Review: Sennheiser IE80 Earphone

Post by Mark

ie80

Since around 2007 and up until last year I had basically been loyal to one earphone brand and thats Ultimate Ears. They were so good that I ended up going through three pairs, I started with the Ultimate Ears SuperFi 5 Pro in 2007 and then upgraded to the TripleFi 10 until they stopped working so I bought a second pair of the same ones. I just couldn’t find anything better for the price and decided to stick to them even though they had failed me. Then last year my second pair started failing as well so I decided to look for an alternative.

After a lot of research I ended up getting the Sennheiser IE80. There were a number of factors that played into my decision with the main ones being the sound signature, the price, the comfort and the brand. Trying to buy a pair of earphones without being able to try them on and listening to them is extremely difficult. Why would you choose a pair of $150 earphones over a pair of $100 ones or how much better do a pair of $500 or even $1,000 pair of earphones sound over a $300 pair? Theres an earphone at every price point and I had to go through tons of reviews and read hundreds of different comments by people in various forums before I could finally decide on a pair. What made things more complicated with me was that I didn’t really have a budget. I didn’t mind paying $70 and I wouldn’t have minded paying $500 since music is important for me and so I really need to have great sounding earphones. I think I might have even been willing to pay a $1,000 if it meant I’d be getting ear euphoria followed by a happy ending from an Eastern European model.

One of the most important factors in choosing an earphone would be the amount and quality of bass they had. I listen to a lot of electronic music and really need deep bass to thoroughly enjoy the music. But I didn’t want boomy bass and I also didn’t want the rest of the sound spectrum to be muddled. Based on what I read the Sennheiser IE80’s fit into what I was looking for. They also cost around $280 which wasn’t too bad and from all the reviews I read they seemed to be very comfortable as well so I went a head and ordered a pair last July while I was in LA.

When I first got the IE80’s I was actually disappointed with the sound since I found them too bright and lacking deep bass. Even when I tried all the different earphone tips provided with the earphones I couldn’t get the bass to the level I needed it to be. After going back to some forums and reading up I noticed a lot of people were recommending to combine the IE80’s with a pair of Comply T-500 Foam Tips. So I ordered a pair of those tips and I’m so glad I did. They completely changed how the earphones sounded by providing better isolation which resulted in much deeper bass. Since then I’ve been using the IE80’s frequently including on 5 plane trips that were over 10 hours long. They’re very comfortable and they sound insanely good, better than any pair of earphones I’ve previously used. The only down side I have with them is their carrying case which I find a bit too big and bulky to carry and also not that practical to use. Other than that minor issue I’d highly recommend these earphones. If when you do get a pair and the bass seems a bit weak even after burning them in then do what I did and order the Comply tips as well.

I bought my pair of IE80’s from Amazon for KD86 [Link] but they’re available locally at aDawliah for KD117. The Comply T-500 tips cost me another KD5 and I bought those from Amazon as well [Link].


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Cybord Drift Board Review and Giveaway

Post by Mark

cyboard

Last week I was having brunch with a friend at Cheesecake Factory in Avenues when I spotted two kids on drift boards playing around. My friend hadn’t seen one before but I had a couple of weeks earlier when I was in LA. I didn’t really know what they were or what they were called but the way the kids were going at it, it looked like it was a lot of fun. So I turned to my friend and told her I needed to find out who the dealer in Kuwait was so I could get one to review. Not exaggerating, literally less than 5 minutes later I get an email from a company called ClaroTek who were introducing a drift board to the Kuwaiti market and wanted to see if I would be interested in trying it out. I looked over at my friend and I was like you won’t believe this but guess what…

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I ended up meeting the guy and picking up the Cybord drift board later that day. He gave me a brief background on the Cybord as well as instructions on how to use it and once we were done meeting I went back home to try it out. Getting on the drift board the first time is freaky, your first aim obviously is not to fall off but that requires you to put all your trust into a Chinese made device that you’ve never used before. That makes the first couple of minutes the most difficult but once you’re up on the board and moving around the learning curve quickly speeds up and within 5 minutes you’re riding around as if you’ve been doing it for months. The device is very intuitive and requires very little body movement to work which is why when you watch people on it you wonder how they’re controlling it. Thats because to move all you need to do is press down on your toes gently, if you want to turn right you just push slightly more on your right toe, if you want to stop you flatten your feet, to move back you move some weight towards your heels. It’s all done with very minor movements.

