Tag - tech

Corsair Launches Bulldog 4K Living Room PC and Lapdog Control Center

corsair-bulldog-4k

FREMONT, CA –May 25th 2016 – CORSAIR®, a world leader in enthusiast memory, PC components and high-performance gaming hardware today announced the release of its eagerly anticipated BULLDOG 4K living room PC kit and LAPDOG portable gaming control center, bringing 4K PC Gaming into the living room with the intuitive, accurate controls of a full size mouse and keyboard.

BULLDOG compresses high-end desktop PC performance into a form factor fit for your living room, supporting liquid cooling for both the processor and graphics card to deliver true 4K performance for the most detailed and immersive gaming experience possible. LAPDOG is the perfect companion for BULLDOG, bringing precision desktop peripherals to your couch with un-matched comfort. Together, BULLDOG and LAPDOG deliver the un-rivalled 4K PC Gaming experience in your living room.

CORSAIR BULLDOG – True 4K Gaming Performance in Your Living Room

First announced as a prototype at Computex 2015, the CORSAIR BULLDOG set PC enthusiast imaginations racing with the prospect of finally bringing a full-performance, liquid cooled PC into the living room. Continuously developed since and collecting a Best of CES 2016 Honoree distinction, CORSAIR BULLDOG finally realises the potential of a full-performance liquid-cooled PC in the living room.

Available as both a kit and via select configured systems from Micro Center in North America, BULLDOG includes a trio of innovations right in the box to bring the enthusiast PC to a living-room friendly form factor. Sleek industrial design and a console-sized case fit right in with the rest of your home entertainment gear, the multi-award winning CORSAIR SF600 SFX power supply powers the most ambitious of builds and the low-profile CORSAIR H5SF liquid cooler efficiently cools the CPU. BULLDOG comes with an Intel Z170 mini-ITX motherboard (specific model varies between retailer) right in the box, so all you need to do is add the CPU, memory, graphics card and storage to build a true living room gaming PC, with no compromises on performance.

While BULLDOG comes pre-configured for easy assembly and compatibility, it’s also been built with upgrades in mind. Supporting up to three 2.5in SSDs or one 2.5in and one 3.5in HDD mount, BULLDOG carries all the features you’d expect from a CORSAIR case. Builder-friendly layout, tool-free fittings and a standard mini-ITX form factor makes upgrades easy. What’s more, BULLDOG can mount not just the H5SF low-profile CPU cooler, but also a host of compatible all-in-one graphics card liquid-coolers such as the Corsair HG10 and H55, providing the benefits of liquid cooling to not just the CPU, but the power-hungry GPU as well.

LAPDOG – Living Room PC Gaming Done Right.

First shown at Computex 2015 and the winner of numerous “Best of Show” awards CORSAIR Lapdog brings desktop CORSAIR gaming peripheral performance to the living room. A full-size portable gaming control center, LAPDOG allows you to mount your choice of CORSAIR K70 or K65 Keyboard and mouse to enjoy the complete PC gaming experience from the comfort of your couch.

Built from anodized, brushed aluminium LAPDOG feels as good as it looks, and with a huge removable memory foam lap cushion is made for comfort as well as style. Weighing just 5.8lbs (2.63 kg), multi-hour gaming sessions are a breeze, with the light-weight aluminium chassis and moulded cushion minimizing weight and pressure. Any CORSAIR K70 or K65 mechanical keyboard fits securely into Lapdog, while a full-size 11in x 11in textured-finish mouse pad provides both precision tracking for optical or laser sensor equipped mice and enough surface area to enable the best gaming mouse experience.

CORSAIR is no new-comer when it comes to cable management, and LAPDOG is no exception. Cables and connectors are tucked away inside LAPDOG’s hidden compartment, along with an integrated powered USB 3.0 hub with four USB 3.0 ports, allowing gamers to connect not just a keyboard and mouse, but also a USB headset, phone, flash drive or any other USB device, all right from their seat. Connected via a 16ft / 4.8m USB 3.0 cable, LAPDOG offers the reliability of a wired connection for maximum performance and minimal latency.

Combining the precision of CORSAIR’s industry leading keyboards and mice with supreme comfort and aluminium construction, LAPDOG is living room PC gaming done right.

