Razer Kraken Pro V2 Analog

Razer really has a way of getting you excited about their hardware.  I can't quite put my finger on what it is but the feeling of opening up my box of goodies supplied by Apex Interactive and seeing a Razer box inside always gets my heart racing.  This, even after being very disappointed by the Razer Electra's!  Even taking the Kraken Pro's out of the courier box I immediately realized we are on a diffirent level compared to the  runt of the family, the Electra's.  The packaging and feel and all around look of the packaging just gave the impression that we are talking about a more serious piece of hardware.  And opening the box my assumptions were instantly confirmed...   The Razer Kraken Pro V2 analog, like the one I am reviewing, is a 3.5mm variant but it is good to know that there is, in fact, a USB version as well that features 7.1 surround sound.  My review was done on console using the 3.5mm jack.

Build Quality and Feel

Image result for razer kraken pro v2   The Kraken Pro V2 feels great in-hand.  All the materials used feel really good quality and the finishes are really nicely done.  In its price range it has a very good blend of materials used.  My daily headset is a Astro A40 TR which itself is a heavy headset. The Kraken Pro V2 is much lighter coming in at only 322g (thanks Google) which in comparison, felt like nothing on my head which does help for those extremely long play sessions.  The headband, which is covered in "leather-like" material, has Razer etched into it which really gives a nice touch as well as the sponge being good quality even tho its almost not needed as the weight of the headset being so minimal.   Image result for razer kraken pro v2   The top half of the headset also comes with adjustable sliders giving the wearer a large range for all sizes of heads.  Coming to the earcups and cushions which is probably one of the more important aspects of any headset.  The Kraken Pro cushions are exceptional. the leather covered foam feels magnificent over your ears and they sit snugly enough to block out sound and not too tight causing discomfort.  Their size and depth are also perfect, never did I experience any of my ear touching sides of the cushions or even touching the inside either.  The comfort level is exquisite and it is up there with my all time most comfortable headsets!  The outside of the earcups also get the expected Razer treatment with its cool mesh finish and a large Razer emblem brandishing the earcups they are unmistakably Razer!  

Microphone and Cable

Image result for razer kraken pro v2   Moving further down the headset, the microphone which is neatly retracted into the earcup allowing for a neat, stowed away look when not in use, is extremely flexible which allows for great positioning of the mic.  A added bonus is the fact that the mic is extremely good.  It picks up voice chatter really well without allowing for lots of ambient noise to filter through.  My party members were thoroughly impressed by the microphone quality of the Razer Kraken Pro V2 and their verdicts were all that I sounded much clearer and closer compared to my Astro...  It hurt a little writing that... This being the stereo version of the Kraken Pro V2, it works with the newer Xbox One controller as well as the PS4 controller and pretty much every device that has a 3.5mm output jack.  The braided cable coming from the headset has a inline mute and volume control which is rather nifty.  Being 3.5mm connection there is unfortunately no mic feedback but that can be excused.  

Audio Quality

  Audio quality...  The biggest thing a headset should strive to be good at.  The final hurdle at which so many headsets falter.  The Razer Kraken Pro does however not.  Listening to music was good.  It has decent levels of bass and the highs hit the mark most of the times.  Listening to some electronic music really showed off the punchy bass and sharp highs!  The mids were slightly underwhelming at times getting lost in the bass punches.  The same can be said for gaming, generally the sounds are good.  Ambient and nature sounds in games like the Hunter: call of the wild and Sea of Thieves were really good.  But during the chaos of games like COD WW2 and the intense focus on sound in R6 Siege the mids did feel a little muddy and got lost.  For the asking price tho you would have to go looking a bit to find something that drastically out performs the Razer Kraken Pro V2 headset. Image result for 8/10 stars  

Special thanks to Apex Interactive for so kindly supplying this review headset

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PDP afterglow controller – Review

I am rather full of crap, and I am happy to admit that.  So with the arrival of the PDP afterglow controller I thought that I had already made up my mind.  The original Xbox one controller is really really good.  good weight to it, good build quality and it just works.  I have had both my controllers since launch of the Xbox 1 and i have not had any problems, they have been dropped ( I cried a little when that happened) yet they keep going.  So my opinion was instantly that the PDP afterglow was nothing more than a cheap knockoff with a few added gimmicks and that it would show its own flaws within a few hours of playing with it...  Could I have been more wrong...

Unboxing

  The unboxing of the PDP afterglow is nothing to write about (ironic).  Simply the controller in a box.  No frills...  Literally!  

