AOC CQ27G2 Gaming Monitor – Review

My very first experience with an AOC monitor happened way back in 2009 when I unknowingly bought arguably the best and most durable monitor I would come to have.  At the time I simply wanted a 1080p display roughly 24inches big.  My trusty AOC has been by my side through many consoles, a few PC's, office, home, friends, LAN's and even being borrowed to friends.  Through all of that without a single hiccup.  Fast-forward 11years and being able to unbox the latest in the AOC monitor range feels like I have come full circle.  Let's hope the G2 range can stand up to the legendary status of its grandfather before it left in my mind.  Let us dive straight in...  

Design and build

The AOC CQ27G2 design and build is simple yet stylish.  Featuring a matte black finish all around and a few red streaks to accent the sleek design.  The "almost bezel-less" design makes the 27inch display appear even bigger although, when the monitor is in use the bezel is clearly visible.  A thin black bottom, accented with a red stripe finishes the bottom of the screen off really nicely and a small and unobtrusive light to indicate power mode can be found on the right.  Unlike many of its competitors, the CQ27G2 does not boast an OSD joystick.  This can make navigating extensive OSD menus rather cumbersome but once set, these settings are generally not changed so it can be overlooked.   The stand of the AOC CQ27G2 has a wide-V footprint which fortunately won't take up much of your desk space.  The stylish silver finish compliments the rest of the screen tremendously well and the cable management hole has more than adequate space for keyboard, mouse, and any other cables you might need to have neatly managed.  The stand also allows for a wide range of movements of the monitor.  Before we get to that, it is worth mentioning that the AOC CQ27G2 is fully VESA capable, with the 100x100 mount.  The stand allows for the monitor to be raised by 130mm and provides -4° to 21.5° of tilt and 34° of swivel adjustments.  Being a curved display, these angles and adjustments should be able to satisfy the fussiest of monitor-adjusters... (do you get those people?) The connections for the monitor, which are as follows:
  • DisplayPort 1.2 x 1,
  • HDMI 2.0 x 2,
  • 3.5mm Jack x 1
  • AC plug
  All are situated at the bottom of the monitor and face down, for wall mounting purposes.  From the moment I pulled the monitor from its box to start assembling, the general feel of the packaging and the product in hand is that of quality.  The AOC CQ27G2 feels solid and well built.  Other monitors, such as my personal 27inch 144hz QHD monitor from another well-known brand, in the same price range as well, feels quite flimsy and like it might fall over if its bumped.  The AOC CQ27G2, however, does not come with built-in speakers.  Most would not find this to be a problem as, generally, the built-in speakers as very underpowered.  The CQ27G2 also comes standard as both G-sync and Free-sync capable.  

Display and Performance

With the arrival of the AOC CQ27G2 came a feeling of sheer excitement as well as significant amounts of dread.  This being the first monitor I have ever reviewed.  This on its own posed some challenges and significant research regarding terms and general aspects of gaming monitors.  So bear with me as I try my hand at this monitor review. The CQ27G2 has a 27" VA panel that is capable of 2560x1440 resolution while giving a superb 144hz and a response time of 1ms.  The backlight can do 250cd/m2 and the general contrast ratio is 3000:1.  So what does all of this gibberish mean? The resolution of 2560x1440 means that this monitor can display at a higher resolution than the normal 1080p or "full HD".  1080p only has 2,073,600 pixels on the screen with 1440p delivering over 3,600,00.  in simple terms, the more pixels the sharper the image, and as screen sizes increase so is the need for the increase in resolution.     The CQ27G2 boasts a 1ms response time that, in today's terms, has become the standard if you want to call your monitor a gaming monitor.  For those who don't know, response time is the time it takes for a single pixel to go from grey to grey.  Along with this, the AOC delivers this in 144Hz.  Refresh rate refers to how many frames it can produce within a single second.  Regular monitors generally output between the 60-75hz range.  If you have not experienced 144+Hz I would strongly suggest you try it.  Once you see the silky smoothness of 144Hz you will never want to go back.     G-sync/Free-sync are ways that AMD and Nvidia stop screen tearing to occur.  Both of these technologies will allow your GPU to sync its refresh rate with that of the monitor creating perfect sync between the frames that your GPU delivers and the frames your monitor displays.  In the past, as well as with more budget monitors, they generally only support one or the other.  Which can cause a headache when changing GPU's or if you don't research before you buy. Monitor panels are a thing of great mystery, as I have come to learn during my research.  You have 2 general types of panels.  TN panels generally struggle with angles, colors, and contrast, but they tend to be fast, and as many may say, in this case, speed is worth a few sacrifices.  VA panels, on the other hand, drop the speed and focus on picture quality and reproduction.  Then you get IPS, the best of both worlds apart from their singular drawback...  Price!     Even though the CQ26G2 has a VA panel,  I was immediately blown away when I fired up Assassin's Creed Odyssey!  I have never experienced colors and lighting to pop so spectacularly. Never have I experienced a sunrise or sunset, apart from the real thing, on any monitor!  This might just be because it is my first experience with a VA panel but, man oh man am I hooked!  Games with vibrant colors are close to unrecognizable when displaying on the AOC CQ27G2.  With the research I have done, I have discovered that curved panels, like the CQ27G2, are prone to having uniformity issues across the panel, I conducted a simple test of moving a black box across the screen and apart from the slight variant in color here and there it is hardly noticeable.  

