The beleaguered British pound has, for some reason, strengthened significantly against the dollar and the euro since its nadir in March, when you could get around $1.35 and €1.05 for your quid.
The exchange rates today stand at $1.65 and €1.17 respectively and, given that pretty much all technology products are originally priced in dollars, we thoughts we'd look at the prices of a few items in the US and see how they compare with what you have to pay over here.
To provide a cross section of the market we looked at a desktop, a netbook, a CPU, a graphics card and an external HDD. In most cases we looked at newegg in the US and both SCAN and Ebuyer in the UK. For the Dell desktop we went direct.
The US prices are listed without sales tax whereas the UK ones include VAT, so to gauge a UK equivalent price we have divided the US price by 1.65 and added 15 percent. This gives you a rough idea of whether the current dollar exchange rate is being represented in UK prices.
|US ($)||UK equivalent (£)||UK/SCAN (£)||Ebuyer (£)|
|Intel Core i7 920 retail||279.99||200||212.95||217.78|
|BFG GTX 260 MAXCORE OCX||179.99||128||180.27||-|
|Dell Studio XPS desktop||749||534||679||-|
|Acer Aspire One 11.6" 1GB||379.99||270||-||371.72|
|WD Mybook Essential 1TB||119.49||85||76.75||77.58|
The table above provides only a snapshot of what we're paying for our technology compared to the US but, perhaps unsurprisingly, we tend to pay more. The major discrepancies occur with complete systems, with around a 30 percent premium being paid in the UK.
The more immersed in the channel a product is, and the more competition there is among e-tailers, the better deal we seem to get over here. That could just be a coincidence, but there's certainly no obvious reason for some of the discrepancies we found.