Afterglow Prismatic Controller & LVL 5+ Wired Headset – Review (@pdpgaming)

With so much selection as far as gaming peripherals go, it can be hard to choose between them all. Today I have the PDP (Performance Designed Products) Afterglow Prismatic Controller for the Xbox One to review, and this is one product that I am looking forward to getting to grips with. Alongside the controller review, I also have the Afterglow LVL 5+ Wired Headset review included.

The first thing you see is the eye-catching, high quality packaging. The front of said packaging shows a holographic type image of the controller that changes colour as you move the box around. The back of the packaging has information about the “Signature Prismatic LED Lighting” which informs you that you can change the colour and brightness of the LED lights. Also included is a brief description of the Dual Multi-Function Wheels, as well as the 3.5mm Audio Jack and controls.

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Upon removing the controller from the box, I was instantly impressed with the build quality. Made from a transparent plastic, you are able to see the circuit board and the internal parts of the analogue sticks, rumble packs, etc. The actual controller itself feels very close in quality to the official Microsoft Xbox One controller, as do the A, B, X, Y buttons and the bumpers and triggers. Also included in the box is the user manual, and a 10 foot USB cable.

Now, I will admit, I was expecting my first time using the controller and setting the LED colour, programming the rear wheels, and generally getting to grips with things, to be a bit of a daunting task. How wrong was I?! From the moment I had the controller powered on, I found it very easy to assign the wheels to buttons, as well as changing the LED colour to one that suited me, and lastly, putting the controller into Prismatic mode (I will admit that I found this by accident and it took me a few button presses to figure out what it was that I pressed initially).

There is a small button on the back of the controller, located in the middle between the two wheels that is basically your gateway to fully customising the controller to your needs and preferences. Simply click the button once so that the LED on the front of the controller changes to blue. You can then use the left analogue stick to control the brightness of the LED and the right stick to cycle through the colours. Once you have chosen your preferred colour, press the button on the back to store your colour choice. If you would like to use Prismatic mode, press the button on the back to get the blue LED on the front and click Up on the D-Pad. To set the rear wheels to your preferred buttons, press the same button on the back of the controller twice so that the LED shows as green and then press the wheel of your choice (the LED should then flash green) at the same time as the button you wish to map it to, then simply release the rear wheel. The wheels on the back each have three different functions – scroll up and down, and also press the wheel inwards – so six in total! Lastly, if you would like to turn off the rumble packs inside the controller, press the rear function button three times so you see a yellow LED on the front and click Down on the D-Pad. To turn them back on, press the function button three times and click Up on the D-Pad. If the rumble is on, when you get to the yellow LED light, you will see red LED’s on either side of the controller – if they are off, no red LED lights are visible.  Lastly, to mute the mic when you have a headset connected, press the button that is located beside the right analogue stick, and press again to unmute.

As previously mentioned, the controller quality is pretty amazing. I love the feel of the analogue sticks, maybe more than I like the sticks on the official Xbox controller. They seem to have more grip to them than the original controller sticks, meaning that the usual add-ons that I use for gaming are no longer needed! The controller itself is very light to hold, but it is still very comfortable to have in your hands. I feel that for my size hands, which I would probably say are medium-ish, the buttons on the back of the controller are in the perfect position. The only drawback that I have with this controller is the fact that it is wired. Now this may not be an issue for many people, but for some, maybe with young children or pets, a wired controller may not be the suitable choice.

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Now to move on and cover the Afterglow LVL 5+ Wired Headset.

I’m a stickler for headsets and always enjoy my game more when I have loud game play coming through a headset rather than a TV. To be able to do that, I need a headset that isn’t going to disappoint.

The LVL 5+ headset packaging, much like the Prismatic Controller, is very informative. The front of the box sports a nice side profile image of the headset. The rear of the box gives ample information on the back of the packaging, which includes additional bass impact drivers, easy accessible volume controls, and also the fact that it is compatible with the newer 3.5mm Xbox One controllers.

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In the box you simply get the headset, 2 x AAA batteries, and a user guide, though you really don’t expect to find more than that. The LVL 5+ headset has a long cable that comes down from the left ear cup with a 3.5mm jack on the end. It also has impressive 40mm Neodymium drivers. The volume controls are also located on the left ear cup, and so is the fully adjustable and flexible microphone. The Afterglow branded headband feels nice and comfortable due to the soft material used – this material is also on the ear cups, which only adds to the comfort. Lastly, the bottom half of the ear cups contains the LED lighting that we have become used to seeing on PDP products.

Getting started is really simple. While the provided batteries are not required, using them allows you to use the headset to its full potential. Simply slot in the batteries provided, plug-in the 3.5mm jack (please note; you will need either the Xbox One chat adapter, or a newer Xbox One controller with the 3.5mm port), and you’re good to go. Once the batteries are inserted, the LED lights come to life (green for Xbox One, blue for PS4). You also have the option to enable the Quad Boost function.

