Bugis Junction, now with a new tech corner
Walk around any major shopping mall and you’re bound to spot a collection of bored looking men clutching shopping bags from Sephora and Editors’ Market. Yes, it’s the timeless style of grown men carrying bags from stores they couldn’t possibly have any use for. While we have Pokemon Go to alleviate the mind-numbingness of shopping adventures, it sure would be nice to have somewhere to geek out for a bit.
With an array of new tech tenants joining the existing fashion forward image of Bugis Junction, boys now have a place to hide out while their girlfriends frolic amongst racks of young people clothes.
Of course, we never take hearsay for the truth, which meant I had to go down for myself to check out the true hype. And we discovered a treasure trove of things to do at Bugis Junction.
1. Stock up on Japan-exclusive console games and accessories
Over in the Land of Nintendo and Sony – or more popularly known as Japan – console games are huge business. So huge, that there is an entire secret collection of games that are released exclusively in Japanese, and have never seen the light of day in other territories. “BUT WHAT ABOUT THE REST OF US???” I hear you cry out into the Hayao Miyazaki-illustrated distance. Well, that’s where Gamemartz (#03-24B) comes in.
Here, you can order titles released only in Japanese, and have them shipped in specially for your gaming pleasure. Sometimes, these games are so exclusive that they work only on Japanese consoles, but that’s okay, because you can also get these region-locked consoles right here.
There are even cute accessories shipped direct from Japan!
They also carry a wide range of products and titles, ranging from handheld machines like the Nintendo 3DSXL, to slightly less mobile machines like the PlayStation 4 and their respective titles.
2. Take your first steps to becoming a pro gamer
While Joseph Schooling was busy winning the Gold medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics, another Singaporean was duking it out with the world’s best in Seattle. Daryl Koh – better known as iceiceice in the gaming fraternity – was Singapore’s only representative in The International 2016, helping his team to finish 5th overall and bagging a cool US$934,671 in the process.
It might be a tough and arduous road, but take the first step to be the very best at Gamepro (#03-24A).
With the highly eye-catching all black interior, this might not seem the friendliest place to step into, but as my noob hands cradled the Razer Mamba, I could almost feel my MMR jump a few hundred points. Carrying major brands such as Alienware, Razer, and Logitech, if there any gaming hardware you can’t find here, it’s probably not worth having.
3. Discover the difference between Skylake and Kaby Lake
Nope, neither Skylake nor Kaby Lake are bodies of water, but are actually names for computer processors. Which just proves how much of a pain shopping for a new PC can be. With new products and technology popping up every few months, there’s just too many brands and too many configurations to choose from. Thankfully, AddOn at Bugis Junction (#03-02/05/K2) eliminates all apprehension by stocking 4 major PC brands under one roof.
As the authorised partner for Asus, Dell, HP and Lenovo, AddOn will definitely have the droid (PC) you’re looking for.
Here also exists the only Lenovo Service Centre right in the middle of the city, which means you can drop off your laptop for repair, and grab a bingsoo while you wait!
AddOn is working on an Omni-Channel shopping experience in the form of Bluetooth beacons. Expected to be released in September, these beacons will be placed on each product, and users can get more information about these items via an app. This means the elimination of brochures and reduced manpower, as customers have everything they need to make a decision at their fingertips. Yay productivity!
4. Trace the evolution of Apple products starting with a 10-year-old working iMac
Long-time Apple fanboys will have the time of their life here. At first glance, Laptop Factory Outlet (#03-26) is a mere second-hand electronics shop that buys and sells gadgets. But that’s also where you would be very, very wrong.
Yes, that’s an iPhone 4. Notice how small it is.
I’m the furthest thing away from an Apple head. After all, the only Apple gadget I’ve ever owned is a 4th generation iPod Nano which was unfortunately left on a train bound from Sapa to Hanoi. But I was amazed to discover an absolute gem here – a working condition iMac from back when Daniel Powter’s Bad Day ruled the airwaves.
Hidden behind their collection of refurbished items also lie the the complete evolution of iPhones from the iPhone 4, and almost every iPad in circulation. The best part? Every item still works and is available for purchase.
5. Enter hipster Android phone wonderland at Hi-Tec Mobile
Android lovers have very specific reasons for opting Google over Apple. Much of those reasons have to do with Android’s much larger catalog of comparatively cheaper phones, and nowhere else is this range of choice more obvious than at Hi-Tec Mobile (#03-24).
Stocking indie brands like Huawei and Oneplus, this is the place to go when you want to stand out from the crowd. Or maybe your phone died for the nth time and an off-contract handset becomes a need.
In such times of crisis, look no futher than the Oneplus 3 ($620). For a phone that costs about 2/3 the price of a new iPhone 6, it sure packs a punch, featuring a powerful processor, sharp camera, and a quick-charging battery. Just Google “Oneplus 3 review” and you’ll see how all the tech people are falling heads over heels for this one.
6. Become your own IT helpdesk in the office
Every once in a while in the middle of a work day, work stops in the TSL office. Keyboards turn silent and mice stop clicking. Deskmates turn around to start conversations, and the pantry becomes the most visited corner. This occasional relief from work is also known as “Wifi Downtime”.
