The following recommendations are based on my 10 months in Cuenca. You can categorize the electronics journey into 3 groups: 1) Bringing electronics on your container. 2) Packing your electronics in your luggage. 3) Renting space on someone else’s container. Fortunately, I was able to rent space on a container. The following recommendations are based on #2.
Computers – If you are happy with your laptop (notebook) computer then certainly bring it with you. My wife and I have a hard fast rule. We don’t share desserts or computers! If you are contemplating getting a second computer, then for certain purchase it in the U.S. or Canada. Electronics are, for the most part, 30% more expensive in Ecuador. You don’t have the selection of products that you have in the the US. I am recommending a MacBook Air or a MacBook Pro. I am advocating for these computers not because I once worked for Apple but for the following reasons: they have a better operating system than Windows. Not as vulnerable to viruses as a Windows machine. They are better constructed. Easier to use software and more user friendly. Better resale value, especially in Ecuador. It is “light as air” (under 2 pounds) which is great for many reasons. I am also recommending the MacBook line because I place a high priority on my time and it’s just easier using a MAC.
- MacBook Air – 11″, 13″ and soon to be released 15″ model Engadget’s review said the following about the MacBook Air – “It’s a supermodel with a law degree from Columbia, a hunky motorcycle racer who looks good in leathers yet is also a concert pianist — whatever your passion it won’t disappoint, all while making a lot more room in your bag. More room for what? Well, your life, for starters.”
- MacBook Pro – Top of the line notebook computer with the optical disk and hard disk that is lacking in the MacBook Air – Ubergizmo Review : The new Macbook Pro is a great computer with an amazing world-class design. I think that very few would question how well it is built and how much attention to detail went into it
Printers – If you can bring a printer in your luggage then I would bring a wireless laser printer. There are plenty of printers in Ecuador but from my limited experience the quality is lacking and the inks are not the same quality as the U.S.
Tablets – I don’t want to sound like an Apple commercial but I highly recommend an IPad for anyone who is thinking about a second computer. Plus , I can use my IPad for Skype and MagicJack calls to stay in touch with people back home. And it is so much easier carrying a 14 oz device than a 5 lb notebook computer similar to the PC my wife uses. My IPad can do just about everything that my computer can do except heavy duty video editing or proprietery programs such as accounting programs. I formed the Cuenca IPad Users Group which meets every other Thursday morning and discusses how to better use the IPad/IPhone/IPod in your life. It offers a social connection and support.
- IPad – Walt Mossberg Review: For the past week or so, I have been testing a sleek, light, silver-and-black tablet computer called an iPad. After spending hours and hours with it, I believe this beautiful new touch-screen device from Apple has the potential to change portable computing profoundly, and to challenge the primacy of the laptop.
- Kindle – For anyone who loves books this is a no brainer and especially since the price of the entry level Kindle is now $79. There is nowhere in Cuenca that you can buy a new Kindle thus making the resale value very high and the convenience of having a Kindle a “buy in the US/Canada before you come” moment.
In Part Two I will discuss Routers, Cables, Digital Cameras, Camcorders and Hard Disk storage. I look forward to a lively discussion on some of my recommendations.