 

BULLDOG Availability and Pricing

Available initially only in North America and Australia CORSAIR BULLDOG is sold in the below configurations:

BULLDOG DIY Kit Inc. Motherboard

SKU: CS-9000001:

Includes: BULLDOG Chassis, Hydro Series H5 SF Cooler, SF600 Power Supply and Gigabyte Z170N-WiFi Motherboard.

MSRP: $399

BULLDOG Complete System

Includes: BULLDOG Chassis, Hydro Series H5 SF Cooler and SF600 Power Supply, System Configuration Varies

MSRP: Varies with configuration

 

LAPDOG Availability and Pricing

Available initially in North America, UK, France, Germany and Scandanavia, LAPDOG is available immediately from CORSAIR’s world-wide network of retailers and distributors, as well as directly from CORSAIR.

SKU: CH-9500000-NA

Warranty: Corsair LAPDOG carries a 2 Year Warranty

Pricing: MSRP $119.99

 

Web Pages:

For more information on CORSAIR BULLDOG visit:

www.corsair.com/bulldog

For more information on CORSAIR LAPDOG visit:

www.corsair.com/lapdog

AOC Will Bring New Quantum Dot Monitors With Color IQ to North America

aoc-24

San Francisco, California – May 25, 2016 – Today AOC, one of the world’s leading monitor brands, announced that their latest quantum dot-based monitors will be available in North America this year. The new monitors, which were introduced in China last month, integrate QD Vision’s Color IQ technology to deliver the most vivid color viewing experience commercially available today, enabling 50 percent better color performance than a typical LCD monitor, at a competitive price point.

AOC will sell its 27-inch and quantum dot displays, which deliver 98 percent Adobe RGB color, making them ideal for entertainment, photography and gaming. The new AOC Quantum Dot monitors will be available later this year online and at AOC retailers.

“Given the overwhelming positive feedback we’ve received from customers and reviewers alike, we are thrilled to expand our distribution to North America,” said Mr. Lidong Yan, general manager of monitor BU, OBM China, TPV Group. “QD Vision has helped us deliver the widest color gamut displays available today with their leading-edge quantum dot technology, and we can now bring the latest product innovations and display technology to a broader global audience.”

QD Vision’s Color IQ solution enables the widest, more accurate color gamut across screens by utilizing semiconductor nanocrystals, called quantum dots, to precisely and efficiently convert light emissions and create virtually any color of the visible spectrum. Color IQ Optics lead in green chemistry nano-material innovation and deliver the most brilliant, full gamut color displays, providing a superior viewing experience over any other commercial technology, including OLED, but at a much lower overall cost.

“Quantum dot technology provides far more natural and vivid viewing, and these new monitors from AOC will enhance performance, accuracy and user experience for consumers worldwide,” said John Volkmann, chief marketing officer at QD Vision. “AOC is one of the leaders in delivering the most accurate, wide color gamut experience and by integrating QD Vision’s Color IQ optics, these monitors deliver incredible performance at affordable price points.”

Today, most high-end monitors can only display 95 percent of the Adobe RGB color gamut while many mainstream models are limited to illustrating, at most, 70 percent of the Adobe spectrum. Using QD Vision’s Color IQ solution, AOC quantum dot displays deliver nearly 100 percent of the full Adobe RGB spectrum, resulting in remarkably crisp images with vivid, life-like colors, making them ideally suited for binge-watching television shows, online gaming, personal photography or other activities that would benefit from the highest degree of color accuracy and brightness consistency.

The PLS/PLS-ADS wide view angle panel offers perfect image performance and real color uniformity at an extremely large viewing angle of 178°, and flicker-free technology provides critical eye support for photographers who are used to long-time photo editing, providing a more comfortable viewing experience that promotes greater eye health. The AOC 27” quantum dot monitors features 1920 x 1080 resolution, ?E<3 color deviation, 50 million:1 dynamic contrast and support for multiple I/O ports including VGA, DVI-D, HDMI and an audio line output. The series is compatible with Blu-ray players and most gaming consoles, including PS3/PS4 and Xbox 360.

