Buying iMac in USA for use in Europe

davekatya

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Oct 10, 2006
9
0
I'm sure everyone has noticed the big difference in price between iMacs in USA and, for example, UK.

iMac 24 inch basic model:

USA: 1,999 USD (maybe plus sales tax?)
UK: 1349 GBP (taking a conservative exchange rate of 1.8) = 2,428 USD

Anyway, I can get my friend in USA to bring me a 24 inch iMac when he comes to visit Europe soon. Two issues spring to mind, firstly the issue of power, USA uses 110volts, Europe 220volts. Anyone have any experience of using power convertors etc. with iMacs?

Secondly, the issue of transportation - do I really want an iMac rolling around in the cargo hold of an airplane and thrown around by baggage handlers? Is it worth the money saved?

Maybe someone has done this before and can advise...

Thanks
 

gauchogolfer

macrumors 603
Jan 28, 2005
5,551
5
American Riviera
I believe the iMac will behave like my powerbook did, and do all of the power conversion internally, so you can plug into either 220/50 or 110/60 with no issues. You'll just need the plug adaptor to go from US->Europe, but those only cost a few euros.
 

bartelby

macrumors Core
Jun 16, 2004
19,795
33
gauchogolfer said:
I believe the iMac will behave like my powerbook did, and do all of the power conversion internally, so you can plug into either 220/50 or 110/60 with no issues. You'll just need the plug adaptor to go from US->Europe, but those only cost a few euros.

The big square block on the power lead is the transformer, but it's rated 110v - 220v.
 

orangezorki

macrumors 6502a
Aug 30, 2006
618
17
bartelby said:
The big square block on the power lead is the transformer, but it's rated 110v - 220v.
You're thinking of the Mac mini...

I wouldn't personally. You're liable to pay tax on importing it, and so 17.5% VAT wipes out most of the price difference.

David
 

ascender

macrumors 68040
Dec 8, 2005
3,310
1,242
You don't have to worry about power, but I guess you have to worry about customs. When I bought an iBook in the US, I unpacked it and sent the box home by surface mail & took the laptop back on the plane with me to minimise risk of getting nabbed!

Apple products are always well packed, but I would speak to the airline and see what the options are. They must have some way of labeling a package such that it really is handled with care. Your friend could also wrap the whole box in bubble wrap and then put it inside an even bigger box.

I guess Customs is still a risk though, that could be a pretty big bill if you get caught?
 

Umbongo

macrumors 601
Sep 14, 2006
4,934
54
England
ascender said:
You don't have to worry about power, but I guess you have to worry about customs. When I bought an iBook in the US, I unpacked it and sent the box home by surface mail & took the laptop back on the plane with me to minimise risk of getting nabbed!

Apple products are always well packed, but I would speak to the airline and see what the options are. They must have some way of labeling a package such that it really is handled with care. Your friend could also wrap the whole box in bubble wrap and then put it inside an even bigger box.

I guess Customs is still a risk though, that could be a pretty big bill if you get caught?
I doubt you'll be able to get a 24" imac past customs, so VAT will have to be paid, there is no duty on computers though. It's a lot of effort to save around £80, assuming his friend won't pay any sales tax.
 

ascender

macrumors 68040
Dec 8, 2005
3,310
1,242
Umbongo said:
I doubt you'll be able to get a 24" imac past customs, so VAT will have to be paid, there is no duty on computers though. It's a lot of effort to save around £80, assuming his friend won't pay any sales tax.
Well, I never even noticed Customs on the way back in from NY last time, but sods law says you'll get caught!

To be honest, I'd have to weigh up the hassle factor if it was for anything other than a desktop, the savings might not be that much if you sit down and look at it.

I take it you're not eligible for the Education discount?
 

Dubba

macrumors regular
Oct 4, 2006
180
10
Nairobi, Kenya
Umbongo said:
I doubt you'll be able to get a 24" imac past customs, so VAT will have to be paid, there is no duty on computers though. It's a lot of effort to save around £80, assuming his friend won't pay any sales tax.
I once had a VERY cheap employer who snuck all our Macs in from the US bought with a student discount. He wrapped them all as gifts with bright wrapping paper, a bow and some ribbons and never got stopped once. I personally wouldn't do it for a desktop, but I have seen it done...
 

Umbongo

macrumors 601
Sep 14, 2006
4,934
54
England
Dubba said:
I once had a VERY cheap employer who snuck all our Macs in from the US bought with a student discount. He wrapped them all as gifts with bright wrapping paper, a bow and some ribbons and never got stopped once. I personally wouldn't do it for a desktop, but I have seen it done...
Well it would be his friends decision as a 24" iMac is kind of large, and if he got caught, his friend is liable for prosecution. Infact I'm not sure, but he may be too.
 

Dubba

macrumors regular
Oct 4, 2006
180
10
Nairobi, Kenya
Umbongo said:
Well it would be his friends decision as a 24" iMac is kind of large, and if he got caught, his friend is liable for prosecution. Infact I'm not sure, but he may be too.
Like I said, I wouldn't do it / recommend it, but I do know people who have done it in the past.
 

wchong

macrumors 6502
Sep 18, 2006
364
0
Miami, Fl
Dubba said:
Like I said, I wouldn't do it / recommend it, but I do know people who have done it in the past.

how about you ship it to uk. i'm sure the fedex shipping cost is going to be less than the taxes, and they can't charge taxes if ur sending it as a gift
 

gekko513

macrumors 603
Oct 16, 2003
6,302
1
wchong said:
how about you ship it to uk. i'm sure the fedex shipping cost is going to be less than the taxes, and they can't charge taxes if ur sending it as a gift
Oh, they do charge you. At least the recent shipment I got from the US to Norway that was labelled as a gift got charged.
 

mdntcallr

macrumors 65816
Aug 1, 2000
1,467
135
honestly,

you are better off buying from apple in europe. from a retailer. not going through the trouble of all of this.
 

Dubba

macrumors regular
Oct 4, 2006
180
10
Nairobi, Kenya
wchong said:
how about you ship it to uk. i'm sure the fedex shipping cost is going to be less than the taxes, and they can't charge taxes if ur sending it as a gift
Gifts coming into the UK most definitely get charged VAT/taxes here in the UK.

My old employer disguised the iMac as a gift - it wasn't really one.
 
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