Desktop shopping in Managua
Many thanks to those of you who answered a previous thread of mine asking for advice about where to shop for a desktop and tips about what to buy. http://www.nicaliving.com/node/20886). I’m grateful to all who took the time to reply.
I eventually decided to buy a local purchase instead of import a machine because I needed a computer fast; and also because I had too much on my plate at the time than to deal with shippers and the folks at customs regarding a bulkier, more fragile, higher-ticket item.
I also decided to look for a well-made clone rather than a brand name because of the price spread. I do respect the point of view of people who say that it’s worth it to pay a higher price for a computer brand name because you know what you’re paying for, and because of higher levels of service and support.
Nonetheless, I have had first-hand experience with the computer product quality and support on offer by Dell, HP and MSI, both here and in Canada, and in my opinion they all suck.
Aside from price, another point in favour of a clone is the fact that good-quality, recent-model desktop components apparently reach Nicaragua much more quickly than brand-name models.To explain:
In the course of shopping for a machine here, I came across clones made with high-quality parts made from the most recent releases and with all the latest bells and whistles.
In contrast, all the brand name machines on sale seem to be models that were dumped here because they are out of date, and/or because they are models that didn’t sell well when they were introduced in the first world because they were poorly designed and underpowered. This includes all the brand name desktops I saw on sale at Pricesmart, Maxipali, La Curacao, and Ladrón Mas Ladrón.
Ok,enough of that. To get to the point:
I eventually decided to buy a clone from Comtech (comtech.com.ni) on the main street of Altamira.
I paid $700 including sales tax and this is what I got:
Intel i3 3220 CPU
8GB RAM DDR3
21.5” LG monitor
500 GB Seagate hard drive
Six USB 2.0 slots
One DVD/CD reader-burner
An Intel motherboard
Three-year parts and service warranty on everything inside the clone and one year on the monitor.
Windows 7 starter pack (the 32-bit version). It’s the Latin American edition so it is in Spanish.
USB keyboard and mouse.The keyboard is Spanish. I don’t know what language the mouse speaks.
A put-it-together-yourself, rolling computer table that was made in some place like China and is fine except that the keyboard tray is too small for both a keyboard and a mouse.
A 12 GB flash drive
And that’s it.
Comtech was one of several places I shopped at, including some other better-known retailers such Conico and Datatek, and a few mom and pop shops .
I went with Comtech for a variety of reasons, the major three of which are as follows:
#1 All the computer repair guys in Jinotepe say the store has been around for a long time and it has a good rep for warranty work. As mentioned above, the warranty on the clone runs for three years and I’m willing to bet any desktop sold in Nicaragua will need some type of warranty work before three years are up.
#2 The desktop sales woman at Comtech clearly knew what she was talking about. She had all the technical details at her fingertips, communicated technojargon in simple Spanish, and volunteered valuable information without trying to hard-sell me.
#3 For what I got, no-one had lower prices except for a few mom-and-pop shops.
In contrast, the sales woman I spoke with at Conico didn’t know anything more about the clones on sale there except for what was in the spec sheets (which were pretty minimal in terms of information).
At Datatek, the sales guys tried to hard-sell me on a HP machine that I knew had been discontinued because it had been poorly-designed and underpowered.
I was tempted to buy a machine from one of the mom-and-pop shops because of their very low prices, but when it comes to a higher-priced ticket item like a desktop, I’ve learned that very low prices mean that someone has cut corners. Cosas baratas salen caras.
Lest anyone accuse me of pimping for Comtech, I will say they did leave me with a taste of the customer service experience which Nicaraguan retailers should be famous for. The techs kept me waiting for two hours longer than needed because they mistakenly installed the Windows 7 64-bit version instead of the 32-bit version. I complained and had it been a store in Canada they would have said, “OK, our mistake, take the 64-bit version with our apologies”. Pero aquí es Nicaragua. They made wait until they made the switch.
OK I’m done, can’t think of any more info to share. Once again, thanks to everyone for the helpful tips and guidance.