Dodge the traffic this rainy season with our round-up of the best sport compacts.

1.) Mazda 2 Sports Maxx AT

Specs: Four-cylinder 1.5-liter engine with four-speed automatic and five speed manual transmission, producing 103  horsepower.
Features: Dual front airbags, multi-function steering wheel, parking sensors, smart keyless entry and USB stereo system.
Price: B705,000

2.) Kia Rio Hatchback

Specs: Four-cylinder 1.4-liter engine, producing 107 horsepower with a four-speed automatic transmission.
Features: Dual front airbags, push start function, multi-function steering wheel, LED projector headlamps and LED tail lights.
Price: B749,000

3.) Toyota Yaris RS

Specs: Four-cylinder 1.5- liter engine with four-speed automatic and five speed manual transmission, producing  109 maximum horsepower
Features: Dual front airbags, multi-function steering wheel, smart keyless entry, push start function, parking sensors and USB stereo system.
Price: B734,000

4.) Citroen  DS4 EGS6

Specs: Four-cylinder 1.6-liter engine with six-speed automatic transmission producing 115 horsepower.
Features: Projector headlamps, LED tail lights, traction control, multifunction steering wheel, automatic air-conditioner, hill start assist function, and dual front and side airbags.
Price: B1.89 Million

5.) Honda Jazz SV

Specs: Four-cylinder 1.5-liter engine with four-speed automatic and five-speed manual transmission, producing 120 horsepower with five-speed automatic transmition.
Features: Dual front airbags, LED tail lights, multi-function steering wheel, smart keyless entry, parking sensors and USB stereo system.
Price: B715,000

6.) Ford Fiesta Sport Ultimate PowerShift (BK Pick!)

Specs: Four-cylinder 1.6 Liter engine with six-speed automatic and five-speed manual trasmission. Horsepower ranges from 109 to121, for the Sport Ultimate PowerShift.
Features: Dual front airbags, parking aid sensors, multi-function steering wheel USB, bluetooth/voice control.
Price: B699,000-759,000

7.) Audi A1 S-Line

Specs: Four-cylinder 1.4-liter engine with six-speed automatic transmission producing 122 horsepower.
Features: Projector headlamps with LED lights, multifunction steering wheel, multi-information display, dual-zone automatic air conditioner, dual front airbags.
Price: B2.2 million

8.) Hyundai Veloster (Runner Up)

Specs: Four-cylinder 1.6-liter engine with six-speed automatic transmission producing 130 horsepower (up to 186 horsepower with the Sports Turbo model).
Features: Projector headlamps, 7-inch touch screen stereo system with voice command, push start function, multi-function steering wheel, dual front and side airbags, automatic air-conditioner and a back door on the driver’s side that opens.
Price: B1.299-1.749 million

9.) Volvo V40B

Specs: Five-cylinder 2-liter engine with six-speed automatic transmission producing 213 horsepower.
Features: Projector headlamps, multifunction steering wheel, multi-information display, automatic air conditioner, blind spot assist, brake assist, dual front and side airbags, LED daytime light and traction control.
Price: B1.68 million



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We test four of the hottest smartphones to see whose snapshots come out on top.

iPhone 5 (BK PICK!!)

Specs: 8MP iSight camera, 3264x2448 with auto-focus, panorama view and LED flash
The test: The images taken from the iPhone 5 were impressive with great contrast and clarity, and little to no white noise. Even small details on things like cars and trees came out sharp. Despite a little lag in shutter speed, the iPhone 5’s camera has good color depth. Unfortunately, there’s no image stabilization, so when you zoom in it’s hard to get the camera to focus.
Verdict: The best of the bunch, the iPhone 5’s camera gives us very little to complain about—its 8MP camera is actually better than most 13MP cameras on the market. 

Sony Xperia Z

Specs: 13MP camera, 4128x3096 pixels with auto-focus, LED flash and Exmor RS Sensor
The test: Sony is pretty reputable when it comes to cameras, but this doesn’t seem to be the case with the Xperia Z. The images have nice contrast and vibrant colors, but the clarity of its 13MP camera is rather disappointing, so that even when in-focus the pictures seem a bit fuzzy and dark. It’s also one of those phones where the picture looks better on the screen before you actually take it.
Verdict: We expected more from a 13MP camera; that being said, it is the only one of the bunch that allows you to take photos underwater.


Specs: 4MP camera, 2688x1520 pixels with LED flash
The test: The images from the HTC One came out a bit over-saturated with low contrast, and when blown up and viewed on your computer, the noise is very noticeable. The only thing we like about this phone’s camera is the lag-free shutter speed.
Verdict: The worst of the bunch with pictures lacking both brightness and clarity. See our full review below.

