Powerbooks: US vs UK

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by Lunja, May 26, 2005.

  1. Lunja macrumors 6502

    Lunja

    Joined:
    May 15, 2005
    Location:
    Lincoln UK
    #1
    Hi all...

    I've been victim to some dodgy eBaying (see signature... :( ) and I'm now in the frame of mind to get a new PowerBook rather than a second-hand one.

    My thinking is that I can buy a PB when I go to Florida in 5 weeks (I live in the UK btw :) ) at the Millenia mall store and save some cash, but what problems would I encounter? I realise I'd need a power adaptor, but would this be risky, or can PB's be set to take 240V instead of 110V (I think...)?

    Also would Apple UK support it? If the lack of Apple support isn't too important, would anyone recommend this from a US store . It seems very cheap to me, and I could get it sent to the villa in FL...

    Another aspect is that I'm at University and would be able to get the edu discount, so would this be the better bet? Or possibly the wednesday morning phone-in shop-refurb thingymajig?

    Sorry if this all seems muddled, but I REALLY want a PB - It's agonising having a TiBook wrapped up sitting in your room and not being able to touch it :rolleyes:

    Cheers for any help!
     
  2. Jaffa Cake macrumors Core

    Jaffa Cake

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2004
    Location:
    The City of Culture, Englandshire
    #2
    As far as I'm aware Apple's portables have a worldwide warranty. You'll need the British-style plug adapter – Apple have a World Travel Adapter Kit that might be worth a look.

    One thing to remember – in the States they have a slightly different keyboard layout. It's not a major issue – I've got a US Power Mac at home with an American keyboard which all works perfectly. It just takes a little getting used to but I'm sure you'll be fine!
     
  3. mpw Guest

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2004
    #3
    I think you’ll find there’s no power issue, other than you’ll need a UK 3pin plug when you get it home which is no problem. Likewise the warranty should be good worldwide.
    You will of course get a US keyboard, is it different to a UK one in the same way a French is?
    Have you confirmed pricing in the US as the Apple website pricing, and US adverts in general don’t include their sales tax like UK adverts do.
    Also when you bring it back you will need to either lawfully pay 17.5% VAT on import or sneak it through.
    If it were me I’d get it through the UK Edu store.
     
  4. thequicksilver macrumors 6502a

    thequicksilver

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2004
    Location:
    Birmingham
    #4
    The differences are pretty minor in keyboard. UK Mac keyboards have @ as shift and 2 already anyway, so that's one traditional change already made. Naturally there's no £ sign, instead there's a # symbol. Also, the return key is only one key deep but wider, unlike the tall and narrow UK style return key. Small change, but nothing drastic.

    And really, that's it as far as I'm aware. If you want to be sure though, just switch your system's keyboard layout to US and see the differences.

    mpw asked if it's like a French keyboard - certainly not. :) French keyboards are nonsensical (and I lived there for a few years). I could cope with the slightly bizarre AZERTYUIOP/QSDFGHJKLM/WXCVBN keys, but when it comes to things like numbers needing the shift key to be invoked (the alternative options are the default on them), and you even have to press shift to get a full stop. Insanity.
     
  5. Maxiseller macrumors 6502a

    Maxiseller

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    Location:
    Little grey, chilly island.
    #5
    I'm guessing that the three pin adaptor will just replace the two-pin american system? Presumably, you can just pop off the two pin on the powerblock and replace it with the British Version without actually buying a new powerblock?

    Im asking as I'm in the same situation, and it may well be useful to the initial poster.
     
  6. CanadaRAM macrumors G5

    CanadaRAM

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2004
    Location:
    On the Left Coast - Victoria BC Canada
    #6
    Oh lordy, uscamera1, another discounter...

    Lunja, someone will have to introduce you to the American concept of the "Camera Discount Store". What typically happens is you see a very low price advertised, and you order. Then someone calls or emails and says there is a problem with the order or your charge card, and when you call them back, they try to sell you a bunch of other stuff. Then you find out that there are extra handling and shipping charges, or if you insist in getting the thing you ordered at the original price, you find out it is backordered, or missing components, or unwarranteed because it is a foreign model, and unless you buy the extra stuff, you're not going to get what you wanted.

    Before buying any hardware mailorder or over the net, check on epinions.com, resellerratings.com and Google.

    Your us1camera guys rate a glorious 4 out of 10 at resellerratings - go and read the reviews and see what other victims - er, customers - think. Ignore the good ones, stores sometimes bribe customers to write glowing reports.
     
