended 90 days warranty. The replacement iPhone never worked properly with the presistant "iPhone won't ring in deep sleep" problem as I have documented. Long story short, I finally gave up on this route and extended my contract with AT&T for a new iPhone 3G.
So if you ask me, refurbished iPhone 3G is not worth the potential issues. As matter of fact, I've never bought into refurbished anything in the past. My only time of bending that rule backfired on me. So, no thanks, I'll pass.