Buying a computer overseas

My daughter who currently lives in Australia is going to America to study for 12 months.  Is there any problem with her buying a computer in the US and bringing it back to Australia?  Will it be compatible with Australian conditions, particularly DVD’s etc.?

There’s a couple of tricks to watch: Warranties, DVD-Regions and voltages are the three main problems.


The biggest problem with taking computers between countries is the different voltages; the US has 110v, most of Europe and Asia 220v, and a few oddities like Australia and India on 240v.

If your daughter is buying a laptop computer, it’s not such a problem as the power packs in portable computers are designed to deal with this. Desktop computers usually require flicking a switch on the back to change between voltages although some might need their power supplies replaced at around $100.

DVD regions

Regional encoding on DVDs is a nuisance designed to rip off consumers. Most computers allow you to change international DVD zones a number of times, usually four or six. You can obtain software programs that ignore or override these restrictions.

Incidentally DVD regional zoning is illegal in Australia.


Getting post sales support for computers purchased overseas can be a big problem, particularly for laptops. However there are brands that will provide extended international warranties.

We strongly recommend three year warranties for all computers and paying the extra is well worthwhile.

Generally we find the hassle of buying computers overseas generally isn’t worth the small price differences for most people. But if your daughter is living in the US for a year then it’s probably a good idea to buy a system shortly after she arrives.

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