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!

Astro A40 Gaming Headset + M80 Mixamp – Review (@ASTROGaming @ASTROGamingUK)

When it comes to gaming headsets, I’ll be the first to admit that there are more than a few to choose from.  So when it comes to actually splashing the cash, you want something that can withstand regular use, as well as providing outstanding sound quality.  Is this where the ASTRO A40 Gaming Headset + M80  Mixamp comes into its own?  I’ve had a blast finding out!

As soon as the headset arrived, the packaging was the first thing to impress.  It comes packaged in a weighty cardboard box which is mightily impressive.  The box itself has a matching colour scheme so that it goes hand in hand with the headset itself.  The box is held closed by magnets and upon opening the box (after removing the cardboard sleeve), you are greeted by the headset, which is held in place by a moulded plastic casing.  As well as the headset in the box, you have the M80 Mixamp, a 3.5mm audio cable, and all documentation.

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The A40 headset itself, simply put, looks amazing! The eye catching sky blue and grey colour scheme is stunning, and the build quality feels top grade.  The headset feels not only sturdy, but also very well made.  The build quality does not leave the headset feeling overly heavy or as if it would cause discomfort during use – something that I’ll get to a little later.  The ear pads are made of a cushioned, breathable material, which provides not only comfort, but also keeps the sweat at bay!  When you combine the cushioned ear pads with the swiveling ear cups, a good fit is pretty much guaranteed for heads of all shapes and sizes.  The swiveling cups also make it easy to sit back between games, and take some time out from the headset, making it incredibly easy to twist the cups and lower the headset down so you can wear it around your neck without being prodded by them.  Lastly, the ASTRO branded head band has a strip of the same cushioned material, which only adds to the comfort, making long gaming sessions more enjoyable.  While it felt as if the headset was hugging my head, it was in no way uncomfortable.  I felt reassured that the headset would not end up sliding off my head!

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Before hooking up your headset to your controller, make sure to check that your controller is updated via the console so that you are good to go.  ASTRO even provide a Micro USB cable in the box, making it easier for you.  Once that is done, you simply connect the M80 Mixamp to your controller – that’s it!  Now, ASTRO are known for their famous Mixamp which is used by gamers all over the world.  Combining the Mixamp with the chat adapter, the M80 was born – and it’s just as easy on the eye as the headset itself!  On the Mixamp itself, there is a switch on both the left and right side – you use these to balance out the voice chat and game sound to how you like it.  There is also a volume dial which is found on the bottom of the M80 – there is also a button in the middle of the dial that you use to mute the microphone.  This button lights up red when you are muted, which helps eliminate the whole “hello, is this mic on?” phase. Between the two switches on the sides of the M80, there is the button that gives you control of the equalizer.  There are three preset EQ settings that are as follows.

  • Pro: Boosted high frequencies for competitive gameplay
  • Core: Balance for single player gaming
  • Media: Enhanced bass, for movies and music

I will admit that I tend to keep mine set to Pro (I am definitely no pro!) because I tend to play Call of Duty a lot when playing online.  IF I need to change it, it’s a simple button click, with the LED lights across the front of the M80 telling me what I have it set to.  I will also say that distinguishing sound direction, etc, while using the Pro EQ setting, is a breeze, and being able to set the mix between game sound and voice chat is a massive help!  All buttons on the M80 are very well placed and there is not much chance of you hitting the wrong one if trying to change levels without taking your eyes off the screen.  The overall sound quality from the A40 headset is beyond impressive!  I have used my fair share of gaming headsets in the past, and I can quite honestly say that the quality from this headset blows the rest out of the water.  Everything comes through crystal clear, and when watching a video or listening to music, there was no interference or crackling at all!

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Cable wise, you have the cable that runs from the M80 to the headset itself.  This is only detachable from the headset end, and with the cable running into the M80 at a slight angle, you do have to be pretty careful not to damage it as you’d need a whole new unit, not just the cable.  Also included is the 3.5mm audio cable that enables you to use your A40 headset with a smartphone, or other device of your choice.  I do this quite often, usually just through my phone, and I love the fact that ASTRO actually provide a cable for you to do this.  I am a huge fan of how well they worked while listening to music through Spotify on my phone.  Personally, I wouldn’t use them outside for listening to music on the go as they are a bit big for me to walk around with.  Lastly, there is an app available (iOS only as far as I know) that adds to the whole experience.  Since I only have an Android device, I have been unable to see what features are available.

