To buy a laptop in the US or SE Asia?

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Travel' started by TrueBlueFlyer, Feb 9, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. TrueBlueFlyer
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    TrueBlueFlyer Silver Member

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    My personal laptop croaked, the work one is on its last legs and I wouldn't dare take it with me on a long time trip. So I would like to buy something cheap, but reliable for a six month visit to SE Asia.

    I have an Android phone but have experienced issues with it while traveling in Europe for about two months so it won't cut it for me... Plus many web sites/booking agents are not really compatible with a smart phone anyway, or have too many annoying limitations.


    Does anyone have experience with this... would you buy a laptop in the US or upon arrival into SE Asia, specifically Singapore?

    What would you recommend, tiny and light enough to take with you while traveling with a small carry-on?
     
  2. giblet
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    giblet Silver Member

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    I haven't priced things in Singapore lately, but when I did, I found that prices were similar to discounted prices in the US (like on Amazon). Other members will know more about this.

    I just traveled for a year with a Samsung N120, which was $300. It was cheap enough that I didn't have to worry much about it. I just threw it into my bag and went. It survived a lot of abuse over the year, I didn't even have a case for it! It's a netbook so it's not good if you need to use powerful programs like Photoshop, etc. But it was fine to use the web, Skype and OpenOffice which was all I needed.
     
  3. I think you're going to get a cheaper laptop in the states. I am constantly amazed @ some of the low prices I see in flyers. Here in HKG, the cheapest crappiest book will be over 350-400 USD and likely not have any english software.
     
  4. sendaiben
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    sendaiben Gold Member

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    Yeah, if you are based in the US then it'll probably be a similar price but you'll get some level of support/English software and keyboard, etc.

    Usually better to buy computers in your home market as the warranties are valid [​IMG]
     
  5. +1. While it's possible to save a bit on electronics in Asia in some places (not all!), the lack of warranty is a serious downside. Although obviously really minor, it's nice to have a power cord that fits into plugs here without an adapter :)
     
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  6. wanderlust
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    wanderlust Silver Member

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    When are you flying out? I would recommend buying in the states, as others have suggested.

    For actual computer recommendations, what price range are you looking at? Laptops are hitting a sweet spot right now, where they are portable, have good battery life, yet outperform older (and basically garbage) "netbooks." I personally think the best is 11-12", a good mix of portability and usability (full size keyboards are nice).

    Laptops to consider, that are relatively "cheap" but functional and available now:
    • ASUS Eee PC Seashell 1215N - ~$480 on Amazon.com
    • HP Pavilion dm1z - ~$450 (New AMD processor tech)
    I'm personally waiting for the Thinkpad x120e (not yet released, week or two away from release), which will probably be my next laptop.

    I'd be happy to give more detailed recommendations, if you were more specific of what exactly you are looking for in a computer. Obviously there are faster/better portable laptops than the ones I mentioned, for a price (e.g. the TimelineX series, Macbook Air). You could also go lower, and pick up a cheap 10" netbook for 200-400.
     
  7. TrueBlueFlyer
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    TrueBlueFlyer Silver Member

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    realistically I just need a reliable laptop, small and cheap enough that I wouldn't stress over damaging it while traveling.
    10 inch monitor is preferred, although some people find it too small not to squint at the screen or the keyboard being too cramped. enough storage space for pictures, fast speed for e-mail and photochop, nothing really else besides that. good battery life is a must. Price under $500
     
  8. mowogo
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    mowogo Gold Member

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    But it in the US. It saves you having to declare it on return, and gives you time to adjust to its quirks (any computer has quirks that you have to get used to). I've seen some real good deals on laptops (I'm talking even reasonably powerful machines for under $500) on tigerdirect.com
     
  9. wanderlust
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    wanderlust Silver Member

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    I think you should just get a netbook in this case. This ASUS Eee PC 10.1" netbook seems good for you (if the link doesn't work, just search Amazon.com for ASUS Eee PC 1015PN-PU17-BK). Costs $380 at Amazon.com right now, well under your budget.

    You could go cheaper, but this has a dual core versus single core atom (so faster, good enough for email, not the best for photoshop but best you can do at the price range), exceptionally long battery life, and weighs under 3 pounds. It has a 250gb hard drive too. Probably the best netbook out there. If you want to trade graphical performance (if you don't play games or watch HD video) for battery life, the ASUS Eee PC 1015PEM-PU17-BK will get you a few extra hours of battery life.

    Edit: Initially linked to the wrong netbook, whoops.
     
  10. flacey8
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    flacey8 Silver Member

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    Just from personal experience (lived in HK for 3 years and spent time in SG recently - currently in the states) - I think laptops are cheaper in the US; in general - in fact, most big electronics are cheaper in the US (i.e. DVD players, LCD TVs, etc...); but smaller electronics - especially accessories (i.e. cables, chargers, etc...) are cheaper in HK. my2cents.
     
  11. leeivan86
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    leeivan86 Gold Member

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    There is a much better return policy in the states compared to SE Asia and if you want some form of warranty coverage while you are on the roads, look for those laptops that come with international warranty as part of the standard package such as Asus. Another thing you can consider is looking at Dell business outlet which has refurbished business laptops that always comes with next business day warranty. Next business day warranty on dell translates to international warranty.
     
  12. justind

    justind Silver Member

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    Just got back from Hong Kong and Singapore and have to agree with most, buy in the US before you go. I went "computerless" expecting to find something upoon arrival, prices seemed high, although I don't consider myself comfortable bargining, even at half off I think I could have found (and did upon return) a better deal.
     
  13. inukshuk
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    inukshuk Gold Member

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    You can also try places like a Sony Factory Outlet Store. They sell computers that are just going out of production for much lower prices (with original warranties). I've gotten laptops from there for 50-60% off retail price.
     
  14. Mangy
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    Mangy Gold Member

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    I agree. prices are pretty cheap in the US now and you will have a lot less hassle regarding warranty. If you get it in your home town you can just return to the shop you got it from.
     
  15. WormHole
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    WormHole Silver Member

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  16. taiwaned
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    taiwaned Silver Member

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    I've made the mistake of purchasing a computer abroad and the subsequent pain I incurred later.
    Can't stress it enough about purchasing computer at home. Even if it is a few dollars cheaper abroad, repair and fixes will eat up the savings.

    My eeepc I purchased in Taiwan, I later found out that the Windows was counterfeit. Then I had a motherboard failure after I moved home to Vancouver. Nobody will touch it.
     
  17. JDiver
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    JDiver Silver Member

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    Agree with most above - cheaper in the USA< much better warranty support, no worries about counterfeit software issues or deviations in hard/firmware used in the US making for occasional incompatibilities and headaches. ASUS seems to be offering some very decent netbooks, quite portable and reasonably usable. (A good case can extend life and protection, particularly in cases of bumpy or excessively dusty travel - Cambodia for giblet (good to see you here!) dry season Africa, etc.)
     

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