These things can also go pretty fast, the Cybord can go up to 12km/h and has a battery that will make it last 15-20km. The whole thing also weighs just 10KG. There are many different brands of the drift board and they all look exactly the same. What sets ClaroTek apart from the rest of the competitors in the local market is that they’ll be selling them at Xcite and will have AAA warranty which basically covers accidental damage amongst other things. That’s why ClaroTek chose Samsung batteries for the Cybord, to increase the reliability of the device.


[YouTube]

After using the Cybord for a week, this is what I think. I can’t believe they’ve managed to take the Segway and squeeze it down to the size of a skateboard. The technology is impressive and compared to the Segway, the drift boards are really cheap. Riding it is a lot of fun but my favorite use for it was pacing up and down my apartment while chatting on my phone which brings me to the issue I have with these boards, I wouldn’t know where to use them. As a kid it’s a no brainer, kids will love riding and playing with the drift board and they wouldn’t mind doing it in public because they’re kids. As an adult it’s different, first of all you’re bound to look like a douche riding around on one of these things in public like say a mall. And if you’re not riding it inside malls where else would you ride them? Kuwait doesn’t exactly have fantastic sidewalks and when they do not all the sidewalks have the wheelchair slopes so you’re going to end up getting off and on the device a lot. The only outdoor places I could think of riding the boards is the Gulf Road sidewalks but I’d rather walk, cycle or run them not cruise up and down on an electronic board. On the other hand ClaroTek were telling me they sold a bunch to a company who have a huge warehouse and so they will be used by their employees to move around quicker. That to me makes a lot more sense than riding around Avenues.

The Cybord will be available at Xcite soon but you can preorder one right now from the ClaroTek website. They come in four colors and they will be selling them for KD229 including the 1 year AAA warranty. Here is a link to their website with all the details [Link]

Now since I don’t have any use for the review unit I’ve decided to give it away to a lucky winner. If you’re interested in winning the Cybord just answer the following question in the comments: What is the name of the company that gave me the review unit?

Rules: The comments will be closed tonight. Winner will have to pick up the Cybord. Only one entry per person and please make sure you use a working email since the winner will be contacted by email. If winner doesn’t respond, another winner will be randomly chosen.

Update: I closed the posts for comments at 6AM. I used random.org to choose the winner and it’s comment #102 by V. Email has been sent, if winner doesn’t respond in 24 hours a second winner will be chosen.

winner


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My love and hate relationship with the Bang & Olufsen BeoPlay A2

Post by Mark

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When the BeoPlay A2 was first announced back in October, the first thing I did was head over to the local Bang & Olufsen dealer to find out when they were going to get it. I own two other B&O products which I love; the B&O A7 and the BeoLit 12 and since I had been looking to get a travel speaker for sometime now, I knew I also wanted the A2.

Two things sold me on the A2, the first is the way it looks (I fell in love with the green model right away) and the second was the 24 hour battery life.

The A2 ended up arriving to Kuwait just a few days before my trip to Cape Town which was perfect timing since I was hoping to take the speaker with me on that trip. They had received only one green speaker and I made sure I would be the first one to get it. The price was KD150, around KD30 more expensive than Amazon but since I had a good relationship with the local dealer and since I wanted it right away I didn’t mind paying the extra KD30.

At first glance the A2 ended up exceeding my expectations. Not only did the speaker look better in person than in pictures but the sound that it produced was so much bigger and better than you’d expect from such a small portable speaker. I was mind blown. In my room in Cape Town the speaker was able to fill the room easily at lower volumes and produce enough bass to impress me. When I took it to the beach I was even more impressed, at near full volume the speaker sounded fantastic outdoors even with the sounds of the waves crashing on the beach. I even snapchatted how this was simply the best portable Bluetooth speaker ever and I even whatsapped the dealer the shot below of the speaker on the beach. But then just like that, my experience went downhill nearly instantly.

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Up until the moment I took the speaker to the beach I had been using it plugged in to the power. But around two hours into my first outing with the BeoPlay A2 I noticed the volume suddenly dropped considerably. At first I thought the speaker overheated because I was out in the sun but even after shutting it off for 15 minutes and turning it back on the speakers volume was still very low. It was barely audible but I kept playing the music until the speaker went dead. Once I got back to my room I checked the manual and turns out once the battery level reaches 10% the volume level drops to around half way.