If you are new to ASTRO products, then I doubt you are aware of the customisable speaker tags.  These tags are held on to the outer side of the ear cups by magnets, and you can design your own, or order set designs from the ASTRO website.  The ones provided with this headset match the theme, sticking with the sky blue and grey colours.  Another very handy thing to mention is that not only can you swap out the speaker tags, but also the microphone.  Simply disconnect the microphone, un-snap the tags, choose the side that you want to use the microphone and then replace the speaker tags again.  It really is that simple!

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Whilst on the subject of the microphone… Not only can it be attached to the ear of choice, it is also extremely flexible and can be moved into a position that suits you, with ease.  During my online game sessions, I have been informed numerous times that my voice is coming through nice and clear, and there was an noticeable difference when compared to my previous headset.  There was no annoying noise caused by my breathing – an issue that I did have previously – and it doesn’t even pick up the sound of the oscillating fan that has been used daily since the horrible warm weather began.

When considering all of the factors of this headset, I have to admit that the ASTRO A40 Gaming Headset + M80 Mixamp is by far the best headset I have used.  With its comfort level, mic quality, and other small features like customising the speaker tags and being able to swap the mic from left to right, it all forms a neat package that any gamer would like to have.  The price tag could be what stops many gamers from getting this headset, but you really do get what you pay for!

This headset is also available in orange & grey.

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!

Logitech G502 Proteus Core Tunable Gaming Mouse – Review (@LogitechG)

Everybody knows that when it comes to gaming, there is nothing more important than having equipment that does what is required.  Whether it be a headset that picks up footsteps and noises that would otherwise go unnoticed, or keyboards that give you the edge as far as macros go.  Just as important is the mouse.  You want something comfortable to use, something that works seamlessly, and something that delivers in pretty much all aspects of the game.  Does the newly released Logitech G502 Proteus Core Tunable Gaming Mouse live up to expectations?  Let’s find out!  Check out the unboxing video below.

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Packaging is always something that catches my eye, and probably the eye of others, too.  The G502 packaging does not disappoint.  With its blue and black colour scheme, and a nice image of the mouse on the front of the box, it’s easy enough to see what you are getting.  The sides and back of the box provides information not only relating to the mouse itself, but also specifications.  Opening the flap on the front of the box, you are greeted with a nice view of the mouse through the clear plastic window.  Removing the mouse from the box is where the real magic starts.

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The G502 itself is actually really easy on the eye.  It is a black mouse all over, apart from the Logitech Gaming logo which illuminates a nice blue colour, and a slight light blue strip on the left side and also on the base.  This blue strip is where you can remove the enclosure on the base of the mouse and access the space where you can add up to five 3.6g weights (included), to add a bit of weight to the mouse if it is too light for you.  Altogether there are 11 programmable mouse buttons, perfect for macro customisation within the downloadable software, and the solid metal scroll wheel has something different about it.  It has two modes – a Free Roll mode and a Restricted mode.  The Free Roll mode is perfect for web browsing as it provides endless, fast scrolling, while the Restricted mode presents the standard scrolling that we are all used to, and what I think gamers would be more inclined to use.  It is also easy to swap between to the two modes – just click the button directly behind the scroll wheel.

After downloading the software and getting the G502 set up and ready to go, it was time to put it to the test.  The software gives you the ability to change the button layout, set macros for in-game use if you wish, and also allows you to fine tune the mouse for use on the surface of your choice.  This is achieved by going into the Surface Tuning section of the software and calibrating the mouse.  There are defaults already present, but you can add your own.  Simple click the Add New Surface button, name the profile with the surface you are using and you are taken through a setup wizard which requires you to move the mouse in a figure 8 pattern while pressing on the Left mouse button until the wizard is complete.  Upon completion, the difference is instantly noticeable when using the mouse on your surface of choice.  You can also make changes to the DPI (Dots Per Inch) within the software.  The range is from 200 to 12,000 (wow!).  Having the ability to customise the DPI this much means that there most definitely should be a setting to suit everyone, and any game of choice.  Lastly, there is an option to enable G-Shift.  This means that when you press the designated G-Shift button the mouse, you can use the assigned mouse buttons to perform tasks such as switching between browser tabs and changing the Zoom on the page.

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g50203Comfort wise, I am yet to suffer any discomfort while using the G502.  My hands are reasonably small and it’s almost as if the mouse was made to fit.  The buttons are all placed within reach so there is no need to reach for them and the slightly grooved space for the thumb provides somewhere for the thumb to sit, rather than balancing it on the edge of the mouse or on the desk.  The rubber grip that is placed on both sides of the mouse adds extra grip for both the thumb, and the outer fingers, something else that I like very much.