Features

Image result for pdp afterglow prismatic wired controller 1080p   The PDP Afterglow controller is a wired Xbox One/Windows 10 controller.  It has a clear plastic finish which is rather cool to see all the insides on display.  It really makes you appreciate all the work that goes into a controller that, on a daily basis becomes our gun, sword, steering wheel or even the item that grants up the opportunity to be true gamers and experience many lives lived. On the surface this controller simply looks like a wired controller with some cool strip lighting inside, 2 programmable wheel/buttons at back of controller and that is it...  But it is not!  The Prismatic, as it is called, looks very subtle from the outside but boasts a fair amount of gadgets and features for its measly pricetag. Firstly, the signature prismatic LED feature can have you quickly cycle through a variety of colours and have you choose your favorite one.  Or have the colours just change at will.  If you have the need for zero distraction, simply turn it off.  All of this without even having to move your fingers off your favorite keys on the controller.   Image result for pdp afterglow prismatic wired controller 1080p   Personally I play alot of FPS games which as most people know really give your analog sticks a pounding.  Any hardcore gamer has either had to bid farewell to a trusted controller due to stick lean or dead zones becoming too big to bear.  The PDP controller has superb sticks!  Made extremely well I find more grip and accuracy with them than the original controller sticks.  They are also slightly longer which helps when you need the extra precision to get the game-clinching headshot at the death. I still have the original Xbox One (someone want to sponsor a X, for review purposes???) so my controllers are still V1 without the 3.5mm jack.  So when I do reviews of newer headsets which only come with 3.5mm jacks I resort to using the ever elusive chat adapter.  Anyone who has ever needed to look for one of these babies knows what a struggle it is.  With the V2 controllers out now at least 3.5mm jack is now a standard but at close to R1000 for a controller buying a new one for just the 3.5mm jack is ridiculous.  Luckily the Prismatic is, once again, here to save the day.  Coming in at easily under R500 the Prismatic is the logical upgrade!   Image result for pdp afterglow prismatic wired controller 1080p   Dual Rumble drives with Red LED's that flash when vibration is activated also adds a nice touch in games such as racing when you wander off the track, or get shot in a FPS.  Great feeling triggers also add to the good feel in hand that the Prismatic brings to the table. Another way that the Prismatic steps ahead of the standard controller is with its dual multi-function wheels that has 6 programmable actions...  Where can you find a macro-enabled controller at this price anywhere else?! Image result for pdp afterglow prismatic wired controller 1080p When I was reviewing this controller the PDP hub on the Xbox store did not want to recognize my controller so I did not have any time to play with the app at the moment but I will update the article once I have got it working.  But honestly I don't think it is even needed as all features can be used without the app which is a welcome features in my opinion.  

 Impressions

  As I said earlier in this review the Prismatic arrived at my desk and I had made a opinion of it without trying it.  To be honest when it arrived I didn't even open it until the next day, I was that convinced that it was going to be bad.  I have never been this wrong.  Yes it is wired, and that is probably the only negative I can find for it.  Even being wired is not such a turn off.  If you game at a desk or you sit fairly close to your screen or TV then wired is not a problem.  Hell this controller serves as a Xbox and PC controller at half the price of a standard console controller! I am struggling to find the words to describe the feel of this controller.  If it was not for the smooth plastic finish compared to the slight matte finish of the Microsoft controller, in a dark room you would not know you are using a 3rd party controller.  The build is solid, when the vibration is activated it does not sound like the controller is falling apart.  Button presses feel strong and true, not hollow like many cheap controller do!  Simple controls on the controller to control the LED, Rumble lights as well as chat and sound volume are self explanatory and I caught on much faster than I have with other controllers such as the Razer Wolverine which I reviewed before.

Final Verdict

  This is a very easy verdict to make.  If you are in the market for a new controller and wired is not a problem, the PDP Afterglow prismatic Controller is a no brainer!  Cheaper, better, with more features than the original Microsoft controller you would be a fool to not get this controller.   Image result for 9.5/10 stars  

Once again a special thanks to Apex Interactive for always being at the forefront of the latest and greatest tech and allowing me to review them as they arrive!