Verdict

With so many monitors around, all featuring many different panels, refresh rates, and just general features of which many can be considered gimmicks, it is really tough to make a decision on which one will suit your needs.  This is where I would generally recommend finding a price range first, then deciding on screen size, resolution, and then refresh rate.  All the other should be secondary.  The AOC CQ27G2 sits firmly in its price range, with some monitors spec'ing similar to it but not quite up to its level.  So I would say the AOC ticks the price box.  Size, resolution, refresh rates are all comfortably ticked, with few being able to give 27 inches, 144Hz, AND 1440p for around the R7000 mark (give or take). My recommendation would be if you are in the market for a 27inch gaming VA monitor then you should not hesitate to consider the AOC CQ27G2!  Not only is it crammed full of features such as boost, HDR and even an onscreen crosshair (naughty) but it gives a wonderful image and literally had me dumbstruck by what I had been missing out on! And did I mention it is curved... AOC has hit the nail on the head with this monitor and other "big name" brands should take note, AOC is not here to compete, they are here to take over!    

Special thanks to AOC and Rectron South Africa for providing the Review hardware

     
Read more

Logitech G815 mechanical keyboard – Review

Keyboards are keyboards, right?  They all do the same thing, you type on them.  Some of them might have a few cool gadgets and most these days have lots of RGB.  Many even have an arsenal of options when it comes to the keys.  Be that mechanical or not, and if so, a rainbow of colored switches all with their very own characteristics.   Some are loud and clicky, others are more quiet and tactile.  Basically, there is a switch for everyone...  Furthermore, there are keyboards that provide high keycaps, giving you more travel when pressing the key.  Other manufacturers even do optical switches.  Logitech has leap-frogged all of these and decided to be ahead of the curve...  Introducing the G815 low-profile GL-switched keyboard!    

Design

Keyboards come in many shapes and sizes, and some with rather crazy designs and features.  In more recent years we have seen the return of the minimal design and a bigger focus on providing a premium feel.  Much like the Xbox Elite controller stands head and shoulders above the competition due to its sleek design and presence by design, similarly, the G815 radiates thanks to its minimal and sleek design.  The Logitech G815. The G815 is best described as a rectangular keyboard with perfect square lines, only broken by the wide roller on the top right corner of the keyboard.  The brushed metal finish gives the G915 a timeless and classy finish.  It also does not show finger smudges like the polished black plastic of other models do.  While many might think that the design might be lacking.  After using the G815 a bit it quickly becomes apparent that a tremendous amount of time was put into refining the look while keeping it minimal yet providing all the needed features, macros and media keys.  All of this while keeping the design edgy.     The G815 is extremely thin, at a measly height of only 22mm, Logitech had to do something drastic with their keycaps to get it this low.  And that is what they did.  Logitech partnered with Kailh to produce a new switch, departing from the previous Romer-G's, and what they created is the GL switch, which comes in 3 variants, clicky, tactile and linear.  This new partnership has allowed Logitech to create a low profile key that allows for lots of travel while not compromising the low profile design, the best of both worlds.  To give you an idea of the travel of these switches compared to normal Cherry switches.  The cherry switches have a travel of 4mm compared to the 2.5mm of the GL.  

Features

While we are on the subject of switches, the responsiveness of the GL switches alone is a feature.  While playing any form of a competitive game, we all know that responsiveness is something we all wish we had more of.  Faster response from our own side might mean the difference between winning and losing.  With the shorter travel distance, the G815 really gives you an advantage against the players on non- low profile keyboards.  The G815 also has 5 programmable macro keys situated on the left vertically.  They are perfectly positioned for your pinky to quickly slip off to the side and press that macro when needed.  The spacing and positioning of the keys are perfect.  I had absolutely zero adjustment period.  miss-types were at a minimum and the ones I did have was my fault not due to the keyboard feeling strange.     Next to the ever-present Logitech emblem sits four M-buttons, these are profile keys.  The G815 can store up to 3 setups on the keyboard itself, meaning you can quickly jump between games and, with a press of a button, your macros will be switched for that game.  To make it even better is because the presets are saved on the keyboard itself, you can unplug it, take it to a friend, and have your presets with you instantly. The G815 features 4 media buttons situated under the roller wheel which controls volume.  The wheel might look strange at first but it has a premium feel and allows for the slightest volume adjustments.  Neatly hidden at the top of the keyboard is also a USB-port.  This is very nice when you want to plug an external or a wireless dongle for your G Pro wireless mouse.  It is however only USB2.0 so don't expect fast transfer speeds.    

Software

As with pretty much all the Logitech keyboards, the GHub is where all everything can be controlled.  The G815 comes with the usual array of preset RGB options such as the rainbow effect and screen sampler that gives a really neat look, as well as the audio visualizer.  Pair this with other LightSync hardware to deliver a really great look.  The really nice addition is the ability to create your own lighting effects.  It might seem daunting at first but Logitech provides you with a few to start off with.  If designing your own one is not your style, simply download and apply one of the community created ones.  You are bound to find one that you like.     The GHub is also where you will find the key-bind options for your macros.  This is a pretty straight forward process with the Ghub detecting games that you play and giving you options of what you would possibly want on these macros.  Thanks, Logitech, didn't even know I needed my meds on macro when playing Escape from Tarkov.  