Overall, the G502 mouse is actually a really nice bit of kit.  The design and responsiveness is something that I think every gamer will love and the little added extras like the option to add weights, and the ability to change from Free Roll to Resctricted modes on the scroll wheel is a nice touch.  With a price tag of £69.99, I think that the Logitech G502 Proteus Core is a mouse that gamers should definitely pay attention to.

 

NoScope Gaming Glasses – Review (@NoScopeGlasses)

I’m sure that eye fatigue is something that all gamers and PC users have experienced at one point or another.  Whether it results in that annoying grainy feeling in your eyes, headaches, or even nausea, it’s never nice, that’s for sure.  Being a sufferer of all of the above, eyt having to spend extended periods of time on the PC and gaming, I was after a solution without breaking the bank. Today, I have a review of the newest gaming and PC glasses on the market from NoScope – a pair from their “Demon Series“.  Check out the unboxing video for a detailed view.

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A good starting point would be price and delivery.  You can pick up a pair of these glasses for around £19 GBP – that’s including delivery.  Delivery time from the US to the UK was only a week, so that’s definitely a plus in my book.

The glasses arrived very well packaged and protected.  The come in a rather large cardboard box, and when opened, the glasses themselves are in a transparent zip closed plastic bag.  Also bundled in with the glasses is a nice material pouch for the glasses which sports the NoScope logo, as well as a lint free cloth for keeping the glasses lenses clean and dust free.

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The glasses are made from lightweight plastic and it is said that “One size fits all”.  We’ll get to that soon though.  The glasses also have yellow tinted lenses that are supposed to help reduce symptoms of eye strain.  Between the lenses is a nicely placed NoScope logo – nicely placed because it is not too in your face, but it is noticeable enough so you know which company the glasses come from.

The glasses themselves are very lightweight and from what I can tell, the “One size fits all” claim is a valid one.  While I don’t have the biggest of heads, the size difference between mine and my partners is definitely noticeable – to put it nicely.  We were both able to wear the glasses for an extended period of time without experiencing any loose fitting or discomfort.  I have actually been able to sit at the PC for longer than half hour here and there without getting hit with a horrible feeling of dizziness and nausea, and that’s always a plus in my book!

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I know that compared to other PC/Gaming glasses companies, the NoScope glasses are only available in one style, and not currently available as prescription glasses, but for the price, you can’t really complain.  They do what you expect them to do at a price that everyone can afford.  Who knows, there could be more styles on the way – for the record, that would be awesome!

For the price you pay and the way that they combat eye strain and fatigue, I’ll be wearing these for a long time to come and will happily suggest them to people that ask.

Naga Expert MMO Gaming Mouse – Review (@Razer)

Having previously reviewed a couple of Razer Naga Hex mice, I was definitely intrigued to see what the Naga Expert MMO Gaming Mouse could offer that the others didn’t.

As always, the Razer packaging is high eye catching, with its green and black colour scheme.  A view of the mouse on the front, gives you an idea of what you are getting.  Also included is a few pieces of information relating to the mouse.  The sides of the box provide more information, in slightly more detail, while the back of the box gives you a full overview of the mouse and its features.  The front of the box has a flap that opens to show you a proper view of the mouse, while the inside of the flap you have information about the mouse and its basic/advanced button configuration.

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Usually, you tend to get the device itself in the box, along with the user manuals and Razer branded stickers.  This time though, there is something extra.  You get two additional side pieces for the mouse that you can change out depending on your hand size and the way you grip the mouse.  These extra pieces are packed nicely in a foam insert, inside of an extra box which is located beneath the mouse in the main packaging.  It is relatively easy to change the side piece to one that suits you better – simply unclip the one that is attached by pulling down on the back of it (this was how I did it).  Because the pieces stay in place thanks to several magnets underneath, there is no chance of snapping any important fasteners, etc.  Adding your preferred side panel is just as easy – just push it into position and let the magnets do their job!

As with other Razer products, the download and install of their Synapse 2.0 software is required in order for you to program your mouse to suit you.  Synapse is very straightforward and easy to use with clear, on-screen instructions for you to follow.  You can use the software to create macros for in-game use.  So say for example there is a command that uses multiple key presses, you can record the key press sequence and assign it to a key, resulting in one key press instead of many.  The good thing about Synapse, it allows you to store your gaming profiles for your mouse in the cloud, meaning that you can access your settings from any computer that you plug your mouse into, as long as said machine has Synapse installed.  No endless faffing about setting up settings and buttons when you change and move around.

