Tips to getting the best deals at PC Fairs

UPDATED: It's CEF 2017 this week - here's how to save time, money and some embarrassment

Whether you’re a tech-wiz or not, PC Fairs can be a mess.

Countless offers, numerous lookalike booths and promoters screaming in your face can make it an unappetising place to navigate. The uninitiated may brave all that and still end up not getting the biggest bang for your buck – which is not the result you want from a fair at all.

Singapore hosts plenty of electronics fairs all year long, so it's never too late to run through some tips that could save you precious time and money. Here's a crash course to finding your way around confidently and getting up to speed with tech and prices.

Check out floor maps and brochures online

The best way to get a heads up on what to expect, and whether the fair is for you. Most fairs, like the Consumers Electronics Fair 2017, put up their floor plans on their websites. Scan through it and look out for your favourite brands and whether you’ll actually find things that are useful for yourself.

Next, you need to know what exactly they’re selling. Xiaomi may be setting up booths but you’ll be pretty bummed to find out they’re only selling phones and not the power banks you so desperately needed (and travelled halfway across Singapore for).

To avoid such a heartbreak, check out the brochures online. Sure, they’re messy and we wish they could be presented more intuitively, but if you know what you’re looking for, they’ll stand out eventually. You get a rough idea of the prices you can expect too. This allows you to make quick online comparisons on Lazada and the lot. It’s a competitive world we live in. 

When should you head down?

Avoid early mornings. That’s when sellers are on full battery and when eager salesmen are most eager – You probably won’t get the bargain you were looking for.

It’s good to head down during the late afternoon, that way you get more sleep, and the salesmen are slightly tired and more likely to throw in discounts and goodies - Giving in, in general. Some companies may also have certain quotas to hit daily, and the late afternoon is usually when salesmen realise they aren’t quite hitting these targets and decide to let loose.

Don’t go too late though, as the popular items you were looking for may just be sold out. Same applies to last-day hopefuls looking to get clearance products. If your life depends on it, go early. 

What do you bring?

Now that you know what’s available and what you may be buying, pack! If you’re expecting peripherals and small accessories, a day pack could be all you need. But if you’re buying computer parts and bigger items, consider a backpack or even a suitcase to consolidate everything and save yourself the embarrassment on the MRT. As pessimistic as it is, you really want to prevent dropping and losing items, or worse, getting it stolen. 

Not confident with tech? Perhaps you should bring a friend. Having a friendly neighbourhood nerd around could save you countless scams. He could be what prevents you from investing a thousand bucks on a gaming rig when all you needed was a humble tablet for breezy surfing. Yes, nerds rule the world.

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