We look at more options you have when shopping for a Macbook Air, including department stores and eBay.
Best place to buy Macbook Air: Apple Premium Resellers
'It seems to us that the Apple Store is the best place to buy a Macbook Air', I hear you say. 'But there is no Apple Store in our town', you complain. Fear not. Another option is to check out your local third-party Apple reseller. In the town in which I live there is a reseller called 'iStore'. A quick straw poll of Team PC Advisor dug out 'Stormfront', in another home town. Both iStore and Stormfront are Apple Premium Resellers - licensed by Apple to sell the whole range of Apple products in a retail store environment. Other Apple Premium Resellers are available.
You can expect staff to be knowledgeable, and the retail environment to be pleasant. You should be able to try before you buy. And the prices should be identical to buying direct from Apple - you won't be able to beat the system but you can experience something approaching the benefits of the Apple Store (the same is usually true online, although there is little incentive to shop from a Premium Reseller's site when you could just go to Apple.com/uk).
Apple Premium Resellers can sell any and all Apple products, but you may have to wait for them to order you a particular model.
Pros: something approaching the Apple Store experience
Cons: not the place to grab a bargain, and you may have to wait for a particular model
Best place to buy Macbook Air: department stores
Apple laptops are unlikely to turn up in your local supermarket any time soon. But head to a high-end department store such as John Lewis and you will find various models of the Macbook Air. You won't save any money on Apple prices, and you won't be able to specify your own model or shop from the whole range. But John Lewis in particular offers a significant benefit over buying direct from Apple: its two-year warranty. As you would expect returns and refund policy is as good as there is, too.
Pros: great after sales support
Cons: Limited range, unlikely to grab a bargain
Best place to buy Macbook Air: ebay/second-hand
The modern eBay is as much reseller market place as it is the flea market of old. As such many of the same plus points and caveats of shopping in the Amazon Marketplace apply.
But you can, of course, also find a second-hand Macbook Air. A quick search turns up around 250 pages of listings for the term 'Macbook Air', so there are plenty of options! Shopping for second-hand goods on eBay can be fun and rewarding but you have to have your wits about you. There are whole books written about this stuff, so we won't go into too much detail. Suffice to say that you can get a bargain if you are happy to risk a second hand device and forgoe warranty support. Make sure you are certain of what you are buying: that the specification and condition of the laptop are clearly stated, and that you are getting all the required accessories. If you are not sure don't bid - or ask the vendor for details. And be sure to check out the vendor closely, as well as asking for documentation that proves the Macbook Air was not stolen.
Pros: you could grab a great second-hand bargain...
Cons: ...but you could end up with a clapped out or stolen laptop. Buyer beware