This post is an experience report about ordering a Chromebook from the USA to Germany in 2019. Almost everything went smoothly for me!
However, this report is not intended to be a recommendation or a guide on how to do this best!
Take a few ideas with you if you want to do the same.
This experience report deals with the order of a device that was designed for the English-speaking market. I.e., the device’s keyboard has an English keyboard design, and the included plugs are intended for the USA, for example!
The Chrome OS system language can easily be set to many languages during the initial setup and later. Thus, you can use everything on the software side in your native language. You can also configure a keyboard layout for that, but it does not match the keys’ English labeling!
As a blind typist with a 10-finger system, this is not too much of a problem for me. However, if that is not the case for you, there is the possibility to use key stickers for your language to avoid getting it wrong. A third possibility would be an external keyboard with a different keyboard layout. Then there are no restrictions with the foreign language device.
So: Everything at your own risk, if you want to try it yourself this way! Since 2020, there are many devices available on the German market, which you can order there without any problems! The situation is likely very similar in your country. So ordering a foreign device is only necessary in individual cases.
Notes for beginners: My posts usually contain some basics that you can understand how to proceed. I partly repeat the basics in other posts, so you don’t have to jump back and forth all the time.
Here is the meaning of the abbreviations after the headings: [E] Everyone [A] Advanced [B] Beginner [P] Professional
If you still miss something, feel free to comment. The community will try to help you! 🙂
Notes for professionals: My posts usually have the form of a knowledge base entry and should be equally suitable for beginners, advanced users, and professionals. Just pick out what you need immediately. You can also find content specifically targeted to professionals. These are marked accordingly with [P] and other finger points.
Do you want to have more professional content on a topic? Add it to the comments 😉
Disclaimer of liability: As always on this blog, I warn you that all changes to your system mentioned in this post are at your own risk! It is theoretically possible that there are system or application errors that could lead to data loss and further problems!
Adding the article to the shopping cart [A]
Well, where do we start? Almost everything is the same as when you order an item from Amazon in Germany or your country.
So first you have to find an item and put it into the shopping cart:
You might ask yourself why I chose Amazon.com as my supplier, even though there were undoubtedly a few cheaper offers in the hit list that would also deliver to Germany? So everything is from one source!
Amazon.com takes care of everything for you: Customs duties, paperwork, import tax, etc. I also believe that in case of a warranty claim, it will be easier to have Amazon.com as your contact person than having an electronics store around the corner somewhere in the countryside in the USA!
So far, so good. Then I added the item to the shopping cart with “Add to Chart“:
Proceeding to checkout [A]
Then I clicked “Proceed to checkout” to start the last steps of the order process:
Selecting the currency for the payment process [A]
When choosing the currency for the payment process, it can be advantageous to stay with US dollars and not to change to euros. That is because the house bank then adopts its exchange rate during the posting transaction without any further charges. At least that was the case for me with a DKB credit card. (A German Bank)
Apropos: Without a credit card or PayPal, it is probably challenging to order a device in this way as described here!
A minor problem with customs [A]
Furthermore, I made a small mistake at this point, because the German customs called me later at the import. After all, I have given as usual my Packstation as the delivery address. That is not appreciated at import and is probably an invalid specification. It was then quite easy, as I only had to fill in my regular address in a form and send it back to customs by e-mail, but this is an avoidable step!
So it is best to give the “normal” address here, so that you save yourself further discussions with customs. Furthermore, I had chosen the more expensive shipping method “AmazonGlobal Expedited Shipping” to get the goods prioritized and a little bit faster. Which also worked out wonderfully:
The received package [A]
A few days later, I received the package in perfect condition:
Here is the content of the box from Asus and the for the money very high-quality device, but still with a protective cover:
An American plug? [A]
Another important point: As you can see in the photo, a USB-C power supply with a two-pin US plug is included. So, how can you use the device now?
Many universal travel adapters or simple “US to EU” adapters that do not cost much. On the other hand, with USB-C, it’s no problem to take another power supply and charge it with it. One example is the Anker Atom III 60W PowerIQ 3.0 & GaN power Delivery. I have been using this for a Google Pixelbook (2017), Acer Chromebook Spin 13, and a rented Apple MacBook Pro 13 2019 for quite some time. I can recommend it.
An excellent alternative from Europe [A]
An excellent alternative to this successful ordering process from the USA is to order a device from a supplier in the EU. Some suppliers have already imported all the items in the web shop for you and include EU adapters for domestic sockets as a service.
One of them is ChromeIT.NL in the Netherlands.
There I successfully ordered a Google Pixelbook with a pen. Here is the experience report: Link.
Words in italics may be registered trademarks or companies! Examples: Google, YouTube, and Android. Or they are technical terms from the IT world, which are described in various locations in the blog.
01/27/2021: Added further (warning) notes on ordering a foreign device and the fact that there are now many devices available in many countries.