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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Lavan – Indian Cuisine

Post by Mark

Lavan is a new Indian restaurant that opened up in the city last month. When I first got invited to Lavan I didn’t really have high expectations. Lots of Indian restaurants pop up all the time and most tend to be average so I wasn’t expecting Lavan to be any different. When I got to the place I realized my expectations might be right, the interior was bland, so much so that I wasn’t even sure I had walked into the right restaurant. There was nothing Indian about the interior and the fact the restaurant didn’t have a sign outside didn’t help either. We definitely didn’t start off on the right foot.

But once the food started coming out my view of completely changed. Every single dish we had ordered was just delicious. I left so impressed that first time, I went back three more times since then. I’ve now practically tried every dish on the menu and it’s my favorite Indian spot at the moment. Here are some of my favorite dishes:

Starters
Sweet Potato Chat
Prawns Amritsari

Tandoor
Humour Tikka
Tiger Prawns
Lamb Tikka

Biryani
Chicken
Mutton
Lavan Special (Goat)

Pricing is on par with the likes of Asha’s and Copper Chimney which I think is very reasonable. You can get a better idea by checking their menu which I’ve uploaded [Here]

Like I mentioned earlier, Lavan is currently my favorite Indian restaurant. I still find the interior bland and lacking charm, but the food makes up for it which is why I keep going back. For a map of the location as well as more photos, you can check out their instagram account @houseoflavan


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The Ferrari 488 GTB

Post by Mark

I haven’t reviewed a car for some time now mostly because there really hasn’t been a car I’ve been interested in, but also because I love my Lotus so much I’d rather be in it than any other car. But, since my Lotus isn’t with me at the moment (more on that soon), I decided to take advantage of the situation by test driving the Ferrari 488 GTB.

Driving off in a car for the first time that costs as much as a home is a pretty nerve-wracking experience. The fact the car is also super low, and the roads around the dealership in pretty bad shape didn’t help the situation either. But the Ferrari 488 I was driving had the option to raise the suspension to give it a bit more ground clearance, so I managed to make my way out onto the main road without too much drama. It was pretty early in the morning so the first thing I did was head to Arabica in the city for some coffee. I took the long way by going through a bit of traffic on the 4th all the way to the 30th, and then from the 30th exiting onto the Gulf Road. I spent most of my day taking the longest way everywhere I went. Instead of grabbing my usual acai bowl for example from Liquid near Arabica in the city, for example, I decided to drive all the way to Bida’a and pick one up from Be Cafe. After spending the day zigzagging across Kuwait, I headed out to the desert to get some shots before the sunset.

After driving the Ferrari 488 GTB for a day I’ve come to the conclusion that the car has just two speeds, fast, and I’m going to get deported fast. I’m being serious here. The Ferrari 488 hits 0 to 100km/h in just 3 seconds. That’s just 0.8 seconds faster than my Lotus but damn what a difference that 0.8 makes. But that’s not even the impressive part, if you keep your foot down on the gas for just one more tiny second, you’re suddenly in the getting your license revoked territory. The car is insanely powerful, so much so that there just isn’t enough road for it. Usually, when I take out a sports car to review, I tend to drive it like I stole it. The 488 is probably the first car that I drove decently just because stepping on it would get me in a lot of trouble. Ferrari 488 owners are really going to love our racetrack once it opens up, its the only way to really enjoy and take advantage of all the power the car has to offer.

Other than the speed, a few other things impressed me quite a bit. The brakes on the car impressed me more than the speed of the car, the pedal feel is just so on point and the car stops in an instant. The interior of the car is also a wonderful place to be in. The interior is covered in leather with beautiful stitchwork and lots of carbon fiber trimming. I never felt uncomfortable, and even on my long trip with my friend into the desert, we spoke about how great the car would be on super long trips. Even though the 488 is a sports car first, you’re not sacrificing with comfort or amenities. The sound system was impressively good and the car I drove even came with front and rear parking cameras. It’s a luxury car that just happens to also be crazy ass fast.

So are there any downsides? Well yeah, the car costs as much as a house. The 488 GTB starts at KD78,000 which means I’m not really going to end up owning one anytime soon. But on the bright side, the Ferrari 488 GTB does come with a 5-year warranty (that can be extended up to 15) and 7-years free maintenance. So really the only costs you’ll have to factor in down the line are tires and brake pads. Not bad.

