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

Posted by Mark

a2-1

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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Abandoned Zoo Project

Posted by Mark

abandonedzoo

There is this huge compound off the 6th Ring Road that has always captured my attention as I drove by it. The compound is surrounded by a wooden fence resembling something you’d see in Games of Thrones with watch towers every 50 meters or so. I finally decided to get a closer look but once I approached I noticed signs all over the fence warning people of electrocution and that they were being monitored by security cameras.

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I drove around the compound but couldn’t find a way in so I resorted to just snapping photos from the outside and through whatever holes I could find in the fence.

While driving around the compound I ran into some workers in a lot next door and according to them it’s an abandoned zoo project. If anyone has any information on this let me know. Here is the location on [Google Maps]


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Tour of Al Shaheed Park

Posted by Mark

The Al Shaheed Park renovation in Kuwait City has been completed and the park is getting ready to open up any day now. The video above gives a small glimpse of the renovated park that will now contain a museum, a memorial and 800 underground parking spaces. The Al Shaheed Park project was commissioned by the Amiri Diwan who are also behind the new Kuwait Cultural Center, Shaab Museums and Al Jahra Hospital. [YouTube]

via Frankom

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It’s Been 10 Incredible Years

Posted by Mark

selfmade

Exactly ten years ago today I launched 248AM as a side project for my other blog at the time, miskan.com. I didn’t have a plan and I definitely wasn’t expecting it to turn into what it is today, I just had a lot to say and so I created this space as an outlet.

A lot has happened to me since the blog started, I’m ten years older for one thing and I’m a lot more mature as a result. My style of writing has changed, the things I post about, the topics and definitely my language has all changed. The only thing that hasn’t changed is my aim which is to entertain you.

I don’t know how long I will be doing this for, I just know that I really love doing it and I’ll keep doing it as long as you keep coming back here to read what I have to say.

Thank you everyone for being the best readers a blogger could hope for.


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Things to do in Kuwait this Weekend

Posted by Mark

A pretty quiet weekend this week most likely because many people will be traveling for the national holidays. I’m out of town as well so glad to know I won’t be missing out on much. Check out this weekends events below:

Thursday
Exhibition: Al-Seef
1001 Inventions Exhibition
Wonho Chung Comedy Night
Kuwait Flight Academy Open Day
Rooftop Movie: Enemy

Friday
1001 Inventions Exhibition
Wonho Chung Comedy Night

Saturday
1001 Inventions Exhibition
Wonho Chung Comedy Night
AWARE Desert Camp
Rooftop Movie: Lars and The Real Girl

If you’d like to share an event on the blog [Email Me]


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Saturday Brunch at STREET

Posted by Mark

stairway

STREET, the underground streetfood eatery which opened up back in November have now launched a brunch menu. The menu is small with five egg dishes and three non-egg dishes. I ended up having the Stairway to Heaven sandwich which was delicious (but SUPER messy to eat) and their pancakes which I think are the second best tasting in Kuwait (Cheesecake Factory have the best tasting ones). Next time I go back I’ll be trying their Truffled Creamed Corn dish which everyone has been highly recommending as well.

If you’re interested in trying their brunch menu its every Saturday from 9:30AM till 2PM. Check out their Instagram account for more photos and information [Here]


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Review: Cadillac Escalade 2015

Posted by Mark

escalade1

After spending a weekend with the Mercedes S-Class I was telling a friend about my experience and how it made me want to listen to hip hip the whole time. Before realizing it we were discussing other cars that suited hip hop when the Escalade came up. My friend asked me why I don’t review the new Escalade as well so right away I got in touch with Cadillac. The next day picked up the Escalade for the weekend.

The car is HUGE! I was expecting it to be big obviously since I’ve driven the older Escalade before but it had been a long time since I had been any car that was this big. The model I picked up looked very pimp with a black exterior and a brown leather interior. First thing I did after adjusting the seating position was to connect my iPhone and start blasting hip hop. While looking for a USB port to plugin my phone I actually ended up finding five, so you could basically charge the whole families phones while driving. The car I drove could fit six adults very comfortably since it had two pilot seats in the second row instead of the usual bench seat.

