First Impression: The DJI Spark Mini Drone

Post by Mark

I wasn’t planning on posting about the DJI Spark until I got to use it on my upcoming trip, but because of the amount of interest I got on it from my instagram story and twitter over the weekend, I decided I’d at least post my first impression. First full disclosure, DJI released the Spark last month and when I saw Xcite had a preorder page for it, I got in touch with them and asked them if they could send me one over to review. They couldn’t get me a Spark from their first shipment since it quickly sold out, but Thursday they got in touch with me to let me know they secured me a drone from their second shipment and I passed by and picked it up.

The DJI Spark is tiny, like super tiny. Its around the same size as my iPhone 6 and it weighs just 300 grams. But don’t let the size fool you, this isn’t an indoor drone and it’s packed with advanced features of its older brothers. I’m not going to go into too many details since there are a ton of YouTube videos that do that, but I will highlight some things in this post which I think are cool.

There are three ways to control the Spark, either with your phone, with the optional remote, or using hand gestures. The last one is a bit of a gimmick but it works and it can be useful.

Hand Gestures
The Spark has a sensor at the front that will recognize your face and then detect your hand gestures which you can use to control the drone. You wave goodbye at the drone and it will fly up and hover away from you. You want it to snap a photo of you? Just give it the correct gesture and it will take your photo. This is pretty cool because it keeps things simple for those who don’t want more out of the drone other than snapping selfies. You can watch the video above of how this works.

Using Your Phone
The Spark doesn’t come with a remote control, instead you can download an app onto your phone and use it to control the drone using wifi. This means you don’t have to carry a remote around which keeps the Spark portable. The only downside is that the Spark’s flight height is limited to 50 meters and the flight range to just 100m when using the phone due to the wifi’s limited range. The top speed is also limited to 20km/h.

Remote Control
The first thing I did after picking up the Spark was buy the optional remote control. Personally I can’t use virtual control sticks in apps, maybe I’m old fashioned but I like physical buttons and joysticks. The second reason I wanted to get the remote control was because it increases the flight height from 50m to 500m and the flight range from 100m up to 2KM. That’s a HUGE increase. With the remote control you can also put the drone into sport mode which increases the top speed to 50kmh. Really impressive specs for something so freakin tiny. I still can’t believe how high it can fly.

I spent the weekend playing around with the Spark and as a complete drone newbie, I did find the experience overwhelming at first but that’s probably because I didn’t read any instructions and just winged it. Friday morning I woke up early and headed to my favorite open area in the desert to take some photos. There was an overcast so my photos were coming out very flat and dull, but I did manage to take one photo which I added to my instagram story. Saturday morning I decided to take the drone near Scientific Center and fly it there, that was a pretty scary experience because when I told the drone to come home and land, I freaked out because I got worried it would decide to land in the sea. It did’t thankfully and instead came back down to it’s original launching point. That same afternoon I wanted to see if I could fly the drone from my hand and then have it land back in my hand when I was done, all without having to leave my car. It worked! Because the drone is so tiny you could use your palm as a launch and landing pad.

If you’re a beginner like me, the drone has a bunch of automated and smart flying modes that will make your videos look professionally shot including:

Active Track: You highlight the subject you want the Spark to follow and it will follow it
Tripod: Keeps the drone stable and slow allowing you to film cinematic shots
Rocket: Starts filming you from eye level and then flies straight up while still focusing on you
Dronie: Starts filming you from eye level and then angles out and away from you while still keeping you in focus
Circle: The Spark films you while rotating around you
Helix: Rocket + Circle combined

Battery life is my only issue with the Spark so far. The total flight time is just 16 minutes which isn’t a lot especially if you factor in the time it will take you to get to the height you want, position your drone and also the amount of time the drone needs to fly back down to you. You’re definitely gonna need more batteries and I already ordered 2 from Amazon and they’ll be waiting for me in L.A. when I get there end of the week.

Overall I love this little thing. It kinda feels like having an invisible photographer friend with you everywhere you go. When I went out to the desert to take some photos, I tried the active tracking feature and had the Spark follow my car around shooting video of it while I was driving. In the winter when I go snowboarding I could have the Spark follow me shooting video of me face planting all the way down the slope. It’s tiny and light enough to take everywhere with you which is why I’m looking forward to using it on my trip.

