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You are here: MacNN Forums > Hardware - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Mac Notebooks > US Macbook Air for use in the UK

US Macbook Air for use in the UK
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Fresh-Faced Recruit
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Oct 27, 2013, 11:56 AM
 
Hello,
My daughter wants a new Macbook Air and has a friend who is going to the US soon (we live in the UK). She plans to give her friend the money to buy one and bring it back as it is considerably cheaper in the US than the UK. Has anyone else done this and are there any pitfalls or problems she may face with doing this ?
     
Clinically Insane
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Oct 27, 2013, 01:35 PM
 
Beware import duties and VAT at customs upon return.

They may well diminish the difference in price considerably.
     
P
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Oct 27, 2013, 04:02 PM
 
You need a UK power adapter. She could get a travel pack from Apple to replace the plug, or she could use a travel adapter always when charging the laptop. The keyboard might have some tiny differences - I'm not sure.

Usually customs doesn't bother asking for VAT if the laptop has been take out of the packaging and is obviously in use (e.g. in the carry-on), so make sure to do that before leaving. Whether that is strictly legal or not in the UK is more than I know, but at least around here they're only concerned with stopping people who want to resell it.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
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Oct 27, 2013, 04:37 PM
 
Hamburg customs officials are apparently slightly less lenient.
     
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Oct 27, 2013, 05:11 PM
 
SH, how would they distinguish paid-VAT items from non-paid items? Do they keep dossiers on every departing passenger (all luggage items) for a year? Or consult a database of all laptops upon which VAT has been paid?
     
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Oct 27, 2013, 05:27 PM
 
Original packaging and/or still-affixed labels are usually a pretty good tip-off.

As is having more than the usual number of devices along.

It's their right to detain and grill you if they suspect you of smuggling (which is what this is), and if they happen to find, say, four still-boxed iPhones in your luggage, the fine they'll slap you with will make those iPhones considerably more expensive than what you would have paid domestically.
     
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Oct 27, 2013, 06:01 PM
 
I agree with P. The friend could buy and unpack the new computer, and verify it works as expected. It is then no longer a "brand new" computer, so it isn't (to me) smuggling. I don't know how harsh the UK customs folks would be on someone flying home with a fairly new computer and maybe a not-so-new computer in their luggage, but from the way I've seen people pack for a "vacation" on a cruise (), two computers for one person wouldn't be unreasonable.

It seems to me that customs' job is trying to avoid wholesale, commercial smuggling, the kind that Spheric Harlot described. While I'm not sure how technically legal this would be, it doesn't "feel" like the kind of scam that customs is looking for.

Have the daughter buy a new power adapter in the UK, and she'll be set for world travel! (Is there a keyboard difference between UK and US versions? Like the $ versus the £ on a specific key?)

Glenn -----OTR/L, MOT, Tx
     
Clinically Insane
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Oct 27, 2013, 06:50 PM
 
UK layout:



US layout:

     
P
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Oct 28, 2013, 04:13 AM
 
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
Original packaging and/or still-affixed labels are usually a pretty good tip-off.

As is having more than the usual number of devices along.

It's their right to detain and grill you if they suspect you of smuggling (which is what this is), and if they happen to find, say, four still-boxed iPhones in your luggage, the fine they'll slap you with will make those iPhones considerably more expensive than what you would have paid domestically.
I get that, which is why it needs to be removed from the packaging (and obviously needs to be a single part), but getting a single device in is usually not a problem. Also, if it has truly been used, it's arguable if it's even smuggling legally.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
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Oct 28, 2013, 09:15 AM
 
Please note that the US Macbook Air keyboard comes with a proper 'Return' key instead of the bad joke that's the super slim vertical one on any other Apple international keyboard but the Godzilla-sized 'Return' key on the Japanese keyboard.



Also, you can order it with the British keyboard in the States, and pick it up from an Apple Retail Store where available.
     
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Oct 29, 2013, 07:53 PM
 
Thanks everyone. I'll let you know how it goes.
     
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Oct 30, 2013, 07:11 PM
 
I like angelmb's suggestion. If it has a UK keyboard, it looks like it was bought there.
     
Clinically Insane
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Nov 1, 2013, 04:00 PM
 
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot
US layout:

No. This is not a US layout.

US keyboards have a tilde ~ above Esc.

-t
     
Clinically Insane
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Nov 1, 2013, 04:21 PM
 
Ah, sorry - google fail.

You mean "below", though.
     
Clinically Insane
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Nov 1, 2013, 05:28 PM
 
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
Ah, sorry - google fail.

You mean "below", though.
Oops, meant to say above Tab.

-t
     
   
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