Review: Shure SE215 Wireless Earphones

Post by Mark

Shure SE215 Wireless Earphones

Last month after posting my review on the Bang & Olufsen H5 wireless earphones, I got a message from the audio brand Shure asking me if I’d also like to try their wireless earphones. I’ve been a fan of Shure ever since I got my first pair of in-ears back in 2004, the Shure E2’s, so of course I said yes. A couple of weeks later I got their new SE215 wireless earphones in the mail.

I had a few issues with my H5’s and was curious to see if the Shure’s would solve them. My main problems with the H5’s were the battery life and the low volume level of the earphones. So how did the Shure’s perform?

Battery Life
While the B&O H5 promises up to 5 hours of battery life, the Shure’s promise up to 8. That doesn’t sound like much but in real-world use, it is. With the H5’s I make sure I put them back on the charger after using them for a couple of hours, with the Shure’s I charge them every couple of outings and still have enough juice for a third outing. But what I like about the Shure’s is that if I do run out of battery, I can just charge them using any standard micro-usb cable unlike the H5’s which require the use of the charging station that came with the earphones.

Volume Level
I’m sitting right now at Arabica having my coffee and typing up this post with the Shure earphones on listening to music. I have the music volume at 80% because at 100% they’re just too loud. With the H5’s I would always have the earphones at 100% and wish I could raise them by at least another 20%.

So yeah, the Shure’s do solve my two biggest issues with the H5’s in addition to solving another issue I wasn’t aware needed solving. When you first turn on the Shure’s, you get a voice prompt letting you know once they connect to a bluetooth source and then the voice lets you know how much battery life is left. With the B&O’s I need to launch the B&O app on my phone to find out the battery life which isn’t very practical. Another advantage of the Shure’s is the price, they cost half that of the B&O’s and sound as good if not slightly better.

Shure SE215 Wireless Earphones

With all the positives so far with the Shure’s, you’d think I’d prefer them over the B&O’s but that hasn’t been the case. Whenever I leave the house and need to pick a pair of earphones to take with me, I kept finding myself reaching for the H5’s over these Shure’s. The reason for that is the Shure’s are pretty bulky. The battery pack isn’t built into the earphones but instead is located on the cable so it makes wearing the earphones awkward. On top of that, the earphone wires are too thin making the Shure’s feel flimsy and messy because the wires keep getting tangled up.

But in the end, it really comes down to the person’s requirements. Are you looking for battery life or style? If I’m traveling then I’m definitely going to pick the Shure’s over the H5’s. But if I’m just going to a coffee shop for a couple of hours to get some work done, then I’m always going to pick the H5’s.

If you’re interested in picking up a pair of Shure SE215 wireless earphones, they’re available on Amazon for KD45 [Here]


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Salem Al Mubarak Street Progress

Post by Mark

Back in September, they announced that part of Salem Al Mubarak Street was going to be turned into pedestrian only. I took the video above this morning right outside my apartment building to show you the current status, and as you can see the project has progressed considerably since my last post on the street.

Salmiya street progress

My biggest issue with the project was that they had killed 25 trees on that street that had been there for over 50 years. They’ve now planted new palm trees instead which although is a nice gesture, palm trees just don’t offer any shade and can’t house as many birds as the older trees did. I really wished they had managed to keep those older trees.

Salmiya street progress

In any case, the street is starting to shape up and I think they’re trying to have everything done by February 25th which right now seems unattainable.

But, a new issue is starting to pop up and that is gentrification. Because the street is getting fixed up, the value of real estate around it is also going up. My rent was already slightly increased since my building is suddenly now in a prime location, people are also now bidding on the empty stores in my building which previously nobody wanted. I’d really really hate it if my apartment rent goes up to the point where I’ll be priced out and be forced to move.

On the bright side, they haven’t sorted the parking issue in the area. Parking in my neighborhood has always been historically terrible and now they’ve gone and removed all the parking spots on the main street without adding any new ones. With this street facelift, we’re now going to have even a higher influx of people come into the area than before, so the parking situation will be even worse which is kinda great for me. Hopefully this parking mess is going to help keep the popularity of the area down to a reasonable level, which in return should keep my rent at a reasonable level.


