Computers, PDAs, mobile phones and other gadgets are no longer just playthings for the office IT guy. Now everyone is using them—for fashion, entertainment, business and even your social life. Still afraid of that “geek” label? There are plenty of cool digital devices out there that are perfect for you, no matter what kind of person you are.
Though we’re fairly advanced when it comes to owning the most high tech devices around, unfortunately, there are still some kickass toys we wish those Pantip outlets were brave enough to smuggle into the country.
Spoiled female with a passion for bright, shiny, pink things
There’s room for pretty things in the world of modern gadgetry. You’re sure to get noticed at the True Shop showing off your new GMask (starting at B1,600, GMask Thailand) laptop. The colorful plastic wraps will make your friends gawk with jealousy. Don’t forget to accessorize it with a super crystallized mouse (B2,995, Qconcept) that shines while you scroll.
For a total vanity moment, take photos of you and that cute chick in the mirror with the pink Sony Cybershot T10 (B15,990, Sony Style) in 7.2 megapixel quality.
If you need your daily dose of sweetened pop music on the go, it’s got to be your mix on a sleek pink iPod nano (B8,190, Apple Center).
Show other gaming geeks how to play chic with a pink PlayStation Portable (B8,990, Game Freak Shop). And when you’re tired of gaming, you can even access the net for a little online gossip.
Busy, bossy salaryman who has time for no one but himself
Is your secretary totally useless and your mind too full of other important information to remember insignificant things like your girlfriend’s birthday? The Dopod 838pro (B29,900, Jay Mart) is here to rescue you. With Windows Mobile 5.0, you can access your email, surf the web and type up your Excel or Word documents with a super easy slide-out keyboard.
For a well-rounded PDA with multimedia functions, try the Motorola A1200 (B14,990, Motorola Shop). This integrated organizer includes other useful functions such as media players and a business card reader.
Is your family starting to forget your face? Get yourself a Sony Vaio VGN-FE37SP (B84,900, Sony Style). While you’re working on your billion-baht projects, you can chat with your daughter via the built-in camera.
And just in case you are starting to forget your family’s faces, too, put up an LCD Electronic Photo Frame (B6,900, Loft) which will display your digital photos straight from a memory stick in a slideshow on your desk. You can also show your colleagues home videos of the life you once had with an iPod Video (B10,290, Apple Center).
Muscle pumping fitness freak—always seen running on treadmills
If you spend all day sweating like a pig and ramming your body against concrete floors for fun, how can you possibly find time to figure out complicated gadgets? That’s why the Nokia 5500 (B11,000, Nokia Shop) is perfect for you. Made to endure dust and splashes, the phone also has an Instant Swap button that switches from phone to music mode in less than a second.
Or try the Samsung E250 (B6,990, Samsung Shop), which has a sleek metallic sliding design. It’s fully functional with everything from built-in hands free to FM radio, a big visible screen you can see easily even while jogging and an extra microSD slot for additional memory so you can store your exercise diary.
If you’d rather have a separate player for your on-the-go music, then strap your iPod on a Nike iPod Armband (B2,190, Apple Center) and you won’t drop it while you jog. If the headphone cords get in your way, use the Motorola O ROKR Bluetooth Stereo Eyewear (B11,500, Motorola Shop), which also protects your eyes with Oakley’s special High Definition Optics.
What’s the point of working out if no one’s going to see the results? Film your own exercise routine with the Sony Handycam HDR-SR1E (B59,990, Sony Style) and upload it to YouTube.com for instant fame. Or shame.
Technology obsessed loner who is psychologically dependent on virtual reality
Does your only source of communication to the outside world exist in an online gaming portal? Is being a sniper the only way you can feel superior? Do you seem to be developing irregular shaped muscles around your knuckles?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, you are a cyber addict. Go out and get yourself a massive, high definition 40” Sony Bravia KLV-46X200A (B159,990, Sony), as the screen is so big and clear you will never want to experience reality again. It has a changeable frame, just in case you damage it with the Wiimote while playing with your new Nintendo Wii (B5,990, Game Freak Shop).