It didn’t make sense how I hit 10% battery life after barely 2 hours of use, that’s 22 hours less than the claimed 24 hour battery life. I thought I must not have charged it fully so I charged the A2 again and tried it the next day. Again I got barely 2 hours of use. I was pissed off because I was all the way in Cape Town with a defective device. So I whatsapped the Kuwait dealer to let them know about my issue and once I got back to Kuwait I passed by them and dropped off my speaker. They didn’t have any green speakers in stock so I had to wait around a month until they got their second shipment in stock so I could pick up my replacement. Once I got the replacement speaker I went back home, fully charged the device and then played some music at full blast while timing it with a stop watch. At exactly 58 minutes and 26 seconds, the speaker completely shutdown. I was mortified since I ended swapping my speaker for one that was even worse! I charged it again and the next day played the exact same playlist at full volume. This time the speaker lasted 1 hour and 11 seconds before completely shutting down. I couldn’t understand what was happening, there is a HUGE difference between a claimed 24 hour battery life and my 1 hour experience. Obviously I wasn’t expecting my device to last 24 hours at full volume but I was expecting it to last around 10 or at least maybe 6. But just 1 hour? Convinced I had picked up a second defective unit I headed back to B&O to let them know. I explained to them the problem and how my second unit was performing even worse than my first one. They agreed to take the device and run some tests before getting back to me. A couple of weeks later I get a phone call with an explanation. According to the B&O head quarters, battery life can last only an hour depending on the kind of music and the volume its being played at. My units were not defective, they were perfectly fine but because B&O state an up to 24 hour battery life in their marketing material, my expectations were just too high. In any case the Kuwait B&O dealer gave me three options, the first is I could give them back the A2 and once the shipment of the new BeoLit 15 arrives I could pay the difference and get that. The second option was to swap the A2 for a third new A2 or finally I could just get a cash refund. Since I already had the BeoLit 12 I wasn’t really interested in the newer version. I also wasn’t interested in a cash refund since I actually wanted a travel speaker and when connected to power the BeoPlay A2 sounded incredible. So I opted to swap it with another unit in hopes the newer unit would have a better battery life than mine. Sadly that didn’t turn out to be the case and my current unit lasts as long as my previous ones.

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So here is my dilemma. I don’t know if I can recommend this speaker even though I love it so much because I also hate it so much. I never expected Bang & Olufsen to be so misleading with their marketing since I always saw them as very Apple like. But I’ve now realized Apple is far more trustworthier than Bang & Olufsen. When Apple claims a Macbook Air lasts for 9 hours in normal use most of the time it ends up lasting 10 in real world use. Apple doesn’t lower the brightness to the lowest setting, turn off wifi and Bluetooth and let the Macbook sit there idly and then say the battery life is 24 hours. They could if they wanted to but then no one would trust them. On the other hand B&O are being extremely misleading with their battery life claims. When they say 24 hours, as a user I expect that number to be an achievable claim under normal use. From what I’ve been reading online people have no idea how they can get 24 hours out of the A2 unless its at the lowest volume level and that’s not normal use. So this is what I will say about the A2. If you’re looking for a small speaker with incredible sound then I definitely recommend the BeoPlay A2. But if you’re looking for a portable speaker, one you could take to the beach, camping or anywhere requiring the use of the speakers battery, then I would definitely NOT recommend the BeoPlay A2. Not unless you’re fine with an hour or two of battery life that is.


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Review: Alpine iLX-007 and Apple CarPlay

Post by Mark

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Apple’s CarPlay is an operating system for cars that allows you to connect your iPhone and control it from within your car display. Ever since Apple revealed it I had been eagerly waiting for a third party to launch a unit that I could buy and plug into my car. The first company to announce a unit was Pioneer and then at the end of October Alpine released their own CarPlay unit, the iLX-007. Right as soon as it became available I ordered it and I’ve now had it for around a month so I’ve decided to go ahead and review it.