Sound quality on this headset is actually pretty good, especially for the price that you pay. I was told that the sound of my voice when using the microphone was clear, though the volume was a little on the low side unless I had the mic close to my mouth. The sound of the game play, however, was really good. I was able to notice the direction of explosions and gunfire, yet was able to sit back and take in the sounds during more relaxed game play. It is worth mentioning that the headset volume control does not work without the batteries. Whereas other headsets draw power from the controller itself, this one does not.

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I feel that with the Prismatic controller, PDP have covered all bases. While some features may take a bit of getting used to, or may even be seen as a bit of a gimmick, the controller is a pleasure to use and in some ways, I actually prefer it over the Microsoft controller. When coupled with the LVL 5+ headset, you really are good to go! The easy access volume controls, on-the-fly button re-mapping, and the impressive LED lighting on both products definitely sets them apart from competitors.  Both products compliment each other really well, and for the price you pay, I would highly recommend both the headset and the controller.

You can pre-order the Prismatic Controller from Amazon UK due for release on November 27th (£49.99).  You can pre-order the LVL 5+ Headset from Amazon UK due for release on November 20th (£37.99).  Both prices correct at time of posting.

Thanks to PDP for supplying both products for review.  Be sure to head over to their website, visit their Facebook, Twitter & Instagram pages!

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PDP Afterglow Prismatic Wireless Headset – Review (@PDPgaming)

When it comes to choosing a new headset for your gaming needs, there is definitely a lot of choice about.  As well as having a large selection of headsets, there are also many different price ranges to choose from.  Do you buy something cheap and cheerful, something in the middle, or splash out on top of the range gadgets with 5.1 this and 7.1 that? Well, I’m hoping that the Afterglow Prismatic Wireless headset from PDP (Performance Designed Products) will show that you don’t have to spend huge amounts of cash to get decent, all-round quality.

As always, with any product, the first thing you notice is the packaging.  The box for the Prismatic headset is easy on the eye.  The front shows a view of the headset from the side, showing the different colours available for the illuminated earpieces.  It also gives you a list of devices that the headset is compatible with.  In this case, you can use the Prismatic headset with the Xbox 360, PS3, Wii & Wii U, PC, and mobile devices.  It’s worth noting that with the Xbox One chat adapter, you can also use this headset with the Xbox One console, and I’m assuming that it works in the same way for the PS4, although I am unable to try this as I do not own one.  The sides of the box has a feature comparison chart, as well as a run down of the custom audio profiles (see images).  Lastly, the back of the box shows a list of what the headset can do – from extraordinary sound, to the easy slide microphone.

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Now for the box contents.  To state the obvious, there’s a headset in the box!  As well as the headset, there is a large collection of wires – 2.5mm to 2.5mm (chat cable for Xbox 360), 3.5mm to 3.5mm audio cable, RCA cable with a 3.5mm connector, mini USB cable, and the wireless USB dongle (which is connected by default to the RCA cable via the 3.5.. connector).  As you can see, there is a cable for every occasion!  It is recommended that you charge the headset before using it for the first time, something that I did not do.  I soon charged it once I noticed a low hum while wearing the headset.  To charge, simply hook up the included mini USB cable and watch the lights in the earpieces flash away until the charging is completed, in which case, the flashing stops.

The headset itself seems to be very well built and sturdy.  The earpieces are made of a polyurethane leather type material, which only adds to the comfort of the ‘around the ear’ design.  The earpieces themselves are a decent size, but could possibly be a little bigger for those people with bigger ears.  The headset has a nice amount of flexibility, and is adjustable, although the earpieces do not rotate. The headband is made of plastic and sports the Afterglow branding and when adjusted, you can see the thin metal reinforcement strip that foes through the headband to the earpieces.  Lastly, the inside of the headband has a very nice padding which adds to the comfort factor when in use.  The left ear cup is where all controls can be found.  On the outside of the earpiece itself, there is a transparent plastic design.  Being able to see through to the inside allows you to see the circuit boards, etc, which actually looks quite nice! On the outer side of the earpiece is where the volume wheel is, as well as the mixer slider for voice and game sounds, connections for the 2.5mm Xbox 360 cable input, line in, and the mini USB port.  The front of the left earpiece is where the microphone can be found and pulled out for use, next to which is the Mode button that allows you to choose which lets you select the audio profile that you wish to use.  Lastly, on the outer left earpiece is where you’ll find the power/mute button.

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Now for the fun stuff!  Hooking the headset up to the PC was as simple as it could have been.  Simply plug the USB dongle into a free USB port on the PC itself, and then connect the 3.5mm jack to the speaker/headphone port on the sound card.  Once the drivers have installed themselves, you are good to go!  To turn the headset on, simply press in the button on the left earpiece until it lights up blue and you’re good to go.  Unfortunately, because of the amount of devices I have hooked up to my PC, there is a bit of a hum – this is only present on the PC and with the sound turned down slightly, the hum is not always noticeable.  To set the colour to one that you prefer, simply hold in the Mode button for a few seconds until it starts cycling through the available colours.  When you get to your desired colour, stop pressing the Mode button in and it will stay on the selected colour until the headset is powered off and back on again, or until it is changed manually – if you would rather stay colourless, you can depress the Mode button when you come to the part of the cycle that doesn’t feature a colour. The Mode button also allows you to choose one of the three audio profiles – Pure Audio (blue), Bass Boost (red) and Immersive (purple).  It’s easy to keep track of which profile you have chosen as there is a light at the end of the microphone that changes colour as you cycle through the profiles.