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Bravado Gaming vs. The World

For a long time South Africa has been in the background regarding international eSports. We are struggling to get noticed and gaining international experience. Long have we waited for this to change. It is about to change. Bravado Gaming is arguably the top CS:GO team in SA. They have for long dominated the scene with epic wins and a massive fan base. Yes I am a fan boy. With numerous local titles under their belt they set off to find a challenge. Enter Project Destiny. In partnership with Alienware and Intel, Project Destiny became a reality. Lets have the boys in blue explain it to you: “Project Destiny is Bravado Gaming’s project and plan to raise awareness of the talent and skill found amongst our local gamers and bring not only investment and popularity to our community, but also to provide greater opportunities for all of the gamers in South Africa, opportunities that I could never have imagined being possible.”   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LGVHe-HRsA0 They will be sending their entire 6 man CS:GO squad consisting of Aran “Sonic” Groesbeek, Dimitry “Detrony” Hadjipaschali, Ruan “Elusive” van Wyk, Rhys “Fadey” Armstrong, Johnny “JT” Theodisiou and Tiaan “T.C” Coertzen to live and compete in the USA. I had the privilege to have a chat with top entry fragger, “Fadey”. EAX: What is your overall experience competing in the US? F: My overall experience so far is very enjoyable, it's so different to the local stage and very well produced it's amazing. To sum it up the stage is bigger, the prize pools are bigger and there is a lot more eyes on you than back home. EAX: What is the skill gap like, compared to SA? F: The skill gap is more based on teamwork than individual abilities. It has already helped us so much since we moved to NA to play more as a team. It's something very new when you first play against these teams here is that they are always ready to support another teammate, whether it be with utility or with fast trading. I think the biggest factor influencing the skill gap is the fact that these players from NA/EU get exposed to a lot more tournaments on a weekly basis than we do in South Africa. They also have a much larger pool of players/communities so naturally the skill develops quicker. EAX: How are the guys coping being away for an extended period of time? F: So far everybody is coping pretty well and everything so far has been pretty good for us all. Obviously we all miss some people from back home, so we always look forward to coming back to SA. The biggest struggle was the initial change and adaptations that we had to make in terms of doing your own chores and always cleaning up after yourself. Basically just doing your part as an individual as you would do in game to contribute to the bigger picture. EAX: Do you think your leap to compete abroad will inspire other teams to follow suit? F: Other teams would most likely be inspired to follow suit if they see us accomplishing achievements and hitting our goals. Considering the opportunity that was given to us (Bravado Gaming) to create Project Destiny by our sponsors: Intel and Alienware, we can only hope that we will inspire other big companies/corporates in South Africa to invest more into organisations/causes/projects such as ours to try and achieve the same and grow their organisation and players more.   EAX: When will we see you back in SA? F: We do plan on visiting SA towards the end of the year and also If we get any autobirths into big tournaments in SA we will definitely consider making the trip even though it can be quite costly EAX: We mainly focus on the greater community. So we have a lot of aspiring pro players. I just need a few words of inspiration for the young guns looking to climb to where you are and beyond. - My main words of inspiration would have to be practice and hard work, it pays off. If you want something and you enjoy it then the hard work isn't hard. - Fadey - At the end of the day it's exactly like any other sport. What you put into it is what you'll get out. You have to put in the time and effort to reap the rewards. - Detrony Bravado will be achieving new heights for SA eSports and obviously themselves. I think I can not only speak for the whole Early Axes community but also for the whole of South Africa if I say that we are 100% behind you guys, and you have already made us proud. Follow their progress on their Twitter and Facebook pages.
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Razer Electra V2 analog – Review

Image result for razer electra v2   The first thought that comes to mind when I think of Razer is  Chroma, Chroma and some more Chroma.  The over the top light show that Razer has become known for which adorns many of the Razer kit has become synonymous with the Razer brand.  When the Razer Electra V2 arrived at my door I assumed that Chroma would be a distinct feature of this headset as well. After doing a little research I found that the Electra V2, in fact, does not have chroma and with the lack of Chroma comes one advantage.  The price tag.  The analog version of the Electra V2 comes in under the R1 000 mark which makes this the first Razer headset aimed at the budget-gamer.  Personally I think its a good decision from Razer to approach the budget-gamer market as with the ever increasing price of life many gamers are starting to look at cheaper budget headsets.  Can the Electra V2 compete with the likes of the Astro A10, and numerous Turtle Beach models? Let's find out!  