If you’d like to find out more about Ferraris in Kuwait then you should follow the dealer on instagram @ferrarialzayanikuwait. You can also go ahead and build your own 488 by visiting the Ferrari online car configurator [Here]


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Review: Bang & Olufsen Beoplay H5 Wireless Earphones

Post by Mark

The last time I reviewed earphones on my blog was back in 2016 when I purchased the Sennheiser IE80 earphones. I still have them, I still love them, and I still constantly use them when I travel. But, since getting an iPhone X and losing the headphone jack, I decided to explore my wireless options. I mean I don’t mind using the dongle to connect my earphones to my phone, but I was just curious to try and go wireless.

I don’t like the way the Apple AirPods look so I didn’t even consider getting them, so after a bit of research, I narrowed down my options to the Beats X and the Beats PowerBeats 3. I really didn’t want to be cliche and go with a pair of Beats, but both pairs contained Apple’s W1 chip to make connecting across all my Apple products easier, and honestly, the X looked pretty minimal and slick. But, I decided I’d go with the PowerBeats 3 because they were better for working out and had a much longer battery life (11 hours). Just before getting them, I decided to check out the reviews on Amazon and damn, they were terrible. Loads of people were complaining about the reliability and how they would suddenly stop working, so I decided I was just not gonna bother with wireless and stick to my IE80s.

Then, a friend of mine decided to get a pair of beautiful Bang & Olufsen wireless earphones, the BeoPlay H5. I was with her when she purchased them and so was kinda tempted to buy a pair for myself, but at KD85, they were just more than I wanted to spend, especially since I really loved my IE80s. Luckily for me though, after using them for a couple of days, she decided she didn’t like them. The earphone cable kept getting tangled up in her hair and so she decided to stick to her AirPods and offered to sell me the H5’s for half the price. So I got them.

Now that I’ve been using them for around 10 days, I’m not sure how I feel about them mostly because I’ve got two main issues with them:

Battery Life
B&O say the H5’s last for up to 5 hours and that’s just too little for me. If I’m traveling to Beirut, that’s a flight that’s just over two hours long. Add two more hours of use on top of that at the airport, and if I’m listening at full blast (which I always do) the batteries are going to be dead by the fourth hour. And this is a short flight, forget about using these on longer flights. You can’t even charge the earphones with a standard USB plug which means if you want to charge the earphones on the go, you would need to carry around the included charging stand which has a pretty long cable attached to it.

Volume Level
The second issue and what is probably annoying me more than the short battery life is the volume level, it’s just not that high. I tend to listen to my music at pretty loud levels and the H5 are not loud enough. Whenever a good part of a track kicks in I keep reaching for the volume to try and increase it only to realize it’s already on max. The H5 feels like it needs to be at least 25% louder.. all the time.

But, on the bright side, the sound quality of the earphones is pretty good, they’re not bassy but they’re also not too bright which I was worried they would be. They’re also super stylish, I’ve got the “Moss Green” version and I just love the way they look. These are definitely the nicest pair of wireless earphones you can get.

But, I’m not sure if these are enough reasons for me to keep the earphones since they definitely won’t be replacing my IE80s. Right now I’m sitting at Arabica listening to my music with the H5’s, and I appreciate that they’re wireless since I’m moving around freely without having to keep disconnecting my headphones from the computer or getting the wire tangled up with the other items on the table. But I’m also constantly hitting the volume up button trying to make them louder, and I’ve already been here for 3 hours so not sure how much longer they’re going to play before shutting down. They sure do look good though…

If you’re interested in a pair, you can find them at the B&O dealer in Symphony mall or on Amazon for slightly cheaper [Link]


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Pantry Tips: The Anova Sous Vide Precision Cooker

Post by Hind

I’m not normally a presents kinda girl but I did ask for one thing last year; the Anova. If you aren’t familiar, the Anova is a home sous vide machine. With sous vide cooking you stick food in a vacuum sealed bag and cook it in a controlled water bath to ensure your meats (typically) come out at optimal juiciness.

The Anova is a great kitchen tool for anyone who loves home cooking. It’s extremely affordable at 100USD and super easy to use. You can control the temperatures from the app on your phone and the cooker itself will easily attach to anything from pots, to big plastic Ikea containers if you’re planning on going to town.

