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Buying Laptop in Japan or UK - Voltage/Warranty/Language issues

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  • Buying Laptop in Japan or UK - Voltage/Warranty/Language issues

    I'm going back to the UK for Xmas and coincidentally am in desperate need of a new laptop. The thing is I don't where where is best to buy it from? Japan or the UK?
    Here are my concerns:

    Voltage
    - If I buy in the UK, I can simply buy a Japanese plug adaptor and use it in Japan. BUT will it weaken the battery power when I unplug it and use it mobile?
    - If I buy in Japan, will I actually be able to use it in the UK without having to buy a horrible voltage converter?

    Warranty
    - Other than macs, I assume the warranties are local. I live in Japan and plan on being here for a long time, so I'd assume buying a laptop in the UK will make any warranty as good as void?

    Language
    - My Japanese isn't too bad. But I'm not confident I can decipher error messages which will no doubt come up on any Windows OS. Can I change the language settings for the entire OS? If so, on which OS's?

    I've considered buying a mac, which would solve the Warranty and Language issues. But I just can't justify the cost. So I'm looking for a mid-range 50,000+ Windows laptop

    Any advice would be awesome! Thanks

  • #2
    Voltage/battery performance is not an issue. They all have switched mode power supplies that can handle anything you throw at them

    Warranty is likely an issue depending on the company. The Sony I bought 6 years ago was UK only. The sent a courier to pick it up but I, or the machine at least had to be physically in the UK. I saw other companies offering worldwide service but I can't remember who they were now. Dell perhaps?

    It will be easy enough to check but I think only the top of the range version of Windows 7 was fully switchable. I don't know about Windows 8 - a quick google will no doubt confirm. If you are going to be mostly working in English, mostly with English versions of software then I would suggest an English OS is what you want. Japanese text input with an English version of Windows has never been a problem. Running some programs is a bit tricky but with a bit of playing about they always run and with no or hardly any gobbledygook.

    Which keyboard is personal preference but personally I don't like Japanese keyboards and want a "pound" symbol at my fingertips.

    And, being as how you are non UK resident, the system for claiming about about 12% off your VAT has improved a lot. Google Duty Free Shopping UK or similar and you will see what I mean. It doesn't apply to internet purchases but it does apply to a lot of High Street stores.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Brown Cow View Post
      Warranty is likely an issue depending on the company. The Sony I bought 6 years ago was UK only. The sent a courier to pick it up but I, or the machine at least had to be physically in the UK. I saw other companies offering worldwide service but I can't remember who they were now. Dell perhaps?
      Both Dell and HP (and probably others) have offered international warranties on select products (typically business notebooks rather than consumer, and ones that are generally available worldwide). In some cases the international warranty is an extra cost upgrade to the standard one (I think that's the case with HP).

      Comment


      • #4
        My lenovo laptop bought in Australia also offered warranty support here in Japan, but the customer service here was all Japanese, and I was told i would need to bring it to a service centre. I had a friend visiting at the time so i just gave it to him and did the warranty claim from Australia - they sent a courier around to pick it up and drop it off.

        I debated buying a laptop here or Australia when it came time to upgrade earlier this year too. I really dont like Japanese keyboards with their tiny space bars and backspace keys, but in the end it was both cheaper and more convenient to just go into Akihabara and pick up another Lenovo - I paid 40,000ish yen i believe, for what was at the time a fairly decent machine (core i5, 8gb RAM, 500gb hdd)

        Comment


        • #5
          If you buy new (something I never do these days) then buy locally so you can use the warranty. On any new laptop at least 15% of the new cost is warranty, another 15% is the operating system. That's why I buy outlet machines with no OS or warranty. Of the 50 plus outlet computers I've bought I've never had any go wrong in the first year (touch wood!)

          --

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by yojax View Post
            I'm going back to the UK for Xmas and coincidentally am in desperate need of a new laptop. The thing is I don't where where is best to buy it from? Japan or the UK?
            Here are my concerns:

            Voltage
            - If I buy in the UK, I can simply buy a Japanese plug adaptor and use it in Japan. BUT will it weaken the battery power when I unplug it and use it mobile?
            - If I buy in Japan, will I actually be able to use it in the UK without having to buy a horrible voltage converter?

            Warranty
            - Other than macs, I assume the warranties are local. I live in Japan and plan on being here for a long time, so I'd assume buying a laptop in the UK will make any warranty as good as void?

            Language
            - My Japanese isn't too bad. But I'm not confident I can decipher error messages which will no doubt come up on any Windows OS. Can I change the language settings for the entire OS? If so, on which OS's?

