Second Impression: Beats by Dre

Posted by Mark

They’re big. I think that summarizes my experience with the Beats. As I said in my first impression I would post about the Beats after my experience with them traveling so here it is. Basically they are extremely comfortable, they sound amazing and the noise reduction is pretty impressive. The biggest and only problem I have with the Beats is the size. They barely fit into my messenger bag! If I had my backpack it wouldn’t be such a problem but I am now mostly traveling with my messenger bag and the Beats are too big to fit comfortably in them.

While on the plane watching an episode of Boston Legal on my iPod, a guy sitting across me in the isle tapped my shoulder. Turned out he had the Bose QuietComfort 3 and wanted to know if the headphones I had on my head had noise reduction. I gave him the headphones to try on and according to him the Beats had better noise reduction than the QuietComfort 3 which actually impressed me since I am not a big fan of Bose. He also commented on the fact how the Beats fit around the ear giving a perfect seal while the Bose fit over the ear. He thinks thats why they offer better noise reduction which makes sense.

Anyway although I really love these headphones I highly doubt I will end up buying them. I need travel headphones and although these are very comfortable they just aren’t practical to lug around because of their size. If only they folded down flatter…

Amazon is currently offering a $50 discount on the Beats by Dre. Click here to check it out. [Amazon Link]


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First Impression: Beats by Dre

Posted by Mark

I got an email the other day from Alghanim Electronics asking me if there was anything they had I would be interested in trying out and reviewing. I thought about it for a bit and decided to ask for the Beats by Dr.Dre headphones. I’ve been thinking about getting them but really wanted to try them out first before spending the big bucks. I already have a lot of head/ear phones: Bang & Olufsen A8, Shure E2, Sennheiser PX100, AKG K81 DJ and the Ultimate Ears Super.fi 5 Pro. So I really needed a good reason to get another and I think I just found it.

THE BASS!

Damn, I was just listening to random stuff from my itunes list, Nine Inch Nails, Paul Oakenfold, Warren G, Pet Shop Boys, Chemical Brothers.. just anything I clicked on and everything was sounding really great. Then I put Touch It by Busta Rhymes and my jaw hit the floor. I am still in shock on how something so small (ok they aren’t really small but they are smaller than my full sized speakers) could put out this much bass. It just sounded incredible, makes me want to keep listening to music all day.

The headphones cost KD99 at Alghanim Electronics which surprisingly makes it cheaper than Amazon. On Amazon.com they cost KD95 (with tax) plus factor in KD5.5 for shipping and you end up paying at least KD100. Will post more about these headphones once I get to properly test them out.

Update: Amazon is currently offering a $50 discount on the Beats by Dre. Click here to check it out. [Amazon Link]


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First Impression: Dean & Deluca

Posted by Mark

I had been hearing a lot of negative stuff about Dean & Deluca like how everything they have is available at Sultan Center, or how their prices are too expensive and how they really don’t have many products so when I passed by this weekend I wasn’t expecting much.

The place ROCKS. I don’t know what people are complaining about. First of all I don’t think I saw anything there that was available at Sultan Center. Price wise, yes they have caviar that costs over KD2,000 and Black Truffles that cost over KD600 but those items aren’t meant for us, they’re for the people who can afford them. I checked out their meat section and found their prices actually cheap, at least I think KD3.600/kg for Wagyu beef is cheap. They have around 6 or 7 types of mushrooms and a whole range of fruits and vegetables that I haven’t seen before. They even have a great seafood section. I also found out they made gourmet sandwiches, kinda like the ones at Napket and also have ready made soup (Lobster Bisque for KD2).

I am really glad a place like Dean & Deluca opened up in Kuwait and I hope it does well so that it remains open. Places like this bring back the joy in cooking. If you haven’t passed by please do, they’re located in the Avenues, phase II.

(I couldn’t take any pictures because the two times I passed by it was PACKED so if you have any pictures email them to me)


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First Impression: Napket

Posted by Mark

Napket

I passed by Napket tonight at the Avenues for dinner although I was hesitant at first. Over the weekend when I found the place open and I tried to take a picture of the place from the outside the manager of Napket wouldn’t let me which pissed me off and then I read a lot of negative stuff about their service on the Kuwait & Food Facebook group so that also put me off. But I decided to put that all aside and try the place myself.

Napket

The place looks really great, probably one of my favorite restaurant interiors in Kuwait and they definitely have my favorite outdoor terrace. I started checking their sandwiches, Nataly their salad when we were approached by a waiter who asked us what we wanted to have. I decided to go with The NY Thing which was kinda like a club sandwich while Nataly decided to go with this wrap I forgot what it was called but it had shrimps and watercress. We then went and sat down outside near their small fountain which overlooks the big Avenues one.

