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Wednesday, April 07, 2010

What I Bought With My Prize

"Best recession-friendly GPS you can buy."  Source:

After a couple of weeks of window shopping and contemplating what to do with the prize money, I finally decided what to buy with it.  I know the prize is practically free cash but when I was there I simply did not felt like wasting a single penny out of it. 

The following are some suggestions of what I could spend the checks on:

1. A nice book - Sorry, I'm not a book reader.
2. DVD Movies - I got plenty
3. Pocket Wizards - the prize money is not even enough to buy 1 unit and I'm not really interested in it.
4. Wii - Of all gadgets, games  and games console are the only ones that I was never fond of.

My prize was a set of gift checks from Virgin Megastore.

The rest of the suggestions are way too expensive.  Or too cheap to be worth something.  In the end, I wanted something that will be really useful.  Something I can be proud to say, "That's what I got for winning a photo contest."  And something that will last for years.  Yeah, the original idea was a camera accessory (one of which is 3rd on the list above.)  But I'm a Canon shooter and at Virgin Megastore here in Qatar, they only sell Sony Alpha products.  So that idea was scratched off.

After three window shopping trips, 2 items caught my eyes.  One was a Samsung SMX-C10 video camera.  It was small, cute, pocket sized, records on SDHC and is just QR 49 beyond my budget and has received very good reviews - great bang-for-the-buck product.  The other one was what's pictured here - a Garmin Nuvi 205 GPS Navigator.  My wife's opinion went against the Samsung video cam.  Cute and nice it may be, but she said I'm just not a video guy.  I have a Sony video camera - quite small too but an ancient model now with MiniDV tape.  I went on trips with it but never really used it - it just stayed in the luggage.  Her argument is that I'll be doing the same with this Samsung - I'm just going to put it to waste.  And you know what?  She's right.
I like the simplicity of the glass-suction mount and cradle.

So I went for the Garmin.  I did a quick search for reviews, didn't really bothered to read through and just looked at the ratings.  The ratings are quite good for the price so I bought it.  I've never had a GPS navigator before - I really didn't see any need for it since Doha is relatively small and I know my way around.  Maps of other GCC countries don't really interest me because I rarely travel in them, much less drive.

But now that I have it, I just love it.  There's plenty of off-road driving opportunities here and I guess this will give me more courage to go out there without worries of being lost in the desert.  The screen is bright and easy to read.  The unit looks solid and pretty well-made.  Considering the price, the finish is of high-quality.  Easy to use and you don't really need a user's manual to figure out how to use it.

For now, I do believe that this gadget is money well-spent.


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