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Festivity – Events Made Easy

Post by Mark

Festivity is a local website that helps you plan your event by connecting you with different suppliers. Say you’re planning a birthday party or a gathering and need valet, food, music, a photo booth, balloons, and a trampoline. Instead of scouring the net or hiring an event company, you can find everything you need yourself on Festivity. For example, they have 5 different photo booth suppliers with prices ranging from KD180 to KD350. So you just select what you want and pay for it.

If you’re thinking of planning an event and need suppliers, then check Festivity out by clicking [Here]

Update: Festivity emailed me to let me know my readers can get a KD10 discount by using the code “248AM” during checkout.


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New Malls Opening Dates

Post by Mark

Avenues Phase 4
The fourth phase of Avenues is on target to open up next month on February 25th. They’ve invited some of the media to take a tour of the new phase at the end of this month so we should get new photos of a nearly complete mall pretty soon.

Al Kout Mall
The new Al Kout Mall is expected to open up in March with an exact target date of March 15th. Al Kout Mall is replacing Al Manshar Mall which was torn down back in 2013.

Assima Mall
Finally, even though Assima Mall construction site caught fire back in June, they’re still planning to open by Q3 2019. I think the fire delayed the project by just a few months since 2019 was always their target date.


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Cinescape is Wheelchair Friendly

Post by Mark

Over the weekend I went to the movies to watch Jumanji, a good movie by the way, just censored the hell out of in Kuwait. Seriously this has to be the most censored movie I’ve ever watched in Kuwait, and I have no idea how that’s possible since it’s a PG-rated film.

So, originally we were planning to watch it at Grand Cinemas in Hamra Mall, but surprisingly, they didn’t have any theater that would accommodate a wheelchair. I don’t mean the theater playing Jumanji, I mean neither of their theaters playing any movie had wheelchair access.

So I gave Cinescape a call and they told me they had wheelchair access at ALL their theaters except for two, Laila and Central Place. The operator also told me that if the person was permanently in a wheelchair, then they could get a lifetime pass to watch movies for free at their theaters.

I think that’s pretty thoughtful of Cinescape and pretty odd of Grand Cinemas considering their Hamra theater is fairly new. The only feedback I would give Cinescape is to mark the wheelchair areas on the seating map since I had to call the operator and find out where they were. For example, the map above is how it currently looks like while the map below is what I think they should do (notice row J).

Anyway just wanted to thank Cinescape with this post for being so considerate.


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VOX Cinemas Coming Soon to Kuwait

Post by Mark

VOX Cinemas, one of the leading cinema chains in the Middle East is opening in Kuwait this coming March. VOX will be opening at Avenues Phase 4 and house 17 screens with a seating capacity of around 1,679 seats.

Kuwait already has three cinema chains operating locally, Cinescape, Grand Cinemas and Sky Cinemas, so VOX will be the fourth. And yes, movies will also be censored at VOX. For more information, click [Here]

Thanks lovelykuwait


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Bayt Lothan is Getting Demolished

Post by Mark

Two years ago, the non-profit organization Bayt Lothan sadly closed down. The community center had become an important part of the local culture scene, hosting a variety of workshops and events, but the owners of the building decided they wanted to move on to other things.

Now the historic building that used to house Shaikh Sabah Al Salim, the former Amir of Kuwait, is getting demolished.

The odd thing is, when I passed by this morning, there were no trucks or workers. It kinda looked like a bulldozer had driven in through the main structure, turned around and then driven back out. The building was also not surrounded by any sort of fence so anyone can right now just walk in and walk around, even though the building is partially demolished and could collapse at any second. Pretty dodgy, kinda like they decided to this now quickly due to the amount of publicity the building was starting to get again on word that it was finally getting demolished.

So sad. For pictures of the location before it closed down, click [Here]

Update: I was just informed that it won’t be turned into a food complex. They might build a boutique hotel or something along those lines, they’re still undecided, but it definitely won’t be a food complex. Also a fence will be put up shortly.


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Wejha – A Collaborative Space for Artists & Musicians

Post by Mark

There are a number of collaborative workspaces in Kuwait like Niu and Reyada, but Wejha is the first one to target artists and musicians. The collaborative space opened up a few weeks ago at Pearl Marzouq in Salmiya, and I got a small tour of it last week while checking out the F160 exhibition.

