A Question About Buying Gadgets Overseas

Tracey has sent me an email that her son is travelling overseas and wants to buy a Laptop and iPhone while in the USA. The concern is whether these gadgets will work in Australia?

It is best if your son does not purchase an iPhone in the USA. AT&T are the exclusive network partner of iPhone in the U.S. and all phones are locked to this phone network. To make it work in Australia it will need to be ‘unlocked’, this is a complicated and unnecessary process that will allow the iPhone to work on Australian phone networks. There has been a large amount of discussion about unlocking the 3G iPhone. Apple is working to make it harder and users are working to make it easier, in the end the process is one giant pain designed to give Apple a trailing revenue post sale of the iPhone.

If your son really wants an iPhone, then one thing to try is purchasing the iPhone in Australia from Optus under the prepaid system and when purchasing request the network lock to be removed. Once this is done the device should work in other countries on 3G networks, however data speeds may differ depending on where you access.

A laptop purchased overseas will be able to be used in Australia. However your son will need to get a converter for the power plug – to change the ampage – but these are easy to find and cheap to buy (about $8). Other features such as WiFi will work, however he will also need to check his warranty support to ensure he has ‘Worldwide warranty coverage’. Most vendors offer this as part of a warranty package so it should not be a problem.