The results are amazing but it does take time, so don’t expect to be using your Anova daily. Though I have made sous vide eggs, which were spectacular, I’ve only done it twice in the past year. Why? Because it’s a 45 min process and lets be honest, eggs are eggs, and ain’t nobody got time for that.

The Anova is amazing though for proteins, your steaks will always come out picture perfect and your chicken breasts juicy as ever. I have a bunch of friends that have gotten Anova’s recently and they all seem to enjoy it too, it’s a tool that really makes you feel like a pro-chef in the kitchen at a fraction of the cost of most other kitchen gadgets. [Amazon Link]

Post by Hind
CoFounder of PantryBee where home cooking is made easy.


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Flying Wataniya Airways

Post by Mark

Over the weekend I flew to Bahrain for one night and decided to take Wataniya Airways. I had booked my ticket fairly late, around 3 days before my trip and when I checked ticket prices, Gulf Air was KD68, Kuwait Airways KD50 and Wataniya Airways was KD40. Since its a short flight I went with the cheapest priced ticket. I hadn’t flown Wataniya Airways since they relaunched and so was curious to see if it was any good.

The first issue popped up 24 hours before my flight, I couldn’t check-in online. The online check-in button on their website didn’t work and when I contacted customer support they told me online check-in wasn’t possible yet. So Friday morning I woke up early and headed to the Sheikh Saad terminal so I could check-in early and choose my seat. When I got to Sheikh Saad Terminal I found out Wataniya Airways didn’t fly out from there. Neither my ticket nor the website had mentioned which airport they flew out from and since they used to fly out of Sheikh Saad Terminal before, I assumed that was still the case. It wasn’t and so I had to get back into my car and drive to the main airport instead. Wataniya Airways if you’re reading this, you need to mention what airport you fly out from on the website or the ticket!

My flight was empty with just 34 passengers so I didn’t have any trouble getting the seat I wanted. Speaking of the seats, the economy class seats looked pretty dated, they also don’t have screens nor USB or power ports. On the other hand, they did serve food and beverages on the flight although it was basic, just sandwiches and either a juice pack or a cup of water. The crew also had no issue with me using my electronic devices on takeoff and landing, some airlines still make a fuss out of this and it’s really annoying when they do, so it was a plus that they didn’t.

Would I use Wataniya Airways again? Possibly, their prices right now are pretty competitive and they’ve got offers running all the time. Last week you could have booked a ticket to Doha for free and now I just checked ticket prices to Beirut and it’s KD40 (using the coupon code SUNDAY). My only issue really is the online check-in since I like choosing my seats before I get to the airport. I could still do that but I’d have to pay for the seats and I think the first few rows are KD10 (I think I even saw KD20), and then keep dropping down in price the further you go back. When your whole ticket costs you just KD40, doesn’t make sense to pay KD20 as well on seats. Overall though it’s great having another airline to choose from.


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A Weekend with the iPhone X

Post by Mark

Thursday night I picked up my iPhone X from Digits in Marina Mall. They’d given me early access to buy one so that I could review it on the blog, but they made me promise that I wouldn’t turn it on until Friday morning 8AM. Apple is pretty strict with these things so I understood their concern. I know someone who had gotten an iPhone X a few days earlier, and when they turned it on, Apple sent the authorized reseller he had gotten the phone from a warning that they had 2 hours to shut it down or else. I wasn’t in a rush, I didn’t mind waiting till the next morning to play with the iPhone X, I was just glad I had my hands on one and didn’t have to wait in any line to get it.

I’m not the kind of person that upgrades phones every year, I was actually using an iPhone 6S until last week and was perfectly fine with it until my company handed me an iPhone 8. The iPhone X is the first iPhone in years that I’ve really wanted, and after using it over the weekend, here are my first impressions:

No Home Button
The iPhone X no longer has a home button and I was worried it would take time to get used to the new swipe up to go home gesture. But, I got used to it within the first few minutes of using the phone. To me it feels natural and so much slicker and faster than clicking down on the home button. So goodbye home button, you won’t be missed.

