CONTRIBUTED BY SIBO LUNGU
Before coming to Korea, the one thing I knew about this place was that there would be some pretty cool technology. And as a technology and gadget lover, I just hoped there would be an opportunity for me to get to play with some of the things.
When I stumbled upon Samsung D’Light on one of the tourist websites, I knew I had to check it out. I already own way too many of their products so yes, I am a Samsung fan!
Samsung D’light is a Samsung showcase store that is part museum, part educational center, and part store. The awesome thing is that you get to touch and play with everything! It houses many of the products that are on the market and also many new ones. The most fun displays are the interactive activities where you can play video games, dance (Kinect), and take pictures. It also has a bit of history about the company, and some educational displays about how things are made, and what the company is working on for the future.
The building is very easy to find as it is connected to the Gangnam subway station. This works out well on these very cold days because you don’t have to go outside at all. Exit 8 will lead you to the entrance of the store. Alternatively, you can enter from the outside plaza into the second floor.
The first floor immediately reminded me of a Best Buy in the US, but without all the yellow and blue everywhere. There are sections of tables with Samsung products available to play with. It is more of a showcase than a store, so there are no prices on many of the products but I read that if you did want to buy something, you just needed to ask. There are also many phone accessories for purchase.
One thing I loved is that while there were staff available on hand in case you had a question, they did not hover at all. Not once did anyone approach either of us or hover behind us as we snapped pictures on the different cameras, text messaged each other on the cell phones, and typed away on the laptops and tablets. Most of the devices have WiFi so if you are taking a photograph, you can email it to yourself!
The second floor is where the interactive fun begun! There are mostly televisions on the second floor connected to a game of some kind. There are LED TVs, LCD TVs, curved screen TVs, smart TVs and other TVs whose purpose only my husband fully understood. He decided the gigantic 110inch was a need sometime in our future.
The first thing I went to was the lit up floor with a screen above it labeled “Samsung D’light Stage”. It turned out to be an interactive video game activity. As soon as I stepped on the floor it lit up and the “game” began. I was the star of the game and I was displayed on the large screen. Every few seconds a new handsome suitor would show himself and proclaim love with gifts in hand. I was supposed to choose one. The game works like a Kinect or Wii, so my movement was tracked. I had to choose from a soldier, a trendy K-pop boy, a business man, and a casual romantic guy with flowers in hand. The images were so real and it was funny and entertaining.
My husband’s theme was that he was a movie star and had to do a scene of him riding a motorcycle without crashing it as his swerved through traffic. His body movements had to be spot on to make it. Again, lots of fun! Who doesn’t like to act like a kid now and then?
There are multiple set-ups of driving games, sports games and dancing games. A couple of kids were glued to a soccer game, while some girls were watching some other game I couldn’t figure out.
The second floor also has several Samsung cameras. I don’t know much about cameras but we zoomed in and out on each one snapping away and taking selfies in the store. Again, no salesperson bothered us. Actually, there were less staff on the second floor. There are little miniature displays that help you test the cameras zooming ability. Using the WiFi all the cameras had, we were able to send the pictures to ourselves. There is also a fun photo activity where you can self-impose yourself into a selected picture.
The third floor is the most like a museum and LED and LCD showcase. It has a little history about the company, and also information about Samsung’s semi-conductor. I won’t go too techy, but basically the thing that makes our smart phones awesome and is now in all smart devices from video game consoles to modern washing machines.
There was a big sign above an elevator door that said Semi-Conductor Rider. Without thinking or reading about what it was, we enthusiastically stepped inside. In retrospect, it could have been a brain zapper so going in without reading wasn’t the brightest idea, but it turned out okay. We stepped in and the doors closed. Turns out it was a bunch of LCD screens all around the elevator and a movie or “ride” about Samsung electronics. The best way I can describe the visual is that it is like The Matrix movie. Imagine you are inside a computer taking a ride.
This floor also has a theatre that plays educational “How it’s made” type movies. There is also a display of a smart home showcasing a Samsung living room and kitchen.
There was a gallery of drawings and paintings made with a Samsung tablet. Some of the drawings were really good. The educational center had more tablets for people to tinker on. One kid was glued to a tablet drawing a very nice picture.
The last cool thing we saw on this floor was about the future things Samsung is working on. Without getting too techy, basically the video was about how they could use nanotechnology to cure cancer. I don’t fully understand it, but if anyone is working towards a cure for cancer, then that’s cool enough for me.
The other cool thing that got my attention was the eNose. Basically a technology that allows smells to be transferred electronically, even through your cell phone! The example was of choosing a wine, but I can imagine eNose being undesirable in other scenarios. Weird? Yes. But again, pretty cool for the geeky crowd.
Admission is free and the store has three floors to explore. It isn’t huge, so I’d say it is probably a 1-hour activity unless it is packed with people. Except for the first floor, there were maybe only 20 people total across all two floors when we went.
I don’t think you have to be into technology to enjoy the place. The wide variety of devices and interactive displays will give everyone at least a little entertainment. I think it is generally agreed that everyone is capable of bowling on a Kinect or Wii. There were a number of kids who looked to be having fun as well. It is probably not well suited for really little ones, but 10-year-olds to teens, especially the ones interested in sciences, would like it. And big kids will like it too – like my husband! Good thing it isn’t a shop or I am afraid we may have been hauling that gigantic 110inch television on the subway!
Hours: 10am to 7pm; closed Sundays
Address: located in the Samsung Electronics Building in Seocho-dong;
11, Seocho-daero 74-gil, Seocho-gu, Seoul
GPS Coordinates: 37.497783, 127.026988
Directions: Gangnam Station (Seoul Subway Line 2 or SinBundang Line), Exit 8