  7. mpw Guest

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2004
    #7
    Yes the brick is the same you just need the adapter part which I imagine but haven't checked is available from Apple. (or if not there should be one plugged in to the socket by the TV in room 225 of the Reading Holiday Inn :eek: )
     
  8. Jaffa Cake macrumors Core

    Jaffa Cake

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    Aug 1, 2004
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    #8
    You'll spend the first fortnight or so missing the return key and hitting '\', but you'll soon adapt. ;)
     
  9. Lunja thread starter macrumors 6502

    Lunja

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    May 15, 2005
    Location:
    Lincoln UK
    #9
    I can see the £-sign thing being a problem when I'm boasting to people on msn about how much it cost :D

    Thanks for the help so far guys!

    Edit - CanadaRam- Your a lifesaver! Thanks for that! Was going to get a laptop in FL last year (Wintel... {shudder}) from a camera store but held back... Glad I did! The link came from this forum though - under 'shop'... Maybe we should mention their seller rating...

    The thing about the VAT when I bring it back has been concerning me... I can't think of a way to convince customs officers that I took it over there with me, especially when it wouldn't have any computer activity on it since before I left UK... Anyway, it would be unlawful... :rolleyes:

    EDIT- Lunja in no way endorses any such VAT avoidance strategy :D
     
  10. Applespider macrumors G4

    Applespider

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2004
    Location:
    looking through rose-tinted spectacles...
    #10
    It's only available from Apple as part of the World Traveller Pack £29. You can't buy individual charging adaptors as various friends of mine discovered when trying to charge their US iPods over here. If you have an iPod that came with a power charger, you could just use the UK charger bit of that and put it onto the US 'book charger. If you don't have an iPod with a charger and are unlikely to need all the world plugs, it might be better to buy the iPod charger £19 and get the plug that way.

    Check and see how much it would cost to buy it in Florida by the time you add in sales tax. And how much it would cost with edu discount in the UK.
    Don't worry unduly about Customs; my mother walked happily through with an iBook last year. iBook in case in her handluggage. Box with other stuff packed into it in her hold luggage.

    You'll still have a £ sign incidentally. It just won't be accessed by Shift 3 but rather Alt 3. Those with a UK keyboard have to use Alt 3 to get a # sign.

    Sorry to hear about your eBay experience. Good luck in sorting it out. I was thinking about selling my 1.25G4 15" PB last month... pity you hadn't looked here first... ;)
     
  11. mpw Guest

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2004
    #11
    HM Customs are a heartless bunch. Living in Jersey I’ve got to deal with them a fair bit when bringing stuff back from the UK so I can claim my VAT back. I’ve known them force people to pay 33% Import & VAT on goods coming in from the US even though the goods went out from the UK on holiday. Only when the original sales invoice was presented were the goods (a camcorder) released without payment.
     
  12. Lunja thread starter macrumors 6502

    Lunja

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    May 15, 2005
    Location:
    Lincoln UK
    #12
    I've heard horror stories like that customs one too... I'm also flying out on the fourth of july and I pray there aren't any rubber-gloves incidents :)

    The iPod charger tip is v.helpful, so thanks for that! So far, I think the best plan will be to go to FL and have a play with some PB's to see if I get on OK with US ones. If not, I'll get a UK edu discount one, provided iBook updates haven't happened... ;)

    And JaffaCake - Like your sig. Reminded me of English Lit A-Level... :) Always liked "The Tyger"...
     
  13. Peterkro macrumors 68020

    Peterkro

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2004
    Location:
    Communard de Londres
    #13
    The Pb will come with a longish cord as well as the powerbrick just chop of the plug and stick a u.k. one on.The apple travel adaptor kit is nice if a tad expensive.As others have said taking the Pb back won't present any problems, if your paranoid post the documentation home seperately,there are some states without sales tax(near florida I don't know).
     
  14. MemphisSoulStew macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 10, 2004
    Location:
    UK
    #14
    I haven't got much to add except to say that if you go to System Prefs>International>Input Menu and select British your keyboard will be remapped to a UK layout, so you can get a £ sign by using shift+3.
    You could burn some of your current documents, your email archive, a few photos, some MP3s etc from your eMac onto some CD-Rs, then when you get the PowerBook copy them to the new machine then dispose of the CDs. You can hear the conversation now: "Oh, no officer, I've had this for ages - look, here are some old emails, and photos from last Christmas..."

    Not that I did that when I bought a PB in Florida last year, oh no! And I certainly didn't copy the bulk of my Home folder to my iPod...
     
  15. MentalFabric macrumors 6502

    MentalFabric

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2004
    #15
    I have a friend full of metal whose clitoral piercing set off the detectors… she doesn't travel so much these days :rolleyes:
     
  16. hob macrumors 68020

    hob

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2003
    Location:
    London, UK
    #16
    Yikes!

