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Help! worth getting mac laptop in US?? which one??

(28 Posts)
britishbulldog Sun 31-Jul-11 19:43:31

I've always had PCs, but I need a new laptop and am wondering about a Mac. DH is going to the States soon, so I could get one from there - but is it a good idea? It looks like it'll be a fair bit cheaper, but will it be more hassle than it's worth?
And then the more fundamental question: is it worth going for a mac anyway?? Help!!!

BelfastBloke Sun 31-Jul-11 19:50:21

Definitely worth going for a mac. Only problem I've had with my USA-bought one is finding a key to 'assign' the pound sign to. I've been using the hash tag, but in the world of twitter, that's more necessary now than it used to be. What shall I use?

I don't know what the savings are any more, but presumably it was worth it to me at the time. The entry-level MacBook has been fine for internet and word processing and quick movies: you don't really need anything higher unless you are a serious gamer or editing movies on it.

britishbulldog Sun 31-Jul-11 19:54:21

Ah, the pound sign, I'd forgotten about that - what does your 3 key have above it? How about losing the ~ sign??

I looked at costs, and the basic one is £850 in England and £600 in the States, so the savings do look worthwhile - so long as I'm not storing up trouble for myself!

What do you do about a power adapter, did you need to buy a special one?

britishbulldog Sun 31-Jul-11 19:56:51

oh, and what do I do about software, I assume Word/Excel etc work on a mac, is this going to be a pain/super-expensive etc...

BelfastBloke Sun 31-Jul-11 20:00:46

Above the 3 is the hashtag, which i have convrted to £. But you're right, I never use ~, so I will do that.

Macs have a 'mag' power source (v. cool) which goes into the laptop. At the other end is the square power adapter. The square power adapter has a section where different types of plug can be slotted in, depending on which country you're in (three-prong UK, two-prong EU, two-prong USA etc etc). All countries' plugs can be bought together in a box for £30 in a mac-store (or maybe cheaper in the states).

britishbulldog Sun 31-Jul-11 20:11:59

oh brilliant, thank you. really helpful. This feels like a BIG decision, I haven't had a new computer in 6 years and am not earning much just now (need computer for work though...)
Anti-virus software?
Microsoft office?
Google chrome?

anyone have any Awful Warnings about the switch to Mac/buying abroad??!

BelfastBloke Sun 31-Jul-11 20:19:14

Don't need anti virus software - mac takes care of that.

Definitely buy AppleCare protection for 3 years - excellent customer service on any question large or small.

I've heard Google Chrome is worth it, but I've stuck with Apple's Safari browser and it's done everything i've needed it to do, with no hassle.

Buy 'Microsoft Office for Mac' and all your PC files will convert: I know because I strayed away from Mac for 6 years and was delighted to return to their loving bosom, where I intend to reside until my death.

britishbulldog Sun 31-Jul-11 20:39:20

OK, I think I'm sold... Thank you SO much for advice.

Applecare costs nearly half the purchase price which is more than slightly horrifying. might try to find out what they offer if you DON'T buy that (something, surely?)

So it sounds like I need to buy
-most basic Mac laptop
-external CD drive thingie
-worldwide adapters
-MS Office for Mac

Anything major I'm missing??

niceguy2 Sun 31-Jul-11 22:47:57

If you can live with the fact the keyboard will be US so the £ and \ key will be in different places then I definitely recommend buying it.

As for the rest of your list I'd hang fire until you get back to the UK. Nowadays you rarely need a DVD drive. If you do, you can pick one up from eBay/eBuyer for like £25.

Also, instead of paying stupid money for MS Office, try out OpenOffice which is free or LibreOffice which is same but different.

If you must have MS Office then go via Software4Students which despite then name, you don't need to be a student. Just a parent/guardian of a child will do.

britishbulldog Mon 01-Aug-11 12:25:35

I do need MS office... too much file sharing etc., it just becomes a nightmare with anything else. But what a tip on where to buy the software, thank you!

Is there a work-around for the plug thing though, don't I need to get that as a minimum? Any other points of view on this Applecare peace of mind-customer support thing?

BelfastBloke Mon 01-Aug-11 12:45:56

You'll be able to get a British plug-in plug on its own for very cheap; it'll be easy to find anywhere. You don't have to buy the whole travel pack.

britishbulldog Tue 02-Aug-11 11:15:37

sorry to be so stupid but by british plug in plug, do you mean a simple travel adapter? the kind of thing you find at airports?

GentlemanGin Tue 02-Aug-11 11:50:35

Beware !

There is an issue about 'grey goods' , electrical items that were brought abroad to be used at home. Your warranty is likely to only be valid in the country of purchase. If it goes wrong it may have to be returned to the states.

The Power Charger will be a 110/120volt supply unit which is the american standard. You will need to purchase a UK 230/240volt Power Charger unit.

Also it will be declarable to US Airport Security as you are taking an electronic device onto a plane. Which means that is declarable on entry into the UK, therefore maybe liable to Import Duty and VAT. Which at a guess will be between 17.5 - 20 % of the value.