Napket

The food arrived shortly there after and they came on really cool wooden plank like plates. Both the sandwiches were great and I would definitely have them again. Their bread I am guessing is baked in house and was probably the highlight of the sandwiches. I really couldn’t find anything negative except probably for the price. Its not cheap. Two sandwiches and a coke cost KD8.200 which is more expensive than a proper 3 course meal at my favorite Chinese restaurant Ceasars. Still, I would definitely go back.

Pictures above are of Napket Kuwait and was provided by them.


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First Impression: Infiniti G37s Coupe

Posted by Mark

G37

I used to find Lexus and Infiniti pretty boring but not anymore. My experience with the G37s was short and slightly confusing. I was expecting it to be an aggressive loud sports car but it wasn’t. I was expecting it to be ridiculously fast but it also wasn’t. The thing is the car has 330hp which is nearly as much as the previous generation BMW M3 and that was a brutal car. But the G37 is completely different, its a quiet fast car. Its the kind of car in which you’ll accidentally hit 160km/h on the Gulf Road while thinking you’re doing 40. Its fast but you just don’t feel it.

G37 interior

The interior of the car is very cozy and its probably my favorite thing about the car. I found the seats Lazy Boy comfortable but thats because my Z4 has hard tight sport seats while my Wrangler, well its a Wrangler. I also really liked the the black leather interior but I would have done without the wooden trimming. But again thats because I keep thinking it’s a sports car and not a very comfortable luxury coupe that can go fast. The car also has all the goodies like iPod inputs, navigation system, reverse camera, key less entry and a start button. The car I drove had a bright red exterior but if I was to get it I would probably go with a silver or dark grey color.

The G37s costs around KD14,000 while the non “s” version goes for around KD13,000. The G37s costs around KD13,750 fully loaded. I think the price is very reasonable and the car really doesn’t have any competition in that price range. The Audi TT costs nearly the same but the new TT is pretty dull and its also much smaller while the new Audi A5 coupe costs like KD18,000. The BMW 3 series is also more expensive, the Mercedes CLK is getting a redesign soon and Lexus don’t even have a model that competes with this. Thats why I think the G37 is going to do really well. Its a great Japanese car and you can’t go wrong with it.


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First Impression: Nokia E71

Posted by Mark

My E71

I’ve had the E71 for a few hours now and so far compared to my previous phone the Nokia E61i, the E71 is better in every aspect. For those of you who own E61i’s you will be glad to know that the E71 is a much much faster phone, MUCH faster. Everything launches in a split second and moving from menu item to menu item and opening or closing an SMS is all instantaneous. The size of the device is also smaller, width wise its around 20% less fat and its also slightly less thick. The camera is finally usable and the keyboard although smaller than the E61i doesn’t feel cramped or strange in any way. I’ve also noticed the phone is a lot more customizable which is a plus and its also smarter. For example in the main screen if you no longer want to display SMS notifications, you just highlight it and press the delete button and it will ask you if you want to hide it from the main screen. The power button has now moved to the top which is a good idea since I had a bad habit of accidentally shutting the phone with my ear, not fun specially if you are in the middle of a conversation.

On the negative side the GPS seems extremely slow and unpractical. The phone also loves finger prints and smudges which is very iPhonish. The case also seems more fragile. I’ve dropped my E61i so many times and I am not sure the E71 can handle as much abuse. Overall though I am really impressed with the phone. I was expecting it to be better than the E61i and it has exceeded my expectation in every way so far. Oh and its no longer showing me MTC on the main screen, its finally showing me Zain KW!


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First Impression: Sony DSC-W300

Posted by Mark

Sony W300

After a very difficult decision I went ahead and purchased the Sony DSC-W300 digital camera. It was a difficult decision to make because the other camera options I was considering were all exceptionally good. I really wanted the Canon G9 for its SLR like features, the Ricoh GX100 for its strange look and the fact it took beautiful film like shots while the Sigma’s image quality alone was enough to tempt me to buy it. In the end though I REALLY needed a camera that I could carry around in my front pocket and I wouldn’t be able to do that with the three cameras I just mentioned. That brought down my choices to the Fuji F100fd, Nikon S600 and the Sony W300. The Fuji’s interface and usability I read would be a problem, the Nikon S600 lacked in certain features and I tried the S700 version at a Nikon dealer and didn’t like the feel of it so my final decision was to go with the Sony. I own two other Sony cameras at the moment, the Sony N1 and the Sony cult favorite the F717. Both cameras really exceeded my expectations and I never had problems with them so it only seemed fair I go with another Sony.