Even though the Prismatic headset is primarily a previous gen headset, I was unable to try it with an Xbox 360 as I sold it literally the day before it arrived.  I did, however, hook up the 3.5mm audio cable to the headset and also to the chat adapter connected to my Xbox One controller and was able to use it for both game audio and chat.  I was informed by friends that my voice came across nice and clear, and it was the same for me whilst listening to them.  I’ve also connected it up to my phone to listen to music, and as previously mentioned, it has been used on the PC.  My partner even likes to take it upstairs at bedtime and hook it up to the TV so that he can watch without disturbing me.

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As far as sound quality goes, I have no gripes with the headset.  Game play was clear and I was able to decipher which location footsteps and gunshots were coming from whilst playing Call of Duty, and hearing the revs of engines in Forza 6 was just mind-blowing.  On the other hand, watching TV and listening to music were both impressive, even more-so with the bass boost audio profile in play – I like to think that the 50mm speakers played a nice role in this!  While on the subject of the bass boost audio profile, the bass levels are more than adequate when in pure audio and immersive profiles – having that bit of extra oomph never hurts though.

Overall, I am very impressed with the Prismatic headset.  The sound quality is great, the build quality is sturdy & makes the headset feel like it can withstand every day uses with ease, and the fact that it can be used across multiple platform makes the whole package worthwhile.  Althought the lights are a cool feature, I can’t see myself sitting here each time I use the headset and scrolling through all of the colours to choose the one I want.  A great headset that won’t break the bank as much as other gaming headsets.  You can currently grab this headset for around £70 on Amazon UK (at time of posting).

Be sure to head over to the PDP website, visit their Facebook, Twitter & Instagram pages!

Razer Blackwidow Ultimate Mechanical Gaming Keyboard – Review (@Razer)

It is fairly safe to say that Razer are best known for their wide range of gaming peripherals.  Today, I have the Blackwidow Ultimate Mechanical Gaming Keyboard (2014) for review, and I can’t wait to get started!

The keyboard arrived in a well designed box, as always.  On the front there is a small window that gives you the opportunity to give a few keys a press to see how they feel and to test the switches.  Also on the front of the box is a nice view of the Blackwidow Ultimate itself, as well as some information relating to the keyboard and the new Razer mechanical switches.  The back of the box gives a more in-depth description of the switches, including the differences between the previous blue switches and the new green ones, as well as the features of the keyboard.

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Upon removing the keyboard from the box, things are kept pretty minimal.  You have the keyboard, and some documentation for the keyboard – the quick start guide, warranty information, product registration details, and lastly, the Razer stickers that are included with each purchase.  The keyboard itself has a nice matt back finish and the keys seem to be decently sized.  Along the top row of keys, they double up as media keys, backlighting control keys, and gaming mode On & Off keys – these aren’t dedicated though, so the use of the Function button is required.  Along the bottom of the keyboard is a nicely placed Razer logo that illuminates once plugged in, along with the backlighting that lights up the rest of the keyboard.  Down the left side of the keyboard there are five programmable macro keys, and lastly, there is a decent sized braided cable that has two USB plugs at the end, as well as two 3.5mm jacks that you can plug into your PC.  One of these USB plugs powers the keyboard, while the other powers the built-in USB port on the right side of the keyboard.  More about this later though.

Above the number pad is where you will find the notification lights.  These let you know if Gaming Mode is enabled, if Caps Lock is on, Number Lock, as well as letting you know when Macro Recording is active.  I quite like this area of the keyboard because if you have all of the above options turned off, the top corner section of the keyboard just looks like the rest of the keyboard.

In order to program the macro keys, you need to download the Synapse 2.0 software from the Razer website.  This seems to be something that needs doing with each Razer product, so if you have more than one device, luckily only the one download is required.  Once you have it up and running, you can make changes to the Blackwidow layout, lighting intensity, profiles, etc.  There are three tabs under the Keyboard header – Customize, Lighting, and Gaming Mode.  Within the customize tab is where you make changes to the profiles, enabling you to assign keys to different functions, from keyboard keys to mouse button clicks.  The lighting tab is self explanatory – you can adjust the lighting intensity and choose between the Pulsate mode, and the static brightness – levels include Bright, Normal, Dim, or Off.  Lastly, the previously mentioned Gaming Mode tab is where you can disable troublesome keys such as the Windows key and the Alt + Tab key, giving you the option to use the keys freely whilst gaming.  The final second and final header is the Macro header – as the name suggests, this is where you can create and program all of the macros that you require.  Alternatively, you can use the dedicated macro switch on the keyboard to record macros when you want, rather than having to load up Synapse to do so.  As always, any changes you make are saved to the cloud, allowing you to use the same settings from any computer with Synapse 2.0 installed.