Playing Wii can sometimes be a bit too physical, and often too embarrassing, with all arms flailing around during a swordfight. If you’re not that extreme, seek your thrills with the new PlayStation 3 (B29,000, Game Freak Shop) instead. For the ultimate private—a.k.a. anti-social— gaming, hook up your console with some iTheater (B11,900, Apple Center) goggles. They have mini cinema-like screens inside so you can enjoy a movie or battle terrorists without anyone knowing.
When the gaming gets a little too much, just play yourself some nice soothing music with the Samsung K5 MP3 Player (B7,990, Samsung). You can even share music with friends, assuming you have some, as it has its own speakers.
Creative person with special interest in the beauty of mundane objects
Art, graphic design, multimedia, abstract film, photography—these are your basic, almost required, interests. You appear to put deep thought into work, but it’s just luck and the appreciation of abnormality that make you so distinctly creative. You’ll appreciate the state-of-the-art quality that Lumix FZ50 (B25,990, MultiStyle) will give your photos, or you can settle for a Holga 120CFN (B3,400, Room Interior), as over-exposed, dark-cornered images can be pretty, too.
For your high definition graphic needs, you can’t live without the new Macbook Pro (B75,900, Apple Center). It has a built-in iSight camera and comes with countless kick-ass media editing programs that let you edit your own movie filmed with a Nokia N93 (B28,220, Nokia Shop).
With your wild artistic nature, better protect your Macbook with a Pop Art inspired Apple Macbook Sleeve. (B3,230, Qconcept).
A person who truly believes less is more
You hate to carry things. You believe that having gadgets is supposed to minimize your efforts and not create more trouble. You appreciate simple and small things that do not take up too much space or too much of your time.
Who needs an MP3 player with fancy click-wheels and colorful navigation with complicated functions like videos and galleries? For you, the new iPod shuffle (B3,450, Apple Center) is fine. You don’t want to choose the track. Heck, you don’t even need to know the song names—you just want to listen to music, period. And if you want to share your nameless music with others, no need to hook it up to an ear blasting 6-foot tall stereo, just opt for this extra portable Sony Speaker SRST57 (B2,490, Sony MultiAV); not much bass, but who wants to carry around heavy woofers?
“Less is more” is certainly applicable for this slim and sleek Sony Vaio VGN-TX47SP/B (B94,900, Sony Style). Though its screen is only 11.1” wide, this laptop is packing some serious heat, such as 1GB RAM and fingerprint sensor security.
A Pocket PC is needed to keep you in-the-know in this tech-obsessed world. Contrary to popular belief, it doesn’t have to always be a three-inch brick PDA. The Dopod C800 (B30,900, Jay Mart) is 17mm thin. It can also hook up to the net, has a slide-out keyboard and runs on Windows Mobile 5.0. If you just want a slim phone with a twist, the Samsung D830 (B14,900, Samsung) is only 9.9mm at its widest point, the world’s slimmest fully featured clamshell mobile.
Where to Go For Great Gadgets
There are three main centers in Bangkok.
Petchaburi Rd., Pratunam, 02-252-9933. Open daily 10am-9pm
Every techie in Bangkok has set foot in this mother of all tech stores. Pantip Plaza is the ultimate computer center where any store clerk can go head-to-head with an MIT graduate. Head to Jedi (1/F, 02-656-6170, www.jedicool.com) or Busitek (4/F, 02-254-9797, www.busitek.com) if you want to build your own supercomputer.
Rama 1 Rd., Pathumwan, 02-620-9000. Open daily 10am-10pm. www.mbk-center.co.th. BTS National Stadium
What Pantip is to computers, MBK is to mobile phones. Brace yourself when riding the escalator up to the 4th floor of MBK, because you will be greeted by a jungle of mobile phone stalls, selling everything from newly released “grey market” (smuggled) finds from Hong Kong to good quality secondhand phones. Stores are pretty much alike, but one outlet recommended by mobile enthusiasts is Nasa (4/F, 08-1510-9393), which sells at close to wholesale prices—even cheaper if you buy more than one. Selling your mobile? Look elsewhere if you want the best price, as MBK shops tend to pay the very least.