If you’re interested in the DJI Spark, Xcite are selling them for KD169. Here is the [Link]


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Review: Em Sherif Kuwait

Post by Mark

Yesterday I headed to Em Sherif with Fajer the lawyer for futoor. I had pre-booked a few days earlier but was on a waiting list and luckily a table freed up so we went. If you’ve never been to Em Sherif before in Beirut or Dubai, it’s basically an upscale Lebanese restaurant with a set menu. The Kuwait location just opened up a few weeks ago in Bida’a behind Palms and I’ve been meaning to try it ever since I found out about it.


Photo from their instagram account @emsherifkuwait

The interior is beautiful and very tastefully done but star of the evening had to be the food. The amount of food we ate last night was just insane, I don’t think I’ve ever eaten that much before. The dishes kept coming one after the other and by dish #22 I had to ask the waiter how many dishes in total they were. They serve a total of 35 dishes, thats basically a 35 course meal and it’s crazy. I was falling into a food coma before I even finished having lunch. They really should give you a medal or some sort of certificate for completing the set menu, kinda like how you get a medal just for completing a marathon.

The service was also superb and just the overall experience was fantastic. The cost is KD25 per person (soft drinks not included) and it really is great value for money. Right now, this is by far my favorite Lebanese restaurant in Kuwait and I’ll definitely be going back.

For reservations you can call them on 90977997.


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Review: Fitbit Alta HR

Post by Mark

A couple of months back, Fitbit sent me their latest fitness tracker to review, the Alta HR. I’m a mechanical watch kind of guy and so don’t own an Apple Watch so figured this would be a good alternative. I’d be able to keep wearing my mechanical watches on one wrist, and a fitness tracker on the other.

The Fitbit Alta HR is a pretty great looking tracker, it’s slim and looks like a regular rubber bracelet and so can be worn on the opposite wrist of your watch and not look like you’re wearing two watches. The biggest selling point for me with the Fitbit was the fact it had a heart rate monitor. I’ve been going to spinning quite a bit and was curious to know how many calories I was burning exactly. Since the Fitbit could monitor my heart rate, I assumed it would be great at that one job… it wasn’t. But I’ll get to that in a minute.

The Alta HR has a pretty simple and straight forward screen that can display the time, your heart rate, how many steps you’ve done, how many calories you’ve burned and a bunch of other information. You flip through the screens by tapping the screen and using the Fitbit app on your phone, you can even customize what information you want to show on the screen and in what order. So in my case the first screen would show me my heart rate, second screen the calories burned, followed by my active minutes and finally the battery life.

I like the screen because of its simplicity but I hate the responsiveness of it. I have quick view turned off since I don’t want the screen to turn on randomly when I raise or flick my wrist, so to turn the screen on I need to tap it. Problem is, 99% of the time it doesn’t turn on with the first tap, 70% of the time it doesn’t turn on with the second tap, 30% of the time it doesn’t turn on with the 3rd tap either. I have to tap the screen a few times to get it to wake up and thats very frustrating. The other major issue I have with the Alta HR is that the heart rate monitor doesn’t seem to work when I’m sweaty which is when I need it to work the most since thats when I’m working out. During spinning when I’m curious to see my heart rate, I need to tap a few times on the screen to turn it on and when it finally would come on I’d get “–” which means it can’t read my heart rate. Then the screen shuts off again and I tap it a few times to wake it up and I get “–” again. Then the screen shuts off and I tap it again a few times and suddenly its reading my heart rate and showing “148” or whatever my heart rate is at that moment. So much work and in the middle of spinning its really unpractical.

The worst part is it doesn’t seem to be accurate at all. Saturday I ditched my gym and didn’t do any exercise other than binge watch season 2 of “F is for Family” and my Fitbit says I burned 2,995 calories that day. Yesterday on the other hand I had 45 minutes of spinning and my Fitbit says I burned 3,084 calories all day. It won’t do the one thing I wanted the Fitbit to do which is let me know how many calories I’m burning during spinning. It doesn’t make any sense.