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The new switches in the 2014 Blackwidow Ultimate are green, rather than the previous blue Cherry switches.  Razer appear to be very proud of these switches as they are made specifically for gaming, and they are NOT made by Cherry, like others are.  The reset time after clicking the keys now is actually shorter than it is with the Cherry MX switches, enabling you to get more key presses in a shorter time.  I’m sure there are gamers out there that would actually benefit from this, but, I am not one of them as I still press the keys just as hard as I did before.  Old habits are hard to break.

The USB and 3.5mm ports on the right side of the keyboard allow you to plug your headset and mouse directly into the keyboard.  I gave this a try and didn’t encounter any annoying buzzing or static noise with the headphones, and the mouse worked as it should also.  All in all, this feature works really well.  It could also be handy if you are someone who does not like wires sprawled out across the desk too much.  With it being on the right side of the keyboard, it was conveniently placed for me to use, being right-handed.  I’m not sure what left-handed people will think of it though as it would mean having wires going from right to left on the desk.

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Overall, I am impressed with the Razer Blackwidow Ultimate Mechanical Gaming Keyboard.  It is durable and definitely helps Razer live up to the reputation it has in place for being one of the best for gaming peripherals.  I really like the green backlighting, and having the option to change the light intensity is something is very welcomed.  The ease of creating macros and setting up the keyboard to suit you using the Synapse software should be very inviting, even to gaming keyboard novices.  While I’m sure the new green switches will be appreciated by hardcore gamers, I couldn’t really benefit from them as I’m not into PC gaming as much as others – they did work really well though from what I could tell.  I think the Blackwidow will be a favourite for gamers of all ages, regardless of their PC gaming preferences!

Mobile Solar Chargers Traveller Solar Charger – Review (@mobilesolarchrg)

I think it is safe to assume that people are relying on their mobile devices more and more nowadays.  Whether they be mobile phones, tablets, even MP3 players, they aren’t much use without any charge left in the battery.  Anything that helps keep your devices juiced and ready to use is always a plus to me, and hopefully the MSC MP-S6000 6000 mAh Solar Travel Charger will be up to the job!  A full list of features and specifications can be found at the end of this review.

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The Traveler itself comes in a packaging that is easy on the eye.  You have see-through plastic that enables you to get a good view of the black and orange coloured device, as well as information such as the high 6,000 mAh capacity, the dual USB output, and the smart LED indicator that tells you how much battery life is left.  It also states that the charger is suitable for use with tablets, smartphones, Mp3/MP4 players, and portable game systems such as the NDS and PSP.  Removing the unit from the packaging, I was greeted with the device itself, user manual, and the charger cable.  The good thing about this charger cable is that it is an elasticated rubber material, and it also comes with all of the adapters you could want or need (aside from the lightning adapter used on the newer Apple devices – you can purchase these separately though).  The front of the charger itself has a large solar panel, four power LED indicators to let you know how much charge is remaining, a power button, and two smaller LED solar indicators that give you a rough idea how much solar charge is remaining.  Lastly, along the bottom of the charger is a MicroUSB port that you can use to charge the unit via a wall socket of PC, etc, and also two USB output ports that you use to hook up the devices that you would like to charge.  The USB port on the left is suitable for the iPad, and the one on the right is suitable for the Samsung Galaxy tablet.  I had no issues with my HTC One or Nexus 7 tablet when using either of the ports.

It’s recommended that you fully charge the Traveler prior to first using it, so that’s what I did.  However, when I got everything unpacked and ready to charge, the LED lights indicated that everything was fully charged and ready to go – bargain!  I used the charger to charge my devices constantly to see how long I could get out of it.  Because of the nice weather we have had over the past week, I have not encountered an empty device at all, and the 75% LED indicator is the one that is illuminated.  This is after using the charger for around 7 days with my phone and tablet while sitting both, inside and outside.  Without the lovely weather, you could get around 3 charges  before needing to recharge the unit – that is pretty good in my opinion.  You could quite easily go off on your travels and use this handy little device to keep your gadgets charged.  Once the charger has a full charge, it apparently holds that charge for months – obviously, something I have been unable to check myself as yet, but I’ll definitely give it a go and see.

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Considering the size of the MSC Traveler, I am impressed with how it has performed so far.  It is around the size of most smartphones nowadays, and if charging via USB cable, it fully charges in around the same time as a smartphone, which is handy.  You can get three, maybe four, full charges from it when not in direct sunlight, again, handy.  For the price you pay (around £35 GBP) I think it is well worth the money.  Not only does it provide on the go charging, it also provides peace of mind as far as not being caught with a flat battery, if and when it is really needed.  As far as I am concerned, this can stay in my personal collection and it will be with me when out and about for hours at a time.