LucidSound LS30 Wireless Gaming Headset Review

ls30-headset

Exuding extreme amounts of elegance and class, one does not assume that the LucidSound LS30 wireless gaming headset is a gaming headset. It looks far more like the headset of an audiophile looking to pull every ounce of audio quality from their collection of Mozart or Bach. I assure you that underneath the LS30’s classy exterior lies the heart of a keen gaming headset with a lot going for it. If you have never heard of LucidSound, don’t feel bad. They are a relatively new player in the headset market. However, the company’s creators have a history of experience in Tritton, a long-time gaming headset maker.

While the LS30 we reviewed featured a black, dark gray, and brushed aluminum construction – there is an additional flavor of LS30 being made by LucidSound. This flavor comes in a gold and white body – two colors which rarely adorn a gaming headset. In my mind, that flavor resembles more the interior of a luxury automobile – or, what I *think* a luxury automobile looks like inside. I preface it like that as I am a light pickup truck guy. Vroom vroom!

lucidsound-ls30-white

In terms of connection and setup, the LucidSound LS30 can be connected to an audio source via a 3.5mm headphone plug. The sound quality of the unit in this configuration is fine. It sounds like pretty much any wired stereo headset. However, the LS30 truly shines once connected via its 2.4 GHz wireless dongle. The sound is crisp and seems much more voluminous than its headset form factor should be able to allow. The sound can become somewhat distorted when pumping out a lot of bass but, then again, huge amounts of bass is often a crutch for headset makers. In this case, LucidSound has actually put some great audio quality in the unit that does not rely on bass to cover up imperfections. Plus, too much bass fries your brain – really!

Officially, the LS30 is unsupported when it comes to connecting to your PC via the wireless USB dongle. However, it is possible and I suggest you search around “the Google” for instructions should that be something you are wanting to have happen.

I got the chance to play several of my favorite titles with this headset – and took way too long doing it. Master of Orion, Fallout 4, DCS: A-10C Warthog, Squad – all of them sounded great. On my console, I took the game for a spin with Destiny and DOOM. Time after time, the headset came through with a terrific level of audio quality. The microphone is awesome as it can be unplugged if not needed – a feature more headsets need to utilize, and it picked up my voice in Squad without issue.

ls30-boxes

In terms of comfort, the LucidSound LS30’s leather earcups are soft, with great cushioning, and don’t compress too hard onto your ears. I did get some ear sweat happening after a while but, hey, that’s leather for you. Aside from that, the wearing experience is great and the overall light weight of the headset’s design adds to this immensely.

Overall, the LucidSound LS30 wireless gaming headset is an elegant piece of audio tech that will allow you to enjoy some great wireless audio from your game console or PC. The LS30 retails for $149.99 which, while pricey, feels about right for a gaming headset like this. It also bolsters the LS30’s aesthetic as more of a luxury gaming headset.

LucidSound LS30 Wireless Gaming Headset Review Score
Overall Score (out of 5)www.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
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Roto VR Announces Price and Ship Date

London – May 13, 2016 – Elliott Myers and the team behind Roto today announced that Roto VR, the first motorised VR chair which works with all VR headsets, will launch this July! VR fans can purchase the Roto VR chair for $499.00 here. A limited $100 discount is being offered to the first early adopters.

“95% of VR experiences are designed for a seated user,” commented Elliott Myers, CEO at Roto VR. “Roto VR now transforms the awkward seated VR set-up into a totally immersive “endlessly revolving” experience – motorised turns, no tangling cables, double rumble effect and much more.”

Roto VR incorporates over 20 different technologies (patents pending) and is the result of years of R&D from an experienced team of technology and games industry professionals.

Roto VR features:

  • Explore 360 degrees in virtual reality without cables tangling
  • Motorised features enhance and transform all types of VR experiences
  • Roto VR HeadTracker enables 360 degrees exploration in complete comfort
  • Feel the experience with Roto VR Simulator Double Rumble Packs
  • Bring accessories into 360 VR with the Roto VR Table
  • Walk (whilst seated) using the Roto VR Touch Pedals
  • Full HMD compatibility and upgradable with Roto VR Cable Magazines
  • Yaw motion sickness resolved as your movements in VR are matched in the real world
  • Roto VR’s internal tracking provides decoupled VR experience
  • Discover gravitational presence in the virtual world

The Roto VR pre order page can be found here.

The launch trailer can be found here.

