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Computer Shopping in Belgium

By andrew - March 29, 2010 (Updated: September 26, 2016)

Got Ram?

Got Ram?

Our resident ‘Web Guy’ looks at the options for shopping for computer hardware in Belgium.

When moving to a new place, it’s often difficult to find services similar to what you are used to at home. For some, this might be restaurants, sports, clothing, shoes, books, or … just about anything. For me, it was all about computer hardware.

These days, computers are an almost indispensable part of expat life: they’re how we communicate with friends and family back home, keep up to date on news, and find out where the next flight will take us!

For Alison and I, a computer and high-speed internet is the center of our lives: it’s our phone, our entertainment (TV, music, YouTube, iPlayer, etc), and our work. In essence, computers are indispensable and keeping them running, secured, and backed up requires some know-how and access to new parts.

So to keep our home network humming I needed to find retailers in Belgium that sold computers and computer components. Straight away most people will probably think of Mediamarkt and Fnac, but I like choice and the ability to do price comparisons.

Shopping for Computer Hardware in Belgium

Shopping for Computer Hardware in Belgium

Sometimes it’s nice to be able to develop a relationship with a supplier, which is not something you’ll likely manage with the big chains. So I asked my friends in Belgium to share with me some of the shops (online and bricks-and-mortar) they use. I’ve shared this list below and for the stores I’ve used I’ve also provided my thoughts on what I like and don’t like.

  • Computerstore.be – Good: wide choice, shipping is included, and they deliver the next day. Bad: only in flemish, prices are higher than elsewhere, but when you factor in the free shipping and service, it is generally worth it.
  • Mediamarkt.be – Good: generally low prices, large selection. Bad: quantity over quality, not big on after-sales service.
  • Fnac.be – Good: online shop, 10% discount if using their credit card, decent after-sales service. Bad: generally more expensive, limited selection of components.
  • padeg.be – Good: multi-lingual online shopping, generally good prices, helpful staff at the stores.
  • Krefel.be – Good: online shop, top brand names, helpful staff at the stores. Bad: focused on complete systems, limited selection of components.
  • Vandenborre.be – Good: online shop, top brand names, good service. Bad: focused on complete systems, limited selection of components.

Some other computer shopping options in Belgium I’ve not yet personally explored:

Actie BE laptops 336x280One other option that I’ve been told about is Oxfam; some of their second hand stores will accept computers and resell them. Check out http://oxfamsol.be under the second hand section, where you will find info on the stores that sell computers. You can also check out their eBay store front which has a mixture of articles.

Finally keep in mind that with the exchange rate between the pound and the euro, ordering from the UK could be affordable.

Your mileage may vary in using any of the above, so I welcome your experiences and comments. What options have you found for computer shopping in Belgium?

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Andrew
Andrew is our resident tech-geek and is normally found lurking behind the scenes on CheeseWeb.eu doing things with code that Alison finds mysterious. He comes out of hiding occasionally to write about history and technology. He is also part of the duo that produces Tech Brew, a podcast about beer and technology in Belgium. He loves castles, driving on narrow, twisty mountain roads and relaxing with a glass of peaty Scotch. Follow Andrew on Google+
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6 comments

  1. Comment by Unexpected Traveller

    Unexpected Traveller March 29, 2010 at 13:57

    I haven’t used local shops too much (despite working in the industry) but the main reasons for this are as follows:

    1 – An English keyboard. You can order that here but it will cost extra. Make sure to factor this in when comparing prices with, say, Amazon UK.
    2 – An English version of Windows/Linux/MaxOS. This should be available at no extra cost but I’d feel safer if I knew that it was installed and configured by someone with English as a first language.

    I also make sure that I have an international warranty.

    My 2c worth

    The Unexpected Traveller

    • Comment by Andrew

      Andrew

      Andrew March 29, 2010 at 15:22

      Hi UE,

      Great comment. For ‘english’ (QWERTY) keyboards, check out the PC stores in the Woluwe shopping mall (Vandenborre, Computer City, PhotoHall)… since there is a large contingent of English speakers frequenting that mall you will have a good chance of finding a QWERTY keyboard.

      For OS versions, I have to say I haven’t really looked, but I bought Alison’s version of WinXP at Padeg and to be honest I didn’t even think about it. But for complete systems/laptops, you’re right that language is likely to be french or dutch by default. Again, my only advice would be to check it out online if you can or go where the english speaking expats are shopping.

      The international warranty is another good one… the only piece of advice I’d add here is to be clear on whether or not that warranty requires you to still ship your PC/laptop to the country of origin. That may negate any benefit of a warranty!

      Thanks again for your comments!

      Cheers,
      Andrew C

  2. Comment by Laura

    Laura March 29, 2010 at 16:14

    Have you tried Pixmania? They’re internet based and therefore nice and cheap. They deliver to a little shop near Gare du Midi where you collect from and the store stocks some random items as well. They deliver to the UK as well so you can pick up QWERTY keyboards and the like.

    The shop itself is basically a collection centre, but the staff are helpful if you want advice. The queues are horrific though – I think this would be one occasion where a ticket machine and a row of seats would be welcome.

    • Comment by Andrew

      Andrew

      Andrew March 29, 2010 at 16:42

      Hi Laura,

      No I haven’t tried them, but thanks for the tip! I’m assuming this is http://www.pixmania.be. The site looks interesting and I think it is a nice feature that it does have a way to ‘collect’ items if you aren’t able to be available for a delivery.

      Thanks again!

      Cheers,
      Andrew C

      • Comment by Laura

        Laura March 29, 2010 at 16:47

        Yes – that’s the one. I have spent days queueing in there.

  3. Pingback: Internet Service Providers in Belgium | CheeseWeb: Travel, Photography and Expat Life in Belgium Blog

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