Verdict

Low profile keyboards are often not great for the day to day work and gaming.  If they are they generally take some time to get used to.  The Razer Huntsman, for example, has such a soft touch that I found myself pressing keys without noticing.  Once I was used to it it was a great keyboard, but that was after many backspacing.  The G815 slotted right in and was on point from the first keystroke.  It is a wonderful keyboard to use for typing and the "clicky" variant that I reviewed had just enough click to satisfy without annoying people in the room next door.  On a visual note, the G815 is spectacular and looks great paired with any setup.  Whether you want full RGB, or extremely minimal, the G815 is up to the task. When it comes to gaming, the keystrokes felt very true and I felt confident in my strokes which most definitely made a difference in my playing.  As a whole, the G815 is a amazing keyboard that not only looks premium, but feels, and plays as premium should.  It is built sturdy and will provide many hours of faultless enjoyment.  The only possible problem with the G815 is its price.  Coming in north of the R2000 mark does put it in the "expensive" bracket.  But if you are doubting whether the price is justified, I can comfortably tell you, it is. If I could have my pick of any keyboard to have as my daily, this would be it.        

special thanks to Logitech for providing the review content

   

 
Read more

Razer Viper Ultimate – Review

Ambidextrous mice have not ever been much of a thing, so if you are a left-handed mouse user you have never had too much of a choice when it comes to picking up a gaming mouse.  Logitech did a great job when they brought us the near-perfect G903.  For a very long time, I myself thought that the magnificent G903 could not be beaten.  Then Razer sent me the Razer Viper Ultimate.  Can the Viper Ultimate dethrone the legendary G903 or does it just fall short?  Let's find out!   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=96G5y_znKr0

Design

As I have mentioned in previous reviews, Razer has certainly evolved.  They are no longer the RGB focused company that sell their product with RGB crammed into every nook and cranny.  No, they have matured and the latest range of hardware that has been launched in recent years truly is remarkable.  Not only has Razer forced the established names to take notice they have also driven development within the market.  Making it better for us as consumers.  Whether you are an entry-level gamer or consider yourself a hardcore gamer, Razer has a product to suit your budget, without the product feeling budget! When it comes to the Viper Ultimate it's well priced in its competitive range.  The first thing you will notice when unboxing the Viper Ultimate is just how light it is.  For those who prefer more weight to their mice, unfortunately, the Viper Ultimate does not come with addable or removable weights.  Usually, mice that are really lightweight can sometimes feel flimsy in-hand.  Somehow Razer has managed to make the Viper Ultimate feel sturdy and strong while being extremely light.  The design is much more minimalist and only an RGB Razer emblem adorns the Viper Ultimate right on the spot your palm will normally rest.  While the smooth plastic on the top feels nice to the touch.  The grippier sides make sure the Viper won't slip out of your hand anytime soon.     The Viper Ultimate, as the name suggests, is the top tier Viper.  It is wireless thanks to Razer's own Hyperspeed technology.  I was skeptical at best, of the wireless technology having, as they say, the same performance as wired.  I first went wireless on my own G903, so logically i will compare the Viper Ultimate to that.  And I am pleased to tell you the statements are correct.  I cannot distinguish between wired and wireless with the new tech.  It is simply astounding.

Performance

Let's get to the important bits, how does the Razer Viper Ulitmate truly perform?  Firstly, Razer claims it to have a battery life of around 70 hours with heavy use.  The lockdown has given me the chance to truly push the Viper with a lot of extra gaming hours.  And I am confident in saying that it can go the distance!  I went roughly a week without charging and I still had juice left in the tank.  Charging is also really simple, just place it on the extremely good looking docking station, which also serves as your wireless hub and stores the USB dongle for when you do want to skip the dock. Razer has really taken it to the next level, the new sensor, called the Razer Focus + Optical sensor, that is being used in the Viper is rated for 20 000DPI.  Personally I think its no need to have a sensor that can go higher than even 10k DPI.  I have never played on DPI settings higher than 1600, but that might just be personal preference.  Another spec that Razer brags with is the 650inches per second tracking speed.  It is really tough to describe what it feels like but when taking the Razer Viper out of its cradle and you start to use it.  The accuracy level is un-rivaled.  At times it felt like my cursor was attached to my eyes rather than my hand...

Features

This is where the Viper might run a little short for some.  Although the battery life of the Viper is really good, the problem comes with the dock.  As beautiful as it looks it only charges the Viper when the PC is on.  And when it is charging it takes around 4 hours for a full charge.  This would be easily fixed with an option to plug it straight into a wall socket so that it would constantly be able to charge.     The Viper also makes use of the Razer Synapse software which can take some time to get used to and for newer users, the software can be rather daunting!  With a little bit of tinkering though, it works really well and allows for tremendous customization especially if you use more Razer products.  Another of the features that should be mentioned is the fact that you can calibrate your Viper for the specific mousepad you are using.  This lets the sensor know what type of surface it is being used on and therefor adapts and tracks better.  

Verdict

The Razer Viper Ultimate can easily be compared to the near-flawless Logitech G903, and for good reason.  It can match the Logitech in nearly every step. The Viper Ultimate is nearly a no-brainer in its price range.  The G903 ultimate trumps it not due to it being a better mouse, but simply because it has the powerplay feature.  Which lets you charge on the mousepad while playing, wirelessly.  But taking into account the amount of money you need to spend to use this feature, I would whole-heartedly recommend getting the Viper Ultimate!  Value for money and the tech that you will receive will simply blow you away! The Razer Viper Ultimate is arguably the pinnacle of the Razer mouse stable! Go on, get one, you won't be disappointed!    