SteelSeries PAX EAST 2016 Line-Up

steelseries-pax-east

CHICAGO – April 19, 2016 – SteelSeries, leader and innovator in gaming peripherals, showcases a fresh lineup of gaming peripherals during PAX EAST 2016, including the Siberia 350 surround sound headset and the APEX M500 mechanical keyboard.

On display from April 22 to 24 at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center, gamers of all levels can experience the ultimate in gaming peripherals; from mechanical keyboards designed for eSports to 3D surround sound headsets and the latest in mouse technology. Visitors will also have the opportunity to win professional gaming gear from SteelSeries just by visiting booth 2106.

Siberia 350

Acclaimed for its ultra-lightweight and comfortable design, the Siberia 350 headset lets you hear everything on the battlefield, from footsteps behind you to an explosion over the hill, and enjoy the beautiful sound design as intended for enhanced gameplay. The headset features DTS Headphone:X 7.1 surround sound technology, a retractable microphone for easy storing, and the iconic SteelSeries suspension headband that self-adjusts for the perfect fit. The Siberia 350 also comes with integrated audio controls, SteelSeries Engine for customization, and RGB illumination for personalization.

APEX M500

The tournament-ready mechanical keyboard is outfitted with Cherry MX Red switches and SteelSeries Engine customization software. The APEX M500 features a traditional key layout for universality, Anti-Ghosting technology for optimum efficiency, and blue LED backlighting for supreme visibility.

Win, Play and Share

SteelSeries will also be hosting a variety of events and giveaways during the show, including daily CS:GO and Crossout tournaments for the opportunity to win SteelSeries gaming gear. Attendees are encouraged to stop by booth 2106 to scan an individual code inside their PAX welcome bag or share a picture of the SteelSeries booth on Instagram or Twitter to win a Siberia 350 headset each day.

For more information about the APEX M500, Siberia 350, or SteelSeries entire selection of gaming accessories, visit www.SteelSeries.com. To schedule a VIP tour of SteelSeries booth during PAX East, contact your PR representative.

DJI Releases New Osmo Accessories

DJI-Osmo-Stabilizer-Camera

LAS VEGAS, April 17, 2016 – DJI, the world’s leading aerial imagery company, Sunday announced it will offer its best-in-class Micro Four-Thirds Zenmuse X5R camera for use with the Osmo, the imaging stabilization system that has transformed handheld photography and video.

The new system, known as the Osmo RAW, uses the same technology DJI launched last month on the Inspire 1 RAW aerial to bring unmatched cinematic-quality stabilized video to the skies.

“When we launched the Osmo, we reimagined motion,” said Senior Product Manager Paul Pan. “With the DJI Osmo RAW, we’ve gone even further. Now, creators and filmmakers will no longer have to choose between image quality and image stability, no matter from what perspective they’re shooting.”

The X5R will attach to the Osmo handle via an adaptor and store video on a removable 512GB solid-state drive. Gimbal motors will ensure image stability on three axes, with pan and tilt functions accessible either by using the Osmo’s thumb stick or through the DJI GO app. Users can also control the X5R’s focus and aperture inside the iOS or Android app or using an optional DJI Focus unit.

The X5R is the world’s smallest, lossless 4K camera optimized for aerial imaging. It has 12.8 stops of dynamic range, an ISO range from 100 to 25,600, and a still-image resolution of 16 megapixels. The X5R features interchangeable lens options, with video bitrates averaging 1.7Gbps, with a maximum of 2.4Gbps. The X5R records CinemaDNG files and offers a new D-LOG mode with a broader array of color correction options in post production.

Also available for the Osmo system is the Micro Four-Thirds X5 camera and gimbal, called the Osmo Pro. It uses the same adaptor as the X5R, providing superior, stabilized video and top-quality photo imagery.

Pricing and availability of the Osmo Pro and Osmo RAW will be announced shortly.

Osmo users with the Zenmuse X3 camera also will soon have complete stabilization capability with the launch of the Z-Axis. The $129 attachment, which mounts between the X3 camera and the Osmo handle provides full stabilization along the fourth (vertical) axis, giving it the same capabilities as much more expensive Steadicam rigs. The Z-Axis features a shock absorber, a tilt angle adjust button and a knob to control the spring tension needed on the fourth axis.