While us minions might cheer at the prospect of randomly scheduled work breaks, these downtime can be terribly disruptive to those who actually want to do work. Routers might just look like unsexy pieces of plastic, but they are the real MVP of small and medium businesses.
Inforcom (#03-24C) is the perfect place to get any office tech equipment. Stocked from ceiling to floor with cables, parts, and peripherals, this is a dream come true for any IT helpdesk personnel. Also, this is where you’ll have to visit for your monthly ink sacrifice to the home printer.
7. Surround your life with tech gadgets at Sony
As a kid growing up in the rough streets of Toa Payoh, one of the greatest sounds I’ve ever heard was the startup music of the PlayStation 2. Hearing that distinctive note instinctively triggered a quick prayer of thanks to the PlayStation Gods, and in my tiny 9-year-old brain, Sony meant PlayStation.
But a quick trip to the Bugis branch of Sony (#01-58) just enhanced everything else I’ve learnt since then. An all round electronics lifestyle giant, Sony’s range of offerings range from mobile phones to cameras and headphones. Basically any gadget you need in your life can be found here.
Such as the flagship α6300 camera ($1,479 – body only, $1,699 – with 16-55mm Power Zoom lens), which features an APS-C mirrorless sensor, featuring unparalleled autofocusing and imaging speed and performance.
8. Discover accessories for your gadgets you never knew existed
Challenger (#03-10E), that ubiquitous tech accessories shop that sells everything from headphones to portable chargers also has a branch here! Of course, electronics are not the only things you can find here. Various lifestyle products can be found as well, like this very cute looking puffy jacket/phone holder.
I also uncovered some cool looking portable speakers, perfect for those late night lepak sessions while hunting for Pokemon, including two from Valore.
Valore Outdoor Wireless Speaker QKS6. $49.90
Valore Premium Wireless Speaker HR701. $199.
Protip: Sign up for Challenger’s ValueClub loyalty programme, and enjoy discounts of up to 50% on selected Valore products.
9. Active-fy your lifestyle at Samsung
The first smartphone I ever used was the Samsung GALAXY S II LTE. Then, I moved on to the Samsung GALAXY S4 With LTE. Which meant I spent 4 years being the Android hipster of the group and entertaining curious queries.
Samsung’s devices are great for anyone with an active lifestyle. You know, those people who go out for a run daily without fail. In other words, people who lead a completely different life from mine.
For example, the Samsung Gear IconX ($298). It might look like a pair of earbuds, but inside this 6.3 gram (per earbud) device lies so much more. Clearly designed for runners, these cord-less fitness earbuds also have an inbuilt accelerometer, which helps measure your entire workout, from calories burned to distance covered. But I’ll probably just stick to using the 4GB worth of memory for my daily transit music.
We also discovered the Samsung Gear 360, a camera that captures moments in 360°. Just imagine the impressive footage you’ll get from doing something as mundane as catching a bus.
10. Get an external hard disk for your iPhone
If iPods and MacBooks are the only thing that pop into your brain when EpiCentre (#01-56/57) is mentioned, you’re not alone. Apple has been intrinsically linked with EpiCentre, ever since the chain opened Singapore’s first AppleCentre in 2002.
However, I was surprised at the range of accessories available for the iPhone.
Like the Gosh LynkDisk ($89.90), which effectively acts as a thumbdrive for the iPhone. The device has both a USB and Lighting port, which means you can plug it into your computer, and directly to your phone. Very useful that friend who needs extra space, but still wants to keep all 5000 selfies “for future use”.
11. Up your selfie game with essential mobile add-ons
If you think you’ve seen every handphone accessory possible, you clearly haven’t been to Gadget Plus (#03-06).
For example, just take a look at this selfie spotlight ($21.90).
At first glance, I thought this was an absolutely useless product. But, then I remembered how impossible selfies were in the abysmal lighting of Loof and Zouk, and my brain realized what an ingenious product the additional light is. Because squad selfies simply cannot wait.
I might have gone a little overboard with the selfie sticks.
Welcome to the newly leveled up Bugis Junction
When she was a young girl, my mother grew up along Malay Street, along with the rest of her very large Hakka family. She used to tell me about stories of the cramped but homely shophouse unit and her friends along the neighbouring Malabar and Hylam Streets.
But Bugis is very different now. In 1995, a giant roof was plonked on top of the streets, and air-con filled what became a shopping mall. With its windy corners and distinctly 80s architecture, Bugis Junction is probably Singapore’s most unique mall. And with the addition of the new IT tenants, it just got a little more unique.
Win a $50 CapitaVoucher to buy more tech toys with!
Take part in our simple contest and you just might be walking away with 50,000 STAR$® which is equivalent to a $50 CapitaVoucher!
5 lucky winners will win a $50 CapitaVoucher each!
Bonus: From now till 2 Oct, shop at any participating IT store within Bugis Junction to earn 2X the usual number of STAR$® with a minimum of $20 spend. STAR$® can be used to redeem CapitaVouchers which can be used at any CapitaLand mall.
This post was brought to you by Bugis Junction.