Technology for expat digital nomads in Vietnam

Published:  21 Jun at 6 PM
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Vietnam is becoming ever more popular for digital nomads, but what happens when their devices break down?

Nowadays, laptops, smartphones and their screens, keyboards, mice, cables, voltage adapters and the entire paraphernalia of internet access don’t last like they used to, and reliable internet speeds are rarely found outside first world countries. In the popular digital nomad hub of Vietnam, the above applies in spades, as most of the available kit is Chinese knock-off copies with predictably brief lives. Another issue driving techies mad is the lack of expertise in the majority of local repair shops, frustrating to say the least for those whose next week’s grocery and rent money depends on staying online.

On the face of it, Vietnam is possibly the most seductive of all the Southeast Asian countries, and it’s relatively straightforward to stay around for a while, working at home as online teachers of English to rich kids in China for as long as the wi-fi and video hold up under the strain. Power cuts are common, as they are in Cambodia and Thailand, and internet speeds are so slow it feels as though they’ve stopped simply make matters worse. Amongst expats in Vietnam, this is regarded as normal.

However, the real problems begin when digital nomads are forced to buy new equipment at a local store or have their older stuff repaired. Smartphone screens are a major problem, especially for those who’ve not maxed out their credit cards getting the latest model. In the end, it’s better to bite the bullet and buy a cheapie replacement than spend weeks expecting to receive your fully repaired oldie in working condition. For expats lucky enough to live in a city with a Phi Long branch, repairs aren’t such a lottery, but for those stuck with local repair shops, perhaps it’s time to move on to a more tech-savvy region of the world.
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