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Technical specification

Solar energy transfer efficiency: 17% Solar panel 5v/90mA
Polymer Lithium-ion Battery
Capacity 6000mAh /22.2 wh
Input : Micro micro usb DC5v/1000mA
Output 2x USB 5V/2100mA
Working Temperature -10C to + 55C
Charging time about 5 hours via USB mains
Charging time from solar about 45 hours
Cycle Life >500 cycles
Weight 178g
Dimensions 130 x 76 x 16mm
Compatible with most popular mobile phones, iPhone, Blackberry™, Nokia™, iPad, Digital Cameras, PSP, ND, PDA, Mp3/Mp 4 player, GPS, Bluetooth etc

Product Features

High Capacity 6000mah Lithium-Polymer battery
Multi-charging capabilities: Mains, car charger, USB or Solar
Compatible with most popular mobile phones, iPhone, Blackberry™, Nokia™, iPad, Digital Cameras, PSP, ND, PDA, Mp3/Mp 4 player, GPS, Bluetooth headsets etc.
Robust and stylish rubberised case design
Single Reversable charge/discharge bungy lead.
10 detachable charging tips for the most popular devices
Simple one button operation
DC Input Port
Dual USB Output Ports
Remaining power leds
Solar charging led
Multiple protection charge/discharge and overcharge/undercharge

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Website: http://www.mobilesolarchargers.co.uk/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/mobilesolarchrg
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MobileSolarChargers

NOMAD ChargeKey – Review (@nomadgoods)

Let’s face it – walking around with a charging cable for your devices in your pocket is not ideal, and I doubt many people do it.  Having the option to carry something lightweight, small, and fully portable, however, is great and is now possible thanks to the affordable NOMAD ChargeKey.  NOMAD were kind enough to send me out one of their Micro USB to USB ChargeKey units that should work with all Micro USB devices.  Also available is a Lightning connector for use with the new iDevice models.

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The ChargeKey arrived in a very simple cardboard envelope packaging.  Simply open up the front and you are greeted with the Key itself.  That’s it!  Remove the Key from the sticky adhesive that holds it in place and you are good to go.  Size wise, the Key is no bigger than a standard house key, which makes it the ideal size to attach to your keys and carry it about with you.

The Key itself is made from a hard plastic at the two ends, one end with the Micro USB connector and the other with the main USB connector, and also has a rubber material in the middle that allows it some room to move about.  This could prove handy for a few reasons – less chance of it poking you while in your pocket, less chance of it being damaged and snapping while in your pocket, and lastly, it allows a bit of movement when hooking up your device.

When it came to using my phone with the Key, I had it connected to my laptop.  I didn’t want to risk using it with a wall adapter as it would mean leaving my phone hanging and to be honest, that would kind of defeat the object of the Key as if you are at home, you would use your wall adapter any way.  Having it hooked up to the laptop though, charging started as you would expect and I was also able to sync my phones photos and emails as well.  I also gave it a try using one of the PowerBanks that I have and am happy to say that that worked as it should.

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Overall, the NOMAD ChargeKey does what it says.  It is small, lightweight, portable, and comes in handy when you least expect it.  Always having it to hand is a major plus thanks to being able to have it attached to my keys and knowing that I don’t have to walk about with a charging cable in my pocket or bag is handy.  You never know when you’re going to be caught without power!  Priced at an affordable £20 over on Amazon UK, I think it is a must have addition, especially for those of you who like to be able to stay connected all of the time!

7″ Digital Photo Frame – Review (@KitvisionUK)

****Please check out the end of this review where there is a link to a giveaway, giving you the chance to win one of these!

Having access to your photos on mobile devices and laptops, etc, can often be the preferred method of viewing nowadays.  But what if you actually wanted to have select images available on display in and around your home?  Or what if you have a relative that isn’t over tech savvy?  The Kitvision 7″ Digital Photo Frame could be the solution for you!

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The photo frame itself comes packaged in an eye catching box packaging that contains a wealth of specifications, ranging from the slide show display mode, to the 7″ TFT Panel.  Inside the box you get the photo frame (the one I have for review is pink), the stand for the frame, UK 3-pin wall adapter and a user manual.

The frame feels very well made, as well as very sturdy.  Included is 8mb of internal storage – not enough to store all of your images, but plenty to store a few treasured images that you would like to keep to hand all of the time.  The frame boasts a bracket that you can rotate if you would like to, meaning that you can view your images in both landscape and portrait mode – you aren’t limited to having it set just one way or the other.  The spaces to attach the bracket can be found on the back of the frame.  The top of the frame houses the buttons used to control the functions of the frame.  These buttons are Play/Pause, Left, Right, Exit, and Setup.  The buttons are used to navigate the menus on the photo frame, which are straightforward to use.  Located down the right hand side of the frame is the USB Flash Drive port, the multicard reader, and the port to connect up the AC adapter.  The screen resolution is 480 x 234 pixels.  The supported image file format for the frame is JPEG – which is handy as this is what most images come as.

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Getting to grips with the frame is very straightforward.  To get the frame to display the images you want, simply insert a memory card that has your images on (either direct from a digital camera or smartphone or transfer the pictures to the card from a PC/laptop), or hook up a USB drive into the port on the side.  The built-in card reader enables you to simply plug in your card or USB stick and using the buttons on the top of the frame, navigate through the menus.  It is recommended that you store images in folders that contain up to 100 photos each.

