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Old 23rd June 2007, 01:44 AM   #1
uk_dave
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Laptop purchase

This may seem like a silly question, but here goes:

I'm thinking of purchasing a new laptop when I'm next over in the US. This way I should benefit from the exchange rate.

But I'm curious as to whether there would be any issues I should be aware of with regard to using this laptop in the UK

I know that the keyboard may have a slightly different layout but I reckon I could live with that.

Hopefully the power supply can be sorted out with a standard plug adaptor, though confirmation of this would be welcome.

Would there be any issues with something like the DVD burner with regard to 'region'?

Would there be any issues with linking a US version of windows vista (on the laptop) with a UK version of Windows XP (on my existing desktop set-up)?

Thoughts would be welcome.
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Old 23rd June 2007, 06:26 AM   #2
Mongrel
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Originally Posted by uk_dave View Post
This may seem like a silly question, but here goes:

I'm thinking of purchasing a new laptop when I'm next over in the US. This way I should benefit from the exchange rate.

But I'm curious as to whether there would be any issues I should be aware of with regard to using this laptop in the UK

I know that the keyboard may have a slightly different layout but I reckon I could live with that.

Hopefully the power supply can be sorted out with a standard plug adaptor, though confirmation of this would be welcome.
Nearly all power bricks now are 120/240v input, still worth checking though

Quote:
Would there be any issues with something like the DVD burner with regard to 'region'?
Nope, only for watching movies. Even then it normally starts 'blank' and and will allow region switching 5 times before it locks itself to a region

Quote:
Would there be any issues with linking a US version of windows vista (on the laptop) with a UK version of Windows XP (on my existing desktop set-up)?
Nope.
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Old 23rd June 2007, 09:47 AM   #3
Jekyll
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Originally Posted by Mongrel View Post
Nope, only for watching movies. Even then it normally starts 'blank' and and will allow region switching 5 times before it locks itself to a region
Even then, this is just a software issue which you can get around
by using VLC (highly recommended) instead of the program that comes with your laptop.
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Old 23rd June 2007, 11:07 AM   #4
uk_dave
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Thanks for the input
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Old 25th June 2007, 06:56 AM   #5
Mongrel
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Originally Posted by Jekyll View Post
Even then, this is just a software issue which you can get around
by using VLC (highly recommended) instead of the program that comes with your laptop.
No, most drives also come with a firmware based counter that can lock the drive to a single region (RPC-2). It can be circumvented with software or a firmware update (with the normal warnings) but I'd point out that's it's probably a good time to start a US DVD collection
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Old 25th June 2007, 11:39 AM   #6
Kaylee
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dup

Last edited by Kaylee; 25th June 2007 at 11:43 AM.
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Old 25th June 2007, 11:42 AM   #7
Kaylee
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I suggest avoiding stores that have a return policy of not allowing returns, or allowing returns but with a 15% "restocking fee" (essentially they return your money except for 15% which they retain). Since you don't live in the States I would also suggest avoiding stores that allow returns but for merchandise credit only.

Some stores have different return policies for their computers than then do for their other merchandise and not all employees know their employer's policy. Ask to see their returns/exhange policy in writing and look for the phrase "may be returned for any reason."

I just got burnt by BestBuy.com (the online store division). At the time I purchased the laptop I was informed by the CSR that I could return the laptop for a full refund for any reason and there was nothing on their web site that contradicted that at the time I purchased the laptop.

The laptop turned out to be flakey and when I returned it I was told that they had a 15% restocking fee and that they had always had a 15% restocking fee except when the computer is defective. While I consider the computer to be defective the store doesn't. Needless to say I will be contesting this with upper management and regulatory authorities if necc. -- but spare yourself the headache -- avoid stores with a 15% restocking fee policy. And don't buy anything from Best Buy!

I suggest you post what city/cities you intend to visit --- probably some JREFers can direct you to the stores with better reputations and customer service. And besides, you may end up getting a free beer!
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Old 25th June 2007, 12:48 PM   #8
Jekyll
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Originally Posted by Mongrel View Post
No, most drives also come with a firmware based counter that can lock the drive to a single region (RPC-2). It can be circumvented with software or a firmware update (with the normal warnings) but I'd point out that's it's probably a good time to start a US DVD collection
Well, sort of.
VLC only needs raw access to the data from the DVD drive, but some of the newer drives are more enthusiastic about preventing this access to DVD's from outside their current region than others.
http://www.videolan.org/doc/faq/en/index.html#id269715

On the other hand I've been watching a mixture of Chinese, American and British discs without trouble on my relatively new laptop with it.

Last edited by Jekyll; 25th June 2007 at 12:53 PM.
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Old 26th June 2007, 02:13 AM   #9
richardm
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The only other thing to watch out for is that you'll be liable to pay VAT on it when you return to the UK. It should still be a bargain though.
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Old 27th June 2007, 12:08 AM   #10
uk_dave
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Wellllllllll not if the customs&excise accidentally assumed for some reason that I had taken it with me on the outward journey.....

...not that I would attempt to evade tax of course.
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Old 27th June 2007, 04:39 AM   #11
Soapy Sam
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Not that either of us would condone such behaviour, but I have heard it said that taking an old, scuffed and empty laptop case makes it less likely that it will attract the attention of Customs if full on one's return. Paper manuals and other documentation are best sent by mail, as if found in the bag, they cast doubt on protestations of oldness.
As does the laptop itself of course.

This is, of course, of academic interest only.


If purchasing a laptop abroad it would be best to buy a well known brand with an international service contract, as returning it to the shop might be tricky.
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Old 27th June 2007, 09:49 AM   #12
richardm
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Originally Posted by uk_dave View Post
...not that I would attempt to evade tax of course.
No, of course not. The scuffed laptop bag sounds like a good idea though. Er. for making it look less attractive to thieves, I mean.

I can't remember the last time I saw a Customs officer at an airport. I assume that they do still have them.
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Old 28th June 2007, 04:15 PM   #13
Soapy Sam
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They do.
I actually bought a laptop in the USA once, many moons ago, an AST 386SX.
Lovely little machine. The battery eventually died, as they do. The laptop was stolen when someone burgled my flat in 1995. As they failed to get the power supply, they had about 30 seconds to use it.

I was only due to be home for 3 days, so actually presented the machine to C&E and asked them to put it in bond, so I could collect it when I left the next week. The officer , clearly unhappy about the necessary paperwork, basically threw me out, laptop and all.
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