DJI is also introducing two new power-management solutions for power users of the Osmo, including a higher-capacity battery that offers up to 96 minutes of shooting time at 4K resolution, an increase from up to 66 minutes using the standard Osmo battery. With the Osmo Pro, shooting time with the higher-capacity battery is up to 78 minutes, compared with up to 60 minutes with the original Osmo battery. Shooting time on the Osmo RAW is up to 37 minutes with the new, higher-capacity battery and up to 26 minutes with the original Osmo battery.

Users can charge their batteries with the standard Osmo charger or use an optional intelligent four-battery charger that will fully charge both original and higher-capacity batteries simultaneously. Four higher-capacity Osmo batteries will charge fully in around 120 minutes.

Using DJI’s new, extended battery means even more shooting time with the Osmo. This solution is ideal for video journalists, photographers and filmmakers who spend hours in the field and filmmakers who require multiple takes of a scene or who set a rigorous full-day production schedule.

The battery-shaped power adaptor fits into the Osmo handle and connects to either a dedicated DJI power charger or a DJI Intelligent Battery. It supports five different DJI AC charger units, three models of DJI car chargers and six varieties of DJI drone and Ronin batteries that offer shooting times up to 14 hours on the Osmo, up to 11.7 hours on the Osmo Pro and just under five-and-a-half hours for the Osmo RAW. Shooting times will differ, depending on the type of battery used.

Razer Announces ManO’War Wireless Gaming Headset

manowar-gallery-v1-3

IRVINE, Calif. – Razer, a world leader in connected devices and software for gamers, today announced the release of its new wireless gaming headset for PC, the Razer ManO’War. This latest addition to Razer’s audio line offers high-fidelity, gaming-grade audio engineered with multiple wireless antennas, frequency channel scanning for locating the clearest channel and an advanced coding algorithm to ensure a high-performance, lag-free, 2.4 GHz wireless experience.

An ultra-compact wireless USB adapter provides plug-and-play connectivity from up to 39 feet. Alternately, users may opt to use the Razer ManO’War’s optional extension dock for an even greater 46-foot range.

Immersive 7.1 channel virtual surround sound in the Razer ManO’War is supported by the Razer Surround software engine. Paired with the RazerManO’War’s custom tuned 50 mm Neodymium magnet drivers, Razer Surround makes virtual soundscapes come alive with 360-degree fidelity. The positional audio calibration feature helps to personalize the hearing experience to ensure players have the auditory cues they need get the jump on opponents, visible or otherwise. Closed-style, upgraded leatherette cushions cover a wearer’s entire ear, enhancing noise isolation and comfort.

Concealed in the left ear cup of the Razer ManO’War is a unidirectional digital microphone boom that easily pulls-out when needed and can be adjusted to whatever position is desired. The microphone surpasses the capabilities of traditional analog microphones by way of an optimized algorithm for more natural sounding and crystal clear voice reproduction. Gamers may adjust mic and volume levels and mute via Quick Action Controls on the Razer ManO’War’s ear cups. A mute LED indicator on the boom illuminates when mic mute is active.

Razer ensured the headset was prepared for long stretches of uninterrupted, unfettered enjoyment. Whether streaming, watching a movie or in a gaming marathon, it is able to give an impressive 14 hours of continuous wireless use on a single charge.

Finally, Razer Chroma™ lighting features built into the Razer ManO’War Chroma allow gamers to explore a practically limitless number of possible lighting profiles. With 16.8 million colors to choose from, custom color schemes can be programmed for the headset using Razer Synapse, or users may select from an array of preloaded lighting options. For gamers playing titles with in-game Chroma integration, the Razer ManO’War becomes an instrument for even deeper levels of immersive gameplay.

“The Razer ManO’War combines the perfect balance of wireless performance, comfort and durability in a gaming-grade headset,” says Razer Co-Founder and CEO Min-Liang Tan. “The freedom to play without wires, uninterrupted, with the comfort, sound quality and incredible battery life of this headset is more than exciting for gamers—it’s critical.”