Face ID
This is probably my favorite feature in the iPhone X. It just works. The best way to describe it is that it’s as if your phone doesn’t have a passcode. To unlock your phone, you pick it up and then you swipe up to go home. Super simple, super fast. If for some reason your phone doesn’t wake up when you pick it up, you just tap the screen to wake it up and then swipe up. Again super fast. But Face ID has other advantages than just using it to log into your phone. When I get to a website that asks me to log in with my username and password, the phone checks my face and when it recognizes me automatically fills in my username and password. Another cool feature of Face ID is with notifications. When you get say a whatsapp message on your phone, you won’t see a preview. Pick up the phone and Face ID will recognize you and then show you a preview of the whatsapp messages [Example]. That’s a really smart feature because it means you can leave your phone out in the open and not worry about anyone reading your notification previews, but it also means you yourself can still read those previews. If you’re also wondering, Face ID works under different lighting so if you’re in complete darkness or out under bright sunlight, Face ID will still be able to read your face. Face ID was still able to read my face even though I had sun glasses on and even when my face was half stuffed deeply into my pillow.

The Screen
It’s huge and I’m loving it so far mostly because the blacks are so black. One of the biggest advantages of OLED screens (which is what the iPhone X uses) is the blacks are pure black. That’s because unlike LCD’s, to get the color black on an OLED screen it shuts off the pixels that are supposed to be black. So black is parts of the screen not lit up. Am I making sense? Imagine a room with no windows and one light bulb, to turn the room black you just turn off the bulb. No light = complete darkness = black. The “notch” on top of the screen isn’t annoying at all by the way, in fact I barely notice it. I mean its there, but it doesn’t hinder the experience of using the phone in any way. For those of you who are also concerned that not all apps are yet adapted to take full advantage of the iPhone X, from all the apps I use I think only 2 or 3 still display a black border on top and the bottom of the screen. The rest of my apps all display full screen and so it’s not really a big issue, and whatever apps don’t display in full screen I’m expecting them to by their next update.

Wireless Charging
I picked up a Belkin Qi charger from Xcite for around KD6 and have it on my bedside table. I noticed compared to the iPhone 8 the iPhone X has a larger wireless charging sweet spot. With the iPhone 8 it wouldn’t always start charging when I placed it on the charger but I haven’t had that issue with the iPhone X. If like me you use a magnetic mount for the phone it can still work with wireless charging. I have the metal plate sandwiched between my silicone cover and the phone, but I moved the plate all the way to the bottom of the phone and turned it sideways. That way the center of the phone is clear and the metal plate won’t interfere with charging.

Size vs iPhone 8
The iPhone 8 and X are virtually the same size. The iPhone X is slightly taller and thicker but too minor to even notice.

The Camera
Finally the camera, probably the most important aspect of the phone for me. I was always jealous of iPhone Plus owners since they had two lenses on their phones, the regular wide one and a more zoomed in one. Other than the added advantage of being able to zoom in closer to a subject (while maintaining the image quality), having two lenses allowed Apple to create the “portrait mode” feature in which it blurs the background making it look like it was shot with a DSLR. The iPhone Plus is too big a phone for me so I never considered getting it, but the iPhone X has the same camera system as the plus, with more features like a brighter aperture (f/2.4 vs f/2.8) and optical image stabilisation for both lenses not just the wide one. I haven’t really taken that many shots with it, just a few of my brothers cats and some of my friends and so far I really am loving the portrait mode.

So yeah as you can tell, I’m really loving the iPhone X so far. Although it was a big chunk of change to spend on just a phone, I think its worth it. If you’re looking to pick one up, Digits sold out their stock on launch, but are getting another shipment in around a weeks time. They currently have a waiting list so you can go and reserve a phone. The prices of the 64GB version is KD353 and the 256GB version KD405. A friend also just picked up a phone from Zain this morning but I think you have to sign up to a plan or something to get it (i.e. don’t think you can just straight up buy it from them).


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Be Cafe – A space for wellbeing

Post by Mark

A friend of mine moved back to Kuwait last week and we were thinking of a place to go have lunch and she asked me if I had heard of a new plant-based cafe called “Be”. I hadn’t and found it really strange that a friend of mine who didn’t live in Kuwait knew about it and yet I didn’t, so obviously I had to go check the place out. So Friday I passed by the place for lunch and I think I really like the place.

