MacBook vs. MacBook Pro and dealing with Macs in Europe

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by hudsora, Mar 2, 2008.

  1. hudsora Suspended

    Feb 24, 2008
    I wanted to get your advice before I purchased my a new computer.

    So here is my background:
    I am a graduating High schooler who is probably going to be leaving for Germany at the end of June as a foreign exchange student. Being that I will be leaving, I was wondering if you have any insight on when the upgrades may come for the laptops, (MacRumors reported that there may be updates in June). Also, being someone who needs all his money for college, is there much benefit to buying the MBP over the MB? I am into photo editing and am planning on doing some video editing. I am also big into video games.

    I am also going to be transferring from Windows to a Mac so I was wondering if there are any big problems that may go wrong in the transferring process?

    And one last thing is there anything I should have prior knowledge about for traveling to Europe with a Mac? Are there open Wifi areas just like in the U.S.? What power connector should I purchase? And anything else that may help me go from American computer culture to the European culture.

    Thanks so much for your help!

  2. Am3822 macrumors 6502


    Aug 16, 2006
    Groningen, The Netherlands
    The voltage in most parts of Europe is 220/240, unlike the US -- so this is definitely something that you should check in advance -- I have no idea, for example, whether the 'power brick' can switch automatically between voltages.

    As for the power socket/plug, here's a link showing them. Some sort of adapter is needed, obviously.
  3. hudsora thread starter Suspended

    Feb 24, 2008
    So for power is it worth spending money on the: Apple World Travel Adapter Kit. Or should I purchase the adapter somewhere else?
  4. Abstract macrumors Penryn


    Dec 27, 2002
    Location Location Location
    The voltage switches automagically.

    I have used my MacBook in so many countries, using so many different voltages. Just get a normal adapter.

    If you're big into video games, get the MBP. The MB's X3100 integrated graphics can handle some pretty decent games, but it won't be as amazing as it would be with a dedicated graphics card.

    Check for a refurbished MBP. I know it doesn't sound as cool, but those laptops are usually like 2 weeks old, and just returned by the owner for one reason or another. Then they're thoroughly tested to make sure it's in good working condition. New MBPs are assumed to work, but are never actually tested. Anyway, consider one. The specs on refurbs are pretty much as good as the new ones.
  5. littlehenry macrumors newbie

    Mar 3, 2008
    Mac In Europe

    I've lived here for 7 years and arrived with an Imac, needless to say things have changed a bit since then, at least in Belgium. For starters, WIFI isn't everwhere, certainly not like in the USA. If your lucky enough to have Starbucks near you they should have it. I think they are in Germany. They aren't in Belgium yet. Voltage is no problem. there is only one plug type here in Europe and you can buy one when you land. Don't buy the ones in the USA the ones here are better. You can also buy the Mac Global plug pack, but unless your going to traveling globally you won't need 95 percent of what is in that pack. It's cheaper to buy it when you land. I would buy two of them as you'll always need an extra. You can get them in any shop in the airport like an electronics shop. Most of airports have them.

    Mac is starting to make in-roads into Europe, but it's slow. Service is tougher. You'll have to go online to Mac UK and they, which is their European headquarters, should be able to direct you to a service tech if you are in a crunch. Otherwise, I would save it for when you travel back to the USA for trips.

    We would have been lost without our Macs. You should look into a service called for making calls back home. If your parents or loved ones get an account, and you get an account, you can call each other for free over regular phones. It's too long to explain here but it's the finest communication deal going. You use the computer to initiate the call, but you actully use your local phone to talk on. The service places the call through the internet. Do I sound like I like this service. I am telling you to stay connected to the USA it's a godsend. Skype is also good, it's free, but you have to sit in front of your computer. Jajah sells credits for like 10 bucks and my fiance and her mom talked regularly, like 60 hours over 5 months for under 10 buck because most of the calls were free.

    It's an adjustment coming to Europe but Germany great. Leave your idea of convenience behind and you'll do fine.

    All the best.
  6. hudsora thread starter Suspended

    Feb 24, 2008
    Thanks a bunch

    Thanks so much for your knowledge, it has taken care of my computer concerns of traveling to Europe.

    I think for a computer I will try and pick up a refurbished MacBook Pro. But do you know if I can still us my Student discount on refurbished items?

    Thanks again,
  7. priller macrumors regular

    Dec 15, 2007
    There's more than one type of plug in Europe.
  8. Ugg macrumors 68000


    Apr 7, 2003
    Germany has a lot of wifi hotspots. If you know the city you will be in there are lots of websites that list hotspots in each city.

    Germany uses the plug with two round metal bits. You can buy one here or there, all of Apple's laptops are dual voltage. If you have an iPod, the plug will work for that too.

    If you're a gamer, a MBP is probably your best bet. I'd also suggest that you get travel insurance if you're going to be traveling a lot while in Germany.
  9. littlehenry macrumors newbie

    Mar 3, 2008
    Plugs in Europe

    You're right, it depends on where in Europe. I am refering to Western Europe and the countries of the EU. They've standardized their plugs. If he plans on visiting former East Block countries he will need another plug. Again, he can purchase that upon arrival to that country for lot less than buying the Apple pack which will give him plugs he will likely never use and be stuck hauling around when he does travel.
  10. garybUK Guest


    Jun 3, 2002
    Not True,

    France/Belgium use one type, Germany another, UK a completely different one, Denmark a different one also

    You can get a lead, called a Europlug that is 2 pin and unearthed and will fit most sockets in the EU, and with a cheap 50p adaptor will fit in the UK too.

