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Pros and cons of buying a gadget from abroad

Pros and cons of buying a gadget from abroad

It's a common dilemma — should you buy that latest laptop, camera, phone or projector from India or from abroad?

Warranty issues aside, we examine the price differences in four popular products to reach some obvious conclusions ­ what should you buy and from where...

1. Apple iPhone

April 01,2015
Apple iPhone
The iPhone is one of the most coveted smartphones around and prices do vary from place to place. Apart from the shady practice of buying used iPhones that have been illegally unlocked -- even the prices of officially unlocked devices can differ. For instance, the iPhone 6 starts at Rs 56,000 in India. The same unlocked device in the US is $649 (Rs 40,000) and HK$5588 (Rs 45,000) in Hong Kong.

The catch is that iPhone warranties are only valid in the country in which they are purchased. If the phone develops any sort of issue, Apple service will not accept the product at all -- even if payment for repairs is offered.

The conclusion is that you should just pay the extra and get the official unit in your own country. In the case of iPads, Apple offers an international warranty. As long as you buy the device from an authorized seller/reseller and official service is available in your country of residence -- the warranty stays valid. This means that even if you manage to save a few thousand Rupees on an iPad, it's worth it!

2. Dell XPS 13 (2015 Edition) laptop

April 01,2015
Dell XPS 13 (2015 Edition) laptop
In India, most of the action in the consumer laptop segment is lower down in the price range: Rs 20,000 to Rs 50,000. For the premium segment, prices can vary wildly. The latest and much-talked about 2015 edition of the Dell XPS 13 (with the Infinity screen, which fits a 13-inch screen into an 11-inch laptop chassis) starts at just US$799 plus tax (roughly Rs 55,000) in the US.

However, in India there is only one version of the laptop available (the top-end version), priced at Rs 1,28,990. This instantly puts the gorgeous design out of reach of most laptop users in India.

If you're craving for this fantastic (and unique) infinity screen design, you have no option but to get it from abroad. The warranty will probably not be valid elsewhere and if you buy from the US, you will have to carry or send the laptop to a US service location to avail warranty services if required.

3. Sony RX 100 Mark III & Nikon D610 cameras

April 01,2015
Sony RX 100 Mark III & Nikon D610 cameras
Picking up one of Sony's best compact cameras (the RX 100 Mk 3; one of the best compact cameras around, actually), the US price is roughly US$800 (Rs 50,000) while the India price with official 2 year warranty is Rs 52,990.

This is a direct conversion as per today's rates and after adding currency exchange (or credit card) fees, the price is roughly equal. You can, however, still shop for the official Sony LCD screen protector and the premium leather case. With some of the mid-range and premium digital SLRs, the price gap starts to widen.

Take for instance Nikon's D610 -- a popular full frame (FX format, in Nikon terminology) DSLR. With the 24-85mm VR lens bundle, the D610 retails for about US$2,000 (Rs 1,25,000). In India, the price is Rs 1,42,950 with the same lens bundle.

4. Epson, Panasonic, BenQ projectors

April 01,2015
Epson, Panasonic, BenQ projectors
To start with, you might not want to carry a projector in from another country because of two simple reasons: the size/weight of the device and because it attracts customs duties. All other products can be carried in hand baggage and brought in duty free (regardless of value).

But there are other considerations such as availability. In the US market, there is a much wider variety of brands and models to choose from, some of which are known for affordable, high performance products. 

Case in point is the Optoma HD141X. At just US$600 (Rs 37,500), this projector offers phenomenal value. It's a compact, Full HD, 3D projector with a 4,000-hour lamp life, 3,000 lumens rated brightness, built-in speaker and dual-HDMI inputs (with MHL for smartphones).

There's nothing else that can even come close in terms of price to performance.

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