UK user buying in the US

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by mrfaize, Sep 16, 2007.

  1. mrfaize macrumors member

    Sep 16, 2007
    I'm UK based but visiting the US later this year. Thinking of getting a Mac Mini which will be easy enough to carry in luggage. Is the price 2.0 Ghz $799 plus tax or inclusive?

    What are the pitfalls of buying in the US?
    Issues with Power Supply 110v (US) 240v (UK) ?
    Is there ANY 'global' warranty or is there no warranty when I get it back to the UK?
    Anything else?
  2. kuebby macrumors 68000


    Jan 18, 2007
    -The price does not include tax. That will range from 0% to nearly 10% depending on what state you buy it in.
    -I believe that with a converter there would be no problem with the voltage since Apple sells (or they used to at least) world adapter kits.
    -Don't put it in your checked baggage.
  3. swiftaw macrumors 603


    Jan 31, 2005
    Omaha, NE, USA
    -Tax is not included in quoted price
    -Keyboard layout is different on US machines compared to UK
    -No voltage problems, just need a converter plug to fit UK sockets
    -I believe warranty on apple portables is worldwide
    -Better if you unpack it an transport it in your own bag. That way it doesn't look new and there is less chance that customs will get you on the way back into the UK.
  4. MikeTheC Guest


    Apr 26, 2004
    Gallifrey -- Capitol City, Prydonian Sector
    What are you guys talking about vis a vis the keyboard layout?

    The Mac mini doesn't come with a keyboard! When you attach your own keyboard back at home (which presumably would be a locally-purchased UK keyboard), the Mac will recognize it. Just make sure when you set it up to localize it for the UK, and you should be fine.

    The only other thing I can think of is you'll have to re-regionalize your DVD drive, since America is Region 1 and the UK is Region 2. Otherwise, it'll reject every DVD movie you put in it.
  5. jonnylink macrumors 6502

    Jul 15, 2007
    Here is a listing of sales tax by state

    Just don't buy a keyboard in the US.

    I don't think a mac mini is considered portable, I'd ask about Warranties and AppleCare at the Apple Store.

    The adapter would be a problem because the world travel kits that Apple offers only fit Apple's portable adapters. So you'd probably need to buy a replacement adapter or a converter to change the plug so it fits your outlets... the adapter itself can *probably* convert the voltage and whatnot.

    Technically you have to declare something like a Mac Mini. So be prepared for some questions at customs.
  6. chris1h1 macrumors newbie

    Sep 17, 2007
    Even if you were buying a Mac that came with a keyboard (such as a MacBook), the only difference between a US and a UK version would be that shift+3 would give you a hash instead of a "£" - the @ and the " are still in the US (i.e. wrong) positions on a supposedly UK version.

    As far as the question of whether it'll work in the UK is concerned, it will - the tech specs state that the Mac Mini works with a line voltage of 100-240V AC at 50 to 60Hz. Sadly though the unit seems to use its own proprietary power adapter, so you'll be stuck with a chunky US to UK plug adapter rather than being able to simply nip down to Maplin's for a kettle or figure 8 lead with a UK plug. Or you could of course just cut off the US plug and replace it with a UK one.

    One way to avoid customs completely would be to fly from the US to London Heathrow, with your bags and yourself already checked through to another domestic airport in the UK. At London you don't go through customs because you'll go through customs at your final destination, but then when you get to your next domestic airport they assume you don't need to go through customs as you've just stepped off a domestic flight. This used to be the case with Leeds Bradford Airport at any rate. Even now the "nothing to declare" route leads straight to the taxi rank and if you do want to declare something you have to pick up a phone and ask someone to search your bags. You could probably get away with having an iMac in its original box as your hand baggage.

    As someone else suggested though, the safest way is to ditch the original packaging so it looks like you've had it for a while - just collapse the box down flat and post it to yourself, or lay it flat in your suitcase, and carry the computer in your hand baggage.