This is my fourth Alpine unit with iPhone/iPod compatibility but the first to use Apple’s new CarPlay OS. There isn’t much to review in the Alpine unit itself since its basically useless without CarPlay. If you don’t have an iPhone the Alpine unit is just a $500 FM/AM receiver. It doesn’t have a CD player or even Bluetooth but it does have an Aux input. The only other thing worth mentioning is the fact I can change and fine tune the sound/speaker settings all from my iPhone using the Alpine Tune App which is a pretty cool feature. So anyway for the rest of the review I’ll be focusing on CarPlay itself.

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After using CarPlay for over a month now I’ve developed a love and hate relationship with it. On one hand I love how seamlessly the iPhone integrates with my car but I also hate how the software feels unpolished as well. First lets talk about the good stuff.


[YouTube]

I recorded a video which you can watch above showing how easy and simple it is to interact and use CarPlay. My biggest reason for wanting CarPlay was the fact that Spotify is a supported app. Even though I could previously use Spotify with all my older Alpine units, this is the first time I can actually browse through my playlists, music and other Spotify specific areas all through my cars interface. I also like how well Siri works in my car now and how I could have her make calls for me or read or send messages which I dicate to her. And thats about it when it comes to the good stuff.

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Now here is whats wrong with CarPlay… it’s still very new. It reminds me of the iPhone when it first came out and so I’m expecting a lot of things to get fixed pretty soon but for now here are my biggest issues:

– Maps. For some reason I had the impression Google Maps came built into CarPlay but when I got it I realized it’s actually Apple Maps which sucks big time in Kuwait. It shows you all the roads on the screen but it won’t give you directions and you can’t search for anything. It’s pretty much useless and I’m hoping Google Maps will work with CarPlay pretty soon.

– When your phone is connected to CarPlay, ALL notifications on your phone get turned off. Meaning if your phone screen is off and someone sends you a message on Whatsapp you won’t be able to tell since the notification screen doesn’t come on to let you know nor will you get a sound notification. You don’t even get a popup on the CarPlay screen informing you of a notification like you do if you get an iMessage or SMS. Same with email or any other notification, they all stop showing on your phones lock screen and you don’t get notified in CarPlay. This means I now drive around with my phone screen on and my notification screen pulled down so I can glance at my phone every now and then while driving to check and see if I got any notifications.

– If you get or make a phone call you can’t talk to the person from your phone. You can either talk to them hands-free on the cars speakers or using your phones speakerphone. There is no option to talk to them privately using your phone so if there are people in your car the only way you can answer a phone privately is to disconnect the phone from CarPlay and then mute the car sound system (since it automatically switches to FM when you remove the phone) and then answer the phone. Super unpractical and I mean come on Apple WTF?

– Not many apps support CarPlay yet. As of now there are a handful of apps that work but the two I use are Spotify and Sticher for podcasts. I’d like to see Google Maps, Soundcloud, Whatsapp, HypeMachine and YouTube integrated into CarPlay. Just to be clear right now you can use music apps like Soundcloud with CarPlay but in basic form. For example if you play a track in Soundcloud on your phone you can view the track name and album art on the CarPlay screen and forward, pause and reverse from the screen as well but that’s it.

So as I mentioned already, CarPlay is still in its infancy. I’m expecting a lot of bugs and things to get fixed with upcoming updates and I’m also expecting a lot more app support as CarPlay becomes more and more popular. For now though if you’re considering getting CarPlay just be aware of it’s limitations. I don’t have any regrets getting it and Spotify alone is worth it for me. My Alpine iLX-007 unit cost me $499 and I picked it up from Pacific Stereo since they were one of the first to carry it.


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The Garmin Virb Elite

Post by Mark

garmin virb elite

I’ve never been a fan of the GoPro cameras so that’s why when I wanted to get an action camera a couple of years ago I ended up getting the Contour+ instead, it had some exciting features the Contour lacked as well as a slicker form factor. But, that wasn’t enough to overthrow GoPro since two years later, GoPro is still here while Contour collapsed last year due to financial difficulties. Now it’s Garmin’s turn to try and take on the GoPro with the new Virb action camera. Garmin are known for their navigation devices and this is their first attempt at an action camera so the local dealer in Kuwait passed me one to review.

I’ve had the camera now for around two months and I think I’ve got a clear idea of what I think about it. I’ve used it to record my bike trips, I’ve used it off roading in Lebanon and I’ve even tried using it as a dash cam. Generally I like the camera, it’s not perfect but it has some cool features that might make some people choose it over the more popular GoPros.