On the bright side, it does seem to be good at doing one thing really well, monitoring my sleep. The Fitbit is pretty accurate in knowing when you fall asleep and when you wake up. It also uses your heart rate to monitor how much deep sleep you’re getting, if you’re waking up in the middle of the night and how much light sleep you’re getting. So if you want to monitor your sleeping patterns this is actually a pretty great tracker for that. Another great feature is the ability to vibrate when you get a phone call or message. My phone is always on silent and I tend to not notice it vibrating sometimes. Now my wrist vibrates as well and so I haven’t missed a call ever since I started wearing the Fitbit. Battery life on this thing is also fantastic, it lasts around a week of constant use which means you don’t have to constantly be charging it.

Overall though I’m pretty disappointed with the Alta HR. The biggest selling point for me was the ability to monitor my heart rate and let me know how many calories I was burning but that didn’t work out as planned. The FitBit Alta HR is selling for around KD54 on [Xcite] and KD59 on [Blink]. Here is a link to the official Fitbit Alta HR product page [Link]


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The Lotus Exige S – One Month Later

Post by Mark

It’s been a month since I bought the Lotus, and in this month I managed to drive just over 3000KM and even shipped it to Bahrain to race it on their GP circuit. When I first got the car I was in love with it but after this weekends trip to Bahrain, I’m now even more in love with it if thats somehow even possible.

So far modification wise, I’ve done two things to the car, the first was to swap out the shitty stock radio with a much better one that has bluetooth at least. The second thing I did was to get front paint protection from ProTech. So the whole front of the car till the windshield is now protected with an invisible film. I wouldn’t usually do this but because its such a low car and I’m driving it daily, I figured it would be worth getting the protection for the long run. I also ordered some better speakers and I should be installing those myself sometime this week. I don’t think I’ll be doing any other modifications after I get the sound system up to spec, I’ll possibly get window tinting but thats about it.

I’ve been driving the car daily since I got it, it’s now my main daily drive while the FJ has become my going to Shuwaikh or going to chalet car. Although the Lotus suspension is pretty stiff, its not uncomfortable at all and I don’t even have issues with the front and bottom of the car scraping on speed bumps even though the car is super low. I did nearly have an issue after shopping at Allsaints, their bag was too big to fit in my trunk. But, after a bit of origami work, I managed to shrink the bag enough to close the trunk lid. So yeah I definitely won’t be picking up people from the airport in the Lotus, not unless they’re traveling with just their wallet and phone.


Sorry about the terrible angle, will fix it next time

When I took the car to track day in Bahrain, thats where I fell in love with the car even more. Racing on the track in the Lotus was a ridiculous amount of fun. It’s extremely well balanced on turns, has minimal body roll, lots of power and as expected, incredible handling. The steering wheel isn’t powered so on the track it was providing me with so much feedback that there is no way I would now want to go back to a car with powered steering for track use. I did the full track day at the Bahrain International Circuit which was from 4PM to 11PM at night and the car handled it like a champ. The sessions were divided between cars and motorbikes, 30 minutes cars, 30 minutes bikes. Over the course of the 30 minute session I never faced any issues like overheating or brakes starting to fade. If it wasn’t for the 30 minute session limit, I could keep going on and on and on.


Photo courtesy of Bahrain International Circuit

The only thing that actually would prevent me from going on and on is the size of the fuel tank, it’s tiny (43l). After every two sessions I had to drive to the gas station down the street from the race track and fill up my tank full again. I filled up like 4 times that afternoon. Other than that I didn’t really have any main issues. I need a new set of tires and thats gonna set me back like KD450 which sucks. I actually need to work out some kind of deal with Pirelli since I’m going to be visiting them quite often.

I also had two issues with the car which I’m guessing are related to my hard driving on the track. The first issue was that my car wouldn’t lock by remote because it kept thinking my rear hood was open even though it wasn’t. The second issue was with my AC blower knob, when I’d switch it to blower speed 3, the AC would shut off but would work fine on speed 1 and 2. So after the car came back from Bahrain yesterday, I dropped it off at the dealer and they just messaged me awhile ago telling me they fixed both issues and to go in and pick up the car.

