Buy a computer in Mexico or the U.S?

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Discussion Thread Forum

Posted by Chris Decker on May 23, 1997:

I will be relocating to Mexico (Queretaro) soon and it is time to replace my computer. I had planned to purchase a notebook here in the US and bring it with me. Now I am having second thoughts. First, I fear that it would be difficult to get parts and service for a US model in Mexico. Toshiba, for example, claims that its US and Mexican models are different and that the Mexican retailers are not authorized to service the US models. Add to that the hassle of bringing the computer through customs on an FMT visa (alas, I’m not eligible for a FM3) and I think it would be better to simply purchase a computer in Mexico. I’m aware that comparable computers cost 20-30% more in Mexico, but perhaps it’s worth the extra pesos to have better support and fewer hassles. Any thoughts?

Response by jennifer j. rose on May 24, 1997:

No problem bringing a notebook. It’s no different than carrying your purse back and forth.

I’ve brought several desktops into Mexico on tourist cards without major hassles. Of course, none were brand spanking new. If you’re bringing a new one, I’d advice taking the time to load it with your software, configure it, and take some measures to make it look less right-out-of-the-box.

I’m using a Microsoft Natural keyboard, which came with software that enables me to readily switch between English and Spanish (and probably) a zillion different characters.

Tax? Be prepared to fork over some tax, although you might get lucky and sail through customs with your pocketbook intact. How much depends upon the price of your computer, the political winds, satori, your looks and what other stuff you’re toting, The amount should not be all that significant in comparison to your cost savings in purchasing the computer stateside and a broader range of selection. You might raise some suspicion if you’re toting a laptop as well as a carload of peripherals.

Parts & service? That depends upon many factors. How often does your computer really need parts and service? During the past 8 years (and 6 computers in daily near-constant use), mine have only needed the brains of a skilled guru…usually a bright 15-year old. What brand of computer do you use? If it’s one comprised of parts only available in Outer Mongolia on the third Tuesday of every leap-yeared February, then you may be in trouble. If it’s a commonly sold brand, then you shouldn’t really have a problem.

Brand? Are you one of those who prefer mass-marketed brands such as Dell? Or do you have greater faith in the made-to-order less costly ones built by a local techie? Check with your vendor about technical support and maintenance contracts in Mexico before buying.

Acer and Printaform seem to be big sellers in Mexico as does HP. I’ll stick with my Dell.

Service and repair in Mexico is a genuine bargain compared to the U.S. The prevailing rate for a freelance college student who knows computers is about a tenth of what their peers command in the U.S.

Response by dumois on May 23, 1997:

I would consider:

1. Language. Will you communicate in English and Spanish as well? Computers bought in Mexico are bilingual. You have a Spanish keyboard -but you can write in English, as I am doing right now. If you want to use accents, amigo mío, or ask questions, ¿no?, or exclaim, ¡Salud!, and you want to do that in a direct, natural form, buy your computer here.

2. Service. You want your machine serviced down here, in case you need to, don’t you?

3. Price. The gap is closing. You will find good prices in Mexico, with NAFTA, globalization, and all that.

4. Customs. I cannot give you an authorized opinion on this subject, but my feeling is that you won’t have any trouble if you buy your computer in the US and then you bring it with you to Mexico.

Anyway, welcome to Colonial, beautiful Querétaro!

Saludos from Guadalajara, dumois

Posted by John Cummings on May 23, 1997:


Computers are my business. It depends what you intend to purchase. You said that you are going to purchase a notebook/laptop. I assume that you plan to upgrade your existing computer. Therefore you shuold be looking at the high end ones assuming that you are not on a strict budget. It is wiser to buy the latest technology ( within reason ) and then use it until it no longer serves your purpose. With that in mind, I would buy the computer in the US as the latest technology is more available and much cheaper. This of course depends on where you live and where you are going in Mexico. Certain areas of the US are much cheaper than others as in Mexico.

I wouldn’t worry too much about service. Most of the components are pretty standard and you should not have trouble getting it repaired in Mexico. Computers are pretty reliable today. I fix my own and haven’t had to touch one ( I have 5 computers ) in 4 years.

The customs will not bother you with a notebook/laptop computer. A desktop one is another story. If you were buying a desktop then I would probably recommend that you buy it in Mexico. However a notebook/laptop should be no problem.

Hope this helps. If you want any more info, e-mail me. I am going to Mazatlan tomorrow for a couple weeks so you will have to wait.

Buena suerte,


Published or Updated on: May 23, 1997 by Discussion Thread Forum © 1997
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