Somewhere along the line something you take backpacking with you breaks, goes missing or needs upgrading. I only left the U.K. 7 weeks ago and so far I have had to buy a new phone, replace my macbook charger and get a new go pro mount. Two of these things (new phone and GoPro mount) I bought in Kuala Lumpur. With it been a major city in Malaysia this means you have a large choice for anything you may need but from my experience I thought I could give you a few tips from my time here if you have to venture into town to find something.
1. Avoid a fake (unless that’s what you are after)
From what I could gather whilst looking for a new phone in KL, a lot are fake. Fake samsung phones are really easy to copy and they are imported from China. You will see most of these out in the front counters in most of the stops both inside the malls and on the streets. Some will be priced accordingly and some will be priced as if they were authentic.
A lot of the sellers will be ‘kind’ enough to show you which are the fakes and which are authentic but it’s so hard to tell the difference that I came up with a plan to find out which are ‘real’ phones and which are cheap Chinese copies.
When looking for a phone simply ask for the fakes. Act as if a fake phone is what you’re looking for and the sellers will 99% of the time point to every phone in their cabinet aside from a few. By doing this I found out most sellers are selling Chinese copies however some stalls in the Malls said they only had authentic phones.
2. Stick to Low Yat Plaza.
Tech isn’t overly cheap in Malaysia to be honest, and if you have the option I’d probably head up to Bangkok and try their. However if you find yourself needing something in KL there is only one place you should go – Low Yat Plaza.
Low Yat plaza is the crazy seven floor tech centre in the Bintang shopping area of KL. Each floor has it’s own specialism and you can find anything from smartphones, cameras, laptops, computers, gadgets, drones and anything else you can imagine.
My experience here wasn’t the best and it takes a while to find someone who is going to give you a fair and honest price on most things. Depending on what you are buying there is room for haggling. My GoPro mount I knocked off around 19RM (it ended up costing 20RM from 39RM) and my phone was actually around half the ticketed price, but more on that later.
If I was you I’d stick to Low Yat, it appeared to have the most original tech and had everything in one place. You could always return your item here if you needed to but I aren’t sure exactly what you would get in return.
3. Buy second hand rather than new
If like me, you are simply looking for a replacement smartphone for one that has been damaged along the way and cannot be repaired then your best bet is to aim for a second hand phone. There are two reasons for this, one is most likely budget. You are going to get a better phone for cheaper if you buy it second hand. My main need was to have a decent camera on my phone and I ended up with a 13mpx camera on a Samsung S4 way it cost me 450RM and there was nothing close to that for my budget new, in fact a few people actually laughed at me.
Second is to avoid the fakes. Sellers here buying and swap phones regularly and most stalls on the second floor stock second hand Samsung, Sony and Asus phones. You can be 99% sure that these items are authentic as their is no real need for sellers to bother with second hand fakes, they can easily buy new ones from China and are more likely to sell this way.
4. Stick to known brands
Before I found out that I could buy a good quality second hand phone for cheaper I was weighing up the option go buying a Malaysian brand phone. They are well built (very iPhone like) have good features and the prices are way more budget for what I wanted to spend. However the reason I avoided this in the end was due to if I ever damaged the phone. If I bought a Malaysian brand phone and I damaged it again, I may not be in Malaysia and it may be harder to fix the parts. Sticking to a well known worldwide like Samsung just means you are going to be able to get things like new batteries, buttons, screens way easier than anything like an Oppo phone. Although they may seem appealing I’d stick to brands you trust and know.
5. Know your fakes
The fake Chinese phones look amazing. Looking at them it would be hard to really tell the difference. For me I did some research online and found a few ways to spot a fake samsung. First of all you can ask the seller to verify