The pain and the agony

Kirrily Robert discusses The Tyranny of Distance: Why it sucks to be an Australian geek, prominently featuring the price of bandwidth, the price of books and the price of electronics.

This bears highlighting, because I need a new laptop fairly urgently. The Lenovo T60, when purchased in the United States, costs AUD 1300 or a bit less at the current exchange rate. When purchased in Australia, it costs about AUD 2500, that is, around about double the US cost. (Memo to USians whose major exposure to the Australian dollar was a few years ago: it buys USD 0.80, roughly, not USD 0.50 as you may have become accustomed to assuming, which means that doubling the US cost to get a price in AUD is no longer just a function of the exchange rate.)

A few other models at current actual sale prices on the official websites (not RRP, which the US models are typically discounted from):

  • Dell XPS M1210: 1050 AUD in the US, 1400 AUD in Australia, about a third more expensive
  • Dell Latitude D630: 990 AUD in the US, 1900 AUD in Australia, a bit less than double
  • HP Compaq nc2400: AUD 1800 in the US, AUD 3000 in Australia, a bit less than double

It’s not clear to me what one does from here. I bought my recently deceased Fujitsu Lifebook S6120 in the US, but I never had to exercise the warranty, so I don’t know whether or not I could have had it serviced in Australia. I don’t know if there are any manufacturers who will honour warranties locally on self-imported laptops. And of course, I have to put it through Customs myself.