Samsung Galaxy S4 (ALMOST THERE)

Specs: 13MP camera, 4128x3096 pixels with auto-focus and LED flash
The test: The Galaxy S4’s images are clear and vibrant with good contrast, and very low noise even when viewed on a computer. The lag-free shutter speed is equally impressive. However, we find that the pictures are a tad too bright and unnatural looking. It’s also tricky when you’re trying to focus on small details.
Verdict: A runner up, the Galaxy S4’s camera is definitely a solid option. Plus, with its 5-inch screen, your pictures look quite vivid. n


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Our experts' advice snowballs into a flurry of top fashion and home decor picks.

Women’s Fashion

1. Sasiwan Sirivirot,

Owner of Labyrinth Artistic Creations & Scarf

“I’m addicted to wearing dresses, and the first name that comes to mind is Rotsaniyom. What I love about them is the beautiful yet understated details; their pieces are classy, timeless and they do delicate lace touches that are just amazing.”

3/F, Siam Center, Rama 1 Rd., 02-658-1000. BTS Siam.


2. Pongsak Kobrattanasuk,

Owner of Rotsaniyom

“I usually go for vintage and secondhand buys, but when it comes to shoes, Soda is one solid option. I think fashion is not always about looking beautiful, it’s also about daring to be fun and playful, trying new things and being brave enough to create an end design that is bold and different, and Soda delivers that very well.”

1/F, CentralWorld, Ratchadamri Rd., 02-252-7868. BTS Chit Lom/Siam.


3. Worawan Nantakwang,

Graphic designer of Soda

Container is a brand of simplicity, but they’re also interesting; their understated designs contain hidden details like fine stitching and practical compartments. What I really like is the fact that the overall look of their products is unisex.”
4/F, Zen Department Store, Ratchadamri Rd., 02-100-9999. BTS Chit Lom/Siam.


4. Kanit Tantiwong,

Co-owner of Container

“I’d recommend Olivia Diamond. I feel that the brand is able to differentiate itself well from others in the market. People hear diamond and think classy luxurious jewelry, something very traditional. Olivia Diamond has that end covered, but also keeps its jewelry bold and edgy with rebellious rock-style touches.“
2/F, Gaysorn Plaza, Ploenchit Rd., 02-656-1375. BTS Chidlom.

Olivia Diamond

Men’s Fashion  

1. Julalak Ponpipom,

Owner of Button Up

“I don’t think there are many options when it comes to men’s shoes here unless you’re going for high-end brands, but one that I feel is reputable for quality and design is definitely Mr. Tango. I like the character that their shoes evoke: there’s a sense of playfulness, while keeping to a high level of craftsmanship and their range covers everything from formal, casual and sports. The owner uses handcrafting techniques learned from Italy, which results in shoes with great details.”
3/F, Siam Center, Rama 1 Rd., 02-658-1000. BTS Siam.

Mr. Tango.

2. Chaiyose Pechbasaba,

Owner of Mr. Tango

“I’d go for Greyhound for shirts; their design is simple yet playful, plus I’m a fan of minimal understated designs that aren’t dull. Greyhound delivers what they claim: basics with a twist.
3/F, Siam Center, Rama 1 Rd., 02-251-4917. BTS Siam.


3. Bandit Rassameeroj,

Designer of Greyhound

“I go to Nomad for pants. The brand does men’s casual work wear with understated design and hidden details like using Japanese canvas, stone-washing and unique tones like burnt orange. Their pants range from denims to work pants and chinos, all with a hint of vintage, accomplished through their use of color, high-waist style and a fit which isn’t skinny, but rather straight or lose.”
2/F, Siam Paragon, Rama 1 Rd., 02-690-1000. BTS Siam.


4. Peerawat Ruangroengkulkrit

Owner of Nomad

“I only go to two places for bags, one that I would recommend is called (un)FASHION. The place does men’s shoe and secondhand bags. What’s special is the fact that the place is owned by a Japanese man who is really meticulous when it comes to selecting used bags as well as cleaning them nicely before they’re sold. You’ll find lots of vintage leather bags here with nicely-aged leather."
Ekkamai Soi 10, Sukhumvit Rd.,  02-726-9592. BTS Ekkamai



1. Jakkapun Charinrattana,

Designer of Studio 248

“I love Plato’s chairs, they do teak wood with modern design. It’s pretty rare to find someone combining traditional materials with unconventional designs—while still delivering a well-balanced piece.”
3/F, Siam Paragon, Rama 1 Rd., 02-129-4512. BTS Siam.