    Best of luck with US immigration, they don't like having visitors.
  7. chidugwa macrumors newbie

    Sep 17, 2007
    Athens, Greece this year
    Check the voltage to be sure

    I just brought an imac to Greece working on the assumption that all macs were 110v and 220v. That is no longer true. Most are but not all, so check very carefully before you buy. However, if you really want one they work just fine off of a transformer. I do not know about the standard warranty but the applecare just worked for me in Greece. I had to have a hard drive replaced on my macbook and they took care of it.
  8. nep61 macrumors 6502

    May 17, 2007
  9. ebony macrumors regular

    Mar 22, 2007
    I just bought a mac mini in the states and brought it back to the uk. In answer to the original questions.

    - Getting it back safely is the main pitfall, I just put it in my suitcase and had no problems.
    - Go to most tesco's and you can buy a plug converter for about £1.8 - no voltage conversion is required.
    - My understanding is their is no warranty, but I successfully registered it using my Apple uk account and the website tells me I have free support for the first ninety days, so there must be some level of support or warranty.
    - I think its just my mini and maybe not country orientated, but my wireless signal is non existent on it and I have it wired now. Not a problem as I have lots of Ethernet ports located behind the TV.
    - I paid 6.5% ( or there abouts ) sales tax, still saved £80.
  10. mrfaize thread starter macrumors member

    Sep 16, 2007
    Thanks all. Will use the keyboard off my aging G4 or treat it to a new one from the UK. I think I'd replace the power plug for a UK on.

    And it's definately going back in hand luggage. Very sneaky on the customs chris ;) DVD region not a problem as I don't watch many disks and have a player for that.

  11. nick@ macrumors newbie

    Aug 30, 2007
    My Place
    Sales tax refund

    One thing you might also try is to get the sales tax refunded at the airport on your way out of the US. I couldn't find out anything about this before I bought my MBP in the US last month and didn't do it, but a guy who works for me now and has visited NYC regularly tells me there is an office at the airport which will do this - they just don't advertise it much. He got a refund on the iPod and other stuff he bought a few months back and has done it before on laptops and clothes. If I'd have discovered it in time I'd have saved myself another £200+ on the MBP and clothes I'd bought :rolleyes: I think you need to have the items with you and their receipts.
  12. theBB macrumors 68020


    Jan 3, 2006
    If you know anybody in the US that you can personally get to see, you can order from Amazon and have it delivered to their house. Then you don't have to pay sales tax.

    If Mac Mini can operate at 220V and 60Hz, then all you need is plug adapter, which costs about $3 at places such as Luggage Center.
  13. UKLawTalkingGuy macrumors newbie

    Mar 11, 2006
    A couple of points

    1) If you are buying a portable in the US, a further difference between the UK and US keyboards on Mac is that the UK Enter/Return key is tall and vertical rather than long and horizontal. I know that may sound minor but I seem to hit it in such a way that doesn't correlate with the US key.

    2) There is no way of reclaiming NYC sales tax as a tourist. The chap who purports to have done so may either be mistaken or fall under a specific category of person who is allowed to do so.

    I believe that Louisiana is the only place in the US who allow tourists to reclaim part/all of the sales tax they incur while visiting.

    The Canadians, on the other hand, do allow you to claim GST on purchases so depending on the exchange rate and your proximity, it may be worth a trip up North, eh!
  14. jonnylink macrumors 6502

    Jul 15, 2007
    Or just use amazon like as suggested OR go to a place like New Hampshire where there is no sales tax.

    If you want to play that game, some cities also charge sales tax. I meant for the link to be a good way to get a general idea— I don't think I really explained that. Thank you for pointing it out.

    Here is a way to find specific taxes
  15. UKLawTalkingGuy macrumors newbie

    Mar 11, 2006
    Jonnylink : It was Nep61 who pointed out the county tax issue not me.

    Back on topic, I think a customs officer would struggle to believe that you had bought a MacMini in the UK, taken it to the US to use whilst on a short holiday and then brought it back home.

    A laptop on the other hand is a different kettle of fish.

    As someone who prosecutes people in the UK for trying to sneak all sorts of stuff past customs (from Class A drugs to the most bizzare contraband) - my view is that MacMini would result in further investigation.
  16. jonnylink macrumors 6502

    Jul 15, 2007
    You are correct, that was a cut and paste mistake. I've fixed it and offer my apologies.
  17. UKLawTalkingGuy macrumors newbie

    Mar 11, 2006
    No probs!

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