Customs are wise to this sort of thing.

NetworkGuy Tue 02-Aug-11 12:21:15

Yes, GG, was going to say that import duty and VAT may bump the cost up significantly. It really does depend on whether it has all the looks of a brand new device, however...

NetworkGuy Tue 02-Aug-11 12:24:24

OP - not sure if your DH will be charged the local Sales Tax (which might be reclaimed) of anything from 5% to 12% (?) - it will depend on where he goes and checking on the 'reclaiming sales tax' procedure, of course.

prism Tue 02-Aug-11 14:01:26

I'm afraid GentlemanGin is quite wrong about this. The power supply, like most modern switch mode power supplies, will work on any mains voltage- it's simply a matter of putting the right plug on it (£1.50?). The warranty with Apple goods is worldwide, so if it goes wrong you can just take it to any Apple dealer here and they will fix it if it is still under warranty. They know from the serial number when it was sold, so you don't even need the original sale receipt.

As for paying VAT, no comment. Especially if you already have a UK plug on it when you get back here ;-).

If you happen to be able to buy it in Delaware you will pay no local sales tax. If you are able to buy it on line in the States in one state and get it shipped to another, you will pay no local sales tax. If you end up paying it (about 8%) you can claim it back but it's a bit of a hassle and you may not have time.

GentlemanGin Tue 02-Aug-11 14:19:36

Sorry, I am indeed wrong.

International repair and service
Apple’s global limited warranty covers your Apple products for one year,
regardless of where the products were purchased. The Apple-authorized
service providers in more than 80 countries can handle most repairs (unless
the repair involves a component specific to another area of the world). Take a
copy of your proof of purchase with you.
Because of variations in environment and power supplies, Apple is not
responsible for damage to Apple products used outside the United States.

malinois Tue 02-Aug-11 14:43:22

Don't worry about the power supply - all laptop power supplies auto-switch between 120V and 240V - otherwise business travellers would be a bit buggered! As for the keyboard, just remap it to a UK keyboard and you will soon remember where the keys are.

Remember to add the sales tax on for whatever state you buy in, and also 20% VAT which you should pay at UK customs. Note, you cannot claim back US state sales taxes on exiting the US.

It's up to you whether you declare it at UK Customs but it's a criminal offence not to declare and if they pull you over, you will have to pay the VAT and if they think you're taking the piss they will fine you or seize the goods - and HMRC are judge and jury on this - no right of appeal, no going to court, they will simply have it off you.

malinois Tue 02-Aug-11 14:45:07

Oh, and there is no import duty on computing equipment (except monitors for some reason).

NetworkGuy Tue 02-Aug-11 19:05:42

you cannot claim back US state sales taxes on exiting the US.

so when can you claim it? I remember thinking about whether I could get a refund (but I had only paid $50 in a cheap motel in Hollywood, and about $35/night for some nights in San Francisco, plus some higher amount on B+B in Chicago... probably would have bneeded various forms for separate claims as different places have different sales taxes.

(handy info about Delaware, thanks malinois)

prism Tue 02-Aug-11 21:20:56

Yes thanks, Malinois, for that tip about Delaware hmm. There is no one way of claiming sales tax back. The most likely route is to buy at a large store that has its own scheme for sales tax rebate, and you will have to prove you don't live in the state you are in, which can be bizzarely tricky if you don't have an address in the USA. Or not, depending on the store.

But bear in mind that you can haggle in the States as well- you are likely to save at least as much by doing that, as the staff are much less indifferent than they are here, and want to close the deal.

britishbulldog Wed 03-Aug-11 11:04:03

thanks all, for all advice about what is legal and how guarantees etc. work. really helpful.

am generally too honest for own good - came back on v early flight from SA once with I think 2 two many bottles of wine, went through red channel, tried to declare them, and they said oh for god's sake go away, that's fine... mother also declared stuff (presents worth something like £200); after erroneously calculating tax due as £40,000 they also sent her on her way saying was too much hassle to collect...

Final question - does anyone happen to know if buying online is cheaper than buying in an apple store?

prism Wed 03-Aug-11 18:44:02

Buying on line will probably be cheaper as the Apple Store don't tend to haggle, plus you are likely to be able to take advantage of no sales tax, if the distributor is in a different state form the one you're in. But check the Apple Store (US online) prices as well.

NetworkGuy Thu 04-Aug-11 08:38:13

prism - seems like a few states (Alaska, Delaware, Montana. New Hampshire, Oregon) have no state-wide sales tax (A has up to 7% in some places, M has a 3% tax in some places, NH has a 9% tax on prepared food).

Many have 0% on groceries, a few have 0% on clothing (though not all cold states!).

Check Wiki

prism Thu 04-Aug-11 09:05:28

Yeah- there's more of it than I realised. I just mentioned Delaware because that's where I did it. Well I suppose there had to be a reason to go to Oregon...

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