The biggest feature I think that will win people over is the durable water resistant rubber shell. The camera feels very well built and can take abuse which is why I wasn’t afraid of dropping it. Actually during this one trip the camera flew off my ATV while speeding on a rocky mountain trail. Not a scratch, not even on the lens. But even if I did scratch the lens it’s a cheap $20 part I could replace myself. Garmin wants me to put this camera in risky situations not be worried about damaging it and I love that.

Another great feature is the fact the camera has a large color LCD screen which you could use to help you frame your shots, for playback or to adjust any of the settings. The camera also has a large record toggle button similar to the one I used to have on my Contour camera which means I can turn on the camera and start recording by just moving the switch forward. Specs wise the camera can shoot 1080p at 30fps, 720p at 60fps and for extra slow mo, WVGA at 120fps. It also has GPS, wifi, bluetooth and even ANT+ so you could connect it to your heart rate monitor or other ANT+ device and overlay that information onto your video.


[YouTube]

I think the biggest issue with the Virb is the weight of the camera. Because the camera is built like a tank it’s heavier than the GoPro and that might turn some people off. Also the majority of the footage I shot was coming out slightly underexposed and desaturated as you can see in the short video above. Finally the color of the device turned out to be problematic. The Virb I received for testing was white but after having it for a couple of months now and the abuse its taken from me the white now has a bit of a brown tint where it fell into the dirt and I had difficulty restoring it. Getting the black version would be the easy fix here.

The majority of the people interested in an action camera will most likely get the GoPro because thats the one everyone gets. But, that doesn’t mean it would be the best option for you. If you’re looking for a camera that can take some abuse or a camera in which you could overlay data onto your video like the speed you’re traveling or your heart rate, then you should consider checking out the Virb. The price of the Garmin starts at KD85 for the normal Virb or KD109 for the Virb Elite which is the one I tested.


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Another Slow Juicer Option

Post by Mark

kuvings

Turns out the Hurom brand of slow juicers isn’t the only option for slow juicers in Kuwait. I spotted the above two Kuvings slow juicers at SaveCo and although they cost more than the Hurom (KD124 and KD109 compared to KD99 for the Hurom), the model on the left does accept larger pieces of fruit and according to this comparison video, can also yield more juice than the Hurom. For those of you who don’t know, slow juicers are preferred by some people because they tend to retain more nutrients during the juicing process when compared to normal juicers.


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The Blendtec Q-Series Blender

Post by Mark

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Recently I went on a blender hunt since I wanted to replace my Philips blender which started to struggle making my smoothies. I started checking out the two best blender brands, VitaMix and Blendtec. Just like the great SNES vs Genesis battle there is a similar one between VitaMix and Blendtec. You have to choose sides, it’s either VitaMix or Blendtec and you can’t have both. Both brands have excellent blenders and no matter which one you choose you can’t go wrong. After watching countless videos on YouTube of people comparing the two blenders and basically just watching people blend stuff, I came to the conclusion that both blend extremely well but I was choosing Blendtec. Why?

– I liked the way Blendtec blenders looked like compared to the VitaMix blenders. Looks aren’t everything but if I was going to spend so much on a blender and bond with it then I wanted to like everything about it including looks. For people with low kitchen cabinets the VitaMix might not fit underneath because the VitaMix jars are tall and thin while the Blendtec jars are wide and short. The Blendtec blenders also look like modern kitchen appliances while the VitaMix have an old school look which is probably why they’re so popular with hipsters.

– I’m a huge a fan of the Blendtec informercial series “Will it blend?“. In the show the company founder tries to blend random objects in their blenders and he’s blended everything from iPhones and iPads to glow sticks and McDonalds meals. If it can blend an iPhone, it can blend my smoothie.

– The local Blendtec dealer is Mabrook, the same dealer as KitchenAid and I’m already a customer there.

There really weren’t that many models to choose from at the VitaMix and Blendtec dealers and both of them carried only the business range. The Blendtec dealer had only three models, the Blendtec Xpress, the Q-Series which was their midrange unit and the Chef which was their top of the line model. I ended up going with the Q-Series because I loved the size of the unit, the way it looked and the soundproofing features. The fact that Starbucks also uses the same blender didn’t hurt either.