2. Rush Pleansak,

Designer of Plato

Yothaka does furniture and décor that is different; forget contemporary or minimal, they do rattan décor with lots of delicate details and designs that give off a fresh ethnic vibe. Whether they’re tables or lamps, if you’re looking for bold nature-inspired pieces, they’re definitely worth having a look at.”
3/F, Pong-Amorn Bldg, Rama 4 Rd., 02-679-8631. MRT Lumpini.


3. Suwan Kongkhunthian,

Owner of Yothaka

“I go for Ango. They do sofas and lighting using unconventional materials like silk cocoons with an emphasis on texture and naturalistic touches. The originality of their design and use of natural, anti-mass materials has led to a lot of copycats in the Southeast Asian market—still, no one compares to Ango. “
G/F, Crystal Design Center, Praditmanutham Rd., 02-102-2282.


4 Angus Hutcheson,

Chief Designer / Founder of Ango

“I feel that the great strength of the Thai design movement comes from a fascinating crossover between contemporary design and the rich cultural heritage of Thai craft. One brand that fuses the two beautifully is Ayodhya. The brand’s designer, M.L. Pawinee Santisiri, pioneered the weaving of objects with natural materials including water hyacinth, recycled materials, sisal and rattan to create geometric designs, that have been enormously influential and a key part of the movement.”
3/F, Gaysorn Plaza, Ploenchit Rd., 02-656-1089. BTS Chidlom.



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Forget preppy; get the punk look with this rebellious garb.

Izzue black jacket, Price TBA. 2/F, Siam Center, Rama 1 Rd., 02-658-1568. BTS Siam.

Lucky 13 old bike patch wallet, B1,600. 2/F (Lido Theater), Siam Square, Rama 1Rd., 086-300-0051. BTS Siam.

Dr. Martens 1490 Classic 10-Eye Boot, B7,200. 5/F, Zen Department Store, Ratchadamri Rd., 02-100-9999.

Zara studded travel bag, B4,990. 2/F, Siam Paragon, Rama 1 Rd., 02-610-9860. BTS Siam.

H&M sleeveless shirt, B799. 2/F, Siam Paragon, Rama 1 Rd., 02-610-6700. BTS Siam.

Cheap Monday Narrow Black Ice, B3,000. Pronto, Siam Square Soi 2, Rama 1 Rd., 02-251-7448. BTS Siam.


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There’s more to headphones than Urbanears and Beats; here’s our pick of the best-stocked shops for audiophiles.

Munkong Gadget

You’ve probably walked past this little shop countless times when strolling around Digital Gateway. Step inside and you’ll quickly realize Munkong Gadget has a keen ear when it comes to importing top headphone brands. Not only are the staff knowledgeable, but almost every model is available for you to test before buying. The big names here are the likes of Klipsch, AKG, Soul and Sennheiser. Headphones start from B390.
3/F, Digital Gateway, Rama 1 Rd., 02-623-4143. BTS Siam.

Jet Live Audio

Open three years now, Jet Live Audio’s vast selection of headphone brands is what keeps us coming back. Forget Sony, Beats and Urbanears, and think the likes of Westone, Audio Technica, Etymotic and Koss. The shop carries headphones from over 20 manufacturers and is quick on the draw to get in new and rare models. Prices may be a tad high, but for big names revered among audiophiles, they’re pretty fair. Headphones start from B790 and if you’re not sure what to get, the shop has tons of models for you to try.
2/F, Exchange Tower, Sukhumvit Rd., 02-663-7009. BTS Asoke/MRT Sukhumvit.

Dynamic Thailand

Situated down in Asoke, Dynamic Thailand is the authorized importer of renowned earphone manufacturers Monster, Sol Republic and Ultimate Ears. The small shop carries the latest models from these big brands before anyone else. You can try them out first and get advice from the friendly and well-informed staff. And if you’re looking to buy Sol Republic’s customized accessories, Dynamics Thailand is fully stocked. Headphones start from B2,590.
255 Sukhumvit Soi 21, 02-664-3077. BTS Asoke/MRT Sukhumvit

2J Gadget

You might have to go as far as Ladprao, but trust us 2J Gadget is worth the commute. This simple shop, decked out in all-white, is all about headphones with punchy bass, like Monster, Shure, Sennheiser and Marshall. Why come here? The shop carries lots of models, even old ones, with price tags that put the department stores to shame. The owner does a lot of headphone reviews and can definitely give you some good advice. Take a seat and try their different models before getting out your wallet. Headphones start from B1,090.
4/F, Union Mall, Ladprao Rd., 081-487-5407. MRT Phaholyothin.


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