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS:

Headphones:

  • Frequency response: 20 Hz – 20 kHz
  • Impedance: 32 Ω ­ at 1 kHz
  • Sensitivity (@1 kHz): 112 ± 3 dB
  • Input power: 30 mW (Max)
  • Drivers: 50 mm, with Neodymium magnets
  • Inner ear cup diameter: 60 mm / 2.36 in.
  • Connection type: Wireless USB Transceiver
  • Wireless range: 12 m / 40 ft.
  • Wireless frequency: 2.4 Ghz
  • Battery life: Up to 14 hours with Chroma lighting / 20 hours without Chroma lighting
  • Approximate weight: 375 g / 0.83 lbs.

Microphone:

  • Frequency response: 100 Hz – 10 kHz
  • Signal-to-noise ratio: > 60 dB
  • Sensitivity (@1 kHz): -38 ± 3 dB
  • Pick-up pattern: Unidirectional

System requirements:

  • PC / Mac with USB port; PlayStation® 4*
  • Windows® 10 / Windows® 8 / Windows® 7 / Windows® Vista / Mac OS X (10.9 and higher)
  • Internet connection for driver installation
  • At least 100 MB of free hard disk space

* Only Spectrum cycling lighting effect and 2.0 stereo audio output is available

Package contents:

  • Razer ManO’War Wireless Gaming Headset
  • USB charging cable
  • Wireless USB Transceiver
  • Extension dock

Price: USD 169.99 / EUR 199,99

Availability:

USA: April 17, 2016 (Limited units available at BestBuy and Razerstore.com)

Worldwide: May 2016

Turtle Beach Ear Force Stealth 420X Headset – A Review (Xbox One)

ear-force-420x

Turtle Beach, one of the premier video game headset manufacturers, has just released a new wireless headset for the Xbox One, the Ear Force Stealth 420X Headset (shortened to the 420X for the rest of this review).  The 420X might just be one of the best headsets I have ever owned, and most definitely the best one I’ve had for a console.  The headset fits quite nicely, never pinching nor feeling to small for my head, and is incredibly comfortable to wear for hours of gaming.

Features

The 420X is completely wireless while in use, the only cord that comes in the package is used to connect the headset to the Xbox One for charging.  Using a USB wireless connector, the 420X stays connected for up to 30ft, which is perfect for me to grab a soda from the garage and still be able to talk between online games.  All the controls for the 420X are on the headset, including game and voice volume, bass boost, mute, and a button for presets.  The power button is on the right ear cup, dead center so you can easily feel for it and turn it on or off while the headset is being worn.  The 420X also features a removable omni-directional boom mic, so you can use your headset for music or mobile gaming.

I love the fit of the 420X on my head.  Comfort for me is pretty high on my must have list for gaming headsets, if the headset hurts after a few hours of gaming, then it just isn’t a good quality headset.  The 420x has synthetic leather ear cups that fit over the ear, keeping outside noise to a minimum while keeping your ears from sweating.  I also love how the ear cups swivel to match the shape of your head.

Aesthetic

The 420X is a very clean looking headset, which is pretty typical of Turtle Beach.  Most of the headset is set in a matte black color, with some green highlights around the ear cups.  The Turtle Beach logos are also green, and glow green when the headset is on.  This is just your clean looking, basic design for a gaming headset, which I love.

ear-force-420x-1

Performance

I was able to use the 420X extensively over my testing period, focusing on a few different types of games.  Games like Dark Souls 2, The Division, Black Ops 3, Far Cry Primal, and Borderlands 2 sounded fantastic through the headset.  During multiplayer, I was able to hear footstep directions to give me a better indication of where my opponents were.  With single player games like Dark Souls 2, the music and sound effects really came through nicely and added to my immersion into the game.  Voice communication was clear with no issues at all, though finding the mute button was somewhat difficult at times.  I guess my only complaint with the 420X really is that it was hard to find the controls while the headset was on.  Feeling for the mute button was difficult, and I had a hard time remembering which volume control wheel controlled which volume.