    We have, however standardised on voltage, 220v@50hz compared to the USA's 110v@60hz

    Also remember DVD's are different here, we are Region 2 / PAL and/or SECAM rather than NTSC.
  11. hwojtek macrumors 65816


    Jan 26, 2008
    Poznan, Poland
    Not true. The plugs and sockets of all the continental EU and the non-EU countries in Europe (even former USSR) are compatible via the plug mentioned above (2-pin unearthed).

    230v@50Hz in all EU countries, just for precisions' sake.
  12. lermal macrumors regular


    Aug 7, 2007
    You won't get a student discount on refurbs, but check the clearance section. They have last season MBPs for $200 below the normal cost ($1499 vs. $1699) - and they are new systems.
  13. cr0nite macrumors newbie

    Apr 10, 2007
    In some towns we've got a whole bunch of FON spots. (
    Shouldn't be a problem to find free WiFi, especially in towns with lots of students...

    Do you already know where exactly youre going?
  14. twitter macrumors member

    Oct 27, 2007
    germany uses Schuko connectors that are normally used on circuits with 230 V, 50 Hz, for currents up to 16 A.

    a laptop usually adopts to 110 - 240V


    at the moment i am in germany and there are many hotspots here. but depending on the city not as many free ones,
    if you going to university they should all have free wifi.

    check out http://

    buy the mac stuff you need in US because germany has 19% sales tax :eek:

    if there is anything else you need to know post to the forum or drop me a pm
    i will try to answer it if i can ;)
  15. j26 macrumors 65832


    Mar 30, 2005
    And the Apple Headquarters in Europe is in Ireland.
  16. hudsora thread starter Suspended

    Feb 24, 2008
    Wow this is getting confusing, but i am guessing the safest bet is to get a plug that has two round connectors, which from looking at the Wiki is the "Schuko" plug?

    Also, I really have no idea which part of Germany I am living in, I find out when I get there so yep! I guess I will just have to wait and see if my host family has Wifi, which would be sweet (crossing my fingers).

    twitter you said that "buy the mac stuff you need in US because Germany has 19% sales tax" What are the things that you use the most and say would be necessary for me?

    Thanks again!

  17. twitter macrumors member

    Oct 27, 2007
    Thats a hard question since I was waiting for the case redesign and did
    not buy my MBP yet :(
    What will your major be I think it will depend on that what you need besides the normal stuff. If you are short of money and dont need the power go for MB they are pretty good and what most people will use for University. Easy to handle and small enough fo your backpack.
  18. macfriend1 macrumors regular

    Mar 14, 2007
    you can buy adapters in europe easily
  19. Ugg macrumors 68000


    Apr 7, 2003
    Not only that, but the US dollar has plummeted in value against the Euro.

    hudsora, I'd advise you to take a serious look at the exchange rate and prices of things in Germany. It's going to be very expensive for you.
  20. timsutcliffe macrumors 6502

    Jun 18, 2007
    Plug Adapter

    You might find it easier to get on to eBay and look for an individual european plug that will plug in to your power brick. They're not too expensive, and it'll save you have to use an adapter so you can use it for something else.

    Also, as far as i know, and in spite of what others have said, the european plug works everywhere in Western europe. I've got a worldwide adapter set, and they only provide one adapter for europe.
  21. twitter macrumors member

    Oct 27, 2007
    depending on your worldW. plug

    but i know for sure that the UK is very dif. fomr the german one and the ones in poland and so on are dif. as well
  22. twitter macrumors member

    Oct 27, 2007
    this is very true at the moment /today it was $1,52 = 1 Euro
    this housing stuff is a big mess for the markets and i hate IT!
  23. lordthistle macrumors 6502

    Feb 29, 2008
    1) As others have already said, you should have no problem in using your adapter with the correct plug.

    In Europe there are several types of sockets, you can have more than one type in a single country. You can check here:

    As you can see in the second link there is an Europlug that fits almost everywhere.

    2) Apple price policy in Europe is absurd. You can only hope that you will not need anything from Apple because everything is much more expensive than it is in the USA (and not only due to taxes).

    3) Wi-Fi regulations vary among European countries. In some countries (like Italy, but unlike, for example, Iceland) it is quite difficult to find Wi-Fi hot spots where you go and connect. According to anti-terrorism laws the provider of the hot-spot MUST identify all the people using the service.

    -- thistle
  24. hudsora thread starter Suspended

    Feb 24, 2008
    So for sockets I should buy them on eBay, one wall adapter and one that will directly go into the power brick.

    Also, my dad says that I have to wait until April until I can by the computer, so would it be best for me to just wait another 2 months to see if Apple comes out with an update, or will that be cutting it to close for me because i leave at the end of June.

  25. godmachine12 macrumors member

    Oct 25, 2006

    Just buy the two-pronged European adapter at the airport when you touch down. No need to buy the overpriced junk someone will try to hock you here in the states. Your power brick will convert to the proper voltage. Have fun in Europe buddy! It's a blast.

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