Get your best IT bargains during DSF 2002

The Dubai Shopping Festival is a time to indulge all your shopping fantasies. In return, you get the best products at the biggest discounts ever heard of. Windows Middle East magazine takes you through some of the best deals in the market on computers, digital cameras and everything related to IT.

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By  Vijaya George Published  February 28, 2002

I|~||~||~|Working away at an old Pentium II and a 14” CRT monitor can’t be much fun anymore. Not if you can get much higher specifications, better designed computers and more accessories for the money you doled out several years ago for that antique piece in your home. And, for those who purchased a computer last year, the journey is not over. There are, still, IT accessories to consider. Perhaps, a web cam, a cordless mouse and keyboard or an upgrade? There is no better time to consider making intelligent IT purchases than the Dubai Shopping Festival (DSF), when every noteworthy shop is running special offers or giving away free bundles with their products. Windows Middle East takes a look at some of the best buys you can get on computers and related products.

This DSF, look out for more than just conventional buys. They may just suit your needs better and you are likely to get them at special bargains. Acer, for instance, is promoting a new line of laptops with a new look and feel this DSF. The TravelMate Alpha 550 will not just be a good choice for mobile executives; it will work just fine as a desktop replacement (DTR) for your home as well. For a little under US $1290, you would have got yourself a 3.1 kg, silver-topped laptop with 1394 and USB ports, an external VGA port, 14.1” TFT screen, dual interface, Pentium III processor, 128 MB RAM, 8x DVD ROM, floppy drive, programmable short cut buttons for the Internet and your free copy of Windows XP with Arabic and English. Usually, features like the 1394 port and bi-lingual facilities are not available on entry-level laptops but Acer’s new range comes with these features as standard. So, while you step into Jumbo Electronics, Plug-Ins or the shops at Khalid bin Walid street, look out for the Alpha 550. Perhaps, you will walk away with one. More offers are promised from Acer but those surprises await you at the shops themselves.

For a wide range of IT choices, I would direct you to CompuMe. CompuMe has an exclusive deal with Microsoft that will enable it to bundle special offers with its CompuMe PCs. Boudi Ghandour, VP, product and procurement, CompuMe promises that the “price of the product will be good and the end user will get a gift worth about $100.” CompuMe sells its own computers alongwith other brands such as Compaq and Acer. In order to compete with these brands, CompuMe has ensured that its own PCs have higher specifications and more accessories than its competing counterparts at better budgets. This has ensured that sales of their own PCs have exceeded that of competing brands.

||**||II|~||~||~|While you are there, you might want to take another look at Logitech’s cordless mice and keyboards. Those the prices are usually beyond the reach of the average customer, Boudi promises a very special price on these products during DSF. CompuMe may also consider bundling the cordless products with their own PCs, we are told. If you are considering a digital camera and have a tiny budget, CompuMe is a place to consider again. It has two digital cameras that ordinarily sell for $108 and $73. But during DSF, these cameras that are little larger than a pen, will be priced at $81 and $54 respectively.

But for those who are considering more high-tech digital cameras, Kodak must be considered. And Samir Digital tells you why. The Kodak DX series, namely DX-3600, 3900, 3700 and 3215 come with dock stations as a standard. Rechargeable batteries, an AC adaptor, a USB card reader and a battery charger are all part of this small and compact dock station. So, it eliminates the need to purchase them separately. It also comes with two connections-one to connect to the PC for transferring files and the other to the electricity supply. These products are going at a special price at Samir Digital. Plus, you get a 32 MB memory card and a camera bag free. A deal you shouldn’t miss.

Perhaps, some of the places to drop into are the Shopping malls—especially those that have retail outlets selling IT products such as Plug-Ins and Carrefour. At Plug-Ins, take a look at some of these products and the special retail prices on them for DSF. Psion revo plus ($243),Trust spycam 300 XS ($107), Trust Familycam 310 Av ($115), Panasonic NVST 550 HI FI Stereo 6 head VCR and a free RQV75 Radio ($163), Toshiba 43A9UM 43” projection TV 100 HZ and a free DVD SD1200 ($2152), IBM R30 Notebook PIII 1 GHZ ($1445) and IBM TT24G Notebook ($1715). For the last two, ask about their special deal on the office XP student bundle. And for every $55 spent, you get a coupon as well.

||**||III|~||~||~|The Al Ain Shopping Mall has an entire floor devoted to computer products and is called Computer Plaza. An exciting product will be launched at Soft Magic Computers, Computer Plaza. Look out for the Merlin MPGIO player, the first MP3 player for both the car audio and portable music market. This is possible because of an FM transmitter (an exclusive feature to the MPGIO) which broadcasts music to any car or home stereo within 25 feet of the MPGIO. The product will run at a special price of $135 during the festival. Demos of the product will also be available at Plug-ins, Jumbo Electronics and CompuMe. Soft Magic will also launch the Merlin SOHO computer, while will be sold at their showroom as well as at all Plug-ins outlets for just $272. This complete multi-media computer comes with a 1GHZ Processor, 10GB Hard disk, 128MB RAM, floppy & CDROM drives.

