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Maplin is an electronic retailer which sells the more obscure items and a lot of gadgets and gizmo's. They have 100's of stores around the country and the one's I have frequented have all been clean friendly and eager to help.
I have always been interested in electronics and have built quite a few projects from scratch. In doing so I have had to find suppliers of various electrical components such as capacitors, resistors, equipment for making printed circuit boards and of course circuit testers. I was going from here to there all the time making numerous journeys in search of some hard to obtain pieces. That was until Maplin came to our town. Now it is simply a matter of listing my requirements and going for a browse around the store. Unfortunately they stock lots of other electronic stuff so I usually end up spending more than I intended.
The stores are well laid out with usually a discount section right at the entry point, here you can get some really good bargains with as much as 70% off normal retail prices, it may mean taking a bashed box or a return, but there is a guarantee with each purchase. The stores are laid out in some kind of logical order or so it would appear.
The Aisles to the left are frequently the place to find the kind of stuff that circuit builders and enthusiasts require. It is also the place to find stuff such as tools for very intricate jobs and soldering irons and associated supplies. Circuit testers and multi-meters are in a plenty and all at very good prices considering that nowhere remotely near has anything like this. There are also kits here for children to experiment and discover the strange world of electronics, these range in price form as little as £5 to as much as £120, but there is a lot of learning fun and experimenting to be had.
Further along form here we reach the small gadgets and rechargeable batteries. Weather stations, currency converters driver alerts (a small earpiece with alarm that goes off when the drivers heads drops forward as if to sleep.) temperature gauges and thermometers. A quick glance here and then along to the big boys toys.
Strictly speaking they aren't big boys toys they are just lots of varying remote control and radio controlled cars, bikes, planes, boats and just about anything else you can think of, but they are lots of fun. A twin set of racing cars both running at different frequencies and looking pretty cool £19.99 not a bad deal at all. There are electronic shooting games one of which I got my son for Christmas. A 2 foot log about 6 inches high with 2 plastic cans and 2 plastic bottles. The gun sends an invisible light beam which is picked up by 4 light sensors which in turn trigger four pop up buttons on which the cans and bottle sit, hence when the button pops up the can/bottle pops off giving the impression you hit the bottle. The alignment been the beam and sensor is slightly off so you have to aim for the can/bottle great fun. There are many others great gift ideas here for the big boy and the little boy.
It is not a far walk to the next set of electrical wizardry, here we find a DJ's dream sequencing lights, laser lights sound to light and a myriad of brill stuff. Once again I thought the pricing here to be very reasonable and I could have watched the lighting displays for ages, but I was impetuous and wanted to check out the PC department which was upstairs.
Upstairs is as I said the PC department where you can buy anything from a new PC case with funky lights and flashing fans, to printers and scanners and all manner of peripheral for you pride and joy. PC cables of all sorts and DVD's and CD's on which to save your masterpiece. This department also caters for home security i.e. CCTV, alarms both wired and wireless. Walkie Talkies and Radio equipment fills up a large part of this department where there is always someone at hand to hep you out should you be stuck on which component you actually do really need. They are very helpful and although they do try to sell you stuff they are not pushy and a simple I'm just looking and they'll let you be.
This is a great store for a browse just to see what new stuff is on the market, It doesn't sell big electronic items like DVD players and CD players but it does have a good selection of Sat Nav and Mp3 players and small USB storage devices. There are gadgets galore and it is most definitely worth a visit if you need a little inspiration.
The prices in general are very favourable to those of other high street stores, and there is indeed many a good bargain to be picked up. The staff are very friendly helpful and eager to please which is a nice change in today's pressure selling marketplace. They do have a technical helpline which I cannot comment on since as of yet I have had no need to use.
If you do not have a store near you they do have a website www.maplin.co.uk which has over 12,000 items for you perusal. It is definately a store that I shall frequent again and again.
My dad's a gadget freak and he loves this place - top notch review, Pen xxxxxxxxxxx
Newboy3 19.04.2007 16:05
An interesting and helpful review. I'm always in and out of Maplins, especially now they have stores all over the country ~ Tony
yackers1 05.04.2007 19:58
Great review. I went in to Maplin for a 12v relay - and they didn't have any. The bloke behind the counter wasn't at all helpful - but he was a Saturday boy. Avoid the Maplin in Norwich. I am sure that they aren't all this bad though!