When is a sale a sale?

Lazada 11 11Alibaba set a new record of US$30.8 billion in sales on November 11, aka Singles Day. The figure eclipsed the US$4 billion that Amazon brought in on Prime Day in July.

If anything, this shows that people are drawn to sales — 10/10, 11/11 and with Black Friday and Christmas coming up soon. It’s like everybody has been saving up just for these occasions.

But, is a sale really a sale or just an opportunity for sellers to sell more because of the hype?

Sometimes, we can’t really tell, especially if we’re just blindly caught up in the frenzy and thinking that most, if not all, deals are good.

Here’s where a little homework can make a world of difference:

  1. Know the usual price. Find out the usual price of the product you’re eyeing, then you’ll know if the deal is good.
  2. Search and search some more. Don’t be too trigger happy and click on the first listing, Scour through the list to compare prices for similar products.
  3. Warranty period. Do consider warranty period if you’re getting an electronic or mobile device. Some products may simply be cheaper because they are brought in by parallel importers and come without or with limited warranty.
  4. Any bundling? If the price doesn’t look discounted, find out if the listing comes with any gifts. Sometimes, new products cannot be discounted, such as the OnePlus 6T smartphone (below), which was launched end October. On November 11, the deal came with an additional adapter and cable.OnePlus 6T
  5. Shipping cost. Another deal breaker is shipping cost. Some vendors give free shipping on special sales while others may offer discounted shipping. But, take note of delivery timeline in such instances.

Doing your homework will help you make better decisions at the next sales — Black Friday!

 

 

 

Pendulumic Tact T1: A wireless wonder

Pendulumic? Who’s that? Pendulumic Tact T1 boxWhat’s that? That was what went through my mind when I first heard of the brand Pendulumic. I had absolutely no clue what it is or does. And my daughter was getting one because of a fire sale. She too didn’t know much about it other than the fact that the wireless headset costs US$199 and had pretty good customer feedback on Amazon.

Even a check on its website and elsewhere did not reveal much about its origins. Admittedly, it has garnered a bunch of good reviews from even notable sites like CNET.

When it arrived, the packaging looks professional and solid. At least, it looks like the Pendulumic Tach T1 is worth US$199.

My first task was to satisfy my curiosity on its origin. I found what I was looking for in very fine print at the bottom of the box — “Designed by Pendulumic in Singapore. Made in China.”

Pendulumic Tact T1 headsetSo, this is a local brand and as a Singaporean, I’m proud of it. The headset has a leatherette feel and is brown in colour, giving it a timeless, rustic look.

My daughter got it hooked up to my Google Pixel smartphone via bluetooth in a jiffy so it scores on ease of pairing.

When I put it on, the ear pads fitted comfortably on my ears — I can imagine using this on my next flight. I can still hear noise from elsewhere but it’s fine with me because I don’t like to be totally cut off either.

The sound is good. OK, I’m no audiophile but I think it sounded nice.

Pendulumic Tact T1 insideHere are five things that I like about the headset:

  1. Ease of connection. Setting up is a breeze and the headset’s connectivity is good too.
  2. Good battery life. The 25 hours of use on a single charge is perfect even for long haul flights. Plus, the Pendulumic Tach T1 also comes with a AAA backup battery, which kicks in when the lithium battery is drained.
  3. Timeless design. I simply love the design. I’m no fan of brown colour but somehow, it makes the headset look premium and timeless. Another little thing that may not be important to others but captured my attention was the printing of L and R (above) on the inside of the ear pads. There’s no need to guess which goes where anymore.
  4. Volume control. The volume control dial looks like a watch dial and is conveniently positioned behind the right ear pad.
  5. Wired convenience. This is especially useful for plugging into the air plane inflight entertainment system.

The Pendulumic Tach T1 offers a touch of class and is value for money. It can give many of the more expensive brands a run for its money.

The sad thing is that the company seems to be shutting down. Amazon still lists the product but there’s no price or availability. And Pendulumic’s own website shows that the products are “out of stock”.

It’s a real shame because the product is good. I’m just glad that I own one — it’s a collector’s item!

Targus Mobile ViP Backpack makes travelling a breeze

Targus frontVendors often give out so-called premium at press events, conferences and exhibition. While receiving them is a thrill, many of these premiums or tchoichkes end up in the bin, given to someone else or hidden in a stash somewhere.

While at Computex this week, I received a gift from a vendor that will definitely be used. Why? Because it is practical and very useful especially for travelling.

The gift is a Targus Mobile ViP Backpack with the ARM logo.

Upon first look, it looks big but that’s because it has several compartments and can house up to a 16-inch notebook. Surprisingly, it’s light and the construction is such that it doesn’t feel heavy even when filled.

What makes this backpack fantastic for travelling is it’s patented design where it can be unzipped and placed at the airport scanner without needing to remove the notebook. That’s a boon for frequent travellers as one of the biggest pain of clearing security is having to remove the notebook and other electronic devices, among other things.

Why I like the Targus Mobile ViP Backpack:

  1. Targus sideBig and spacious: There are enough pockets for lots of stuff — a notebook pocket, an adjustable main pocket, three front pockets, and two side pockets.
  2. Practical and great for travelling: There’s no need to remove the notebook to clear TSA check plus loads of room for other stuff.
  3. Protects the notebook: A feature called the SafePort Sling keeps the notebook secure so that it doesn’t hit the floor when the bag’s placed down. The backpack also stands sturdily so there’s no need to try to balance it between the legs or rest it against a chair or wall.
  4. Attaches to rolling luggage: Simply slip the strap on the handle of the rolling luggage for easier movement.
  5. Fits up to 16-inch notebooks: This is a great plus because many bags cannot fit notebooks larger than 14 inches without looking bulged. What’s more, there another pocket for a 12-inch tablet. Enough said.