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Because I had the Cadillac for the weekend I decided to pick up a few friends and head into the desert for a fun outing. It was a Saturday and Qout Market was on so we decided to all meet up there first. Once we were done with the market all five of us got into the Escalade and took off towards the desert. The Escalade performs at its best when the car is packed with friends or kids. Since the car comfortably fits six and we were just five everyone was pretty relaxed on the long drive. One cool feature I enjoyed in the car on the long drive is the heads up display. Instead of having to look down at the speedometer all the time to see how fast I was going I could instead have my speed displayed on the windshield in front of me. But sadly that still wasn’t enough to stop me from getting a speeding ticket. The car is enormous so you expect it to drive like a tank but it doesn’t and I ended up getting caught doing 145 in a 120 zone. Once we got to desert, I shifted the car into four wheel drive and drove off road looking for camels.

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For a car this huge though you’d expect a lot of room in the trunk but thats sadly lacking when the third row seats are up. It’s one of the few negatives I have about the car. With both rear seats down you get a ton of luggage space but the car then can only hold four passengers. On the positive side you could lower half the third row seats creating more luggage space while still leaving room for a fifth passenger. The second thing I disliked about the car is the touch interface. Cadillacs don’t use standard push buttons to control things like climate control or the volume but instead use a combination of touch buttons with physical feedback. It’s hard to explain but it’s basically a flat surface which you touch and the surface vibrates a little bit to let you know the button has been pressed. I found this interface very frustrating to use especially the volume control. You can’t increase or decrease the volume easily, if the music is too loud I need to tap the volume button over an over to get it to decrease but you can’t do it too quickly or else it won’t register your touch. I also thought the main interface screen was awkwardly positioned facing upwards towards the ceiling instead of pointing eye level or at least towards me the driver. Finally the media system interface looks like something from 2008. I didn’t think it matched the luxury feel of the Escalade and I’m surprised the background color of the interface was a vibrant blue which not only doesn’t match the fancy interior of the Escalade but doesn’t even blend with the digital speedometer display which has a black background.

escalade4

I had a blast with the Escalade over the weekend. It’s such a ginormous car but it isn’t difficult to drive at all. Cadillac have really tried their best to make this car accessible to everyone especially mums. The gas and brake pedals are adjustable so if you’re short you can move them up closer to you, the seat obviously is very adjustable but other features like lane change warnings and surround vision all try to make this huge car feel unintimidating. Also for people who like to whatsapp and snapchat while driving, the lane change warning is something you’re going to appreciate. While driving if the car starts drifting towards the other lanes, the car warns you by vibrating your chair. That way you can look back up at the road and adjust your driving.

The Escalade starts at KD27,000 for the premium model which is the one I tested in this review. If you’d also like to test drive any of the Alghanim Automotive cars click [Here]


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I’m Out

Posted by Mark

plane-window

I’ll be traveling for the next two weeks so my posting schedule will be a bit messed up. As usual, you can follow me on instagram (@mark248am) or even snapchat (mark248am) if you’d like to see what I’m up to.


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The Talabat Story

Posted by Mark

hungry

Last week the local food delivery company Talabat was sold for KD50,000,000 making it the largest purchase of an internet company in the Middle East to date. I think everyone (including me) was shocked with the acquisition, at least with the price it got sold for so I thought I would share an interesting article that talks about the sale as well as how Talabat started. Check it out [Here]


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New Speed Cameras that Look Like Garbage Bins

Posted by Mark

speed-camera

According to @tafteesh_q8, a new speed camera was spotted in Ahmadi that looks like a garbage bin. If these start popping up everywhere then I might consider investing in a decent radar detector since I get way more speeding tickets then I should be anyway.

Thanks @Ahmad_Al_Awadhi

Update: Based on the comments it seems the photo above is not in Kuwait.


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