LOOK AND FEEL

Image result for razer electra v2   The moment I took the Razer Electra V2 from its box I knew that the quality was good.  Nothing flashy like some of the other headsets that Razer produce.  Just a good strong build with nice material used.  The Electra V2 only uses black except for the edge of the inner earcup which is set in the signature Razer green, as well as the cord that plugs into the controller or headphone jack via a 3.5mm connector.  A subtle Razer sign sits on each earcup.  The headband design is very popular and I find this one, which comes straight from the Razer Tiamat, to be very comfortable.  It does however not offer a large range of adjustment but this did not bother me as it did fit snugly without being too tight. The earcups, which are not fitted with memory foam, sit comfortably enough but nothing spectacular.  It is important to note that the earcups on the Razer Electra V2 are rather shallow which, for most people, would mean that your ear might touch the inside of the earcup.  If that does bother you then I do suggest trying them on for yourself before spending your hard earned money. The earcups do however have a rather good range for swivel as the gimble that they are attached to has quite a large angle for travel meaning they should sit snugly on nearly any shape head.  The Electra V2 is also extremely light which makes marathon sessions that little bit easier by not weighing down on your head and ears.  The left earcup also houses the volume slider and the mic mute button which are both self explanatory.  The boom mic, which can be removed when not used, is extremely flexible and very good with picking up my chatter and not any ambient noise. The Electra V2 is rather short on features with only a simple volume slider that is situated on the back of the left earcup, which is easy and intuitive to use.  Simply slide it up to increase volume and down to lower.  Right below the slider you will find a push button that serves as the mic mute button. The Razer Electra V2 is not flashy by any means, and is a prime example of functionality over ascetic appeal.  

AUDIO QUALITY

 

 

Like the look and feel of the Electra V2, the audio follows suite.  It is, simply put, a little boring.  Not in a bad way at all.  But you will never hear anyone rant and rave about the punchy bass, or the boosted upper range to hear the footsteps of someone lurking around in PUBG.  Instead, everything is rather unremarkable.  Nearly every headset in this price range uses punchy bass and elevated highs to hide the, sometimes cheaper, smaller drivers that is used to drop the price tag.  The Electra V2 does not do that.  It does not hide the fact that it uses 40mm drivers instead of the more commonly used 50mm drivers.

The bass region I found to be rather shallow, but as expected from the 40mm drivers fitted to the Electra V2.  Mids are a touch veiled but gives just enough to make vocals nice to listen to.  At times the highs were slightly too gentle for my liking but they still provide enough detail to allow a good image. A good comparison would be like wearing a comfortable, yet bland t shirt.  The Electra V2 delivers a rather flat but gentle sound which can pass quite easily for the less hardcore gamer or someone who plays in a rather quiet environment which will not overpower the 40mm drivers as they try their best to give you their best. The Razer website states that the Electra V2 produces a balanced sound.  Never has any statement been more true than this one, which I suppose creates no illusions on the capabilities of the Electra V2 headset.  Razer does not advertise them as phenomenal, ear-shattering headsets.  It is a normal blue-collared headsets that does its' job as advertised.  Nothing more.  Nothing less. I did find the Electra V2 to be slightly on the soft side in my opinion, even with the volume slider turned all the way to the maximum at times it felt just that little bit too soft.  

CONCLUSION

    When buying a headset we all want something a little fun, and exciting!  You are, after all, buying a gaming headset!  In this price range the Astro A10 and the HyperX Cloud Stinger will give you more excitement, along with 50mm drivers. But if warm and boring is what you are going for then the Razer Electra V2 is spot on.  The most subdued Razer does nothing wrong, but it doesn't do anything spectacularly either...  

Special thanks to Apex Interactive for providing this review item.

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Turtle Beach Elite Pro with T.A.C. – Review

It was a morning like all others, a Monday and I arrived at the office unsuspecting of what was waiting for me at my desk.  I saw the box from Apex Interactive and I assumed it was a headset for review.  One of the Razer headsets to be precise, which I was  very excited to try as I had not yet had the privilege to test one.  But what greeted me when I opened the box simply blew my mind.  Ruan Kraft had been singing the praises of the Turtle Beach Elite Pro headset since we mentioned competitive gaming scenes and shoutcasting, little did I know that he had taken it upon himself to send me one for review! The Turtle Beach Elite Pro is considered one of the best wired headsets around, and for good reason!  Turtle Beach is well-known as arguably the best headset and peripheral creator around.  I say arguably because I am an Astro fanboy.  I personally use the Astro A40 TR as my everyday headset and this is the direct competition to the Turtle Beach Elite Pro so for that simple reason this is going to be a rather lengthy and in-depth review. Currently the Turtle Beach Elite Pro is not sold by retailers in South Africa, yes you can find them online but at a totally ridiculous price of around the R8 000 mark with the T.A.C. amp.  With a little inside info I can tell you that once they are brought to SA the bundle will cost you around R5 500. In the premium wired headset class where the Turtle Beach Elite Pro and the A40 TR reside, it is very difficult to find anything "bad" with any of these headsets.  With the amount of money you pay you would expect this.  So when I mention a aspect of the headset that is "not so nice" do not think it is terrible, because it isn't!  It is still extraordinarily good.  With this said, lets get straight to it.  