    Lunja - I don't think it's worth the bother, seriously! If you're happy to have an american PB then so be it, but I think the british ones are far superior :D

    With edu discount it can't work at THAT much cheaper... Even with it being pretty much £1=$2...

    Oh, and just out of curiosity, what exactly do you mean by "going legal"? Is eBay doing something or have you got a lawyer?! :eek:
     
  17. deebster macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2004
    Location:
    Olde Englande
    #17
    Yep, selecting British keyboard layout gives the £ sign as shift-3, just that the actual key on the keyboard shows #.

    I've read a few horror stories about people not being allowed to take equipment through US customs on the way out, because they cannot show a proof of purchase within the US. This has happened to US residents who bought the item within the US.

    So if you get through that OK you then have to sweat it coming back into dear old Blighty, and to be hit by a hefty tax bill would be a major pisser.

    What if you did some begging and got someone to loan you the receipt for a UK-puchased PB and you took that to the US with you? I doubt the customs people are that clued up to notice your PB has a US keyboard on it.

    Just a thought, but maybe worth considering since you stand to save a fair chunk of cash buying in the US. I'm soon gonna be heading to Hong Kong to do the same thing I think.
     
  18. Macky-Mac macrumors 68030

    Macky-Mac

    Joined:
    May 18, 2004
    #18
    that's a curious story because US citizens don't go through a US customs inspection when they leave the USA, only when they return......
     
  19. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    Location:
    Location Location Location
    #19
    That's probably because the story is fabricated. :D
     
  20. Lunja thread starter macrumors 6502

    Lunja

    Joined:
    May 15, 2005
    Location:
    Lincoln UK
    #20
    Hob - 'Going legal' = eBay/Paypal are arbitrating and are considering legal proceedings...

    BUT all that is now irrelevant because the guy's given the money back!
    :D :D :D

    Well, he's sent it, and now we're waiting for PayPal to put the money in the bank...


    I thought Mac people were good, honest types... I'd have never thought you'd all come up with such cunning plans... ;) I like 'em, especially the 'copy files from the eMac' idea... And I was wondering about the UK keyboard map settings, so thanks for that!

    I got PM'd the other day from a guy telling me about a place he got a PB from - www.exchangemasters.co.uk , with reference to this page: http://www.exchangemasters.co.uk/PH...0NEW PAGE.htm
    What do we think? It does say that it has a DVD+-R, and I didn't think that the 1.5's had dual layer burners... But for the money...! Or is this a bit like the us1camera thing?

    And apologies to the member who PM'd me. It may seem like I don't believe you or don't appreciate your help, but I'm just checking the reputability of the company. I've been stung once and don't want to be stung again... I do appreciate that you took the time to help though :)

    Cheers for all the responses so far guys!
     
  21. Peterkro macrumors 68020

    Peterkro

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2004
    Location:
    Communard de Londres
    #21
    Lunja 1.5 powerbooks with superdrives and Tiger installed can burn + - dvd's apple uncrippled them in Tiger.
     
  22. Lunja thread starter macrumors 6502

    Lunja

    Joined:
    May 15, 2005
    Location:
    Lincoln UK
    #22
    Ahh- Ok... I thought the +- thing depended on hardware... lol

    The PB on that site has a combo-drive according to the info on the left, but a super according to the box on the right... I'd want a super, and I'd buy Tiger and add 512mb RAM anyway so that the machine wouldn't need to upgraded for a good couple years...
     
  23. Peterkro macrumors 68020

    Peterkro

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2004
    Location:
    Communard de Londres
    #23
    I noticed some inconsistencies on that site,the fact that their address is a mail drop in south london doesn't give a lot of confidence.I'm paranoid but the only way I'd give them money is when I have the Pb in my hands.
     
  24. _pb_boi macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2004
    #24
    I've recounted my story many times on MR before, so I'll just state the short version here.

    April 2004, travelled to NYC from Belfast, bought a 12in Powerbook. Brought it back through customs with absolutely no problem, and saved loads. You'll save even more because the exchange rate is even better than it was then.

    Go for it mate. Oh, and it didn't affect resale value at all.

    andy.
     
  25. Lunja thread starter macrumors 6502

    Lunja

    Joined:
    May 15, 2005
    Location:
    Lincoln UK
    #25
    See, the exchange rate is what makes it so appealing...

    I bought £500 worth of dollars when the exchange rate was at 1.94, just as a little investment... But now I can see a way of making them useful... ;)

    By the way, if you live anywhere near a seaport/dock, go to the Seaman's center to exchange your cash. It's commision-free, and you get business rate :cool:
     

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