Special thanks to Apex Interactive for supplying the review content

 
Read more

Logitech G305 Lightspeed – Review

Logitech has long been known to make hardware that can slot into any environment as well as any budget.  All of this, while being seen as one of the leading brands in all things gaming.  This is no small feat.  It is tough to find a Logitech product that isn't, at worst, good.  It is easy to find the truly exceptional.  To find either at the sub R1000 mark, from a major manufacturer, is where it gets tricky! The Logitech G305 sits firmly in the middle.  It's not quite adventurous enough in design or function to revolutionize the industry.  Yet it is more than capable of handling everyday challenges that might arise during PC gaming or productivity.   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qn5gvzXY5g0&feature=emb_logo

Design

If you are not careful, you would assume the G305 to be a G Pro without RGB and the cord being chopped.  The design is identical down to the ridged scroll wheel.  Some might say this is a bad thing, but for those who have used the G Pro will know, it is simply sublime.  The G305, just like the G Pro, is a sleek and comfortable mouse that has absolutely no wasted space. The G305 comes as a six-button mouse.  Left, right, clickable scroll wheel, DPI adjuster and two thumb buttons.  Which, depending on whether you use it left- or right-handed, will be inside or outside.  A big selling point for the G305 is the fact that it is also wireless.  Not only that, but it weighs in at a measly 96g!  A big chunk of this being the AA battery that sits inside it.

Features

From the moment you take the G305 out of its box, it will work on any PC.  Thanks to the dongle that fits perfectly inside the mouse when you pop off the top cover.  This is also the way that you would insert and replace the AA battery it requires to run the mouse.  By using a AA battery this obviously means that the G305 is not rechargeable like many of its family members.  On the flipside, Logitech rates the battery life to be around 250 hours if you are using it for an 8 hour day.  By making the G305 non-rechargeable is also an easy way to cut costs.  The DPI switch, which simply scrolls through the four-set DPI settings, sits perfectly under the wheel, barely protruding out.  If you want to customize your DPI levels, a quick visit to the Logitech Ghub will have you adjusting them quickly. Many folks might see wireless, and instantly think that that equals to slower response times.  Logitech has proved everyone that wireless doesn't need to mean slow input.  The lightspeed range, which covers nearly the entire modern Logitech range, boasts a 1ms response time, even on wireless use. Some people might argue the fact that the G305 only offers wireless through the dongle, and not through Bluetooth like many of its counterparts and even lesser productivity mice within the Logitech stable.  This means you won't be able to use the G305 with tablets, mobile phones or some gaming consoles.  But at the same time, this just proves the point even more.  The Logitech G305 is content to be what it is. Even though it might come across as rather mundane and boring, the G305 still boasts the Hero sensor, which is one of the best optical sensors around.  Although in this version it is only capable of 12 000 DPI.

Performance

No review would be complete without putting the G305 through its paces.  Upon arrival, I was using it in the office for productivity.  Going from a trusty Microsoft mouse to the G305 felt really great.  The wireless felt great and its small form factor just felt right when using it in a cluttered environment. When I got home, I simply popped in the dongle, and off I went.  Playing some Wolcen: Lords of Mayhem, moving over to For Honor and then to some Rainbow 6 Siege.  As expected the G305 handled them all superbly.  It did not favor any of the genres more than any other.  I did find my aim to be not as true as it usually is but that is due to changing up my mouse that I use most of them time.  The clicks feel true and the movement smooth and predictable.

Verdict

At the end of the day, the Logitech G305 does not put a foot out of line.  Whatever you throw at it, it takes the challenge in its stride.  It is elegant, it is small, and it is uncluttered.  For the individual who wants some RGB, it, unfortunately, does not cater to you.  You could drop considerably more money and get into the top of the line G900 range which will give you all the features and then some.  But the G305 will serve the same core function at a fraction of the cost.    

Special thanks to Logitech for providing the review content

 
Read more

Razer Deathadder V2 – Review

In a world where multi-purposing, as well as minimalism, is a popular trend.  It's only expected that it will filter down to gaming.  With many gamers taking their mouse with them to the office, you need a mouse that can handle the rigours of spreadsheets and presentations.  While being able to step-up when the gaming gets tough!  All of the above, and at a respectable price.  Not easy to tick all the boxes... Say hello to the Razer Deathadder V2! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mana0sGU3DU&feature=emb_logo

Classic look

Straight off the bat, the Deathadder has a sleek and simple design which makes it perfect for the office- and home use.  The size and way your hand lays on it feels more comfortable.  The slight slant away from your open hand feels more natural placing less stress on your wrist.  This might sound silly but after using it and trying another mouse, the difference is very noticeable. The Deathadder features the standard 2 click buttons on top, the scroll wheel that is also clickable, along with two programmable buttons on the inside of the mouse.  It is also good to note that the Deathadder is a right-handed mouse, so lefties, you are out of luck.  Just behind the scroll wheel, the two DPI buttons can be found.  The wheel and buttons are at a lower level to the area your palm will rest.  This helps to stop accidental DPI changes when your hand moves around on the mouse.     RGB has become all the craze lately, with everything, including the kitchen sink (or toaster) featuring RGB.  The Deathadder, although, more reserved, also feature a two-zone RGB setup, one being the scroll wheel the other being the large Razer logo which will mostly be covered by your palm during use.  Setting up the RGB can be easy, or slightly more complicated depending on how in-depth you want to customize.  If you are not too phased, using the Razer Synapse program will give you 5 quick effects such as Breathe, Static, Reactive, Spectrum and Audio Cycle.  If customization is your thing you will need to download Chroma effects from the Razer website.  Using Chroma effects you can customize to your heart's content.  Having more Razer products obviously will make Chroma effects even more powerful.  