I’m loving their service so far and they’re not giving me extra special treatment because I’m Mark. A friend of mine also bought a Lotus a couple of weeks ago and the first thing he told me was how much he loved their service. They really are great, I whatsapp the brand manager for example all the time with the most mundane things, and he hasn’t blocked me yet! (Thank you Waleed)

So would I recommend the Lotus? YES, for sure. Before I bought the car I was torn between it, the BMW M2 and the Porsche Cayman GT4 but now after spending a month with that car I know I made the right choice. A friend of mine just bought a Lotus as well and I have another friend who’s considering the Exige 380 Cup in the beautiful baby blue color (like in the video above). You need to get in and drive a Lotus to understand what all the fuss is about. I already told the Lotus dealer they should hook me up with free brake pads and tires for every referral I send their way but I think they think I’m kidding. I’m not. Like with all brands I love, I tend to promote them like I own them and it’s no different with Lotus, I’ve been promoting the hell out of them.

For those of you who’re interested in tracking your car in Bahrain, stay tuned for a separate post on how you could do that as well.


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Should you get a new iPad? Yes!

Post by Mark

Recently I bought a new iPad, the iPad Pro 9.7″ specifically. I wasn’t planning to, but someone had a brand new unopened iPad Pro in my classifieds section listed for KD120, and it was just too good of a deal to pass up. I had a third generation iPad from 2012 which I had been using occasionally and like most people who own iPads, I really didn’t think I needed to get the new one. I just didn’t think there would be that big of a difference but damn I couldn’t have been more wrong.

The difference in experience between my old iPad 3 and the new iPad Pro is ridiculously huge, I’m not sure where to begin even.

Probably the most noticeable difference between my old iPad and the new one is the speed. I used to find my old iPad sluggish especially when browsing and opening new tabs which is what I was using it mostly for, but I didn’t realize how slow and sluggish it was until I started using the new iPad. Launching apps is now instant and the speed which websites load and tabs open up is just as fast. Tabs would actually load in the background now while before they’d only load when in the foreground. It’s a little thing but it makes surfing the web a lot quicker.

Another thing that stuck out for me was the multitasking ability. My iPad 3 didn’t support the new iOS 10 and all the cool features that come with it like AirDrop and multitasking. So once I got the new iPad and started multitasking I realized how much of a big difference it makes especially if you’re like me and like to do a bunch of things at the same time. I can now browse reddit, check twitter and stream Hulu all at the same time with just a few swipes (pictured above). It’s so easy to do as well, if you want to load up another app on the side, you just swipe from the right edge of the screen to the left and that’s it, you’ve now got two apps running side by side. If I wanted to attempt the same on my MacBook Pro it would involve more steps and the end result wouldn’t look as good.

The faster speed and multitasking ability alone would have made getting the new iPad worth it, but there are a few more things I liked as well. Compared to my old iPad the new one is so much thinner and lighter so its so much more enjoyable when using in bed. The ability to use Apple’s smart keyboard is also a huge plus. I picked up a new Apple Smart Keyboard for just $80 on eBay and I love it. Most of the time I use it as a protective cover but whenever I need to type something I just fold out the keyboard and start typing. No need to wait for Bluetooth to connect or to make sure my keyboard is charged, it just works right away all the time. If I could draw for shit, I’d also pick up the Apple Pencil but I can’t so I won’t.

Basically, if you have an old iPad it really is worth upgrading to the newer models especially if you’re still running iOS 9. I’ve started using my iPad a lot more now and I can’t believe it took me this long to get one.


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Gaming Review: Sony Playstation VR

Post by Patrick

Virtual Reality has been something people have been dreaming of for as long as I remember and it feels like in the past few years, VR has been pushed hard with the likes of Oculus, the HTC Vive, and to some extent Microsoft’s Hololens. What makes the PlayStation VR (PSVR) special though is that it doesn’t require a powerful computer, it’s priced reasonably well and it’s relatively simple to set up without needing you to tinker too much with the settings. So it was easy to take up X-Cite’s offer to send my brother and I a PSVR to test out and write about.

The PSVR headset looks good, the build quality doesn’t feel cheap and its comfortable once you wear it. On the other hand the amount of cables it takes to set it up is unfortunate. This isn’t something you’ll leave lying around once you’re done using it for the night (unless you don’t mind clutter). As someone who is married and has three cats I have to pack it away every time I’m done using it. The reason for this clutter is that the PSVR doesn’t plug straight into the PS4. A processor box is included with the PSVR that includes an HDMI splitter, so you have thick cable running from the headset to this processor box, an HDMI cable from the PS4 into the processor box, another HDMI cable from the processor box to your TV, a USB cable from the processor box to the PS4 and a separate power cable into the processor. Oh and that doesn’t include the Playstation Camera cable which you also need for the PSVR.