Take a look at some of the special deals from Experts Computers, Khalid bin Walid street, Bur Dubai. A Matrox RT-2500 video capture card, which was going for $1020 is now going for $885. The 64 MB Simpletech multimedia card used in Siemens S35 mobile phone and the Nokia Communicator, and the 128MB Simpletech Compact flash card used in digital cameras and MP3 players will go for $54 each. The Compro 1:7 24X CD Duplicator, stand alone will sell for $1430 and the Egoman MP3/VCD/CD PLAYER, portable will sell for $79. Another deal comes from Trigon (Al Ghurair) Computers. The ViewSonic 15” LCD panel VX 500 will run for $599, the Yamaha 12/8/24 CDRW-USB, CRW70 for $299, the D-Link WebCam DSC300 for $89, the Creative Extigy Sound Card SB Extigy for $162 and the Acer External DVD Player for $177.

Microsoft has its own special promotion during this period. Buy any Office-ready PC, with Microsoft Office pre-installed and save upto 40% (On Microsoft Office compared to retail pack prices). Office-ready partners in the UAE are Key Information Technology, AL-Abbass Trading, Alpha Data and Middle East Data Systems (MDS). A second promotion from Microsoft is for users of its Windows 2000 Server Platform. The Server Upgrade Advantage programme allows users to upgrade to the latest Windows 2000 Server software, at a reduced cost. Offer 1: If a customer owns Windows NT 4.0/3.x server, he can upgrade to Windows 2000 Server for US$ 491 (over 37% savings). Offer 2: If you own Windows NT 4.0/3.x Server, Windows NT Enterprise Server or Windows 2000 Server, you can upgrade to Windows 2000 Advanced Server for US$ 1,595 (over 54% savings). Apart from cost savings, the customer is also eligible for Upgrade Advantage. So the customer gets to use the latest version as well as own the right to use any new releases that become commercially available during the term of the upgrade advantage agreement, which is 2 years from the date of purchase.

||**||IV|~||~||~|Jumbo, one of the key sponsors of DSF, will release a 28-page catalogue with a host of bargain deals, hefty discounts, exciting prizes, and bundle offers covering a broad spectrum of top international brands including Sony, Compaq, IBM, Nokia, Siemens, Citizen, and Brother to name a few. The campaign from Jumbo called “one festival, One Choice” will cover products including laptops, desktop computers, mobile phones, Sony colour televisions t camcorders, DVD players, Sony Playstations, home theatre systems, music centres and mini hi-fi systems, faxes, printers, and multifunction products.

Next on the list is Benq. Benq’s Projector SL703s can be bought Plug-ins or Best Computers and will be priced at US $2045. Specifications include brightness 1100 ANSI, resolution SVGA 480,000 pixels and weight 1.4KG/3 lb. You get a free Acer Mini DVD player along with it.

Aiwa customers can win gifts such as DVD players, mobile phones, cameras, microphones and radios on purchase of its goods. Canon is organising a 'Scratch and Win' offer, which could make you the lucky winner of two kilos of Gold, home appliances and colour films. It will also host a Mega Raffle, in which winners stand to get a Hitachi 52" colour television, a laptop, a Canon Camcorder or Canon digital cameras. LG offers its customers a special deal. Purchase an LG Plasma Display Panels, LCD TVs or DVD Players and you could be the winner of DVD Home Theatres and Cameras. LG’s promotion is running at all its usual retail outlets. Samsung customers will get a free gift with every purchase of any of the following cameras—the ECX1, Slim Zoom 145S and Vega 140S. Also, on purchase of any Samsung mobile phone, you get a scratch-and-win coupon from Samsung Electronics. Perhaps, you will win another mobile phone—the SGH-N200.

||**||V|~||~||~|Fujitsu Siemens is also introducing its own range of products during this month. And it will be offering special discounts as well. Look out for special prices on the Scaleo PC and the Amilo notebook in the consumer range. Also, take a look at the LIFEBOOK B-2562 notebook, which is designed for travel and mobile work. The notebook combines low weight (just 1.3 kg), small size and ease of use due to the Touch Screen. Highlights include silver top and silver bottom and a white stylish keyboard. The new B series also comes with a low-reflection touch screen display for optimal cursor control. It also features a multifunctional panel and is SmartCard enabled. Fujitsu Siemens promises “high specifications at aggressive prices.” So, look out for the best deals in this range as well.

And that’s not all. This is just a brief idea about some of the big deals in town but there’s more from most of the IT vendors in the local market. Etisalat, which is one of the key sponsors of the DSF, will launch its own special surprises during the Shopping Festival. Afcomp will give you a scratch and win opportunity every time you buy products worth more than $55 from them, and if you are lucky, you will get a 10% discount on blue-tag items. Two prized blue-tag items are the IBM TT24 (PIII 900 with DVD) and TT28 (PIII 900 with DVD), which are selling for almost half the original price. Prices have dropped from $2452 to $1498 for both and they come with 3 years warranty. And if you want to see the whole range of products that are on discount from Al Futtaim Computers, check their web site

But that’s all we are telling you. Let us all to the Dubai Shopping Festival for more special offers. Like we said, look out for more than just conventional products.||**||

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