First Light at Liaoning Night Market 遼寧夜市

Liaoning Night Market in Taipei
The neon lights of Liaoning Night Market.

Yesterday I finally got around to purchasing a new phone, a Galaxy S6. Ordinarily I would not even think of splurging on shiny new gadgets, these being lean times and all, but with the passage of my birthday and Christmas my family sent over a chunk of change for something big and practical. I knew that meant a phone given that my existing device, an antiquated Galaxy Note 1 purchased in 2012 and still teeming with Canadian telecom bloatware, is a dysfunctional, inoperative mess most of the time. I have to give my old device some credit—it survived years of heavy use and more than one attempted drowning—but I always chafed at the lousy quality of its camera, particularly since I have become something of an Instagram junkie. If you have been reading this blog in depth for any amount of time you have no doubt seen me whinge about my “cruddy” smartphone camera. All of that will soon be a thing of the past.

I spent a few days researching my options, made several visits to the old Guanghua Digital Plaza 光華數位新天地 to price out various models, and eventually decided on the 64 Gb version of the S6, a phone that I had considerable trouble finding for a good price here in Taiwan. I turned to Sogi 手機王, a site that allows you to search stock at independent shops around the nation. Too bad none of those listings turned out to be accurate—I placed a deposit at one place and had to return to take it back when the promised phone failed to materialize—but I wouldn’t hesitate to use the site again were I looking for something specific and nonstandard in these parts. Plus I learned something about how these things work in Taiwan: if a shop doesn’t have stock almost all of them can call up another shop (or maybe a wholesaler) who can deliver the requested device by scooter in under an hour… if you’re lucky.

Eventually I settled for the 32 Gb version of the S6 and returned to Guanghua to source one for a good price. I ended up paying 14,300 NT from a booth on the second floor and had a working phone—with a newly trimmed nano SIM card—in about 15 minutes. Applying the screen protector turned out to be problematic. Apparently even the regular S6 (as opposed to the S6 Edge) also has slightly curved edges that most hard screen protectors aren’t actually molded to? Something to sort out later.

After wandering out of Guanghua in search of sustenance I was eager to test out the quality of the camera on the S6. Pictured here is one of the first photographs I captured on my new phone. This is Liáoníng Night Market 遼寧夜市, famous for its many seafood restaurants. Click on the photo and zoom in if you’re curious—you’ll see that it’s a helluva lot sharper than anything I shot on my old device. This means my Instagram feed is about to get much better too!