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The Razer Naga Expert MMO mouse has a total of 17 buttons, including 12 side buttons that are all fully programmable.  These buttons, when compared to previous Naga Hex mice that I have used, are thankfully harder to press – resulting in less random button presses.  The mouse wheel does what you would expect it to, and the green colour scheme is always a favourite of mine.  Lastly, the braided USB cable gives the mouse the finish that it deserves.

The base of the mouse has a switch that enables you to switch between the basic and advanced  configuration.  The basic layout represents the numbered keys along the top of your keyboard, while the advanced layout does the same for the number pad on the side of your keyboard.  Depending on the configuration that you prefer, you put the switch to the one to suit your use.  To finish off the bottom of the mouse, we have the ultraslick mouse feet – five in total – to help the mouse glide over your surface with ease.

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The Naga itself is VERY comfortable to use, and in the time that I have used it, I have encountered no hand fatigue at all.  After finding a position to hold my hand so that I can reach the side buttons, and with the comfort added by changing the side panel, it’s almost as if this mouse was made for my hand!  Thankfully, after using previously Naga models, I did not have too much of an issue getting accustomed to the button layout again and was up and running fully in no time.

Of all of the Razer mice that I have used, I think I can honestly say that the Naga Expert is the most comfortable by far.  Being able to put on a side plate that suits my hand size plays a huge part in this.  Obviously the mouse is aimed at people who play MMO games, and would definitely suit anybody looking for a gaming mouse.  The lack of hand fatigue is something else that adds to the comfort factor and I would highly recommend this mouse, even if you only use it for day to day activities.

Venom Power Bank – PS3 – Review (@VenomGamingUK)

I doubt that there is a single gamer out there that would not like to extend their controller battery life, even slightly.  It’s even worse if you are using a PS3 controller and the only way to rectify the flat battery issue is to have either a spare, charged controller, or sit with the charger cable attached to the console and controller so you can play while charging.  Now though, there is a way around this – the Officially Licensed Venom Power Bank for PS3 controllers.

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The Power Bank comes packaged in a nice blue and white box that shows how the unit looks by itself, as well as when it is hooked on to your controller.  Also included is the “Official Licensed Product logo for PlayStation, and on the back, is some additional information.  Inside the box, you have a User Guide, the Power Bank, and a USB charger cable.

The Power Bank is a small unit that is actually really nice to look at.  It is small, sleek, and is the size you would expect it to be.  The unit is small enough that it attaches to the controller via the USB port on the top.  To hold it in place securely, the Power Bank has a small clip on the bottom that fits snugly around the base of the controller.  You can fully charge the unit between uses by unclipping it from the controller and hook up the USB cable that is provided in the box, and once fully charged, it provides up to an additional 20 hours of controller use time.

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For something so small to be so practical, it is probably a must-have for PS3 users.  You can pick one up for the price of £19.99 from the Venom Play Store, with free delivery.  This is something that is easy to use and that would prove handy for all gamers.

Orbweaver Elite Mechanical Gaming Keypad – Review (@Razer)

The Orbweaver Elite Mechanical Gaming Keypad from Razer is a mechanical gaming keypad that gives you the functionality of using the left side of yourr keyboard for gaming, in a standalone device.

It’s standard now that the Razer packaging is something that is always high quality.  With its green and black colour scheme, the images and text just pops and works really well.  The front of the box shows a pretty full image of the Orbweaver keypad, and also contains a few key points, including the fact that the keypad has 20 fully programmable buttons.  Both sides of the box also contains a wealth of information, ranging from the mechanical key infrastructure, to the backlit keypad.  The back of the box gives a breakdown of the keypad itself and lets us know what each part is for.  Also included in the box is the standard user guide.

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The Orbweaver Keypad is a beauty, really.  As well as the 20 programmable keys, you also have a left handed, 8 way directional thumbpad, a nicely gripped palm rest, an equally nicely gripped wrist rest, and two buttons that sit nicely either side of the thumbpad (one being the same as the spacebar) and lastly, the USB cable.

Using Razer’s Synapse 2.0, you can set up the buttons on the keypad as you wish.  You can store unlimited game profiles, program the keys, and set the backlight on the device to suit your preference.  The Orbweaver features 8 keymaps that can all be programmed with a different key layout using the 20 programmable keys and the two side buttons.  Although there is no present switch available to quickly swap between the keymaps, using Synapse, you can set one of the keys to do this if you would like to.  Once you have set the keypad up to your liking, all of your settings are saved on the cloud using Synapse so that you can access them from whichever location you take your keypad to.  Please note that while Synapse 2.0 is not required to use the keypad, it is needed if you would like to program the keys rather than using the standard layout.