            I've considered buying a mac, which would solve the Warranty and Language issues. But I just can't justify the cost. So I'm looking for a mid-range 50,000+ Windows laptop

            Any advice would be awesome! Thanks
            Quick answer: buy it in Japan. (You change change the Windows operating system menu to English).

            Slightly longer answer: some warranties are international, but chances of a fault within the warranty period are slim so not a huge consideration, I would suggest.

            If you buy a UK laptop, just buy a new 2-pin cable in Japan - the bit that connects the power socket to the box with the green light on. Then you can forget about the need to use an adaptor. It won't affect the battery.

            When in the UK with a Japanese laptop, you won't need a convertor - just an adaptor.

            Comment


            • #7
              I just changed the plug on mine. 100 Yen and 5 minutes work. Make an adapter from the UK plug you just cut off and another 100 Yen J socket for when you are in the UK.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by yojax View Post
                I'm going back to the UK for Xmas and coincidentally am in desperate need of a new laptop. The thing is I don't where where is best to buy it from? Japan or the UK?
                Here are my concerns:

                Voltage
                - If I buy in the UK, I can simply buy a Japanese plug adaptor and use it in Japan. BUT will it weaken the battery power when I unplug it and use it mobile?
                - If I buy in Japan, will I actually be able to use it in the UK without having to buy a horrible voltage converter?

                Warranty
                - Other than macs, I assume the warranties are local. I live in Japan and plan on being here for a long time, so I'd assume buying a laptop in the UK will make any warranty as good as void?

                Language
                - My Japanese isn't too bad. But I'm not confident I can decipher error messages which will no doubt come up on any Windows OS. Can I change the language settings for the entire OS? If so, on which OS's?

                I've considered buying a mac, which would solve the Warranty and Language issues. But I just can't justify the cost. So I'm looking for a mid-range 50,000+ Windows laptop

                Any advice would be awesome! Thanks
                + Laptops always run on 12V, and the transformer is integrated in the external power supply. These transfer the voltage down and they don't care whether they need to transform down from 100 or 200 V. So just a new plug will be enough. (This is the same with Shavers but not with Hair Dryers who need the higher voltage)
                + Windows 7 comes in different languages and you could switch/upgrade to English. (Note : The newer laptops are usually have Bios settings to authorize ANY version of W7, so it's quite simple to do the 'upgrade' yourself - just check on the web)
                + Japanese don't like used stuff, so I agree that its probably your best bet to buy a used one in Japan (sites like dospara or sofmap offer used ones)

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by mr.sumo.snr View Post
                  If you buy new (something I never do these days) then buy locally so you can use the warranty. On any new laptop at least 15% of the new cost is warranty, another 15% is the operating system. That's why I buy outlet machines with no OS or warranty. Of the 50 plus outlet computers I've bought I've never had any go wrong in the first year (touch wood!)

                  --
                  Cheers for all the comments! Everyone seems to be on different sides of the fence hah!

                  Hey Mr Sumo Snr - Where can you buy outlet machines?

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by yojax View Post
                    Cheers for all the comments! Everyone seems to be on different sides of the fence hah!

                    Hey Mr Sumo Snr - Where can you buy outlet machines?
                    http://storeuser2.auctions.yahoo.co....ew_shop_oraora

                    is my current favorite, but it's only on Yahoo Auctions. Maybe you have a friend who's a member and can make the purchase for you or you could ask someone friendly around here !

                    I don't know for certain but I'm pretty sure this trader is acting on behalf of DELL Japan offloading display or exchanged models. Anyway, it's always great gear.


                    http://www.mcs-alf.co.jp/shop/ is a good store for assorted quality used computers - but you need to know what you're doing i.e. what gear has a bad reputation.

                    --
                    Last edited by mr.sumo.snr; 2012-12-02, 12:58 PM.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Brown Cow View Post
                      And, being as how you are non UK resident, the system for claiming about about 12% off your VAT has improved a lot. Google Duty Free Shopping UK or similar and you will see what I mean. It doesn't apply to internet purchases but it does apply to a lot of High Street stores.
                      Brown Cow - I lke this idea a lot! I never even thought of it before. The question is what UK electronics shop offer this service? I've tried googling it but with no luck. Westfield London seems to offer VAT cashback on-the-spot, but have a lack of PC shops. Do you know if places like PCworld/Curry's etc offer this service?

                      Or does anyone else know for that mantter?

                      Thanks

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        The VAT free scheme is surprisingly widespread. Dixons in Edinburgh did it without a moment's hesitation. As did the Scottish Wool Shop. You need to show your passport at the till and then need to get the documents stamped by customs on your way out of the country or EU. Otherwise plain sailing and a nice 12% or so discount.

                        Virtually every shop in Prince's St, Edinburgh was part of the scheme. Perhaps in less touristed areas it may be less available - I am not sure.

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