IT Mall Fortune Town
Ratchada Rd., 02-248-5855. Open daily 10am-9pm. www.itmall.co.th. MRT Rama 9
“Fortune” is big and organized well enough that you can browse around for great tech finds all day. The stores here are a mixture of authorized retailers and shops hawking imported grey market gadgetry. Fortune is particularly strong in the PDA department. If you’re looking to build your own low-budget computer, try 109 (4/F, 02-642-0560/1), a geek favorite.
Wish You Were Here
Apple iPhone speculations have been going on forever, but it was only recently that Steve Jobs finally revealed that the iPhone will be the star of 2007—in the US at least (it won’t be legally coming to Asia until 2008). Just like the iPods, the iPhone has no buttons—all you need is your fingers and a love for Apple applications. Its thin frame is equipped with a 2-megapixel camera, iTunes, tie-ins with Yahoo! Mail and Google Maps, and can surf the net with its Safari browser. It can also play videos on its widescreen.
D&G RAZR is out; Prada LG is just in with its ultra “posh” (slim and hiso) design that uses a touch-screen interface. The phone will also come in a chic Prada case. The design of the interface will be signature Prada—classic minimalist white on black—perfect for a brand freak. No further information has been released yet except that Europeans will get this funky phone first in Spring 2007.
The N-Series has produced the music phone, DVD phone, photography phone, and now it’s here, the internet phone. The Nokia N800, the latest of the N-Series, is packing 124MB of internal RAM in its ultrathin 13mm body. With its back legs it can stand on its own two feet as a tablet, or you can just treat it like any other mobile that has an impressive media player, high quality stereo speakers and wifi web surfing functions. Americans are already enjoying it, but for Thais it’s still on the horizon.
“One Laptop Per Child” is a charitable tech toy made for impoverished children who can’t afford mass-market gadgets like the rest of us. This US$100 Linux-based laptop comes in bright lime green with a rubbery keyboard and can even be turned into a tablet. However, it will only be available for government services that are interested in the program. The worst thing? The Thai government sees it only as a “toy,” so students won’t be seeing these anytime soon.
This super mobile is all the rage in the United States, with celebs like Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan pushing its fame to higher levels. Here, it’s fairly unknown. A Sidekick has a twisting screen and is the ultimate communication device as you can chat using MSN/Yahoo!/AOL, read and send emails, and surf the web with it. Limited edition models are also available, like the pink ones designed by Diane von Fürstenberg for example. If you manage to snatch one from the US, it’s believed that you can get the tech dudes down at MBK to “crack” it for you, but no promises.
Sony’s internet-based communicator has the ability to surf the web, chat online via instant messengers and playback audio and video media with wifi connectivity. What distinguishes Mylo from others is that it has a built-in Skype program for enhanced chatting. Comes in orange and black. It was released in the US last September, however Sony Thailand still has absolutely no clue the company even makes such a thing.
Sony Vaio TP1
For PC users lusting for a Mac Mini, the white cheese-wheel looking Sony Vaio TP1 is here to the rescue. It has all the ports for your USB and other PC inputs, a DVD burner, and even a slot to connect it with your TV. It has built-in wifi and a matching wireless keyboard with a touchpad for a mouse, so there’s no need for those hazardous cables. And guess what? It’s equipped with the latest Microsoft OS, Vista Home Premium. Americans will be the first lucky bunch this coming March.
Sony Vaio UX
A crossbreed between a Pocket PC and a laptop, the Sony Vaio UX is a Micro PC. Being an extra extra portable laptop, only a wee bit bigger than a Sony PSP, it runs on Windows XP Professional, has a built-in camera plus everything a laptop has, including a 30 GB hard drive. It’s kind of thick and chunky, though, but desirable nonetheless. Bangkokians have yet to experience its first generation and already the UX Premium has been released. Doh!