The Tuk.com shopping centre, located on the South Pattaya Road, is the Mecca of the people who want to buy mobile phones. Hundreds of shops selling phones are stacked by together. Looking through the hall, I feel that there’s no phone, that you can’t get here. But how much are they? I think I read somewhere that you can get the phones here cheaper, but they are not reliable, and there’s no warranty.
“How much is it?” – I asked in a shop, pointing at an exhibited iPad. “20 thousand baht ($660) with one year of warranty.” – answered one of the salesclerks readily. But in the meantime an iPhone 4 catched my attention, which was under the glass of the counter. “And this?” – I asked. “The 16 Gb is 27 000 baht ($890), the 32 Gb is 30 000 ($990) baht.” For a second he examined my face and added a sleek remark: “But we have iPhone 5, and it’s cheaper.”
I can’t deny it, I was shocked by the clerk’s statement, because I thought that Apple is planning to put the new version of the iPhone on the market in the third quarter of the year. But he already had the device in his hand: the usual Apple design and logo, front and back cameras, and the small text on the back said 10 megapixel. “You can watch TV on it” – he explained to me, and clicked on the small TV icon, pulled out a thin antenna from the side of the device and in seconds we were watching some thai channel.
“I didn’t know that you can get iPhone 5 already” – I said – “How much is it?” “It’s 1200 baht ($40), much cheaper than the 4” – he said. “Well, it’s not original, but it’s worth it. You can watch TV on it, access the internet, and of course, phone somebody.”
Of course it’s not original. When I took it into my hands, I felt that it’s feathery, and the antenna seemed to be an evened wire. It’s not even a question that it is a cheap plaything, and they’re not even trying to cover it. But I was hesitating for a minute or two whether to buy it or not. You can put two sim cards into it – for example for a thai number, and a home number – and they told me that it automatically activates the one that is receiving the call. The clerk said that I can even use it for Skype calls, but I need to buy additionally a 4 Gb RAM for that.
When I walked away, and looked inside other shops, I saw that almost everywhere they’re selling this “iPhone 5”. I would have gladly tried it out, but the weight of it reminded me of a plastic toy, which can’t operate correctly for more than 1-2 weeks.