Clutter aside, I was excited to try out the PSVR. I had a little bit of experience with the Oculus so I know how cool VR can be. I played a couple of games using the PSVR, Batman: Arkham VR, Driveclub VR, Rez Infinite, the Call of Duty: Jackal Assault VR, Super Hypercube and some games on the demo disc that came bundled with the headset. One thing you have to get used to when using the PSVR is that the visuals aren’t as crisp as what you’d get on your TV, there’s an annoying fuzziness that you’ll notice in most games and in some cases, games blur things in your peripherals (Batman suffers from this).

A concern I had was motion sickness and nausea. I have a sensitive stomach and I tend to get motion sickness quite easily and so was expecting to get sick playing Driveclub VR, Eve Valkyrie or Call of Duty Jackal Assault. Surprisingly though I didn’t suffer from motion sickness in any of the games I tried. Mark on the other hand got motion sickness ten minutes into Resident Evil 7 and then got motion sickness again a minute into his first race in Driveclub VR. This is something you should take into consideration before spending money on VR so find a place to try it out before you buy it.

Read the rest of this entry »


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Review: The Leica Sofort Instant Camera

Post by Mark

I’ve wanted an instant film camera ever since I was a kid since I always found them a bit magical because you’re kinda creating something out of nothing. It’s the same reason I’ve always had a thing for fax machines, you put the paper in the machine on one end then, a few seconds later, it starts coming out on another machine all the way on the other side of the country. But for some reason I never ended up getting an instant film camera, probably because I didn’t really have a reason to get one. I’ve always had cameras growing up and later digital cameras and phone cameras so the need for an instant camera wasn’t there, until I saw the Leica Sofort. I’m not a Leica fan. I think Leica M series are over hyped, extremely over priced, and I can’t understand why anyone would want to shoot with a manual focus camera. But, when I saw the Sofort I just fell in love with the way it looked. It had a great minimal and very retro design while also not costing an arm and a leg.

The Leica Sofort comes in three colors, white, orange and mint. I knew right away I wanted the Mint color but when I tried finding one it was completely sold out everywhere online. After searching for a couple of days I finally ended up finding one shop in London that still had the mint colored Leica and quickly placed my order. When my package finally arrived to Kuwait and I opened it I right away knew I made the right choice in color. It just works really well with the retro look, the orange I think would have looked a bit like a toy while the white would have just been boring (for me at least). I’ve had the camera now for two weeks and I’ve used it in a variety of different environments. What I’ve concluded is that the camera is a hit and miss when it comes to the pictures, but thats not a surprise, thats actually exactly what I was expecting from an instant film camera.

I’ll start with the good stuff, the battery lasts a pretty long time. It comes with a small rechargeable battery which I charged on the first day for like an hour. Since then I’ve used the camera to take around 80 photos and the battery is still showing as full. Another great thing about the camera is that it uses Fuji Instax Mini films which you can find all over Kuwait. I’ve been getting mine from Xcite and a double pack which contains 2×10 packs sells for KD5. That means each photo I take costs 250fils which isn’t that bad. I think the camera performed best when I took it to the “Walk This Way” sneaker event this past weekend since the photos came out looking like they were taken in the 80s or 90s which fit perfectly with the theme of the event. The portrait shots all came out great and best part is, after I took the photos, I just handed the pictures over. Like souvenirs they could keep. Even when the results didn’t come out as expected (like the ones above), the photos still had a pretty cool look.

But like I said the camera is a hit and miss. The exposure is all over the place, some portrait shots using the flash resulted in the subjects being super overexposed with washed out colors while other times the shots came out perfectly exposed with all the colors still intact. During bright sunlight a lot of shots would also be overexposed and even when I chose to underexpose (there is an option for that) it didn’t really do much. But, my biggest gripe with the camera is the fact that all the settings reset back to the default settings once you turn the camera off. One of the things I like about this camera is you have options you can choose from like selecting between four scene settings for different lighting situations, having the flash on or off, if you’d like to over expose or under expose a shot and finally most importantly, the camera has two focus modes, close (under 3m) and far. Since I mostly shoot landscape or architectural shots I would want my settings to be no flash and the focus set to further than 3m. But I need to set that up every time I turn on the camera because by default, the camera sets the flash to auto and the focus distance to close. On more than one occasion I’ve taken photos only to have them come out blurry because I forgot to set the focus or I’ve had the flash go off because I forgot to turn it off. Super annoying and I don’t understand why Leica decided to do this.