They open at 2PM and we got there a bit earlier so we sat in their garden until they opened. While waiting we noticed they had a small area where they had vegetables and herbs planted, turns out they use them in some of their items. The owners mum was also really sweet and brought us some cold kombucha to try out while we waited for them to open. Once they opened we went in and explored the space. The cafe is located on the ground floor of one of the chalets at the Rimal Resort (next to Mayas). When you first walk in you have the main cafe seating area, and then in the back they have one room which they’ve turned into a little shop with some items for sale and then another larger room which they’ve turned into a cozy seating area.

Their main food menu isn’t that big with just two wraps, a pho dish and a acai bowl. The rest of the menu is made up of smoothies, juices, hot drinks and a bunch of small dessert bites which you could pick out from their fridge. We tried all the food items on the menu and my favorites were easily their tofu wrap and the acai bowl, both of which were delicious. On Saturdays they have more food items as part of their “Soulful Saturdays” menu which usually includes an Indian Thali.

I really liked Be Cafe, the space was really chill and the location is pretty great. Their menu is pretty small for now but it’s not a bad place to just meet up with a friend for some drinks that doesn’t involve coffee. They’re currently open from 2PM to 8PM (closed on Sundays) and you can follow them on instagram @be_kwt. Here is their location on [Google Maps]


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The Sultan Center Hiku Shopping Device

Post by Mark

Over the holidays Sultan Center sent me a Hiku device to play around with and try out. The Hiku is a small device that lives in your kitchen and can scan barcodes, recognize your voice and is basically used to create a shopping list. I’m a sucker for kitchen gadgets, even my egg tray connects to the internet so I wasn’t going to say no to adding another gadget in my kitchen. Plus, I enjoy scanning barcodes for some reason, I even owned a CueCat back in 2001 which strangely is considered one of the worst inventions ever. Anyway, enough throwbacks for now.

The Hiku is a pretty tiny device that connects to the internet and the Sultan Center phone app. The way you use it is pretty simple. Say you’re running out of popcorn, instead of opening your notes app or whatever app you use to remind you about what you need from the supermarket, you just take the Hiku device and scan the barcode on the popcorn box. The Hiku automatically recognizes what you just scanned, beeps once letting you know all is ok and then adds that item to your Sultan Center shopping list. If the Hiku doesn’t recognize the item, it will beep three times. Some items like bananas for example don’t have barcodes, so instead of scanning a barcode, you press the button on the Hiku and just say bananas. The Hiku device will recognize your voice and add bananas to your shopping list.

Once you’ve got everything on your list, you can then add the stuff to your shopping cart and purchase them using the Sultan Center app or, you can just open the list the next time you’re shopping and use it as a reminder.

So what do I think of the Hiku? Currently I use the Clear app on my iPhone for my grocery list reminders. It launches instantly and its very easy to add an item to a list and swipe it off once I get it. I don’t think I’ll be changing my habits and start using the Hiku especially since I don’t buy my groceries online. The Hiku makes more sense for people who do order grocerries to their home, by having all the items added to your Sultan Center account, it makes it super practical to just checkout and have the items delivered.

But, the biggest issue I faced is that not all the items I scanned got added to my list even though the Hiku recognized the items. For example the popcorn I used as an example in this post, when I scanned the box the Hiku didn’t add it to my shopping list even though it beeped once to let me know it recognized it. I scanned a different flavored popcorn box and it also didn’t get added to my list. I figured maybe the items were out of stock so I manually checked for the popcorn on their website and one of them wasn’t available, but the other was. Even if both items were out of stock I think they should still get added to my shopping list so that when they’re back in stock I could purchase them. Popcorn wasn’t the only thing it didn’t add to my list, I scanned a bunch of items in one of my kitchen drawers, and in the end it just added two of them to my list even though again the Hiku recognized all the other items. Super annoying.

Another issue I have is with the price of the Hiku. Although the device costs KD12 on Amazon, Sultan Center are selling it for KD25. I don’t know why they’d sell it for double the price, if anything they should be selling it at cost price so that they could get more people to buy it, which in return will lead to more people using their app and website.

With all that being said, the Hiku is a fun little gadget. If you want to find out more about the Hiku, visit the product page on the Sultan Center website [Here]


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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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