UNBOXING, AND FIRST IMPRESSIONS

  You know you are dealing with quality when even the outside of the box feels like good quality.  Upon opening the box I was met with a very interesting facts and stats leaflet.  Upon reading it you realize all the research, time and effort that Turtle Beach has put into their headsets!  It really is magnificent!  A thin layer of velt covers the headset where they sit snugly in their holder.  Again, you know you are dealing with quality when things are covered in velt, the only time I have ever owned anything covered in velt is when I bought my fiance's engagement ring.  Would I place this headset in that category?  Most definitely!   Image result for Turtle beach Elite Pro 1080p   Carefully taking the headset out the box the first thing I noticed was the weight.  Although not heavy enough to be uncomfortable you do realize you have something in your hand, or on your head. The more you look at the Elite Pro the more you notice all the really fine intricacies that they have put into this headset.  To start, Turtle Beach really did think of everyone, whether you have a bigger or smaller head this headset will work for you.  By adding a nifty head adjuster slider on either side of the top of the headset, you can simply slide the sliders to adjust the tension at which the headset will sit against your head.  This will be a welcome relief to the gamers with larger heads.  I did not need to play with this function too much.   Image result for Turtle beach Elite Pro 1080p   The earcups, which I will get to soon as they deserve a mention of their own, are also adjustable in two separate ways.  If you have a "higher' head and you need the earcups to move further down, Turtle Beach has once again got you covered.  They have three defined positions that have visible markings for you to be able to check that no one has adjusted your perfect setup.  The earcups can also swivel around which helps a lot when you want to get the perfect snug fit. The earcups on the Elite Pro's are extremely well made, the outsides are covered in black leather.  The cushioning used is simply exquisite!  The memory foam is thick and very soft.  Pressing down on the foam for long periods of time didn't cause it to not instantly bounce back to its original position.  I do not wear spectacles but I did give it a try.  Turtle Beach are big on creating headsets that are comfortable for spectacle-wearers and this headset takes the comfort level to the next level, the foam is so soft it simply moulds around the spectacles without leaving even the slightest of gaps for external sound to sneak through.  

COMFORT

  The Turtle Beach Elite Pro's are made with such quality, the comfort is almost expected!  This is what I expected, but I possibly bought into the hype and the excitement and I was left slightly underwhelmed. Don't get me wrong, like I said earlier, in this price range nothing is bad.  As I have grown accustomed to doing when  I receive a new headset for review, I give it at least 2 days to find the perfect "fit", fiddle with all the movers and sliders.  Move it forwards, backwards, up and down until you find a comfortable position.  During this time I did find the earcups to be simply mesmerizing!  Never in my life have I had something this soft and comfortable over my ears.  Not even the pillow I sleep on at night provides this comfort.  I did note the earcups sealing off very tightly against my head which, at the time, felt and sounded like a good thing.   Image result for Turtle beach elite pro software   During many, and I mean many hours of playing a variety of titles consisting of the vast openness and bustling streets and cities of Assassins Creed: Origins,  the frustrations and profanities of PuBG and the heart pounding pressure and intense stand-offs of Rainbow 6 Siege, the TB Elite Pro's did their job spectacularly.  Over this time I did start to feel a slight ache in my ears which I thought could be a common old ear infection or something that would go away with time, but it persisted.  After taking a quick change back to my regular headset I found this ache to have disappeared .  This had  me perplexed.  After consulting a few people in the know I found that it could be cause of the extremely good seal that the Turtle Beach Elite Pro earcups create!  Don't get me wrong, the good seal is definitely not a drawback of these headsets, it is just one that I personally have.  The seal is amazing I don't hear anything, the noise cancelling is superb I have not come across anything quite like it. To put my experience into a simple sentence: The comfort is so terrific that it literally hurt my ear...    