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The blender came in a huge unmarked brown box with just a small label on the side describing the contents. Inside the large box was the blender, two jars, some manuals and a CD. Setting up the blender was as simple as plugging it in and turning it on. It works right out of the box just like a regular blender. The “Q” in the “Q-Series” stands for quiet since the unit has sound proofing inside the case around the motor as well as a noise preventing cover that closes down over your jar. It’s meant for coffee shops and juice bars where they have to keep the noise level down as low as possible so as not to annoy the customers. The controls are fairly basic at first glance, 6 touch buttons on the top and a large power switch on the front but the 6 buttons on top are all customizable and programmable. The blender has 9 blending speeds and 30 pre-programmed blend cycles. Using the supplied “Cycle Chart” you can set up any of the 30 available pre-sets to any of the buttons on the blender and if there is a specific custom cycle you want you can take the blender to the dealer and they will program it into the blender.

I use one of the factory set smoothie cycles that is just 23 seconds long and consists of the following cycle: Starts off at speed 3 then goes to 5,1,3,5,3,6 and finally ends at speed 7. During the blending process the units LCD display will show you what speed the blender is on and how many seconds left for the blending process to be completed. The same blue LCD screen also displays a smoothie counter, kinda like how your car has the odometer, the Blendtec blender has a lifetime counter. As of this post I have made 95 smoothies in the two weeks I’ve had my blender.

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There is literally nothing this blender can’t blend and no matter what I’ve thrown at it the blender has never even given the slightest sign of a struggle. My Q-Series blender has a 3.8hp motor and I haven’t used anything higher than a speed 7 even though it goes up to speed 9. I really didn’t realize how much my older blender used to struggle when making smoothies until I tried it again a week after getting my Blendtec. Not only did my old blender struggle but it also used to take around a minute to blend a smoothie. On the other hand I had a smoothie party last week and I was blending smoothies left and right flipping between two jars like a pro and blending nearly 3 smoothies a minute. I love this blender.

There are some downsides though. First is the fact the blender came with the regular 4-side jars and not the newer 5-side WildSide+ jar which is supposed to blend even quicker. The other negative is the fact the lid of the jar leaks when I clean the jar. To clean the jar all you do is fill it up with a bit of water and add a drop of soap. You then mount the jar on the the blender and use the “Pulse” button until the jar is clean. Only issue is unless I’m really holding down on the lid really hard it ends up leaking water from the top. I haven’t had any issue when blending my smoothies just when cleaning the jar but still, it’s annoying to have to keep wiping my blender down after cleaning a jar. The last issue is the price.

Before I mention the price I have to say, this blender is not for everyone in the same way Subzero fridges and Viking ranges aren’t for everyone. If you want a really good blender at a great price then I highly recommend the Philips which I previously had. But the Blendtec is one of the best blenders you can buy period and it’s commercial grade which is why it costs a staggering KD375. Even the Blendtec Xpress which is the entry level blender at the local dealer is still KD193. But good blenders cost a lot of money and it’s not just Blendtec or blenders, commercial grade appliances be it a fridge or a toaster will cost considerably more than regular plastic appliances. The VitaMix blenders I checked out locally were expensive as well with their entry level Drink Machine Two-Speed going for KD260 while their Vita Prep 3 is for KD359.

I love my blender.


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Need to fix your remote or tv?

Post by Mark

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I have a remote control I use to control my media server which I’m very used to since I’ve been using it for a number of years now. It’s not an expensive remote, it costs around KD7 on Amazon with an IR receiver but if you include shipping as well it comes out to around KD12. Recently it just stopped working for no reason and I really didn’t feel like ordering another one online. Other than the fact it would have taken around two weeks to get to Kuwait I just didn’t want to pay KD12 for a remote which shouldn’t have stopped working in the first place. So I headed to Hawalli looking for a place that would fix it and after asking around I was pointed to a building and told to go down to the basement.

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It had to be the dodgiest basement of a complex I had ever been to. There was no lighting, most of the shops were closed and the only light available in the basement were from the few stores that were open. One of my favorite things about Kuwait is how all the stores that sell the same thing are always open next to each other. So you have all the video game stores in Rihab, all the car dealers in Al Rai and here you had a basement filled with small stores that just fixed electronics.