Specifications

  • Digital Signal Processor: Digital Signal Processor for independently controlled chat, game and mic signals
  • Audio mute: Audio mutes automatically when carrier signal is lost
  • Battery: Rechargeable Lithium Polymer
  • Shut down: Automatic shut down after approx 10 minutes of carrier loss or silence to conserve battery power
  • Weight: 8.6oz
  • Speaker Frequency Response: 20Hz – 20kHz
  • Battery life: >15 Hours
  • Speakers: 50mm with Neodymium Magnets
  • Digital Wireless RF wireless carrier reception.: 2.4GHz
  • Speaker Impedance: 32 ohms
  • Microphone Design: Removable Omni-Directional Microphone
  • Earcup Design: Around-Ear (Closed)
  • Headband/Earpad Material: Perforated Synthetic Leather (Black) with Foam Cushioning

Final Thoughts

The Ear Force Stealth 420X Headset by Turtle Beach is the best headset I have ever used for the Xbox One or Xbox 360.  The wireless connectivity is a must with my current living room set up, the voice communication was clear, and the headset was incredibly comfortable to wear over long periods of time.  I do wish the controls on the ear cups were a little easier to use or the buttons and wheels separated over both ears, but that is a fairly minor issue unless you are adjusting these items constantly during game play.  The price is set to be around $150 MSRP, which could be considered a little steep, but worth it if you are looking for a quality wireless headset.

Turtle Beach Ear Force Stealth 420X Review Score
Overall Score (out of 5)www.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com

Review of the Garmin tactix Bravo Smartwatch

tactix-bravo-lineup

Recently, we got the chance to check out Garmin’s newest iteration of their tactix smartwatch, the tactix Bravo. Featuring carbon-coated, stainless steel construction and a highly scratch-resistant sapphire lens, it will take a lot to damage this watch during those MilSim airsoft games in rugged terrain. Additionally, the watch was designed to be as non-reflective as possible, as to not inadvertently give away your position to opposing players. The tactix Bravo is available in two flavors: One with a silicone watch band and another that includes two nylon watch bands (one in olive drab and the other in black). Either of these options are fine, but depend more on your personal needs. If you plan to wear the watch in a personal, outdoorsman style of operation, you might want to consider going with the silicone band. If you are wearing the tactix Bravo on top or underneath your combat shirts and gear, you may consider the nylon band option. Measuring 2 inches by 2 inches, with a depth of 0.6 inches, the tactix Bravo is a rather large watch.

The tactix Bravo features a host of sensors designed to be of benefit to those of you in the field – whether it be for real world tactical operations or multi-day airsoft games in rugged territory. By hitting the down page button on the tactix Bravo, you can get to a compass, barometer, and altimeter – all of which seemed particularly accurate while I trekked across Southern California. The compass features both the degree of the direction you’re facing as well as the general direction (e.g. “NW”, “N”, NE”) for ease of use.

tactix-bravo-5

Pairing up with your smartphone via the Garmin Connect app is very simple, thanks to the tactix Bravo’s built-in ANT+and Bluetooth connectivity. Once paired, the Garmin Connect app will keep track of your activity levels on a daily basis, as well as have the ability to interface with other fitness apps on the app store – like My Fitness Pal. The information is extremely valuable – whether you are on a regimented diet and exercise plan or just curious about how many calories you burn doing your daily activities.

Of course, the tactix Bravo can receive your texts, emails, and app notifications as you like, and the Garmin Chroma Display is refreshingly crisp and can even be seen clearly in daylight! For those of you who do airsoft night games with night vision goggles, you will be happy to know that the tactix Bravo has a night vision mode! This enables a change in the display’s color scheme and light output to be optimized for your night vision equipment. As a fun additional feature, the tactix Bravo can even control a Garmin VIRB XE action camera, but I couldn’t test that feature as I don’t have a VIRB XE camera on-hand.

One of the coolest parts of the tactix Bravo’s feature set is its built-in GPS receiver. Similar to the Garmin Foretrex series, the tactix Bravo will display your current path and also display waypoint information and leave a trail of virtual “breadcrumbs” along your path. Furthermore, it will also display your current location in MGRS, Degrees Minutes Seconds and more. MGRS is extremely important for those of you in the military, being the geo-coordinate system standard for NATO. According to the specs of the tactix Bravo, it features an omni-directional stainless steel EXO antenna, with GPS/GLONASS satellite reception. I am not sure what that means in terms of the technical side of things, but I can tell you I was able to get GPS satellite reception inside my apartment just as fast as outdoors – so it means better reception all around!

tactix-bravo-4

At Garmin’s Connect IQ website, you can download additional pages for the tactix Bravo, with choices for speedometers, watch faces, navigation data, and more. It is really interesting to see the expandability that has been created for the watch from independent developers. Going down that road, if any of you are developers interested in creating new data pages for Garmin devices, checkout the Connect IQ developer portal.