SETUP AND EASE OF USE

  Upon unpacking the Elite Pro I was met with many cables, which I  thought I knew where they went.  I was mistaken.  I rummaged through the cables to find some help via a diagram or even some instructions.  What I did find was a Turtle Beach sticker, who isn't a sucker for a sticker?  There is no form of instruction on how to setup your headset and TAC amp except to resort to good old faithful, Youtube.  Turtle Beach has a very informative video on how to do the setup for either PC, Xbox or PS4.  I will admit after watching the video, I realized that I would never have figured it out myself. I will start with the PC setup, which is very easy.  Simply slide the slider at the back of the TAC amp to pc, plug the micro USB into the amp, and the USB into the PC.  Plug corresponding cable from headset to amp and you are done...  Yes that simple.  If you are running Windows 10 you should have the Windows Sonic option if you right-click on the audio settings on your task bar and you are ready to go and slay monsters or drive to your hearts content!   Image result for Turtle beach elite pro setup   PS4 is also rather straight forward.  For PS4 you will need to slide the slider to PS4, obviously.   Add the optical cable from the TAC amp to the console.  Set your audio settings on the console to use the optical cable, if you are not already using that for sound and you are golden!  Simple, with no fuss. The Xbox One is a different beast, this is where I started to not enjoy this headset as much as before.  Setup is similar to the PS4.  Start by sliding slider to XB1, which can be confusing as the slider markings are a little confusing.  Again, use the optical cable and the USB cable like for the PS4, use the appropriate cable from headset to amp, BUT, (this is what annoyed me) use ANOTHER 3.5mm cable from your controller into the amp for your mic control. This is all fine and dandy if you have a gen 2 Xbox controller with the headphone jack built in, but if you have a Gen 1 controller on the other hand you are going to need a chat adapter...  The chat adapters are so scares these days that I am pretty sure they are worth more than Bitcoin shares. So to sum it all up, with PC you have a single cable from amp to PC, and a single cable from PC to headset.  PS4 adds one extra cable from Console to Amp.  XB1 takes it one step further and adds another one from controller to amp which takes away the freedom that you should have when using your controller.  This was a big negative to me.  

AUDIO & T.A.C. AMP

  The first time I experienced the audio quality of the Turtle Beach Elite Pro was on the PC, simply jamming to some music while working.  Nothing spectacular, nothing special just listening to my favorite band, when suddenly, the band made a mistake, no it can't be?  I went back and listened to the part again.  For the first time since I started listening to this bands' music I had heard this little extra note.  Only after that happened did I  sit down and really listen and suddenly a whole new spectrum of sounds opened up to me!  It was like I was hearing for the first time!  The Elite Pro's plays the slightest and smallest sounds so well that it redefined what music should sound like to me!  So on the music part the Elite Pro's had a thumbs-up from me!  Moving on to the Consoles and gaming... After the setup and once again watching the setup video on the T.A.C. amp I finally jumped into some gaming, first I explored ancient Egypt in Assassins Creed Origins where I took a stroll through some of the cities and towns to see, or rather hear, what new sounds I could pick up.  And I wasn't disappointed.  While strolling through Alexandria I came across a woman sweeping, I could literally hear the broom brush sweeping the cobbled street...  I was dumbstruck by how crisp and clear things sounded!  The clarity of the the Elite Pro is simply amazing!   Image result for Turtle beach elite pro setup   Next I moved on to Rainbow 6 Siege to test out the directional accuracy as well as the ability of the Elite Pro headset to make sounds distinguishable during a gunfight or other actions..  Once again I was not left dissapointed.  After jumping through a window in one of the stages, I proceeded to step on many shards of glass, which in the past I didn't even realize was happening, I then placed a trap and waited for my victim.  With some help of the handy drone camera I found an unsuspecting victim in the room adjacent to the one I was in.  This was the perfect opportunity to test the Elite Pro directional ability...  Without the use of the camera, I could hear the player walking around the room, hear him change from primary to secondary weapon and even hear his steps as he left the room and proceeded to walk straight into my trap.  Never have I realized the extent to which a good headset is essential in a game like this. Moving on to the T.A.C. amp options, and there are numerous. Image result for turtle beach tac   The T.A.C. amp, or Tactical Audio Controller, serves as its own sound card when used on PC and MAC, and a sound mixer on console.  Apart from the normal volume control, which has a very nice LED to show your volume level, and a press button to mute all audio, it comes with a small mic-mute button which also indicates when the mic is picking up any noise.  This is great when you want to make sure your party members are not hearing anything they shouldn't be.  The T.A.C. has 4 sliders, GAME - which mixes your game volume and chat volume.  BACKGROUND NOISE LIMITER - this is a nice feature if you play in a very noisy environment, turning this up will eliminate all the background noise that feeds back into your ears while playing.  For normal environments this slider can be left at the bottom.  OUTBOUND MIC BOOST - Do you have that one member in the party whose voice is always so soft you can hardly hear him/her?  This slider will make sure that person is not you.  Simply sliding it up will ensure that your voice is amplified to your friends headsets.  MIC MONITOR LEVEL -  This one is for the streamers,  this allows you to hear your own voice through your own headset, just to make sure you are speaking clearly and everyone can hear you properly. With the T.A.C. you also get 2 buttons at the top that give you access to the audio presets, 16 presets to be exact.  4 categories, Gaming, Movies, Music and stereo with 4 presets for each category.  You do have to memorize the order that you set the presets using the Turtle Beach software which you download and install on your PC and MAC.  Presets range from Signature - this is a setup that Turtle Beach have created which has a good balance on all levels.  For the gaming category, you also have a footsteps mode which will improve ambient sounds to help you hear the incoming targets or enemies.  Music features include acoustic, live and bass boost presets.  

