Photos: T[Life] Melbourne

Telstra's new T[Life] store in Melbourne is glossy and enormous, and those south-of-the-border should count themselves lucky. Everyone else we bring you a virtual walk through.

Joseph Hanlon
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Telstra has opened the doors to its largest retail outlet and CNET.com.au was on hand at the grand unveiling.

New York, New York
Crowning the entrance to the T[Life] store is an enormous 22x2.5-metre LED display giving the corner of Bourke and Swanstone Streets a feeling akin to Broadway in New York City.

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If you think this is big, you should see the size of the remote
Inside the store, Telstra has fitted this display with 49 frameless plasma screens which it says is the largest installation of its kind in the southern hemisphere. During the day it plays Telstra adverts, but after hours the staff huddle around and watch old episodes of Scooby Doo and Ren & Stimpy.

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Downstairs: Entry
Entering the T[Life] store, the first section you'll see is the first of several service areas. Similar to Apple's Store in Sydney, the focus here is on experiencing the tech with the help of trained staff.

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Downstairs: Xbox Live
Pull up a bean-bag and see how Telstra's home networking can have you online killing strangers in virtual showdowns.

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Downstairs: Bedroom
The ground floor of the T[Life] store is set up as a virtual home, showcasing how Telstra tech can fit into every room of your home. We snuck into this girl's bedroom to, umm, "observe" her using the webcam on her laptop and mobile phone.

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Downstairs: Garden Party
With the smell of cooking snags and Aeroguard in our nostrils, we surfed the internet in the comfort of the "backyard".

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Downstairs: Gulliver's Travels
As well as the virtual home set-up, the downstairs area of the store showcases enormous handsets, like this Hiptop Slide. Telstra has repeatedly confirmed its commitment to giants, an often overlooked segment of today's ever-shrinking technology marketplace.

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Downstairs: Foxtel HD
While we were excited to see Foxtel's new IQ2 boxes on display, we were far less excited to see Kerri-Anne on the Today show.

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Upstairs: Business time
After lounging casually downstairs in our virtual house it was time to get to work. Upstairs is the real equipment showcase with dozens of working handset models on display.

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Upstairs: The science of selling
During our visit we learnt that the unusual lay out of the display counters is determined by Telstra's observation of customer movement in a nearby observation store. That's right: double-sided glass, Telstra staff with clipboards, and weekly customer evictions. It's all very Big Brother.

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Upstairs: Play before you pay
This is the crux of the T[Life] experience: you, a Telstra staffer, and rows and rows of phones to play with.

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Upstairs: Can we fix it? Yes we can!
As well as 80 staff members roaming the shop floor, there are also two very smart techies located in this back room who are on hand to service busted mobiles.

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