How do I get a new laptop fast?
June 16, 2008 8:29 AM   Subscribe

I am an American living in overseas, and do not have access to computer stores. In addition, shipping here is prohibitively expensive (shipping a laptop via DHL's lowest cost option would be just over $500, and no retailer I have found ships here directly anyway.). I will be in Canada (Toronto) for two days, starting tomorrow, and need a new Thinkpad. Is this possible? I had no warning on this trip, and obviously cannot wait two+ weeks for delivery as the Lenovo website states.

This is to replace a dell that could not take the harsh conditions. Hoping a thinkpad will fare better, but I need to get it here.
posted by Nothing to Computers & Internet (11 answers total)
Maybe go to a big box store and go for a brand other than Lenovo?
posted by k8t at 8:58 AM on June 16, 2008

Yeah, go to a big box store and see if they have any 'durable' laptops in stock. There's many retailers where you can, at the very least, walk out with a laptop, including models from HP/Compaq, Sony, Toshiba, Apple, Asus...

Now, you didn't say where you're living, but it's gotta be pretty remote if no one is willing to deliver there for any less than $500. Just be sure that by taking the computer into that country with you that you're not violating any of the export restrictions on cryptographic devices.
posted by SpecialK at 9:26 AM on June 16, 2008

I looked at your profile, and seeing "Mesopotamia" -- if you're over in the sandbox, you want to look for a ruggedized laptop. You're looking for something along the lines of the HP EliteBook 6930p, Averatec Voya, or Panasonic Toughbook.

Whether a big box retailer will have one of these? Can't tell you. But that's what you need... anything else will NOT survive sand.
posted by SpecialK at 9:34 AM on June 16, 2008

CDW (and other resellers who deal with a primarily corporate audience) frequently warehouse certain models of thinkpad for immediate shipping (here's one, but there are plenty more). They can (probably) overnight one to Toronto. They absolutely can hand it to a shipper the same day you order it.
posted by toxic at 10:30 AM on June 16, 2008

you're not violating any of the export restrictions on cryptographic devices

Canada has no such restrictions.
posted by toxic at 10:31 AM on June 16, 2008

toxic: Dated, but as far as I can tell still accurate. Yes, Canada does indeed have export controls.
posted by SpecialK at 10:38 AM on June 16, 2008

Canada does have some export controls, but in practice they don't apply to consumer-oriented goods, because of the following provision at the beginning of the Export Control List:

General "Software" Note
This List does not embargo "software" which is either"
1. Generally available to the public by being:
  1. Sold from stock at retail selling points, without restriction, by means of:
    1. Over-the-Counter transactions;
    2. Mail order transactions; or
    3. Telephone call transactions; and
  2. Designed for installation by the user without further substantial support by the supplier; or
2. In the public domain".

Essentially, if the cryptographic software is sold to you and other members of the public unrestricted (or is designed to be publicly disseminated, and thus isn't really "sold" at all) , than you can export it fairly freely (to a non-embargoed country, anyway).

A single consumer-grade laptop traveling with an American tourist leaving Canada, is going to draw more attention over tax and duty matters than crypto.
posted by toxic at 11:24 AM on June 16, 2008

Returning the computer under warranty might be really difficult. You could buy secondhand, if you won't get useful warranty cover anyway. You should try buying on your first day, whether new or secondhand, to give you the chance to find obvious defects.

I have the low end Panasonic Toughbook and like it very much. You can stand on them and at least some of them are waterproof, which implies dustproof. They should be available off the shelf.
posted by Idcoytco at 1:08 PM on June 16, 2008

They sell Thinkpad computers at Staples' stores. They have it in Canada. You can see if there is one near where you will be. You can call them and see if they have Thinkpads in stock. My sister walked into a store in Houston and bought one. They didn't need to order one for her. It depends how picky you are on the specs you are looking for, of course.
posted by bluefly at 1:13 PM on June 16, 2008

I second the CDW recommendation. They ship fast if you ask for it
posted by meta_eli at 4:36 PM on June 16, 2008

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