Advantages Wide range of products at fair prices. Offer competitive rates if selling.
Disadvantages Can often be queuing for a while. Sometimes doesn't have what you're looking for.
|Frequency of visit|
|Value for money|
|Layout & presentation|
|Selection & range|
Normally if a shop is named CEX or something of the like, then you could expect to see windows shielded with blinds and a discreet entrance. But fear not. This particular shop has an entrance that's screaming to be entered. For you see CEX actually stands for Computer Exchange, and is a place where you can buy and sell consoles and games, DVD's, CD'S, Mobile phones and accessories and even books.My review bodes particular reference to the Southampton branch of the store. Spread across 2 floors, the store is quite easily organised. As you are likely to find in most other computer game stores, there are dedicated shelves for each platform, and I thought that they were quite clearly displayed to find what you're looking for.
A few days ago I went in to the store for a general browse (being quite an avid computer game player I can effortlessly whittle away a good half hour or more in there). I headed over to the area dedicated to PS2 games and started looking. What's notable here is that the prices it would be fair to say are quite competitive. CEX sells entirely second hand products, which explains this. Newer releases that cost around £40 or something similar aren't much cheaper; maybe a fiver or so less, but the real bargains come in the older games. Obviously the quality of the game itself plays an important part in determining the selling price, but some games literally go for as low as 20p as far as I've seen. All the current major platforms are catered for as well (PS3, XBOX 360, Nintendo DS, Nintendo Wii, PS2, PSP and of course PC).The store also sells a wide range of cheap DVD's, which occupy almost the entire first floor of the store. Quite often in fact I've bought several decent DVD's for collectively under a tenner. Again, the most recent and most highly demanded releases aren't too far off the average retail price for brand new, but it's to be expected.
CEX differs from a lot of other stores in that you are able to sell your own games and DVD's and whatever other technological stuff that you've no need to keep. Quite impressively I have to say, their exchange rates are quite reasonable. For example, when I got a copy of Football Manager 2010 last Christmas, a couple of days later I went and sold them my copy of Football Manager 2009. It was in pretty good condition, so they gave me £9 for it (a far cry from the pathetically low offering of Cash Generator, who offered me a measly 80p). They need to factor in a reasonable profit margin however, and this is calculated on the basis of how much they are able to sell whatever you sell to them for. A friend of mine sold a PS2 with 2 controllers, a memory card and 10 games and got offered £28. It seems low but there isn't a great interest for PS2 stuff nowadays. In truth overall, CEX seems to be the best place I've found to sell old games or consoles, so it's not all that bad. Whatsmore, if you don't want cash (as mad a thing as it seems), you can opt for an exchange with another product in the store. This is done by CEX giving you a monetary value that you can effectively spend, provided its in their store. This rate is usually around 25% higher than the rate they offer for the plain cash alternative.My biggest criticism of CEX however would be that the queues are almost always lengthy. You can find yourself standing in the same spot for up to 10 minutes a time before you begin crawling ever closer to the counter. This isn't necessarily a criticism of their staff, who seem generally quite competent at what they do, but more of a reflection of the sheer popularity of the store. What doesn't help speed things up is that because the products aren't sealed in packaging like most brand new ones are, the discs are kept behind the counter in a massive alphabetical library, and it can take the staff a while to find the correct disc.
On the whole then I would strongly recommend visiting CEX if it's a cheap game or two you're looking for. Or perhaps if you have a few you'd like to sell yourself. If this is the case, then make sure that CEX is the first place you visit. I've never found a place that offered a higher rate for my goods when I've been selling, though it never hurts to shop around anyways.
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