For frequent travellers or even professionals who have to bring their notebooks around, the Targus Mobile ViP Backpack is a great option. Thanks, ARM, for the wonderful gift!

You may order the backpack from Targus at US$89.99.

Feiyu SPG gimbal: Takes some practise

Feiyu SPG gimbal: Takes some practise

Feiyu SPG gimbal boxOne of the biggest problems with taking video clips on smartphones is stability, especially when capturing clips while on the move. No matter how good the phone’s camera and software is or how skillful the user is, it’s near impossible to get jerk free videos while running.

One solution is the gimbal, which is gaining popularity among the media, bloggers and video enthusiasts.

Imagine my joy when my daughter got one for me yesterday. Her present to me was the Feiyu SPG three-axis video stabiliser handheld gimbal.

The box looks really large for something I had expected to be much smaller.

Feiyu SPG gimbal unboxed

This gadget comes in an interesting-shaped bag, kind of reminds me of a steak.

After unboxing and pulling the gimbal out of the bag, I inserted the battery, slotted in my smartphone and tried to get in up and running.

Here’s where it pays to read the instructions carefully.

For all my efforts — all of 30 minutes — I struggled to get my smartphone to balance on the device.

Feiyu SPG gimbal standing

After charging the battery and following the instructions,

Lesson 1 is to read the instructions. I should have referred to the set up notes.

Lesson 2 is to charge the battery. I had assumed that it was at least half-charged, like most that come with smartphones. But I was wrong. It was totally uncharged.

Lesson 3 is to download the app, without which the smartphone cannot be paired to the gimbal.

By the time I was done charging, my daughters were back and they took over the setting up.

With the phone adjusted to balance on the holder, turning on the device automatically balances the phone.

The Feiyu SPG works only with the app, which is used for communication and capturing photos/videos.

The first couple of test clips looks great but I’ll have to spend more time getting used to it.

I’ll post a more detailed review another time. Meanwhile, here are a few reasons why I like this gadget already:

  1. It’s compact. Fits nicely in my sling bag without taking up much space.
  2. It comes with a bag. Protects the gimbal and is really useful for bringing it around.
  3. It has a tripod mount. Handy for taking long videos.
  4. It’s versatile. Supports phones of different sizes and iOS and Android.
  5. It’s affordable. Amazon lists this for US$169.90.

Amazon faces backlash for jacking up fees

Amazon PrimeDon’t know if it’s happening in our part of the world yet but Amazon has introduced a £3.99 surcharge in the United Kingdom for its same day delivery service.

This has got customers all riled up with The Daily Mail reporting that under the new arrangement, customers are expected to pay £3.99 plus a £2 tip for the driver on orders under £40.

This is on top of the annual fee paid for Amazon Prime, which covers free delivery of unlimited purchases through the year.

How to get the best deal

How to get the best deal

 

Torch lightA friend of mine once told me that his purchase is better than mine because he paid more for it. He may be right if the products are of different quality but they were the same.

Not wanting to debate too much with him, I was secretly thrilled inside of me that I got the better deal.

After researching on the product and deciding that it’s what you want, it’s time to look for the best deals.

From experience, it boils down to three things: right shop, right price and right timing.

  1. Right place: The sites that you gathered information on the product may just be the right place. Some e-commerce platforms such as Amazon are massive and can list lots of shops offering the same product. And sometimes, brick-and-mortar shop can have great deals too! My family bought a Nakamichi bluetooth headset for under S$20 (usual price is about S$90) while on a trip to Changi Airport Terminal 4 in Singapore.
  2. Right price: Compare, compare, compare. Don’t buy from the first store or site, or even if the ads are shouting at you from your social media sites. I regretted big time one such incident when I bought something online without thinking twice only to find out that it was selling at less than half the price elsewhere.  Take time to search for the best price. Use the “sort” feature in sites such as Aliexpress.com and Lazada.sg. A word of caution. If the product is too cheap, be very cautious. It may be a good deal or a scam.
  3. Right timing: Timing is important if you’re in no rush to buy. Look out for sales and special discounts. The shop of my favourite football team offers discounts and deals regularly — sometimes even several times a week. I take advantage by looking out for “free overseas” shipping because it can save me lots.

I hope that these tips are helpful. I’ll update them if others come to mind — it’s a learning process and we don’t want others to make our same mistakes.

If you have other tips, do share with us.

The search begins…

 

GoogleAfter the thought of buying something, it’s time to start shopping, right? Well, not quite — for me, at least. I’ll do my groundwork to find out more about the desired item. Here’s how:

  • Use search engine: My first stop is usually Google, which is a treasure trove of information.
  • Visit the online shop: Some shops are not online but the products may be found in e-commerce sites such as AlibabaAmazon and Qoo10.sg, or others like Carousell and eBay.
  • Read reviews: It’s good to find out what people are saying about the product. But, do note that some reviewers can be biased because of personal inclination or maybe the company has incentivised them in some ways. Read a few reviews for a more rounded view.
  • Leverage social media: Sometimes, a post on Facebook asking for opinions on social media can help. Your friends may own the product or have heard opinions from those who have one.
  • Check out forums: The most honest views, in my opinion at least, are found in forums. People are less constraint on the Net and if the product doesn’t work, they tend to voice their opinion.
  • Go to the physical shop: Sometimes, it’s good to see and feel the product before buying. If distance is not an issue, pay a visit to the physical shop.

These are just some of the ways of research that have worked for me. Do share with us if you have more tips.