SHOULD YOU BUY?

  Turtle Beach has made a superb product with the Elite Pro and you will need to spend a significant amount of money to get better than this.  Is it better than the Astro A40 TR?  I would say they are like for like.  If you like Turtle Beach and you are looking for a Tournament Ready wired headset, the Elite Pro is a no-brainer, if you are like me, an Astro fan, I will stick with my A40 TR. In the premium price range in which the Elite Pro's are, quality in terms of the build, audio and features are standard.  And the Elite Pro's truly show what innovative designers and engineers Turtle Beach have creating their products. Before this headset review I had not been the biggest fan of any Turtle Beach equipment, but thanks to Apex Interactive and Turtle Beach that created the Elite Pro's, it is safe to say I will definitely consider a Turtle Beach product in the future.  So to answer the question, would I buy this headset?  I most certainly would!   Image result for 9/10 stars  

special thanks to Apex Interactive for supplying me with the review item.

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Corsair M65 Pro

There are few days that can be as terrible as the day that your trusty mouse dies...  No not your pet rodent companion Roger which has survived many drops from high shelves and multiple occasions , no, I mean your sword, your weapon, the one thing that stands between you and being taken down by those pesky zombies.  Once you can step beyond the the trauma of losing a family member the next step usually is to start looking for your next mouse.  And luckily I, FauxFilms, am here to help. The Corsair M65 Pro, released in 2014, is tailored towards FPS gamers and for it’s R1099.00 price tag, it does not fall short in what it promises to deliver. The overall build of the M65 Pro is magnificent.  The cable is braided and feels durable and the USB port is unique in design, so it will be easy to distinguish between other USB devices. After some extensive use, there doesn’t appear to be any ware on the mouse, nor any annoying squeaks or sticks to the wheel or buttons on the mouse, which is great considering many of my previous mice that I had all started showing signs of fatigue and ware.  The shape of the mouse is tailored towards those who have a flat handed grip over a claw grip.  The weight of the mouse can also be adjusted to your liking with three removable weights.   Related image   The M65 Pro comes with two programmable buttons as well as a third “sniper” button on the thumb which can switch your DPI on the fly for long range sniping in FPS games or could be programmed as a third programmable if you chose to do so.  The scroll wheel feels great and its actuation force and scroll intervals feel close to perfect.  The DPI changer is useful too and can reach a maximum of 12 000 DPI.  Although I have never met anyone who uses 12K DPI the software allows you to program 5 various levels of DPI as well as the “sniper” button DPI switcher.   Image result for corsair m65 pro rgb 1080p   The software also allows you to program macros and actions for each button on the mouse, which combined with the two fully customizable RGB lights on each end of the mouse and DPI light, give you functional and aesthetically pleasing customization.  The software allows you to save profiles which could be used for various games as well as a surface calibration which slightly improves the mouse’s accuracy although I didn’t notice a big difference after calibrating. As for the sensor, the M65 Pro uses an optical sensor which I have found very reliable and prefer it over laser, however that is not to say that laser sensors are worse, as the battle between optic vs laser is one of personal preference.   Image result for corsair m65 pro rgb 1080p   Overall I am really happy with the performance of the M65 Pro and find the sniper button extremely useful in games like PubG and Fortnite.  However in games where you can customize your aim down sights sensitivity, it can be used as a third programmable which is also useful.  If you are looking for an mouse for FPS gaming and are looking for a mouse around the R1000 price range, I can highly recommend the Corsair M65 Pro. Special thanks to FauxFilms for writing this review!  stay tuned for more future PC content. Written by FauxFilms Edited by BigJapester11
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SteelSeries Arctis 3 – Review

