April 13, 2011 - kenshinjeff
daytrip to shenzhen electronics huaqiang dreambook w7 android
I made this trip on early April 2011, and this short post should describe our brief experiences at Shenzhen. btw, Luohu and Lo Wu are the same things, just one is the romanisation in Mandarin and the other in Cantonese.
via the MTR this is how it looks like:
MTR Kowloon Tong EAST RAIL LINE 九龍塘 (Light blue) ->
MTR Lo Wu Hong Kong Side (羅湖) ->
HK departure customs ->
China arrival customs (Singaporeans do not need visa, the rest of you need to purchase a visa, if available at the china customs) ->
Louhu Metro (羅湖, Shenzhen METRO, Green line. Not railway!) ->
Hua qiang lu Station (华强路, The IT section is actually around hua qiang bei lu)
My good friend and I (both guys, and we shall call him Dragon from now on), departed at around 9+10? The train was quite new and it took us less than 1.5 hrs from central Hong Kong via train including changing train and customs. From Hong Kong to Shenzhen, most signs were in both Chinese and English. In Shenzhen almost all of them were in Chinese. Our destination was at huaqiangbei lu. (华强北路)
Tip 1: Go early. Early means reach your destination around 1030. Most stores open at 1130-12, go there early to plan your route. And remember to mark out food places, definitely something is open. If you wait till 430 to find your way, good luck with the sea of people.
Tip 2: Buy tickets first if possible. The queue at 5+ is horrendous, or at least keep loose change. It’s very cheap on the Shenzhen metro. Also, there are many money changers all around, but I would change my RMB first before reaching Shenzhen.
If you are looking for the latest in electronics, go to SEG (赛格) and it’s variants. There’s at least 2 to 3 of them in the district.
For mobile phones and accessories go to .
For every possible non branded android tablet ever made, you should go to . Not too sure if they sell single units though.
If you are just looking for less than 5 pieces of things to buy, don’t waste too much of your time barginging. Do not be afraid to piss people off, after all, everyone is trying to rip you off and everyone is selling the same thing anyway. Some of these places only entertain orders 10 and they give lousy/reasonable prices for small orders. I overheard someone buying 3500 pieces of thumbdrive and he got a price higher than mine for 10 pieces. Maybe his one special, or they were doing an act, so, good luck bargaining.
Tip 3: Don’t give your money for whatsoever deposit or nonsense like that. I nearly couldn’t get mine back. Silly, but true story. I was ready to bitchslap the guy’s face into his glass display, but then again, I had Dragon, and we could possibly outrun them. Maybe. Possibly. Who knew for sure?
I would say Shenzhen is relatively developed, much like Beijing 6 years ago. There are people spitting, urine smells around the area, buildings not maintained. Well, old habits die hard.
Tip 4: Know the prices beforehand, and take your time to look around before asking for a price. Top floors usually have a better price, or just check out where everyone is crowding about. If you don’t know the prices, listen to the other people bargaining.
For the complete Shenzhen day tourist experience, you need to be nearly scammed, have stepped on chewing gum, and nearly walked into spit on the floor while trying to bargain your way down.
Anyway, after walking a good part of the afternoon away, I went back to look at this. My requirements were simple, nonbranded, 7″, GPS, inbuilt 3G. I realise that the Dreambook W7 fit the bill quite nicely. There was another one which was almost as decent looking but I didn’t take much notice of it after I bought the Dreambook.
The counter guy was reasonably friendly, so I played around with a few androids and commented that the dreambook felt slow. He immediately offered another tablet which didn’t have 3G but was way cheaper. After much consideration, and playing around with the set, and plugging in my own sim card, I decided that 2200 RMB was a good price to buy the Dreambook. So I asked the guy to give me a new set, he told me the one that I just played with is new. Typical behaviour.