I purchased the camera from a store in Muthana Complex. The Sony dealer didn’t have the camera in stock and they were selling it for KD124.900, Carrefour also ran out of stock on the camera but they were selling it for KD123.900. But, I found a Sony reseller in Muthana who had the camera in stock and I managed to haggle my way and get the camera for KD118 with a 1GB Sony memory stick. The store if you are interested is located on the Mezzanine floor of Muthana between Andalus and the official Sony store.

First impressions so far is great. I’ve only taken shots in my office under the neon lights but the white balance did a good job. I also don’t need to turn on macro mode for macro shots, the camera automatically turns it on for me which is a nice little feature. I also shot inside at 1/30 with fairly shaky hands and the steady shot feature automatically came on to help keep my pictures sharp. The camera turns on and is ready to shoot in like under 2 seconds. Powering down takes around 3 which I actually find annoying since with my older Sony N1 I would hit the power off and then straight away put it into my pocket. Now I need to wait a second or two longer which means I have to change my habit. Other than that the only problem I can see at the moment is with the rear screen. With my Sony N1 the rear screen had a raised border around it which helped protect it from scratches, with the W300 the screen doesn’t have this border which makes it scratch friendly. This will only be an issue for me for the next week or two while the camera still has its “new smell” after that I won’t care much about it.

I will try to take a bunch of shots today in various conditions and post my second impressions. For now though I think I made the right decision. The camera has a ton of features and most importantly it fits into my pocket easily.

FYI: The reason I didn’t purchase the camera from Amazon was because after taxes it would cost me around KD100 then if you include shipping it would be around KD105 which isn’t a major saving. I would rather pay KD118 here, get the free memory stick, have a 1 year warranty and support a local store.

Pic13

Update: This is a random shot I took outside on my way back from lunch. You can download the full untouched straight from the camera image by clicking [Here]. I shot this at the 8MP setting and not 13MP.

Update 2: Here is a shot of Nats MacBook Pro’s keyboard. It was shot at 13.6MP in macro mode using iso 1600. I am really impressed, keep in mind this is a P&S camera not a DSLR. The JPG is 4.38MB so its better if you right click and save as. [Picture 4.38MB]


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First Impression: Asus Eee 900

Posted by Mark

Asus Eee 900

My Asus Eee 900 arrived today from the States and its amazing. I had seen the previous version of the Eee with the smaller screen but the new 8.9inch screen with the higher resolution is wayyyy better. Like most Eee users have mentioned before, the keyboard is tiny which is going to take time to get used to. Currently I am touch typing this post from my Eee and I am doing fine except every few words I hit a wrong letter or two.

The size of the actual laptop is really tiny as you can tell from the picture above. Its a one lap laptop! I have the 20GB version of the Eee that comes installed with a custom Linux OS and I think its really cool so far. Boot time is like under 30 seconds and FireFox is runs great. I am really loving the Eee.

The Eee cost me KD140 and you can purchase it from Amazon:
Asus Eee 900 with Windows [Link]
Asus Eee 900 with Linux [Link]


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First Impression: HP 2133 mini-notebook

Posted by Mark

HP 2133

Yesterday I posted about the HP 2133 and just awhile ago my partner at work brought his friends HP 2133 into the office. First impressions, its a lot bigger and heavier than I expected. The Asus Eee feels tiny and very light compared to the HP. Windows XP was installed on the HP which was running pretty smoothly. I wasn’t able to test out videos but XP booted up at a decent speed and all the applications seem to open instantaneously. The system I had was the 1.6ghz with 1.75GB of RAM, this version I think costs like $800 which isn’t cheap.

The screen is really great and the keyboard felt like a regular laptop keyboard, big keys and all spaced out nicely. But, the size and weight of this thing has really pushed me towards the Asus Eee 900.

Update: I forgot to mention, the trackpad with the trackpad buttons are the worst I have ever used.


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First Impression: Totally Fish

Posted by Mark

Totally Fish

Although Totally Fish has been open in Marina Crescent for two years now I never passed by to try it. It was one of those places I kept hearing negative stuff about mostly that it was too expensive and that the food wasn’t really good. But last night I felt like having seafood and decided to pass by Totally Fish since it was nearby.

I was with Nat and we ended up ordering Salmon Croquette and Prawns Cake for appetizer while for the main course she had a Salmon dish while I had Balloul. The appetizers were pretty ordinary and we wouldn’t order them again. We also didn’t like our main courses that much, Nats salmon had too many flavors, none of which was Salmon while my Balloul was just really forgettable. The biggest surprise was the fact that the prices weren’t expensive at all. The Salmon Croquette was around KD1.500, while the Prawns Cake around KD2.500. The Salmon was for KD6.750 while the Balloul was KD6.500. The portions were also surprisingly big.

Even though we didn’t enjoy any of the dishes I am still going to go back. Its common to order the wrong dishes the first time at a place and since their location is good, the staff friendly and the prices very reasonable, they are worth a second visit.


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