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Old Jul 24, 10, 7:41 pm   #1
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bringing a laptop to China

For security/weight/practical reasons, I've never travelled with a laptop to China. But I now own a cheap and very light-weight netbook (Lenovo ) and I'm thinking of bringing it along. Like on my last trip, I was in a fancy hotel in Beijing where there was free wireless but it was 25 US cents per minute to use the hotel's computer. And I couldn't even find a nearby internet cafe or such.

I'm not particularly tech or electrical savvy. I presume I will be able to search for wireless networks in English, right? And I recall that while Chinese electrical plugs look like US ones, they use 220 volts and the US uses 110. right? That doesn't seem like a problem though because (like on most laptops I think) the adapter on my power cord says 100 to 240 input. But it has 3 prongs, and I thought the Chinese plugs are usually 2 prongs? I may have an old set of adapter plugs somewhere, though.

Any suggestions on using a US laptop in China would be appreciated. As long as I don't "fry it," I'll be happy.
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Old Jul 24, 10, 7:52 pm   #2
 
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You will absolutely positively have no problems there.
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Old Jul 24, 10, 8:00 pm   #3
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Originally Posted by azepine00 View Post
You will absolutely positively have no problems there.
+1

Using a laptop in China is no different from using it in any other country, including the US.
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Old Jul 24, 10, 8:40 pm   #4
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+1

Using a laptop in China is no different from using it in any other country, including the US.
Thanks. What about recharging it? The Chinese wouldn't happen to have 3 prong plugs?
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Old Jul 24, 10, 8:42 pm   #5
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Your laptop's line power unit should be able to handle 100-240 so no problems there. Both 2- and 3-prong outlets can be found, so either bring a universal adaptor or pick one up in China (any supermarket, convenience, department, or other store will have, and many hotels will let you have a loaner if you forget).

Usually you'll find available wireless networks will show up in English on your laptop--many locations for free wifi now in major cities in China. Most of these are unsecured networks, so don't do sensitive personal business on an open channel.

The one thing that is very different from using a laptop in the USA and other "free world" countries is the net blocking/Great Firewall of China. An investment in a decent VPN (the SSL type) is a good idea--get a techie friend or colleague to help you with this if you are clueless in this realm, and have it installed while still in the USA.
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Old Jul 24, 10, 8:47 pm   #6
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I have used an iPod touch, HP Mini netbook and even full sized laptops in China. I'm typing on the Mini in Shenzhen right now.

In the Chinese cities I've been to (Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Dongguan), they all had very nice multiplug electrical outlets. Unless you have a very old laptop which is 110v only, you'll be fine.

All the wifi networks I've seen had an english name, so no problem there, either. Speeds aren't superb, and in smaller cities I've had the internet go out for hours when it was raining cats and dogs.
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Old Jul 24, 10, 8:49 pm   #7
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I will fourth the sentiments already expressed. Spent a month there in four cities and had no problem at all. Do bring an outlet adapter, but otherwise you should be set. Internet-wise, I was at low-cost hotels at universities for about half my trip, and they didn't have internet (wired or wireless) there. Our place in Beijing did, though, and it worked fine.

Also, cafes are not a bad place to check for wireless options, if there are any around where you're staying. In one city I spent most of an evening in a French cafe/restaurant so I could get caught up on e-mail and chatting with friends.

Hope everything goes well!
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Old Jul 24, 10, 8:55 pm   #8
 
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Laptops

Iíve been to China about 15 times in the last 7 years.The plug is different, the two parallel prongs are at angles.
Most decent hotels will let you borrow the adapter plugs or buy from them.
Most hotel rooms in China are NOT wireless you must have an Ethernet cord.
Usually in lobby the have secured wireless access but you will need a password to get in. Almost all laptops sold in the USA can take 110 or 220 volts, the plug is what you need to worry about
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Old Jul 24, 10, 9:44 pm   #9
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Most 3* hotels and above in major cities have free ethernet in the room - including cables. Some have 2 cables. Not too many of them have free wi-fi, though some hotels have pay wi-fi from China Telecom.

To get onto Facebook, Youtube, etc, download a program called Freegate 自由门. It is written by Falung Gong (probably with US taxpayers' money). It works and is safe. No need to use VPN.

Last edited by rkkwan; Jul 25, 10 at 8:33 am.
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Old Jul 24, 10, 9:48 pm   #10
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Originally Posted by Blue Tiger View Post
Iíve been to China about 15 times in the last 7 years.The plug is different, the two parallel prongs are at angles.
Most decent hotels will let you borrow the adapter plugs or buy from them.
Most hotel rooms in China are NOT wireless you must have an Ethernet cord.
Usually in lobby the have secured wireless access but you will need a password to get in. Almost all laptops sold in the USA can take 110 or 220 volts, the plug is what you need to worry about

I've stayed at 5 different hotels in the PRD area. 5, 4, 3 and 2 star hotels. All had electrical outlets that would take a normal US plug. Obviously old hotels, or certain areas may not have them, but I have not run into one of those yet.
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Old Jul 24, 10, 10:16 pm   #11
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The "standard" wall plate in Chinese hotels can accept two plugs - 2-prong parallel legs, or the 3-prong Australian plugs with the angled legs.

Some of the OEM laptop charger bought in the US has US-type 3-prong plugs - like my Dell Mini10. That plug will require an adapter. But a netbook doesn't require the earth cable anyways, and I have a 3rd party charger that I also use, which is only 2-prong, and that will fit in Chinese plates without any adapter. Same for my chargers for camera(s), phones, etc.
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Old Jul 24, 10, 11:44 pm   #12
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Originally Posted by rkkwan View Post
The "standard" wall plate in Chinese hotels can accept two plugs - 2-prong parallel legs, or the 3-prong Australian plugs with the angled legs.

Some of the OEM laptop charger bought in the US has US-type 3-prong plugs - like my Dell Mini10. That plug will require an adapter. But a netbook doesn't require the earth cable anyways, and I have a 3rd party charger that I also use, which is only 2-prong, and that will fit in Chinese plates without any adapter. Same for my chargers for camera(s), phones, etc.
Agreed; the adapter thing is really a non issue; I've purchased 5 laptops (I hate to help popularize the term, "net book") during the course of the past 4 years and 3 of them can use the exact same adapters.

I couldn't imagine traveling without a computer. Even if I had a "3-prong only" model, I'd still bring it along.
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Old Jul 25, 10, 6:17 am   #13
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Thanks, guys. I'll bring some plugs with me.

I know about the censorship. Yahoo in English is fine, though, right (I've looked at it before on hotel computers)? I have email there that I'd like to be able to retrieve.

And no problems with flyertalk?
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Old Jul 25, 10, 6:27 am   #14
 
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I posted to FT while I was in China last year.
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Old Jul 25, 10, 6:38 am   #15
 
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Originally Posted by iahphx View Post
Thanks, guys. I'll bring some plugs with me.

I know about the censorship. Yahoo in English is fine, though, right (I've looked at it before on hotel computers)? I have email there that I'd like to be able to retrieve.

And no problems with flyertalk?
I wouldn't be posting otherwise.
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