Reasons why I ordered from PCT and not locally:Availability
. I couldn't find any shops that sold the 8790 when I ordered it. Someone posted a link to an online shop in this thread and I've since passed that along to others here in Japan, but I didn't know about it at the time.Support/Service
. I was very antsy about support issues overseas. Still am, but as of the initial offering of the 8790, PCT added Overseas support. Excellent. I've dealt with enough people at various shops around the Sapporo area and I can confidently say that most of them couldn't find their way out of a wet paper bag if it was stuck over their heads. On a $3000 unit, I want to know that when I've got a problem, there's going to be an intelligent hooman bean listening to me complain. Customer Service as you know it in the US is not
the same here in Japan. There are exceptions (as to every "rule," but for the most part, I think US companies generally have pretty darn good CS).English
. I want an English keyboard. I want English Windows. I want English support. Want those in Japan? Good luck. Available, but not readily. Did find a Clevo reseller online that offered English Windows and English Support. However, they didn't offer the 8790 and it took them about 3 days to answer my initial email. Tom from PCT generally answers within a few hours
. THAT is service. Also, have you ever tried explaining an error message to someone that wasn't a computer enthusiast? They have no clue what the wording in error messages mean, do they? Now try the same thing in a foreign language. Good luck.Options
. I can't speak for any other Asian countries or even all the Clevo resellers in Japan, but the ones I did find weren't very accomodating in the options category. One place was adamant that the card reader wasn't available as an option on the 4780 (well, the corresponding Clevo model). I showed them my 8790 w/ card reader, but that didn't work- "Different model," they said. Uh-huh. Total lack of caring about whether or not I bought from them or not. There was only one place that genuinely seemed to want to deal with me and they didn't have Clevos. Had Clevo/Sager not entered the picture, I would've considered buying a Toshiba from them.
Those are basic outlines of what I used as criteria for my decision. There was a lot of time spent wringing my hands and fretting about this. One more factor was that I didn't know how long I'd be in Japan. If I returned to the States, then ev'thing would be cake regarding returns/RMAs. If I bought in Japan and returned to the States, I can imagine nothing but a nightmare. No thank you.
This might seem somewhat harsh. Perhaps it is. But it's the truth as I've found it to be. I'm not saying everywhere and everyone is like this- merely what I've experienced. I have high expectations when it comes to Customer Service and I'm living in a place where the customer doesn't always come first. That fact cost Hypersonic a sale, too. I don't hold nationality against anyone. Facts are facts- I don't color them. Japanese companies lost my sale. Hypersonic lost mine, too, due to non-existance Customer Service. Eurocom might have gotten my sale had PCT not started selling the 8790 when they did. My brief encounter w/ Eurocom's CS was a positive one.
I call it as I see it. That's why I didn't buy from Japan. As for Taiwan, I was planning a trip there w/ another gaijin in Japan, but it never panned out. Thought about trying to pick one up there, but once again, it's a matter of language. And I don't know many ppl there to help out, so I figured it was an even longer shot. Not worth the risk. There's a thread about someone looking for an 8790 equivalent in Taiwan and it seems like more trouble than it's worth.
Oh, I forgot to add: Warranty
. 3 yrs plus export coverage through PCT/Warrantech. I didn't find anything equal to it here in Japan.
*Steps off soapbox
Just my 1/2 cent worth
(and yeah, if you can't tell, these issues make me grumpy