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Dokki, Cairo, Egypt.
Computer Shop: Computers, Accessories & More in Dokki
As soon as we sauntered through the automatic doors, we were greeted with a wall of the newest Samsung Smart TVs – the one's constantly advertised on telly – with 23" and 27" screens (2555LE-3499LE).
We were greeted by a shop assistant at the door and led upstairs to the computer section. Our brief was clear; we needed the best, most up-to-date laptop but there was a catch – it simply had to be pink.
All the computers are clearly labelled, with a long list of specifications next to each one. However, not knowing much about what makes a computer fast, or indeed what we'd need for it to work for us, we relied heavily on the shop assistant to decipher the list and had no choice but to trust him.
He started by showing us the only two pink models they stock; a bright pink and black Samsung NP300 (3555LE) and two, almost identical, powder pink Sony Vaios (4995LE-6495LE). He then showed us the Dell Ultrabooks (4299LE-6333LE) with changeable covers (199LE). Although we openly expressed our dislike of this particular model, especially as no pink cover was available, he kept dragging us back, insisting it was a good model and that we should either buy one of the interchangeable cover ones, or a better, black one.
While he knew what he was talking about, it was still a little annoying to have to fight for our choice – especially when contemplating parting with a vast sum of money. After all, the customer is always right – right?
Other than persuasive sales pitches, the other thing to be wary of is that none of the computers come with Microsoft Office. Computer Shop does sell the bundle, but it'll set you back an extra 555LE. You also should be aware that not all their computers come with the most recent Windows 8, so be sure to check you're not being sold an older version.
Despite it's name, Computer Shop stocks so much more than just computers and their accessories – in fact, they stock almost anything electrical that you can think of. As well as wired, and wireless computer mice (99LE-300LE) and keyboards (192LE-492LE), there is also a wall dedicated to laptop bags in a range of different colours and styles, including some sophisticated, padded Belkin bags to tidy computer things away in the home (374.99LE). Snooping further into their neatly organised sections, we also checked out all the corded and cordless house phones, printers, speakers, hard drives for extra computer storage, blank CDs and DVDs, games consoles and standard televisions.
They also stock a number of iPhone and iPad accessories including cases, stylus pens, iStations and iLuv headphones starting at 89LE. The popular, sweet cotton over ear headphones are priced at 199LE. There are also a number of iPads on display to buy, but disappointingly, they don't sell iPhones.
Unfortunately though, nothing in Computer Shop is plugged in or turned on so you can't test the products before you buy them.
Computer Shop stock can also be browsed online but the in-shop assistants are good for advising the customer on what to buy, especially with more computer knowledge than most. However, if you have very specific taste, make sure you're firm about what you want to prevent them from going off on a tangent.
It isn’t necessarily a bad thing for a shop to restrict itself to just one brand. Although there’s no product option here, the Yamaha showroom in Heliopolis makes up for this by offering Yamaha models of various instruments in all shapes and sizes.
There are plenty of guitars in this store, both acoustic and electric, but the price begins high at around 950LE. As you progress along the wall-rack, they become steadily more attractive, expensive, and pleasant to play and listen to; the most expensive are beautiful models with all the frills, which will set you back around 4900LE. A bass or two hides among them, but of these there’s limited choice. Prices between 2300-3200LE
Like many music shops in Cairo, keyboards and pianos seem to take precedent. Again the price starts high, at around 1900LE, but like the guitars, even the cheapest is a solid model. These may not have weighted keys or sound incredible, but they will be more than enough for your everyday needs; and if you’re looking for something more upmarket, you need only walk a little further into the store where top of the range keyboards (up to 9100LE) share space with magnificent standing pianos. Bring your cheque-book, however, as these cost between 15000-35000LE
In the back of the shop you’ll find a room packed to the ceiling with amplifiers to suit any need, from personal portables to gigging monsters. Quality-wise you can choose anything from a fairly cheap, functional model to an extravagant one. This showroom apparently caters for producers and technicians as well as independent musicians, since along with PAs one or two mixing decks of intimidating size and complexity lurk in the far corners of scary prices such as 160000LE.
A lonely Roland DTX-500 electric drum-kit (11000LE) sits in a corner next to a cabinet well-stocked with sticks of various sizes, guitar and bass strings (acoustic, electric or nylon), sax reeds (although no saxophones are sold in-store), amp leads, and so on; all the standard instrument accessories, all reasonably priced. There are few technical accessories, however, so think of this as an instrument rather than a musical supply store.
If you don’t mind being restricted, Yamaha is a safe brand with a reputation for quality and durability. Despite the limited options, you can find what you need in this show room, and trust that it won’t fall apart after a few jams.