Modern tech

Although the Deathadder can easily be mistaken for the run of the mill mouse, it does possess some serious tech under the hood.  Turning it over you will see what looks like the normal slide guards.  But on the Deathadder they are a special material specifically designed to allow for great smooth movements across most types of mousepads.  Don't forget to set up your specific material or surface that the Deathadder slides on.  The Deathadder can also have 5 DPI steps saved using Razer Synapse of course.  The sensor found in the Deathadder is good for up to 20 000DPI.   Although, I highly doubt you will find yourself setting them that high.     The left- and right-click buttons are where another big part of the magic happens.  These are no mere mechanical switches.  No, they are optic switches.  That means instead of a button being pressed to make a mechanical switch, these click buttons use light to activate.  There is a constant source of light that, when clicked, breaks the beam of light causing the mouse to register the click.  What this means is your clicks are literally registering at the speed of light...  Let that sink in...     The two inside programmable buttons can be programmed to act like any button on both your keyboard or mouse.  This is especially handy when things get hairy in-game or you simply need to page back through your browser.  If you are someone who prefers to play MMO's then obviously having only 2 programmable buttons on the mouse is a bit of a letdown.

Verdict

The Razer Deathadder V2 is the perfect mouse for those who like to work and play equally hard.  It is good to note that if you are not a fan of bigger mice, then the Deathadder might not be exactly your choice.  Neither would it be for those who play ability heavy games.  But for the price and the features that you get within that price, the Deathadder is a sure-fire contender for the best in class! If you need a mouse that can game and work and you don't want to break the bank, the Deathadder V2 is what you have been looking for.    

Special thanks to Apex Interactive for supplying the review content

 
Read more

X-Gamer Review

In a world where everything needs to happen at lightspeed.  Your focus and reactions need to be that of a Formula 1 driver.  Managing that is not as easy as simply getting a good nights' rest.  This is where many people turn to energy drinks or large amounts of caffeine intake. We have all read and heard numerous stories of how bad energy drinks are for you and of the many people who have either died or have had major health problems because of said energy drinks. For gamers, we fight the good fight.  We need to be at our peak mental ability as well as agility.  Most of us only get to jump into our game of choice at the end of a long day of whatever it is you call work.  Most of the time, by that time, we are never at our best.  Hence we turn to energy drinks of boat-loads of caffeine.  This is where X-Gamer comes in.  If you consume too much of either caffeine or energy drinks you will inevitably start to feel shaky or general not well.    

Does it X Gamer give you that kick?

The people over at Apex Interactive were kind enough to send me a shaker with a few samples of the new flavours of X Gamer.  These flavours consist of a whole host of new and interesting flavours like gummy bears and cape town swiss roll.  Apart from having the most innovative and original names, the flavours are, for the most part, just as spectacular. As I am not a man of science, instead of boring you with ingredients and nutritional values and all those boring things, the only logical way to test if X Gamer can really replace a cup of coffee or it alternatives is to replace my morning coffee with a shot of X Gamer.  So for 2 weeks, I took up the challenge.  Drinking a 500ml X Gamer, in its very good looking shaker, for 2 days and then skipping to days etc. On the first morning, I tore open my sachet of X Gamer, dropped it into 500ml of water in the shaker closed the lid and by the time I wanted to shake, it was nearly completely dissolved.  I gave it a shake just for the sake of it and started sipping on it while my colleagues gave me funny looks while sipping on their cups of brew.     Within 20min I could feel the difference.  I felt more spritely and energetic.  Both of these feelings obviously help for a more focused mind as well as I felt a lot less drained by midday compared to my usual day. Which, by that time, I would have been on my third coffee.  Mixing the X Gamer with 500ml of water also helps for the fluid level intake which I am really bad at.  By 2 pm, the time the energy drinks usually start to wear off and you start to feel run-down and shaky the X Gamer was still going strong with absolutely ZERO negative feelings.  On the contrary, It actually made me feel like drinking water instead of more coffee.  This might be due to the slight parchedness it leaves in your mouth.  All I did was fill up my shaker with some H2O and off I went.  

What's in the Bottle?