Overall though I’m happy with the camera. Yes the output isn’t consistent and sometimes random, but I like that because every time I take a picture I now eagerly wait for the photo to develop to see what I got. It’s a surprise every time. The Leica Sofort cost me around KD95 including shipping via PostaPlus to Kuwait. It’s not cheap, but it is one of the cheapest Leica’s you can buy. The camera that is the closest to it in terms of capabilities is the Fuji Mini 90 which I’ve read is what the Sofort is possibly based off. The Mini 90 costs around KD40 on Amazon without shipping or tax so basically half the price of the Leica. If you’re interested in getting the Sofort, I got it from Dale Photographic whom as of this post have all three colors in stock. [Link]


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Super/Foods is Super Good

Post by Mark

Super/Foods is a new whole foods bar that just opened up this past weekend in Shuwaikh. It belongs to a friend of mine and so I’ve know about the concept for sometime now and I’ve eagerly been waiting for it to finally open.

Whole foods is defined as foods that are unprocessed and unrefined, or processed and refined as little as possible and thats the main philosophy behind Super/Foods. It’s a vegetarian place with a lot of vegan, gluten free and raw options as well. Their menu is pretty straight forward, you have the create your own greek yogurt or chia pudding bowls, they’ve got savory toasts, sweet toasts, a number of salads and finally drinks that include smoothies and cold pressed juices. Oh they also have a ton of dessert bites as well as pre-bagged nuts and chips.

Their chef was based in the UK and had previously worked at Nama Foods and Tanya’s Cafe, both popular raw food restaurants in the UK so even though the place is new, there is a lot of experience in the kitchen. They’ve only been open for four days now and I’ve already been there twice so far and I’m hooked on two things, their avocado on toast as well as their beet-hummus on toast sandwiches. I’m also in love with their sparkling Blue Majik drink although I think it has to do more with my obsession over its color than its magical properties.

I’m also in love with the branding of the place as well as all their packaging and all the copy thats written on them. The feel of the place along with the good food has made Super/Foods one of my favorite restaurants at the moment alongside JOA, Habra and Table Otto. So many good places at the moment, I don’t remember the last time I was so excited over food like this.

Super/Foods is currently in their soft launch phase and are open from 10AM to 6PM. They’re located in the new Mayar Complex in Shuwaikh [Google Maps] and you can follow them on instagram @superfoodskw.

And here is a picture of their [Menu]


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HABRA Beef Canteen

Post by Mark

Last night I finally got to pass by and have dinner at HABRA, the new restaurant by the well known chef Ahmed AlBader. He’s the chef behind some popular places like Burger Hub, Prime & Toast, Pizzetta, Butchers Den and eight6 Bistro that used to be located in the Avenues back in 2009. He also used to host The Chef’s Table on YouTube which I think he should actually bring back. Anyway, I’m personally not a fan of Burger Hub, Prime & Toast, Pizzetta and Butchers Den so I really wasn’t planning on trying HABRA, but I’m glad I did because I think HABRA is by far his best creation yet.

I dropped by last night and ended up waiting an hour and forty five minutes to get a table for three. It was a Sunday so I can’t imagine how long the wait might be on a weekend. Luckily HABRA is walking distance to like 200 speciality coffee shops and a Pick Yo so killing time wasn’t an issue. We walked around, had frozen yogurt and coffee until we got the call that our table was ready.

The place is pretty small and very cozy. We sat down on a corner table and just started ordering a ton of stuff since everything on the menu sounded so good.