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Once you have your memory card or USB drive inserted, ensure that you have plugged in the supplied plug adapter (5v), power on the frame, and you photos will start displaying to you as a slideshow.  The buttons on the back of the frame give you the options to pause the slideshow in order to make changes to the display, or even to keep that one particular image on display.  Also, the built-in menu is easy and straightforward to use, making the operation of the frame possible for anyone, no matter your technical knowledge.  From within the menu, you can also choose if you would like your images displayed as the original image, cropped, or stretched.

Another feature that I really like is the fact that you have a few transition effects to choose from, meaning that you can make changing from one image to the next, less plain and boring.  If you would rather not set it to one particular effect, you can set it to random so that it changes from image to image.  Another feature that I like is that you can change the speed of the slideshow – you can have the images change at a slow, medium or fast pace.  Again, something for everyone.

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Overall, I love this digital photo frame.  Kitvision have made it possible to have something to suit everyone, no matter of their age or preference.  If the 7″ frame is not for you, there is a large range of digital frames available in a variety of sizes and designs, so there should be something for everyone.  The price of the 7″ pink frame that I have here is £29.99 on Amazon UK (at time of posting) and would make an ideal gift, especially with Mother’s Day coming up *hint hint*.

Twitter: @KitvisionUK
Facebook: www.facebook.com/KitvisionUK
Instagram: www.instagram.com/kitvisionuk
Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/kitvision
YouTube: www.youtube.com/user/KitvisionUK

The guys over at Kitvision also launched this giveaway on their Twitter yesterday! https://twitter.com/KitvisionUK/status/442962839662125056

TeckNet Redragon Centrophorus Gaming Mouse – Review

**A massive thank you to Sean who kindly agreed to do a guest review.  Please remember to take a look at the links included at the bottom of this review.

The TeckNet Redragon Centrophorus mouse packaging blends so very nicely with the style and look of the mouse.  The front of the box contains an image of the mouse, and well branded with the name of the mouse.  The back of the box lists some information relating to the mouse. Both sides of the box also has some information about the features of the mouse having 6 buttons, a gold plated USB 2.0 connector, weights and braided USB Cord. Opening the box reveals the mouse covered in a protective clear plastic shell.

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Over the years I have become used to using the Microsoft Wireless mouse range, but immediately the styling of the ReDragonLite mouse struck me. Once plugged in the mouse lights up with a red LED which is visible from the sides and the Dragon Logo on the back of the mouse. I have to admit that this mouse is by far one of the most visually impressive mice I have used, and I have used a few over the years. Despite its use of weights in the base of the mouse, I found it to be very light and similar to a laptop style mouse when in use. It is comfortable as the grooves on the side of the mouse help a light grip and it moves smoothly on any surface from mouse-pad to desk top.

The position of the six buttons are naturally placed easy to manage with just the simplest of hand movements, you instinctively find them without making a conscious effort to feel them out with fingers or thumb. The Scroll wheel has a rubber grip with treads that give you the sense of full control when it use. The DPI button is placed just far enough from the scroll wheel so its easily accessible with a press to activate and another to turn off and not so close that you will at any time accidentally turn it on during normal mouse use. It felt very natural to use as a mouse for use at work or at its designed use as a gaming mouse. As a gaming mouse it performed really well, responding to rapid movements with no issues when playing FPS games or MMO in Guild Wars 2 with the programmable buttons easy to configure for your needs.

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The moment I took a picture of the Redragon mouse and put in on social media and when I took it into the office for work to try out, once plugged in and lit up I know at least ten people who saw it and instantly placed an order for one on Amazon. Priced there for just £14.99 it is amazing value for that price both as mouse for work or gaming but also as a visual delight. Aesthetically pleasing as it is is effective as a mouse, the Redragon Centrophorus six button gaming mouse delivers on all levels for me and for the price is just amazing value.

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Review by Sean T. McCarthy. Please check out his blog and social media on the links below.
Blog: http://wasahiro.wordpress.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/CockneyCharmer
YouTube: http://bit.ly/1fYxozV

Perixx MX-800 Gaming Mouse & DX-2000M Mousepad – Review

Today I have the Perixx MX-800 Laser Gaming Mouse and the DX-2000M Gaming Control Mousepad for review.  This will be a joint review because both items work so well together.  I’ll start off with the mouse and then cover the mousepad.

The MX-800 mouse packaging is very simplistic.  The front of the box contains an image of the mouse, as well as the Perixx logo and the name of the mouse.  The back of the box lists some information relating to the mouse, and also provides the same information in several languages.  Both sides of the box also has some information, including the fact that the mouse has 5 buttons, and a gold plated USB 2.0 connector.  The flap on the front of the box is held closed magnetically and when you open it up, you get a view of the top of the mouse.  In my case, the image on the front of the box showed a red mouse, yet when the flap was opened, both the image and the mouse were actually black.

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Included in the box is the mouse, a user manual, and some replacement feet for the base of the mouse.  I was surprised to see no bundled software for programming the mouse buttons, DPI, etc – however, you can download the required software and drivers from the Perixx website.

