In the hustlin and bustlin’ city of Kuala Lumpur, is the Golden Triangle known as Bukit Bintang. From malls filled with luxury brands, to the several decade old shops of yesteryear, one can always rely on this part of town to look for what they want.
Today, after so much technological and industrial advancement, is Lowyat Plaza still the same as before, or has it caught up to the times of now?
Whether you are a seasoned buyer, a cutthroat dealer or an individual that lacks the passion for tech and gadgets, everyone still congregates at this digital mall.
Here are a few tips for buyers and tourists that decide to go to Lowyat Plaza for their fix of tech stuff and gadgets.
One of the staple products of the mall, one must be wary and vigilant of several types of the same product that you can get there.
The following products will be listed out in local slang for your adaptation and awareness:
Ori Set (Original Set):
What people want. An untouched, sealed set, with warranty honored by the ORIGINAL distributor/manufacturer. This warranty covers defects and replacements at no charge, making it priced at RRP, and if you can find a sweet deal, it would be lower than retail price, with free gifts (expect screen protectors, casings, memory cards, or specific bundled gifts). Always check for distributor before purchase!
Example: Sony warranty by Sony Malaysia, Midlands or Thorus. Apple by Apple.
Secret: Profit margin is usually quite low for this. Bargaining is possible but up to a reasonable degree. Low-balling will start a brawl. Guaranteed.
Pros: Legitimate Warranty that requires minimal/none cash repairs. Free servicing, and better resale value.
Cons: Could be expensive. Usually limited quantities based on popularity. Occasionally crap customer service/long repair times.
AP Set (Acquired Permit Set):
Sets that are imported from other countries. The hardware and software will be the same as a local set, but the warranty will not be honored, UNLESS the brand gives international warranty, but if it doesn’t, it means you need to go to its country of origin to claim warranties. They are also known as “water sets”, for being smuggled into the country. They’re not illegal, they just won’t have warranty. Only “shop” warranty, where you will PAY DEARLY, for any specific parts that your device has defects in.
Secret: Slightly higher profit margin than original. Just ask which country of origin it is from. Expect Singapore, and even as far as Dubai.
Pros: New models are available before official launch in the country. Cheaper than retail prices. Plenty of stock.
Cons: No more warranty. Expensive repair parts. Shitty resale value. Practically useless once product life cycle ends, unless you’re prepared to fork out a lot of money for a replacement. Crappy free gifts.
Phones that are discontinued or have been recycled into new sets, sold as new, but at a much cheaper price. Usually without official warranty, these phones are “technically” as good as new, just no longer officially sold. Usually same warranty policy and pros and cons as AP sets.
Secret: It’s actually unsold brand new sets that are no longer sold by official stores, or traded-in phones that has had their internals and externals replaced and dolled up to be sold as brand new.
Replica models of any brand, these phones were made for those who cannot afford the original real models. Made to look and function exactly the same, but significantly poorer in performance, quality, and hardware. Majority comes from China, and other mass producing countries. Be very careful when buying these phones. You can usually tell by testing a few things on the devices, such as checking out the screen, using the camera, the interface, and even the motherboard/battery slot. These devices are not even classified to be AP nor ORI, just… CRAPPY. If you land yourself with one, you can sue and report the shop’s name to the authories, unless it was your intention to buy one (I wouldn’t know why you would but it’s your life).
Secret: Just confront them if it is a Clone set, they have no choice but to admit.
Alright, so that’s all I can currently bestow unto you all for buying mobile phones. Now, let’s all get on with Games and Consoles.
Lowyat will definitely sell only original video games and software there, due to an anti-piracy crackdown there in the early 2000s. Whether it’s for your PS3, PS4, PC or 3DS/Vita, it will come from a variety of regions (i.e. PS3 with R2, R3 regions, 3DS games from US/UAE regions). If you’re still skeptical about them, just know that unless you’re region sensitive about playing your games online in a specific region, you will have no problem with these games. However, it may affect your game’s region account and it will involve your DLC content (i.e. I have a SEA account on Playstation network, using an Asia region game. I can only buy DLC and online content on the ASIAN store, and nowhere else.) There’s still pirated games, but it’s only for Xbox 360 and PSP, and it’s either gonna be burned DVDs, or copied into your hard drive….. for a price.
Secret: All games are sealed, and by no way dysfunctional unless it is bad luck. Always ask for a chance to replace your copy if it fails to work on your handheld or console. Better to test on the spot.
There’s a huge variety of game consoles today, from handhelds to home consoles, Lowyat has it all. Like mobile phones, there’s both ORI and AP for these things, with the majority for AP. In short, Almost every handheld and console you buy, will have AP warranty, which is the shop warranty, be it Nintendo, Microsoft, and even Sony. You will still have to pay for your repairs and warranty claims, unless it is a software issue, then it would be free of charge. Only Sony Playstation 3, 4 and Vita have a choice for you to purchase Original sets, with warranty honored by SONY, but you will still have a choice to op out to AP, if you want to save a couple of bucks.
Secret: Shop warranty will only cover free software repairs. Hard drive, disc reading lenses and drives are subject to replacement charges.
So that’s about it for Gaming. Finally, PC, Laptops, and Hardware.
Pre-built desktops are available from official vendors like HP, DELL, ACER, etc., and if you’re feeling adventurous, you can build your own, out of nearly countless possible combinations, made for all kinds of budgets. Lowyat Plaza does not purvey AP or replica hardware (motherboards, graphic cards, etc.). All are usually original, and I would advise you to stick to the big chain IT Stores to get the best prices and quality control. There is no need to bargain as prices are always competitive and highly fluctuating. The advantage about big IT stores is that they take responsibility in honoring warranties and after sales service.
Secret: You can ask anyone in the shops to give you a quotation on the spot for your budget (i.e. “Hey bro, quote me for a CPU with a budget of Rm1500).
Aside from the usual vendors like the PC, there are floors and floors of dedicated shops that sell laptops at modest prices. This is a sensitive topic as there were numerous cases of people selling stolen laptops, counterfeit software, and even defective hardware, and then running away with your money after. I will not specify names, but all I can say is, practice vigilance and asking the right questions before purchase. Usually staff are more than happy to help you and answer your questions, but if you have the opportunity to get them off guard, you may discover hidden truths.
Secret: Always check with internet sources/official stores for same spec comparisons before approaching or checking with these shops.
FAQs you should practice:
- Where is the warranty from?
- Am I getting a sealed pack?
- Is the Windows/OS original?
- If it is not a sealed pack, were any internals modified/changed?
- Will I get a receipt after purchase?
- MOST IMPORTANT QUESTION: What’s the free gift?
These questions will help bring you ease of mind, as well as turn a fishy deal, into a good deal.
Again, no AP sets if you are going to buy them from Big IT stores. Keyboards, hard drives, mice and any other related accessories will all have their own warranty, and you can send them for repairs or replacement easily. Just bring the defective hardware, its packaging , and most importantly, the RECEIPT, otherwise no one will help you.
These are all my sentiments, results from trial and error, and life lessons learned the hard way, shared to all of you readers. Even if it is not only Lowyat Plaza, always practice buyer and product awareness to avoid being scammed or hit below the belt (literally). I have been working there, purchasing and wholesaling in Lowyat for more than 6 years now, and I have watched it grow and change, for better, and for worse. This article may not have the answers to everything, but I am more than happy to answer your questions, just drop me a message at my Facebook Page, which I monitor daily.