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The Orbweaver, although a little weird looking, is actually really comfortable to use.  The padded wrist and palm rests and much needed support, while the buttons are placed within a reasonable length for your hand so there is no over stretching to reach them.  Saying this though, I have pretty small hands and had issues reaching the top row of keys – even with the unit sized to the smallest available size, so I think people with medium to large sized hands may have a better time using this.  The thumbpad and two side buttons are also in a decent position and are easily within reach for ease of use.  Having the option to reposition the wrist rest, the side unit that houses the thumbpad/buttons, and also the option to slightly rotate the palm rest is very welcomed.  Being able to resize and reposition those key parts all add to the comfort factor, and also helps to cater for people with larger hands.

Being able to fully customise the key layout using the Orbweaver is also something that I think gamers will love.  Rather than having to reach for certain keys on the keyboard, you can set the keypad up to do the same thing by simply programming the keys to suit you.  Being able to save several game profiles is also handy as you may use different key layouts for different games meaning that all you have to do is switch from one to another.

The keys on the keypad are all backlit (the main keys are, any way) and are full mechanical keys with 50g actuation force, meaning that is doesn’t take a large amount of pressure to  press the keys.  The keys also make a nice ‘clicking’ sound when pressed so you aren’t left thinking “have I actually pressed that key properly”.  Also, just above the thumbpad and two buttons, there are three light bars – these tell you which keymap you currently have equipped.

The Orbweaver Elite Mechanical Gaming Keypad is a great bit of kit.  While it is probably better suited to people with medium to large hands, it is a pleasure to use and provides comfort in all of the right areas.  It would have been nice to see a braided USB cable rather than a rubber coated cable, but it isn’t a game changer of an issue.  It is not a ridiculous size and definitely would not look out of place in any gaming setup, especially if you are someone who enjoys your PC games.  Now all we need is something for us small hand gamers!

[NEWS] Razer Launches the World’s First Mechanical Switches Specifically for Gaming

Today, Razer, a leader in entertainment software and devices , announced the launch of the first ever mechanical switch specifically designed for gaming – the Razer Mechanical Switch.

Traditional mechanical switches were primarily designed to be used for typing, the newly announced Razer Mechanical Switches have been completely designed for gaming.

After doing extensive research, the award winning engineers from Razer have identified the actual distance for a gaming switch to within a fraction of a millimeter and have reduced the distance between the actuation and reset point by almost half, allowing for better precision as well as faster gaming commands.  This is noticeable when compared to standard mechanical switches. Also, the newly announced Razer Mechanical Switches are produced using an ultra precise manufacturing technique that when coupled with gold plated contact points, will provide users with a lifespan of up to 60 million key strokes.

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Although the Razer Mechanical Switches were designed from the ground up by Razer scientists and engineers, mass production was carried out by a third party manufacturer.  To ensure that each switch was made to meet the demanding specifications and also to make sure that the switches was up to the standard of the blueprints and specifications, Razer placed its own quality assurance experts on the production floor.

The Razer Mechanical Switches have been thoroughly tested by the world’s most demanding eSports competitors who have validated the switches in some of the most intense professional gaming tournaments.

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“The new switches on the Razer BlackWidow have a lighter and smoother feel, allowing me to play at a faster pace than before,” says Jens “Snute” Aasgaard, Team Liquid StarCraft player. “It’s comfortable and solid – perfect for long practice sessions and tournaments.”

“Instead of focusing solely on typing comfort, as traditional mechanical switches have done, we had to completely rethink the conventional approach behind the actuation and reset points of mechanical switches in order to fine-tune them for gaming,” says Min-Liang Tan, Razer co-founder, CEO and creative director. “Our engineers’ focus for the specification was on speed, accuracy and durability to bring the unfair advantage to gamers worldwide. The new switch makes the most popular gaming keyboard in the world even better.

The Razer Mechanical switch is available on the new Razer BlackWidow family of mechanical gaming keyboards, and is open to other gaming peripheral makers who wish to manufacture the highest quality gaming-grade mechanical keyboards.

The all new Razer Mechanical Switch comes in two types: The Razer Green switch that is tactile and clicky, requiring a force of 50 g to actuate; and the Razer Orange switch that is tactile yet silent, requiring a force of 45 g to actuate.

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For more information regarding the Razer Mechanical Switches, as well as the Razer BlackWidow range of gaming keyboards, please head to http://www.razerzone.com/razer-mechanical-switches

Website: http://www.razerzone.com
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/razer
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/razer
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/cultofrazer

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