  For those who are interested in the details.  Each serving will provide 129kJ of energy and 200mg of caffeine and 1000mg of Taurine.  There are of course other ingredients such as Niacin (31.2mg) and only 3g of carbohydrates for those who are non-carb diets.  However, where X Gamer stands head and shoulders above the competition is the number of other vitamins it consists of.  For those who would like a more detailed analysis.
Compound Dosage per 10g serving Class Info
Caffeine 200mg stimulant Equivalent to about two cups of coffee
Taurine 1000mg Taurine is found in large amounts in the brain, retina, heart, and blood cells called platelets
Niacin 31.2mg  niacin may help lower cholesterol, ease arthritis and boost brain function
Vitamin E 3.2mg VITAMINS do I need to say more support immune function, prevent inflammation, promote eye health, and lower the risk of cancer.
Thiamine 0.6mg Thiamine is important in the breakdown of carbohydrates from foods into products needed by the body
Riboflavin 0.6mg It is involved in many processes in the body and is necessary for normal cell growth and function
Vitamin B6 0.6?g More Vitamins! It's significant to protein, fat and carbohydrate metabolism and the creation of red blood cells and neurotransmitters
Vitamin B12 6.8?g Same as above...  It plays an essential role in the production of your red blood cells and DNA
Biotin 8?g More good stuff  helps your body convert food into energy
Pantothenic acid 2.4mg creates life It's necessary for making blood cells, and it helps you convert the food you eat into energy
Chrome 4.4?g makes you strong mineral that can improve insulin sensitivity and enhance protein, carbohydrate, and lipid metabolism
Boron 22?g make hulk strong Boron is used for building strong bones, treating osteoarthritis, as an aid for building muscles and increasing testosterone levels
Lutein 12?g sunblock for your eyes filter harmful high-energy blue wavelengths of light and help protect and maintain healthy cells in the eyes
 

Should you buy it?

If you are considering using X Gamer as a replacement for the Vitamins and supplements you get from your local pharmacy, then I would say you are out of luck.  X Gamer is touted as an energy drink to enhance endurance and focus.  And that is what it provides.  Would I recommend switching out your favorite can of Energy drink for a tub of X Gamer?  MOST DEFINITELY!  There are significantly more healthy ingredients in X Gamer compared to energy drinks.  Not only that, but the "coming-off" on X Gamer is gradual and won't have you laying in a heap of lifeless flesh when it has worked its way out.  Did I mention every single flavor is extremely yummy!!! The pricing is also decent with Takealot coming in at prices ranging from R499 to R749 at the time of checking.  This might feel like a steep price to pay.  But considering what you pay for your Seattle coffee on the way to work...  X Gamer makes a lot more sense!  

Special thanks to the people over at Apex Interactive for the review content

       
Read more

Razer Huntsman Tournament Edition -Review

With the drastic incline of interest in the esports scene in recent years, creating esports-orientated hardware has been every company's goal.  Every teenager who has ever gotten a win in their favorite battle royale game, or dominated (even once) in a shooter, now thinks they have what it takes to become the next, I had to go Google names, Bugha, skadoodle, nicewigg or Pengu.  But becoming an esports athlete does not only require tremendous amounts of skill and dedication but having the correct hardware does also lend to becoming a more competitive gamer.  Having a better headset will give you better audio queues in games where that matters such as R6 Siege.  A better mouse will give you that quick-flicks when you are caught off-guard in Apex Legends.  But not much is ever said about the keyboards... Razer, after releasing the Huntsman in 2018, to great response, has now made the Huntsman more esports inclined with the Huntsman Tournament Edition.  Let's dive into the Huntsman TE and see why this is the option you need to look at when looking for an esports keyboard.

So small, yet so powerful.

One of the first things that you need to realize when you look at buying a TE version is that you will be looking at a ten-keyless keyboard.  This means that it is a keyboard that has no Numpad, and in comparison to gaming keyboards, it also has all media keys removed.  Leaving you with only the essentials.  The reason for the smaller form is not because someone wanted a smaller keyboard.  No, it is, as the name might suggest, to easily bring along to LANs or tournament environments.  To ease the packing up process, the cable is easily detachable.  The USB-C connector easily detaches from the top left corner of the keyboard. The biggest thing to remember about having a ten-keyless keyboard is the fact that there is no Numpad, for those of you who are constantly punching numbers into a spreadsheet, this is not the keyboard you need or want.  Like all Razer products, it features loads of RGB and linked with the ever-evolving Synapse which, in my opinion, is probably the best peripheral software around.  After spending a lot of time playing around in the Synapse software, fiddling with macros and lighting effects, as well as setting up profiles for the Huntsman, of which you can store 5 of them on the keyboard memory so you have your profiles with you even when you don't have your pc, I decided to leave it on ambient awareness.  This mode lets the keyboard mimick the colours that are displayed on the screen.

Performance

As the name states, the Huntsman is aimed at the esports gamer.  In the esports realm performance, precision and reliability are the key aspects of selecting your weapon of choice.  What is very important to know is that there are a vast amount of mechanical switches.  From brown, red, blue, green, nearly every colour of the rainbow.  Each with their own characteristics, some are clicky, some are not.  Having a Logitech as well as a Razer Blackwidow as my daily keyboards, one being membrane, the other being Razer green mechanical clicky switches, both with actuation distances of 2mm.  The Huntsman trims down on this 2mm and actuates at 1.5mm.  0.5mm doesn't sound like much, but when you do use it, you will find that even resting your fingers on keys too heavily will have you typing strings of A's in chat. An easy way to compare is that the Huntsman will type even when you are merely thinking of typing.  For twitch gaming, which means games where reactions play a big role, the 1.5mm actuation makes the world of a difference and I could see the improvement in my gameplay once I got used to the light actuation point.  For those who will be using the Huntsman for typing, expect many moans and even more backspaces for all the unwanted double letters.  I started the review with the Huntsman and quickly reverted to the Blackwidow due to all the typing errors. The Huntsman makes use of optomechanical switches.  For those who are not clued up, this means when you press down on the key it interrupts a lazer underneath the switch.  This has two main advantages, firstly it means there is nearly no latency, providing the quickest input possible.  Secondly, it means there are less moving parts which mean that the keyboard should last substantially longer.  Esports players are particularly hard on their hardware, similarly to players who tend to rage often, the Huntsman comes prepared for such user and should be able to withstand some serious punishment.

