Archive | Opinions

Smartphones in Lebanon – Low Prices VS Genuine Warranty


Back in June when I got my S7 Edge, I decided to save some money by getting it from Amhaz in Bir El Abed because the price they provide for smartphones and accessories are usually the lowest in the market ($630 back then) *cough no VAT and no tax cough*. However, for selling at such prices, Amhaz does not give you a receipt and the warranty you get only covers factory defects which seemed fair enough for me.

I previously got some phones for my friends and family from there and luckily never had any problem with the handsets so I never resorted to the warranty. But fast forward to last week, my phone’s screen suddenly started to show a pink and green tint then continuously flashing, so I immediately took it to Amhaz to have it checked.

I got a phone call the next day that the screen is defected and I can have it replaced for $350 (Edge screens are expensive), so I went to the shop and started arguing with a technician about the origin of the problem as he insisted the screen was damaged due to some shock, knowing that the phone was unscratched and I never dropped it during the last days of using it.

Long story short, I couldn’t convince him of having it replaced under the warranty so I sold him the phone as it is for $160 and got an S7 instead.

I’m not sharing my story with you to bitch about Amhaz customer service, but to rather shed light on the importance of buying gadgets and electronics from authorized dealers. Such dealers have direct contact with the manufacturers and can help you easily replace a handset if it proved to be factory defective. On the other hand, other shops get their stuff imported through alternative channels and should go through a hassle to send a defective item to its origin, which explains why the warranty they give you is very limited.

I will never know what was wrong with my screen, maybe it was factory defected or maybe I could have damaged it myself, but what I’m sure of is that I had a higher chance of repairing it for free had I opted to originally get it from CTC because I heard of so many stories where people were able to get their phones repaired at no cost. Needless to say, with dealers like CTC and others the cases where a service is provided for free are clearly defined and do not depend on the technician’s mood.

At a time when tech companies are always challenged to keep innovating and releasing new models, shit can happen with their new designs and you never know when you might end up purchasing a messed up device like the Note 7 and regret not having a valid warranty with it. I learned my lesson the hard way, but I urge you to learn from my mistake! I now believe a genuine warranty is worth a few tens of bucks when buying such expensive devices, and no don’t settle for “kafeilit ma7all”. When it comes to mobile phones, make sure you a warranty from CTC for Samsung phones, and from Gomobile for Sony, Alcatel, HTC, and Lenovo. is one of the shops I recommend for smartphones with genuine warranty at a really good price.


Middle East Airlines New Safety Video


So our national carrier Middle East Airlines seems to have made a new safety video to show on their flights featuring some of Lebanon’s beautiful places like Jeita grotto, the cedars forest, and the Pigeons’ rock.

Making a creative safety video is pretty cool and featuring beautiful sceneries from around Lebanon was a good idea, but what’s with the constant silly dance moves?!


We Need a Cheaper Version of Souk El Akel


Even though Souk El Akel has been up for well more than a year now, I have only managed to go check it out a while ago in Beirut Downtown. And just like almost everybody else, I enjoyed the different flavors each stand was offering and loved how appetizing the food looked on display. The general ambiance also felt pretty nice with joyful people all around.

Raclette Burger in the making

Raclette Burger in the making

Still, I was surprised with a couple of things, first being the unreasonable prices that are definitely not suitable for street food, and second the fact that no one seems to be bothered about it.

$5.6 Pizza slices

I have the utmost respect for Anthony (the founder of Souk El Akel) and everybody in his team for the effort they’re putting to let people enjoy clean and appetizing street food in a cool ambiance, but if that comes at a high cost like a $10 burger or $3.3 popsicle, then you can no longer call it street food, and for such prices I’d rather be at some restaurant enjoying a seated meal. I’m totally aware though that some items include premium ingredients like salmon and Angus beef, but then again, when I want to go have a street burger or a sandwich, it doesn’t really have to be made of premium stuff, just make me something tasty!

$8 Waffles anyone?

I don’t claim to have toured the world, but I have tried street food in several places like the US, Thailand, Turkey, Singapore, and Malaysia, and the prices were always dirt cheap for some of the best flavors I’ve tasted! So I really don’t understand how people here feel indifferent about $10 quick bites and dessert. It’s either everybody is suddenly better off, or I’m simply a cheap guy (I doubt the latter though :P).

I tried these ice cream rolls in Kuala Lumpur last October for no more than $2. Now available as Frooza at the Souk for $8.

All in all, paying $30 for some appetizer, a sandwich, and a dessert is just too much in my opinion for a street food market. For all I know, the organizers and the vendors are free to set whatever price they want and people will probably keep coming because it’s a new and cool concept to Lebanon, but making room for cheaper bites certainly make Souk El Akel earn its name.

$9 Chicken and pork sandwiches


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