Digital Taipei Part 2

Category: Techtoday

Continued from Digital Taipei Part 1

I grinned when I saw the poster of the now-familiar Megan Fox ad for Acer S7 Ultrabook. Haters may hate but I found the ad extremely charming and almost laughed out loud when I saw the Acer kiosk inside the store looping the video over and over again. For people who are used to the structure and rustle-and-bustle of Asia's boutique electronics stores, there's nothing new to Nova other than their choice of brands. Plus, like most Asian boutique electronics stores, all the displays are playing sexy K-Pop videos that can entrance even the most geekiest of shoppers from reading device specifications (it's a sales trick I'm not immune from). However, as a veteran visitor to places like Manila's Greenhills, Singapore's Sim Lim Square, and Shanghai's Metro City and Pacific Digital Mall, I immediately felt the difference. Unlike stalls in Shanghai, the shopkeepers and owners don't assault you with questions asking you what you're looking for. They're not aggressive and I found it easy to hop in and out of the shops to check what they were selling. It wasn't stressful or intimidating and the experience was much better than some of the places I've visited. As a foreigner, I was surprised I only received a nod or greeting instead of "What are you looking for ?" or "Want an iPhone or iPad?" in Mandarin.

The prices were as to be expected though overall they were reasonable considering that the area was close to well-known tourist spots. Places like Best Buy in the U.S. and Future Shop in Canada are great for fully-built devices like smartphones, laptops, and accessories. Shanghai's Pacific Digital Plaza can get you good deals for cameras, camcorders, and consumer devices. However, what truly made me smile was the availability of video cards, motherboards, and desktop parts. In fact, the basement of Nova had a section labeled DIY, which would please any Linux user wanting to build a new ArchLinux  or Fedora system. I quickly found the wireless Microsoft Mouse I needed (which I preferred over Logitech's offerings) and Sony Rechargeable batteries for my digital camera/mice. If you're put off with Linksys being sold to Belkin, I highly recommend buying D-Link products in Taipei, which are dependable and affordable, especially if you can't wait to try the new wireless AC standard.  Like most places, the availability of specific parts aren't always available (I couldn't find a $1 universal adapter for my Toshiba NB520), but I'm pretty sure I would have found it if I had the appetite for walking around and asking a little bit more. With great electronics brands and non-aggressive non-rabid salespeople, I had a great time browsing around.

I love product fliers!

So what did I buy? Moisturizer and mouthwash from the Watson's next door (mostly because I had only a pathetic NTD$500 in my wallet).

Final notes

Now, my articles are mostly about tech stuff but I can't help but comment that it's embarrassing seeing a white guy (or Western professional) walking around wearing 4 foot backpacks trudging around feeling all smug and thinking "I'm roughing it in the wilds of Asia". For Peter Parker's sake you look ridiculous - can't you see the freaking high-end touchscreen ultrabook the locals are using as they sit down drinking cappuccino over at Starbucks?

As I walked around hoping no one noticed the Nokia E63 bulging in my inside pocket, I kept noticing that the younger generation all looked like Asian matinee idols or pop stars. Meanwhile, I looked like a short Harrison Ford after he was manhandled by the Thuggees in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984). I was the only guy walking around with a cap and I decided not to remove it because everyone else had a fantastic hairdo - even the bespectacled youths trying out the new HTC One.  I made a mental note to slap on some Nivea before going out the next day to buy that Microsoft Mouse. 


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