Verdict

    At first, the Huntsman might seem very pricey for a keyboard that gives you less than other cheaper keyboards.  No numpad, no media keys but more price.  Don't be fooled by this.  The optomechanical keys and precision of them makes this keyboard a near-must for any gamer who is looking for a dedicated gaming keyboard.  The small form factor, as well as the removable cable, is a massive plus for the LAN enthusiast.  The casual gamer who does do some typing and general work on their computer might have to think twice, as the sensitive keystrokes and minimal actuation distance can become extremely infuriating to those trying to do simple typing. The Huntsman is not a keyboard that is going to make the average gamer a pro.  But if you are a player that has some inclination to a certain game and you are that in-tune with the game that it feels like near-telepathic flow when you are playing, the Huntsman will have you playing and reacting as fast as you can think.  The Huntsman is ready to be the conduit between your brain and the game!      

Special thanks to Apex Interactive for supplying the review hardware

    credits: Windows Central - images  
Read more

Sniper Ghost Warrior: Contracts – Review

Sniping games have been around for a long time.  Sniping missions have also been a staple in franchises like Battlefield, Medal of Honor, and possibly the most infamous sniping mission of all, in Call of Duty.  All of these have taken elements of sniping and used it within a combat environment.  Where action and gunfire come frequently and a constant pace.  Not many of these titles really capture the true experience of sniping. A few games have come close.  The Sniper Elite franchise tries, and succeeds mostly, to put you behind the scope of a WW sniper.  With more emphasis on a visual representation of demolishing your target with brutal bullet penetration scenes, yet it lacks the true feeling.  This is where the Sniper Ghost warrior franchise puts its hand up and zooms in on the target! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pvGprYy0lZk SGW, as I will refer to it during this review, does not boast the strongest of stories.  The usual politics, some dodgy oil companies and general international espionage is the reason why you will be setting your crosshairs on a good couple of bad guys.  Although there is some reason for what you will be doing it doesn't do much in the way of linking missions or a general storyline.  During the intro, they do try and explain why it is morally acceptable to be paid for killing people...  What really makes SGW Contracts great though, is not the storyline, or actually the shooting (this is amazing though), it is the vastness of the extremely open maps.  The landscape is almost terrifyingly massive and moving around it takes extensive time.  This makes your missions so much more complex as there are multiple ways of taking on your mission.  Not only are the levels so vast, but they also vary tremendously in both visuals and environments.  This will force you to adapt your approach for each mission as you will find yourself sneaking along urban coastlines, heavily guarded fortresses and private mansions hidden in forests. Generally, sniper games or even missions would have you creep around and kill off the enemies as you come across them.  Upon reaching the intended target you would "eliminate" them and then you would be done. SGW Contracts takes a different approach.  Firstly, you will need to choose your approach carefully, stealth is non-negotiable.  But your approach can determine how much interaction you will come across.  Many of the missions require you to not only eliminate the target but often retrieve intel, or even sabotage a facility.  This will have you not only working from behind the scope but thinking about the effect your shot will have on the rest of the mission.  This approach often leads to fewer bullets fired which creates intense moments of manoeuvring past enemies instead of engaging!  Once your objective is complete you now need to be extracted, this is where your planning comes into play as well as a harsh and brutal punishment for those who think they are able to fight their way out.  This is where the large maps can become a hindrance which will see you often backtracking vast distances and hiding and watching for long periods of time.  I guess they don't call it GHOST warrior for no reason!

The Art and Science of Shooting

As in most sniper games, pulling off an incredible 1000m headshot on a driving target doesn't just happen.  it takes timing, precision and lots of science.  While the optics of your gun does provide amazing amounts of info regarding wind and trajectory of your bullet there are still many elements that you will need to contend with, and in this lies the magic of SGW Contracts.  Not only are these elements that make this game extremely difficult to play, but it also makes it extremely satisfying when everything works out!  The over-the-top kill cinematics of a bullet penetrating a skull and having the brain explode out the back does feel slightly out of sorts in a game that has very dark and moody tone.  But it does serve as a relief when the cinematics happens the moment you pull the trigger signalling that you have hit your target. Being a "ghost" level sniper does, however, come with a few perks.  You are provided with a visor that serves as communication between you and your "handler" as well as a host of other gadgets.  From the usual bombs and c4 to drones to help mark out enemies and even remote turrets that enable you to perform multiple kill shots at the same time. SGW Contracts is by far the prettiest in the franchise and playing it on the top tier console or a capable PC will have to checking out the scenery fairly often during your hiding and backtracking to exfiltrate.

Verdict

SGW Contracts is not for everyone, if you are expecting something easy, then move along.  If you don't intend on playing it at the toughest difficulty, also move along.  SGW is as close as you can get to experience what a true sniper might need to endure, apart from some of the gadgets.  The 12 hours that it can take a competent marksman to complete the game can exponentially become more if you are not a great shot.  Even though Contracts has a rather forgettable story to it, the mechanics and suspense and joy of nailing your shot and getting out in one piece is a definite reason to play it!