Kale and nori slaw KD1.750
Crispy brussel sprouts KD2.000
Bone marrow, chimichuri, sour dough KD3.750
Grilled avocado KD2.250
Grilled rapanini, jaggery, tamarind butter KD2.250
Rib and manchengo fries KD4.500
Baked sweet potato, cinnamon sugar butter KD 1.950
Chef’s burger KD6.500
Four and a half hour braised rib, Korean sweet chili KD6.950
Pulled lamb, dates, prunes KD3.500
Three-way Kalbi KD8.500
Charred cantaloup, ice cream, meringue, honey KD2.500
Pomegranate and pecan brownie KD2.750

Everything we had was delicious. My least favorite item was probably the burger while my favorite was the braised rib (pictured above). The bone marrow and Kalbi both came a close second (note: don’t share the bone marrow with a friend, be selfish and let them order their own). And don’t bother ordering the cantaloup dessert, it was impossible to eat. Our total came out to KD19 per person including tips and drinks which is reasonable considering the amount of food we had.

Was it worth the nearly 2 hour wait? I think so, I mean it wasn’t like I was standing in line for 2 hours, theres a lot to do in the area so just make sure you pass by and put your name on the list and then go do your thing. If you’re just gonna wait until the restaurant becomes less popular I don’t think thats gonna happen anytime soon. Every place in that area is busy all the time and HABRA doesn’t have that many tables inside. Speaking of the location, HABRA is located right next to Gia in Kuwait City, close to SOMU. Here is their location on [Google Maps]. They’re also located on instagram @habrakw and they’re currently open daily from 6PM to 10PM.


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MacBook Pro Touch Bar vs MacBook Air – My Review

Post by Mark

I don’t think any notebook has ever gotten as much hate as the new MacBook Pro’s have and I can’t understand why. Last week I replaced my 13″ MacBook Air with the new 13″ MacBook Pro with the Touch Bar and I just love it.

Before I go ahead and explain why I love the new MacBook Pro so much and why I think its so much better than my already amazing MacBook Air, I’m going to first quickly explain why the biggest issues people have with the MacBook Pro don’t really affect me. This review is also fairly long compared to my regular posts so I’ve titled all the main paragraphs that way you can skip down to the area you care more about if you don’t feel like reading.

No USB Ports
This is probably the biggest issue people have with the new MacBook Pros, they don’t have the regular USB Type-A ports and instead Apple replaced them with the newer, slimmer, faster, better but also less popular USB-C ports. In my case I rarely used the USB ports on my MacBook Air, the only time I ever used them was when I traveled I’d charge my iPhone from my Air’s USB port and when I wanted to copy stuff onto or off memory sticks. I barely used USB so for me if the ports are USB-C or Type-A… I don’t really care. I bought the USB-C to Type-A Apple adapter so IF I ever need a regular Type-A port, I’ll just use the adapter. I’d rather have a slimmer notebook without any USB ports than a thicker one with. But again thats because I rarely used the ports to begin with and I can always move things around wirelessly.

No SD Card Slot
This I was more upset with than the lack of USB ports. I take a lot of photos with my camera for the blog and when I travel so it was very practical having an SD card slot in my MacBook Air. But it’s not that big a deal really having no SD card slot. My current camera’s SD card has WiFi anyway so I’ll just wirelessly transfer the photos onto my Mac. Actually, most of the time I copy the photos over to my phone first, edit them in VSCO and then AirDrop them onto my Mac. That’s what I did with these pictures in this post for example.

Battery Life
This wasn’t an issue until Consumer Reports tested the new MacBook Pro’s late last month and got battery life that ranged anywhere from 4 to 18 hours. They cited major inconsistencies which I have yet to encounter with my short time with the notebook. So far my MacBook Pro is lasting me as much as my MacBook Air would which is to say all day of on and off use.

Max 16GB of RAM
A lot of people have made a fuss that the maximum amount of RAM the new MacBook Pro’s support is 16GB. I had 8GB of RAM on my MacBook Air and I was doing design work and editing large files on it without any issues. I have 8GB of RAM on my new MacBook Pro and I expect it to perform even better than my MacBook Air so I’m fine with the 16GB limit since I don’t need more than 8.