The mouse itself has a nice feel to it once you get it in your hands.  The shape of it seems to be better fitted to people with smaller hands, if I am honest.  I can imagine it could end up being uncomfortable to use if your hands are on the larger side.  The mouse fits nicely in my hand  and the placement of the buttons ensure that there is no need to adjust the hands position in order to use them.  When using the mouse, I didn’t encounter any hand fatigue, even after sitting at the PC for around 5 hours, which is always a good thing.  The mouse has a pulsating blue light effect that is visible through the transparent Perixx logo on the mouse, as well as on both sides of the mouse.  The DPI button is conveniently placed just behind the scroll wheel, which makes it easy to reach and use.

The software that you use with the mouse (download HERE) allows you to program the buttons to suit you, as well as setting the DPI (from 250 to 2500) and also change the light effects on the mouse.   It is very straightforward to use the software, meaning that pretty much anybody can set this mouse up to suit their needs.

Now we move on to the mousepad.  I don’t tend to use a mousepad very often, mainly due to lack of desk space, but nevertheless, I was looking forward to giving the DX-2000 a try.  It arrived in a thin cardboard box which boasts an image of the mousepad, as well as the Perixx logo and the name of the mousepad.  As with the mouse, the back of the box lists a bit of information about the mousepad, including the dimensions of the pad, all available in several languages.

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The mousepad was able to keep its shape in the box thanks to a firm cardboard insert accompanying it in the box.  Both easily removed by opening the flap on the back box.  First impressions of the pad were that it seemed to be high quality.  the stitching around the edge was neatly done and the bottom of the pad had a decent amount of rubber grip.  The grip actually kept the pad in place very well – no matter how much force I put behind it, there was very little movement.  Also present on the pad is the Perixx logo, as well as the DX-2000M branding.

Using the mousepad surprisingly made the mouse easier to use.  When used together, the mouse glided seamlessly over the pad and not once did I end up coming to the edge of the pad.

Overall, both products work very well together.  Perixx seem to have nailed it on the head, yet again, with this combination.  The mouse is easy to set up and use, and the pad adds to the experience.  I think I am definitely going to make a point of making a permanent space on my desk for a mousepad!

Razer Kraken 7.1 Gaming Headset – Review (@Razer)

I’ve definitely got used to high quality products from the guys over at Razer, and their Kraken 7.1 Virtual Surround Sound Gaming Headset was something I was looking forward to getting my hands on. Is it going to be something that continues the long running, high quality success that gamers have come to know and love?

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The packaging for the Kraken 7.1 headset is keeping up appearances, literally.  With its eye catching black and green colour scheme, it definitely catches the eye.  Being a fan of everything green any way, this is a great start as far as keeping me interested.  The box itself shows you what to expect design wise by sporting a nice image of one of the earcups, complete with the mesh finish and the illuminated green Razer logo on the earcup.  Also included on the box is some headset related information, including the fact that it is a 7.1 virtual surround sound headset, and that it has an enhanced digital microphone.  The back of the box lists product details and specifications, as well as a detailed image of the headset.

As with all Razer packaging, getting into the box is almost as good as looking over the outer box.  The box opens from the right to left and you are instantly greeted with a full on view of the headset.  The inside of the opened flap contains a long paragraph relating to the headset.  The headset is covered by an easily removable plastic covering that slides off of the box.  Removing the headset is relatively straightforward enough – unfasten the ties that are holding it in place and take it out of the box.  The braided USB cable is neatly tucked away behind the cardboard sleeve insert beneath the headset and the Razer user manual  and stickers are located above the headset between the insert and the top of the box.

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First impressions of the headset – it feels very sturdy, well made, and comfortable.  The not overly padded, fully adjustable Razer branded headband ensures that the headset does not cause any discomfort during prolonged use, as do the extremely padded and comfortable, foldable ear cups.  The ear cups themselves have a closed cup design to help maxmise the sound.  The Razer logo can be found on the outside of both, as well as the solid, mesh type design.  On the left ear cup, you will find the retractable, enhanced digital microphone, and also the 2 meter braided gold plated USB cable.  It all fits together extremely well and is very, very easy on the eye.

Setting the headset up to get the most out of its features, requires you to download Synapse 2.0 from the Razer website as there is no software CD included.  Once installed, you are required to calibrate the virtual surround sound – this is very straightforward and only takes a few minutes.  Once you have completed the calibration process, you will notice that you have more menu tabs to choose from, including audio, mic, mixer, eq, and lighting.  Each of these menus give you the option to make additional changes to features such as bass boost, sound normalization, and voice clarity, and mic sensitivity/volume.  The EQ menu allows you to choose from a list of presets, and also gives you the option to create a custom preset.  Lastly, if you decide that the lights on the headset (Razer logos on the ear cups and the small light at the end of the mic) are too much for you, you can disable them from within the lighting menu.

While using the Kraken headset, I mostly played World of Tanks, Far Cry 3, and some Battlefield 3, while using Mumble for chatting.  I could not fault this headset at all if I am honest.  Voice chat came through crystal clear, and I was informed that my voice was also coming through clear – clearer than it did while using my previous headset.  I think that the inclusion of a digital microphone rather than a standard mic was definitely a smart move.  Also, if you don’t fancy chatting ALL the time, there is a mute switch located towards the end of the microphone itself – if you do mute it, you will be able to tell because the green light goes off when the mic is off, and on when the mic is on!  The game sounds were, in all honesty, amazing!  Being able to hear sounds coming from all around you definitely helped in identifying what directions the enemy were coming from, as well as being able to hear simple sounds that were not picked up previously.  Put all of this together and you have the perfect package!

