What European country will offer the lowest price for the same mini-laptop?
May 30, 2009 4:58 AM   Subscribe

What European country will offer the lowest price for the same mini-laptop? (list of countries inside)

This is really a 2 part question...

I would like to buy a cheap, super fast, long-battery-life mini-laptop, solely for going on to the internet at places which provide free wi-fi. I will emphasise the need for fast load up time, and switching between several web browser windows without lag. Eye-candy is not important.

For under 200-400 USD what should I get? (cheaper is good)

As I am travelling around Europe, in what country should I get it?

Countries: England, Sweden, France, Switzerland, Italy, Austria, Czech Republic, Germany, Netherlands, Monaco, Vatican City

Considering currency exchange rates, tax regulations, and anything else you can think of.

Thanks in advance.
posted by gttommy to Shopping (9 answers total)
 
Vatican City = Italy, and Monaco = France for shopping purposes.

Why not get one in the US before you leave (assuming you're from there)? The US generally has cheaper prices for computers and electronics than Europe. Many laptops and other portables have universal power supplies; you only need to get the right plug(s) for your destinations.

Another thing to consider: European countries have different keyboard layouts from what you are used to. The UK is not that different, but for instance France/French part of Switzerland has an AZERTY layout, Germany/Austria/German part of Switzerland has QWERTZ, etc. Which could drive you nuts.
posted by thread_makimaki at 5:09 AM on May 30, 2009


Sorry, forgot to check your profile. If you're from Australia you'll probably be happiest with buying the netbook in the UK, for the keyboard alone; prices in the UK compared to other countries are not too bad.
posted by thread_makimaki at 5:18 AM on May 30, 2009


I think it's tax-free in Andorra.
posted by sero_venientibus_ossa at 5:32 AM on May 30, 2009


The UK's currency is quite weak at the moment vs. the Euro, so you'd likely get the best deal there. I have a friend who just took a trip to London (from Paris) to buy a Macbook due to the price discrepancy.

Although I have to warn you that if you buy a netbook in Europe, the keyboard is likely to be much more cramped and uncomfortable than the US/Australian equivalent. That's because computer manufacturues typically use a standard template for all of Europe (locations and sizes of buttons) in which the function of each button changes depending on the country. I can't bear typing on a UK QWERTY keyboard, and for this reason I'm waiting until I go back to the US before I buy a netbook.
posted by helios at 5:39 AM on May 30, 2009


Every European country will add VAT to the price -- though you as a foreign visitor will get this back, getting a refund may be some work. Airports have tax free shops, though those may not be open to you when travelling within the common market [EU].

Caveat: I own a MSI Wind, because I liked its keyboard best. So I'd buy the MSI Wind 100 with the six cell battery. Though the Samsung NC10 is just as good. Newer models from these or other brands are more expensive.

The Acer Eee 1000HE and the MSI Wind 115 seem to have the longest battery life of any netbooks at the moment.
posted by ijsbrand at 5:40 AM on May 30, 2009


Duty free shops generally mark up their prices. If you're prepared to spend an afternoon on Tottenham Court Road, and seeing who'll give you the best deal, that might be your best bet. But as others have said, you'll be dealing with a keyboard with a basic layout that's unfamiliar to you.
posted by holgate at 8:23 AM on May 30, 2009


I would also recommend the UK, because good discounts on the high street are much more common there than in the less capitalistic countries, the GBP is a little depressed right now, and since you're an English speaker you'll probably have the easiest time with their VAT recouping scheme.
posted by Your Time Machine Sucks at 8:56 AM on May 30, 2009


I would like to buy a cheap, super fast, long-battery-life mini-laptop, solely for going on to the internet at places which provide free wi-fi. I will emphasise the need for fast load up time, and switching between several web browser windows without lag. Eye-candy is not important.

The cheap netbooks have, in my limited experience, been nowhere near super fast. It's possible that a light Linux distro could be fast but the ones I've played around with, with Windows XP, have been sluggish, even when maxed out on their RAM. Sometimes switching between open applications was tedious. I didn't do much with tabbed browsing or multiple browser windows but I would guess you won't want to be running with a lot of tabs/windows. That's not to say they are bad computers, but you shouldn't have expectations of anything approaching high performance with them. You can find fast computers that are small and/or light, but they won't be cheap.
posted by 6550 at 9:21 AM on May 30, 2009


Thanks everyone! I've did a bit of shopping along Tottenham Court Road and found a pretty good deal on the Samsung NC10 with 2GB RAM upgrade. Was going to get the Asus Eee but the keyboard on the Samsung just seemed better. So far it is fast and web browsing is almost flawless.
posted by gttommy at 5:31 PM on May 31, 2009


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