The Review
Now with the controversial items out of the way let me start my review. I’ve never owned a MacBook Pro (or PowerBook). My first notebook ever was a white 12″ iBook G3 Dual USB back in 2001 (considered the most unreliable Apple notebook ever). Since then I’ve had a bunch of other low end Apple notebooks until I moved up to the MacBook Air. I got my first one in 2011 and then replaced it in 2015 with the updated model. Anyone who owns a MacBook Air will tell you they’re incredible notebooks and I really didn’t need to replace mine, it was more than enough for my needs, but something about the new MacBook Pro’s attracted me, I think it was the Touch Bar but once I saw them I knew I needed one. In the week I’ve owned the MacBook Pro, a few things have really impressed me compared to the MacBook Air:

The Size
Somehow Apple has managed to make the MacBook Pro smaller than the MacBook Air and also weigh the same. Side by side when compared to the MacBook Air, the MacBook Pro is clearly smaller and more compact.

The Screen
My biggest issue with the MacBook Air was the screen, not because it didn’t have a retina display which I could care less about, but because the viewing angle was terrible. I used to constantly adjust the screen tilt to make sure I was getting the best viewing angle. With the new MacBook Pro I don’t have that issue, no matter how much I move the screen looks great. The color difference and brightness is another thing I instantly noticed, side by side the MacBook Air looks dimmer and the colors duller when compared to the Pro. I’d find it really difficult to move back to the MacBook Air now.

The Sound
The speakers on the new MacBook Pro are much better than the MacBook Air. Like the difference in sound quality is pretty dramatic, other than the fact the sound is much more louder on the MacBook Pro, it also has more bass and much more clarity to it. And because the speakers are pointing towards you (with the Air the sound is indirect), the left and right channels are also a lot more clearly defined. I’ve started listening to music on my notebook which I never used to do before.

The Keyboard
Based on the reviews I read online about the keyboard, I was worried I was going to hate it. I don’t, it’s now one of my favorite things in the new MacBook Pro. I type better with it, I type faster and it just feels so much more solid when compared to the MacBook Air keyboard which now feels too squishy to me.

What About the Touch Bar?
This is one area I have yet to make up my mind on. There are two parts to the Touch Bar, the main touch display area and the TouchID (fingerprint sensor) which is located on the far right. I love the TouchID since it allows me to sign into my MacBook instantly. I’m also hoping that soon I could use TouchID to unlock 1Password like I do on my iPhone, that option alone would make this MacBook Pro worth it over the Air.

Now the touch display area of the Touch Bar is what I’m still trying to get a hang of. Right now it really isn’t that useful. It looks cool for sure but it’s currently not that much more practical than keyboard short cuts. Also not all apps support it yet and the ones that do don’t allow that much customization to it. Because of the way I rest my hands on the keyboard while using the trackpad I also keep accidentally touching the Esc button which is annoying (I’ve done it 3 times while writing this article) but I’m getting used to it. While I’m typing this post up I have Spotify showing on my Touch Bar but for I wish instead of the audio scrubber showing (pictured above), I could choose to show the name of the song and artist in that space instead. The Touch Bar is still new though so I’m hoping we’ll get more customization options over the next year as companies start understanding what people want from the Touch Bar.

MacBook Air vs MacBook Pro
This is a really easy recommendation to make, the MacBook Pro is a much better machine over the Air in every way. The MacBook Pro weighs the same as the Air but is also smaller in size so the biggest advantage the Air had over the Pro series doesn’t exist anymore. The MacBook Pro screen is better, the keyboard is better and if you’re used to listening to music on the Air’s speakers, then you’re gonna love the MacBook Pro. The only thing I have difficulty recommending is the MacBook Pro with the Touch Bar over the version without the Touch Bar. Is the Touch Bar worth an extra $300? I think I’m leaning towards a yes, but only if you’ve got the money to spend. If you don’t thats fine, you aren’t really missing much.

I ordered my MacBook Pro from eBay and it cost me KD548 ($1,789) and another KD10.5 to ship to Kuwait using PostPlus. It was considerably cheaper to buy it on eBay since Apple charges tax and I would have ended up paying KD600 ($1,963) if I had purchased it from the Apple Store. It was also quicker since when I was ordering the MacBook Pro, the wait time on the Apple Store was 3-4 weeks before shipping. But, the advantage of ordering directly from the Apple Store is you could customize your Mac with more RAM or a faster CPU. I also purchased the “Space Gray” color which is what you see in the pictures in this post. Let me know if you have any questions.

Update: Turns out 1Password already works with TouchID, I just needed to enable it in the settings!


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