I told him I wanted a new set and I could come back later. So he said he would need a 100 RMB deposit so that I would still be here. So about 15 minutes of waiting later, he came back with a new box and a reasonably new set wrapped in saran wrap. At this point I noticed something different; this set was not the same as the display set. Well, I was fine with this because this set looked way better than the display set, and it also showed the same specs. Naturally this is also new, and it still had that new plastics smell. After inspection, I figured it was near 98% new, so I told him okay. And we proceeded to test the 3G connection. Btw, their internet connection via wireless was BLAZING fast. Streaming flash movies was omgwtfbbq.
Now, for some reason you had to power down before you could insert the sim card, it’s not hot swappable. How this was, I am not sure. Everything was fine till I popped in my sim card and there was a provisioning problem and the com.android.phone (I think) started to crash. The android went in and out of airplane mode every few seconds. I told him there’s something wrong with this set. And he tried his own card, there was nothing wrong, and he wanted to try my friend’s sim card. I told him my friend’s sim card was using a hk provider and there was no point testing it. Plus it was not working either.
So now at this point, he said he needed to bring it back and flash it again. Okay, no problem. So we waited for another 30 mins outside, where my friend stepped on chewing gum LOL. Anyhows, we went back and he was there, and I passed him my sim card for him to try again, same error. He bought a Huawei tablet for me to try out, and naturally there was no problem with my card, right? But no, he kept insisting that my card was 3.5G, some Singapore band nonsense. Hello, common sense would tell you if 2 out of 3 tablets work with my sim card, and the 3rd one doesn’t, it’s the 3rd tablet that is faulty.
I told him if it doesn’t work I can’t buy it, and I told him, we can’t do the transaction. At this point the attitude changed. He proceeded to do his own things around his 4 sq meter counter, dilly dally, clean this clean that, position some items, check this check that. Then I told him, if it doesn’t work I would need my money back. He insisted that he needed to go back to his dealer to fix it. I would have let him go if HE DIDN’T CARRY HIS DAMN BACKPACK AND GIVE THAT FUCKED UP ATTITUDE. Of course Dragon told him not to behave in this manner as it is not nice. So began a good 10-15 minutes of heated argument where it ended up with us going to together with him, and if his guys couldn’t fix it in 15 minutes, I would get my money back. Trust me, it isn’t as easy as it sounds.
So he took off and we followed him as promised, not once did he look back to check if we were still behind, and I had to keep my eyes on him, on the traffic and for Dragon who was taking another route alongside of me. Thank god he knew what he was doing. Anyway after about 5 to 10 mins of brisk walking, (Oh please, we’re RT/IPT hardened, how can your bicycle legs last longer than us? HA!) we finally reached our destination. Tablet mecca. I could see the golden rays of the sun behind the building. Also, it was nearly 5.
We walked to the counter, turns out they were 2 young kids there one of which immediately offered me a chair. And they proceeded to attempt to reflash the machine. Now, these 2 were way more professional. They listened to guy that bought me here, and they assured me that there was no error with the hardware, only the software and proceeded to do their magic. They also explained that there were 2 versions of the Dreambook, one of them is the older one, basically it’s the casing that was different, internally they were the same. After about 20+ mins of tinkering, it was done.
From what I peeked and gathered, they reloaded the firmware with a different version. It was until later when I got home then I realised that they flashed V15 on the tablet to get it to work, and I reflashed it to V20 now. Not so much of a problem as I could always extract, repack and reflash. To be honest I think I would be able to fix the provisioning problem too.
So after my card was working in the newly flashed tablet, everyone was good friends again! Amazing right? So now I know where the tablet Mecca was, who the official distro was, and who was the ‘oem’. Shenzhen is a really horrible place to be if you’re not used to working with the locals. I have been to Akihabara, Hailong, Gao Deng, Guanghua, YongSan, and Huaqiangbeilu is all of them combined and even more!
And, oh I only tried one store, but I would advise against buying original products from huaqiang. After you see them putting sony labels on the memorystick duopro, not much confidence is left. Not to mention I was quoted 9000 RMB for a galaxy s in one of the more established looking booths ……. And oh, don’t be expecting super high tech stuff, but everything electronic you see on sunsky/aliexpress is at Shenzhen. True story.