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From all the stores open one stood out because they specialized in selling just remote controls which I found fascinating. I ended up going into one of the repair stores and after opening up my remote the repair guy told me two chips on the remote needed replacing. Originally he asked for KD4 but I was able to haggle my way down to KD2. Took him around 5 minutes to fix it while I watched.

So if you ever need a remote or any small electronics repaired this is probably the basement to visit. The basement is located in Hawalli past the Fire Station in a complex called Al Hajiri. Here it is on [Google Maps]


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The Sony QX10 and QX100

Post by Mark

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The new QX series cameras from Sony are part of their new range of mobile phone cameras.Sony realized that camera phones in general are pretty limited with the majority for example lacking any kind of optical zoom. Phone cameras also have really tiny sensors so the photos aren’t very sharp or detailed neither do they do so well in dimly lit situations. Thats why Sony came up with the idea to create a new line of cameras that would clip onto your current phone giving it a big boost. I picked up both the Sony QX10 and the slightly larger QX100 from the Sony dealer for this review.

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Both the QX10 and QX100 follow the same principle, they both don’t have any screens and other than the power, shoot and zoom buttons, both cameras don’t have any other controls. The Sony QX10 is the smaller and cheaper of the two, it has a sensor delivering 18MP and it has a 10x optical zoom. The QX100 on the other hand has a large size sensor that delivers 20MP as well as an added bonus of having a bright F/1.8 lens. On the downside, the QX100 has only 3.6x optical zoom, it’s double the size of the QX10 and it’s also a lot more expensive.

Lets get something out of the way. Both these cameras perform much better than your mobile phone cameras. Between the two cameras the QX100 was obviously and clearly the better of the two because of the larger sensor and better lens optics. Because of the fact both these cameras easily out perform camera phones I decided this post wouldn’t focus on the quality of the photos but instead I’m going to focus on the practicality of the cameras.

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Because these two cameras lack a screen you need to connect them to your phone. That’s a fairly easy process, you turn on the cameras and then you connect your phone to the cameras wifi. You then need to download the Sony app “PlayMemories” which will allow you to control the camera and take photos. Every time you want to use the camera, you launch the PlayMemories app and turn the camera on and wait for the two to connect. This is where I start having issues.

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When it comes to capturing a quick moment both cameras fail miserably. If the camera isn’t already on and connected to your phone then you’ll most likely miss your shot because turning it on and then connecting it to your phone is a process that can easily take over 10 seconds. By then whatever moment you were trying to capture is long gone.

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My biggest issue is that fact the cameras really aren’t that compact.Between the two the QX10 fits into my pocket but it’s still thick enough to create a bulge, a similar bulge to one I would have if I had a slim full featured point and shoot camera in my pocket. Actually the Sony DSC-TX30 is even slimmer so I would have less of a bulge with that. The QX100 on the other hand won’t even fit into my jeans pocket.

Now both these cameras do have one very cool feature that no regular point and shoot can compete with. The QX series cameras don’t have to be attached to your phone to work. If you’re at a concert you can hold the camera in your hand way above your head and while checking and taking photos from your phone at your eye level like a periscope. You can also set up the camera on a table in front of you and then use the phones screen to setup your selfie. You could even setup the camera in one room while taking photos from another and the reason you can do all this because the cameras work over WiFi. This I think is the coolest thing about these two cameras.

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Which brings me to a question, who would prefer these two cameras over Sony’s other cameras? I honestly don’t know, I guess it’s for people who would take advantage of the fact you don’t have to have the camera connected to your phone. Price wise, both cost nearly the same price as Amazon with the QX10 costing KD69.9 and the the QX100 KD147.9 at the Sony dealer. If I was to choose between the two I would go with the QX10, its cheaper, its smaller and it has the added benefit of a 10X optical zoom.


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InfoConnect 2014

Post by Mark

The 32nd InfoConnect exhibition starts tomorrow and will be running till February 2nd at the Kuwait International Fairgrounds. You can usually get some great deals on phones and internet subscriptions at the exhibit and theres already a thread in the Community listing some of the offers.

For more details including the exhibition timings click [Here]

Note: Their website says January 26th to February 1st but their flyer says January 27th to February 2nd.


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