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Buying a Laptop in LA

KalkinoKalkino Buttons Londres Registered User regular
edited December 2007 in Help / Advice Forum
Gang, I will be in LA in February and I am looking to buy a new laptop while there, so I need some advice. I am looking to spend $1,000-1,500 and am after something mid range but with a reasonable dedicated graphics card so it will perform ok with games. I am not American and this will be my first trip to the states.



1) Good retailers - Who should I be looking at? I don't necessarily care so much about staff that know their stuff (as I'll probably have a couple of models chosen before I get even close to the US), I just don't want to waste my time.

2) Tips/Tricks - Any big sales on in mid Feb? Things to watch out for etc?

3) Local taxes - Is it easy/possible to claim sales tax back at the border?

Oh and I am probably going for a Windows machine as I think it more likely i'll be able to get a good gaming machine. I've just had my ibook stolen and while I'd like another mac laptop I just don't think I can afford one that has a comparable gaming experience to the Windows selection in my price range.

Freedom for the Northern Isles!
Kalkino on

Posts

  • ThanatosThanatos Registered User regular
    edited December 2007
    I'm assuming by "LA" you mean "Los Angeles" and not "Louisiana."

    Sales tax in LA is probably going to be somewhere around 8%ish, and it's going to be added on after they give you the price of your laptop, so keep that in mind. I actually don't know whether or not you can get a refund of the sales tax. You have Presidents' Day Sales going on in a lot of places. I don't know if you can get them from retail locations, but Lenovo makes awesome laptops.

    Thanatos on
  • KalkinoKalkino Buttons Londres Registered User regular
    edited December 2007
    I did mean LA thanks. Man I hate when stores play that sales tax trick, it is deceptive. Back home (NZ) I think it is illegal to not advertise the tax inclusive price as the primary price.

    Kalkino on
    Freedom for the Northern Isles!
  • DrFrylockDrFrylock Registered User regular
    edited December 2007
    Kalkino wrote: »
    I did mean LA thanks. Man I hate when stores play that sales tax trick, it is deceptive. Back home (NZ) I think it is illegal to not advertise the tax inclusive price as the primary price.

    Yeah in the United States it's not actually a trick, it's just sort of how it works everywhere. Tax is always extra. It's not deceptive when it's completely universal.

    Honestly I think buying a laptop in a store is not the best idea here in the US. Most electronics stores will have a selection of laptops from different vendors, but computers sold directly in stores here tend to be geared toward families and consumers that aren't too computer-savvy. They tend to have all kinds of extra doodads like shiny screens and 48-in-7 card readers and the hard drive half filled with trialware. Many of the major laptop vendors - Dell, Alienware, Gateway, and so on aren't sold in stores at all. Others (HP, Sony, Toshiba) may offer some laptops in stores but not all, or they may offer their consumer lines in stores but offer other lines (high-end gaming, business laptops) only online.

    So do your research first and make sure you don't just go into ferret mode when you get into the store and buy the shiniest thing you see.

    DrFrylock on
    Pheezer wrote: »
    I would strongly recommend reading DrFrylock's post thoroughly and considering all of his points individually.
  • KalkinoKalkino Buttons Londres Registered User regular
    edited December 2007
    I spent three years selling consumer electronics at university, so I've almost trained myself not to be a ferret...although i do like shiny

    Kalkino on
    Freedom for the Northern Isles!
  • ThanatosThanatos Registered User regular
    edited December 2007
    Yeah, Frylock is right. Personally, I'd never buy a laptop at a retail store. You should go online, order it, and have it delivered wherever you're going to be staying.

    Thanatos on
  • KalkinoKalkino Buttons Londres Registered User regular
    edited December 2007
    Ok, well in that case, what sites do you recommend as being good value, not fuckwits and trustworthy?

    Kalkino on
    Freedom for the Northern Isles!
  • ThanatosThanatos Registered User regular
    edited December 2007
    Lenovo's website.

    Why in particular do you want to come to America to get a laptop, anyhow?

    Thanatos on
  • KalkinoKalkino Buttons Londres Registered User regular
    edited December 2007
    Well a couple of reasons:

    1) Casual looking over a period of years has indicated you guys generally get better prices for laptops than we do in the UK
    2) I get paid in £, and currently £>$ more so than usual
    3) I am not visiting the US for the sake of visiting the US. It is a transit stop and since I have friends in LA i'm staying a couple of days to see them

    Kalkino on
    Freedom for the Northern Isles!
  • KalkinoKalkino Buttons Londres Registered User regular
    edited December 2007
    An example of price difference:

    US Lenovo T Series - T61 14 inch - USD 1264 (or UKP 637 using XE.com)*
    UK Lenovo T Series - T61 14 inch - UKP 963 (or USD 1911.97 using XE.com)

    In addition to this, I might be able to get a tax refund at the airport (maybe - need to look into this more)
    * I used the non sale price because it still proves my point

    Kalkino on
    Freedom for the Northern Isles!
  • DjeetDjeet Registered User regular
    edited December 2007
    I've a T61p and am quite happy with it. It came with Vista 64 business which I wrangled with for 2 months before putting XP on it.

    It also pays to check out the lenovo refurb site (if you're OK with getting a refurb), about 4-5 weeks after I got my machine I saw the exact same machine for about 35-40% less at the lenovo outlet.

    Djeet on
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