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I didn’t only use the Kraken for playing games, though.  I also watched a few films and TV shows while using them, as well as using them for listening to music.  Being able to experience watching TV/films using the 7.1 virtual surround sound  was simply awesome!  It added so much to the overall film and actually made you feel a part of it.  Music wise, there was a lot of bass even with the bass boost turned off, and this kind of overpowered the music itself.  I think it all depends on your music taste when it comes to using this headset for music – if you like music with a lot of bass, then I doubt this will be an issue for you.

I think that anybody who picks up a Razer Kraken 7.1 Virtual Surround Headset will definitely not be disappointed.  With the eye catching colour scheme and the overall comfort factor, this headset would make a lot of people happy.  The crystal clear voice chat and game sounds only adds to the whole gaming experience, and it also adds a bit of a WOW factor to watching TV & films.  Being able to customise the headset to suit you using the Synapse 2.0 software is a nice touch, especially with the list of presets that you have to choose from.  If that wasn’t enough to sway you, maybe the price will?  At time of posting, you can pick this headset up for around £89.00 from Amazon UK

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Tech Specs

  • Advanced 7.1 virtual surround sound engine
  • Enhanced digital microphone
  • Designed for extended gaming comfort
  • Razer Synapse 2.0 enabled
  • Powerful drivers for highest-quality gaming audio
  • Closed ear cup design for optimal sound isolation
  • Foldable ear cups for maximum portability

Headphones

  • Drivers: 40mm neodymium magnets
  • Frequency Response: 20Hz – 20kHz
  • Impedance: 32 Ω
  • Sensitivity @ 1kHz: 112dB
  • Output Power: 30mW
  • Connector: Gold plated USB
  • Cable Length: 2m / 6.56 ft braided USB cable
  • Approximate Weight: 340g

Microphone

  • Frequency response: 100Hz –12kHz
  • Sensitivity @ 1kHz: -40dB ± 4dB
  • Signal-to-noise ratio: 63 dB
  • Pick-up pattern: Omnidirectional

System Requirements

  • PC / Mac with USB port
  • Windows® 8 / Windows® 7 / Windows Vista® / Mac OS X (10.6-10.9)
  • Internet connection (for driver installation)
  • At least 100MB of free hard disk space

PocketBoom Rechargeable Bluetooth Portable Speaker – Review (@KitSoundUK)

I was recently sent the PocketBoom Rechargeable Bluetooth Portable Speaker for review from the guys over at KitSound.  This is one product I was looking forward to getting to grips with.  Check out the unboxing video below.

Setting the speaker up for use was an easy task.  simply power on the PocketBoom speaker and put your phone/device into visible mode.  Your device should pick up the speaker after a few seconds – once it has, choose the speaker from the list of available devices and it should pair up.  If you run into any issues when it comes to pairing the devices, check out the included user manual and you should be sorted in no time.

The sound that the PocketBoom pushes out is surprisingly awesome!  For such a small device, I was not expecting what I heard.  The speaker pushes out a decent amount of bass as well, but depending on what device you are using it with, you may want to adjust the levels on the device itself beforehand to get the best sound out of things – even if you download an equalizer app or something to help with this, it is definitely worth it.

Because the speaker also doubles up as a hands-free device, I was itching to try out both the incoming, and outgoing sound quality.  When a call comes through, simply press the little button on the top of the speaker (the one with the phone icon) and you will be connected.  Incoming call quality through the speaker was great quality and did not come through distorted at all – again, very surprised at the quality.  Outgoing voice was a little on the quiet side when listening through the phone, but I could still hear what was going on.  This was easily rectified by rotating the speaker a little so that the small microphone port was facing the person talking rather than facing the opposite way.

The small rubber section on the bass of the speaker provided a decent amount of grip when the speaker was placed on a surface.  Pressing the buttons, etc, did not cause the speaker to move about unnecessarily, something else that I really liked.  The overall design of the speaker is very easy on the eye and definitely something that you would not be embarrassed to be seen with.

Having the option to connect up a 3.5 to 3.5mm cable is handy, especially if you have been using the PocketBoom for a prolonged period of time via bluetooth and the battery is starting to get low – you can still use the speaker if you are not ready to power down just yet.  When it comes to recharging the speaker, simply connect up the Micro USB cable and plug in the other end of the cable to a PC or laptop, or even a USB mains adapter.  I have used the speaker and managed to get around 3 hours of continuous play from it before having to charge again.

This tiny speaker really does pack a punch when it comes to playing music.  No matter what style of music you choose to play, it comes through nice and clear, and with a decent amount of bass.  The hands-free feature just adds to this little box of awesome and makes using it an absolute pleasure.  You can pick up the PocketBoom Rechargeable Bluetooth Speaker in a wide range of colours and for the price of around £30.00 GBP.  An excellent product at an affordable price.