Navigating around the various screens and pages of the tactix Bravo interface is very simple. The watch has a small array of buttons: Up, down, back, action, and backlight. These all do pretty much what you would expect. After selecting whatever option you prefer, you press the action button to proceed into that option. Hitting the action button from the main display will bring up the list of activities you can perform. There is a wide variety of choices – with the tactix Bravo even having Jumpmaster and Tactical sport modes! The Jumpmaster will help you if you ever decide to jump out of a perfectly good airplane while the tactical mode enables the GPS and sensor logging and is great for when you are actually playing your airsoft games. The jumpmaster mode can be used for HAHO, HALO, or Static line jumps. Of course, for those of you looking to be active people sans airsoft or military/tactical needs, you can also choose from things such as swimming, hiking, and trail running – to name just a brief few.

Overall, the Garmin tactix Bravo smartwatch is an excellent activity tracker and wearable watch that will provide some essential navigational capabilities during your stints in rugged terrain – whether you are playing in an airsoft game, camping, or in the field. The tactix Bravo retails for $699.99 and is available now on a variety of online stores as well as Garmin’s official website.

Garmin tactix Bravo Smartwatch Review Score
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Blue Microphones Yeti Review

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Blue Microphones have long been known for their quality and this reputation has only grown – especially in this day and age of podcasts and game stream channels. Blue Microphones flagship USB-based microphone is the “Yeti”. Available in two flavors: standard and “Pro”, the Yeti family of microphone shares a similar design save for an XLR port on the Pro model. The Yeti has a professional aesthetic and is available in a variety of classy color schemes: Whiteout, Silver, Platinum, and Blackout.

The Blue Yeti’s build quality is excellent, and the microphone has a very solid feel in its three and a half pound form factor. While it sits on a removable base stand, it should be noted that there is an external shock mount available for the Yeti, which can be found on Blue’s official website. Something to note is that the Yeti stands about a foot high once connected to its base unit. It lives up to its namesake in being a monster in regards to the space it takes up. Be sure you have room on your desk or recording area to place it.

Using the Yeti is as simple as plugging it into a USB port on your computer. Any audio recording software should be able to utilize its input. I used SONAR and it had no trouble getting it to accept the microphone. As it is a USB-based microphone, however, I highly suggest consulting your audio software instructions on adding one USB microphone into your recording session. One really cool feature to note about the Yeti is that it allows you to plug a set of headphones into a latency-free monitor port on its bottom side. You will be able to hear exactly what the microphone is picking up that way.

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A feature of many Blue Microphones microphone units is their multiple pickup patterns, and the Yeti is no different. It features four different audio pickup patterns: Cardioid, bidirectional, omni-directional, and stereo – each with its own strengths:

  • STEREO MODE
    • Uses both the left and right channels to capture a wide, realistic sound image—perfect for recording acoustic guitar or choir.
  • CARDIOID MODE
    • Well-suited to podcasts, vocal performances, voice-overs and instruments. Cardioid mode records sound sources that are directly in front of the microphone, delivering rich, full-bodied sound.
  • OMNIDIRECTIONAL MODE
    • Picks up sound equally from all around the mic. It’s best used in situations when you want to capture the ambience of “being there”—like a live recording of a band’s performance, a multi-person podcast or a conference call.
  • BIDIRECTIONAL MODE
    • Records from both the front and the rear of the microphone—ideal for recording a duet or a two-person interview.

Switching between these four modes is very easy – simply rotate a knob on the backside of the Yeti – each mode is denoted by a small icon. These icons represent the sphere or arc of pickup for each mode. I get them confused so I suggest you simply look at your instructions or on the Blue Microphones website for clarification on which is which. I have had the pleasure of previously using a Blue Microphones “Snowball” model microphone, and had solid results. The Yeti is even better, with a much more stable base stand as well as better range of motion when connected to said stand.

Overall, the Yeti from Blue Microphones is an exceptional microphone – whether you are a podcaster, video game streamer, or budding musician looking to lay-down some tracks. Its plug and play capabilities mixed with the Yeti’s four pickup patterns makes it especially handy in just about any situation.

Blue Microphones Yeti Review Score
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