The space is pretty big, if you attended Qout Market when it was being held at Pearl Marzouq a few years ago, then you’ll most likely recognize it. It’s the area where the kids section used to be. The space is divided up pretty nicely with a large collaborative space overlooking the Pearl Marzouq garden, and then various small studios spread out all around. They offer a number of benefits to artists including offering them exhibition space, both public and private, meeting rooms, workshops and the possibility to meet and interact with other artists that are based there.

The only downside is their prices which might not be in reach for a lot of young artists and musicians who may just be starting up. If you want access to just the coworking space the cost is KD150 a month, but if you’re looking for your own private studio, then the prices start at KD250 and go all the way up to KD450. Actually, KD250 might not be bad for a studio since I’ve seen dodgy spaces in basements in Hawalli going for as much.

If you’re interested to find out more, check out wejha.com and also their instagram page @wejha.arts


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Taxi Apps in Kuwait

Post by Mark

Although we don’t have Uber in Kuwait yet, we do have various other apps that pretty much do the same thing. Over the years I’ve posted about a few but never in one concise post, and since some have stopped working over the years, this list is of current active ones.

Q8 Grand Limo
This is my favorite app/service right now, and the one I’ve been using constantly. It’s really made my cabbing experience in Kuwait great, the cars are super clean and fancy, the drivers are very polite and tidy, and I haven’t had any issues with them since I started using them back in May. Costwise, they’re more expensive than regular street cabs but the experience really makes up for the price. Plus, they gave me a 20% promo code when I posted about them back in May so for me, trips don’t cost that much more than regular street cabs. They’ve got around 30 cabs in operation including a Mercedes S400 in case you want to splurge. I actually got picked up by the S400 a few weeks back when they were super busy and didn’t have their regular cars available. Let’s just say I forgave them for being late and they can always pick me up late if they’re gonna do so in the S400. You can also book a cab ahead of time which I’ve done when I needed a middle of the night ride to the airport. [Link]

Careem
Probably the closest thing to Uber in Kuwait right now since they’re Uber’s main competitor in the region. I’ve never used them but I’ve got friends who swear by them. Like Grand Limo, they also have a ride later option which many people use to schedule airport rides and they also have their own fleet of cars. [Link]

Q8 Taxi
This is an app I posted about a few years ago and were one of the early ones to launch in Kuwait. I tried using them back then a few times and had a fairly average experience and then one day, it just stopped working. Now it seems they’re back since they’ve been advertising their app pretty heavily. Haven’t tried them and don’t think I will, but they’re the cheapest option in this list since they use regular street cabs to pick you up. [Link]

If there are any other apps I’ve missed let me know in the comments.


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The Kuwait Heritage Museum

Post by Mark

I could swear I’ve written about the Heritage Museum before but I can’t seem to find the old post for some reason. The Heritage Museum is located inside the Kuwait National Museum and I passed by yesterday since I wanted to check and see if the Planetarium at the museum was still open. The Kuwait National Museum is currently being refurbished (I’m so glad they decided not to demolish it) so I wasn’t sure if visitors could still access it or not. Turns out, for the most part, its inaccessible including the Planetarium, but the Archaeology Exhibit and the Heritage Museum can still be accessed.

Archaeology Exhibit
I didn’t find this exhibit to be that interesting and it’s pretty small. It’s located right as you walk into the museum and it will take you just a few minutes to skim through the stuff on your way to the main Heritage Museum.

Heritage Museum
This part of the museum is a lot more interesting to check out and is fairly big which makes the trip worthwhile. The Heritage Museum is divided into three areas, the first is a wax museum where different aspects of Kuwait’s traditional past are on display. The wax models aren’t very realistic but there are a lot of different displays and the whole thing is meant to resemble an old Kuwaiti street so it’s at least visually interesting.

The second part of the Heritage Museum is where different items from Kuwait’s past are on display. These aren’t wax objects but actual real objects that were collected and put on display. An example of a display would be for example a collection of old radios that were used in Kuwait back in the old days.

The final part of the Heritage Museum is a small photography exhibit where old photos of Kuwait are on display. This is a fairly small cooridor which you’ll be walking through on your way out of the exhibition and is fairly dark so it’s hard to see the photos properly.

If you’ve never been to the Heritage Museum you should check it out mostly because of how odd it is. I mean the eerie dark mood of the museum is alone worth the trip and with the construction taking place, it just adds to the whole creepy mood. If you want to pass by, the museum is open from 8AM to 2PM and then again from 4PM to 8PM. There is no entrance fee. Here is the location on [Google Maps]


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