Special thanks to Apex Interactive for the review content

Read more

LOGITECH CHRISTMAS GIVEAWAY!!!!

IT'S NEARLY CHRISTMAS!!! Logitech G and Early Axes wants to make you the lucky owner of some great Logitech G peripherals! All you need to do is the list below! Who knows the Logitech Santa might stop by for an early Christmas gift!  Head over to the EarlyAxes Facebook Group and do the simple steps below!


1: like and share the original post! 2:give Logitech G a like! 3:Tag 2 friends 4: Tell us what item in the G-Range do you like most and why! The competition will run until the 6th of December 2019! Competition is only open to SA residents!

Read more

Need for Speed Heat – Review

Need for Speed is a name, that when said by most, brings back nostalgia and fond memories of better times.  When NFS was what it originally wanted to be, a street racing game.  Before modded cars and silly spoilers etc.  Yes, it later really became huge with the likes of the spectacular Underground, Underground 2 and Carbon.  After that things seemed to slowly fizzle out for the NFS franchise becoming a rather lacklustre title will still pumping out releases quite regularly. With the last outing, Payback, NFS seemed to have found their way back slightly.  This placed a large amount of pressure on the next outing, being HEAT.  NFS Heat is a fantastic game.  With great and vibrant environments that, mostly, feel living and lived in.  A really new and fresh day/night mechanic and Police chases that are not simply run away from with pure speed.  But where it lacks tremendously is with the cringy cast they selected.

lights, revs and narcissism!

Image result for Need for speed heat Palm City, the area that plays host to NFS Heat is basically one giant nightclub.  With blinding amounts of neon lights, and a seemingly ever-present bassline which possibly explains the narcissism of the characters...  Even though other titles like Forza Horizon has done the party-vibe before NFS Heat feels a little too aggressive and in-your-face with it.  You are a rookie on the scene in Palm City.  After selecting your avatar from a good couple of options and customizing him or her to give them the personal feel you will be tasked with getting cash to spend on your gifted clanger of a car, as well as improve your overall rep in the racing scene.  What follows is a rather familiar formula of doing races, smashing billboards and competing in a few drift challenges to build up bank and rep, cringy I know.  I found the first few levels to be somewhat slow until hitting enough rep to continue the story. The races in NFS Heat have two distinct, but contrasting, personalities.  By day, races are organized and planned with barriers and the needed all set up and ready to race.  These races generate money for you as an aspiring racer.  But it is during the night when Heat truly shines.  These races are more raw and visceral and these races act as XP races to boost your level so you can unlock cars, races and upgrades.  Although, at night you are not the only ones out on the streets.  The police turn-up their patrols and bring out their most powerful and aggressive cars.  Whether you are simply taking a cruise or mid-race if they spot you they will come after you until you either shake them or they ram you into submission. Image result for Need for speed heat Another aspect of the night racing that really adds to the drama is the fact that your rep earned at night only "banks" when you turn into a garage.  Meaning that if you get busted by the police before being able to do so, all your hard work of grinding is lost!

Cars, Cambers and Spoilers!

The underground-series made NFS famous for the over the top styling and modding.  Since the franchise has stuck with the modding and Heat is no different!  The majority of the stable of cars in Heat will look rather familiar to players of Payback.  One of the great additions is that Ferrari have decided to get back on board and they brought a large ensemble of cars to add to the garage!  Toyota, however, has once again decided to skip this outing leaving us wanting some Supra goodness, both mk4 and mk5! As is par for the modding-course, all the JDM classics from the '90s are here (apart from the Supra).  Supercars are in abundance and big American muscle can be found all over!  Many European monsters and even some fast Volvo's!  There are definitely cars for everyone!  These cars also have every fine little detail that their real-world counterparts have.  And they look especially great in the rain, as does most of the world of Palm city.  With the slightest detail such as raindrops running down body panels and windscreens. The cars' handling has also been reworked from previous titles.  Drifting can now be initiated by taking your finger off the throttle and then ploughing it through your controller to start your skid.  For the driver craving more the "realistic" feel this can be troublesome for the times you actually need to feather the throttle through corners.  Luckily this setting can be changed back to brake-for-drift.  For the first time in an NFS game, the feel between FWD, RWD and AWD can actually be experienced in the way cars handle, even if its only slight! Engine swops, as in Forza, is one of the key modding features in Heat.  This takes away some of the performance ceilings that many cars hit rather early in their tuning life!  But what really caught my eye was the way you can tune your exhaust note.  Want it loud, brash, tinny, or just want it to sound like a run-of-the-mill daily, you can tune it!  The livery system is back and as good as before.  Style your car the way you want it.  From a classic black on black to the way out pearl paint with minute rims and even those who are into the stance scene, heat has styling options to suit everyone!

Verdict

Need for Speed Heat has taken little pieces from all its previous games and built something that really lives up to the NFS games of old!  Apart from the cringe-worthy acting, Heat is a truly great and enjoyable arcade racer with great customization options!  Now, all we need is the playlist from Underground 1 and 2 and this game would be perfect!  For those who have been burned by previous NFS titles, this is your salvation!  

Special thanks to Prima Interactive for the review content

   
Read more