    SteelSeries has been a leader in competitive gaming peripherals for a very long time and the quality of their hardware has improved with every new item they produce.  They have worked tirelessly with many of the top Esports teams around the world to find out what a true gaming professional might need to be the best.     They have truly defined what gaming hardware should strive to be from keyboards, to mouse, to mouse pads.  Steelseries does it all.  And their headsets are not to be taken lightly either.  Steelseries offer some affordable headsets that are very competitive. This is why I am very eager to get the SteelSeries Arctis 3 out the box and on to my head!  Lets jump in. With the arrival of this Steelseries headset I was really excited.  I have never tried any Steelseries headset before and when I got the opportunity I certainly jumped at it. The packaging is very sleek and straight to the point.  Inside the box is the headset, obviously, and two sets of cables.  One set has a micro USB on the one side, that plugs into the headset itself.  There are 2 attachment cables that plug into this cable.  One has a single 3 pole 3.5mm headphone jack, for use on Consoles and mobile devices.  The other has a double 3.5mm jack for speaker and mic separately for use on your PC.  This configuration lends itself to universal use which is great!  Except if you buy this headset to use on V1 Xbox One controllers which do not have headphone jack connection without an adapter.  Steelseries can definitely state this situation more clearly on their packaging as I couldn't find any of this info outside the box.  Looking past that little hiccup, it took me a few seconds to figure out the cable connection options but once I got it I was impressed with the versatility. The Arctis range are the more entry level range to the Siberia range which is the Premium Steelseries headset but with a lower price tag you would expect some functionality cuts.  Some how SteelSeries delivers a top notch headset at a budget price.  

Looks and aesthetic appeal

  From the moment you pick up the Arctis 3 you can feel the quality is good, build is strong yet light, finishes feel good in hand and makes you feel like you are handling a quality product.  The matte black finish and small chrome finish gives it a very minimalist finish compared to any of the Astro or Turtle Beach headsets which feature some outlandish colour schemes or designs.  The overhead strap mixes up the plain black finish with a mono tone headband makes this headset perfect for everyday use and if you don't want to attract some attention with your headset.  If you want to spice things up you can customize your Arctis 3 with the 5 options of headset colours and the 8 headband options ranging from plain to funky which caters for all the characters out there. The microphone on the Arctis 3 which is neatly retracts into the left earcup and is hidden nicely when not in use can be positioned perfectly and the quality is spectacular as SteelSeries is known to have.  There is no other way to say it, the microphone on the Arctis 3 is absurdly good!  

Comfort

Image result for Steelseries arctis 3   During my first stint with the Arctis 3 I found the headset to sit comfortably over the top of my head due to the very clever headband which causes the headset to feel light on your head which is great for long sessions of gaming or listening to music.  I do find the earcups slightly shallow with my ears touching the inside of the earcup if it is not perfectly positioned.  It is good to note that I have normal sized ears so smaller ears will have no problem.  I also found that the earcups, although very comfy with the soft foam sometimes sounded like they don't seal nicely against the side of my head causing some of the outside world noises creeping in around the edges.  This is not a deal breaker by any means. After a couple of hours of use I did notice a few more little quirks of the Arctis 3.  The earcups have a way of "sucking" against the side of your head creating a rather closed off sound which is great for immersion and blocking out external factors but it also amplifies it when the seal is broken and you get that intrusive outside noise.  That seal also causes your ears to get hot and sweaty and I found myself taking them off after a hour long session just for my ears to take a "breathe" Upon even more hours of use I have yet to find that "sweetspot" when it comes to sitting perfectly.  I find myself constantly adjusting positions to find the correct one.  In single player games where I do not need to speak to my team meaning my jaw isn't moving the Arctis 3 sits beautifully. I still would like a little more breathing space for my actual ear lobes but this is all personal preference.  

Audio Quality

My first experience of the Arctis 3 was using it on PC while starting this review.  I was listening to a wide variety of music which ranged from metal, classical, dubstep and while the audio quality was good it only really came to life after downloading the SteelSeries Engine 3.  With this software I could play with my equalizer settings as well as activate virtual 7.1 surround and play with noise cancellation settings for the microphone.  I am a sucker for customization and this program really impressed me.     Next up is using it for some gaming, my choice of games to test a headset always includes Rainbow Six Siege for the simple reason that the game requires you to be extremely aware of your spatial surroundings and pick up on the slightest creak of a floor above you or a crack of glass under a boot in a room next to you, which is a perfect test of the audio fidelity of the Arctis 3. In my experience thus far I find the party chat to be extremely clear, I have yet to hear such a clear party chat, and with the exceptional mic the Arctis 3 has your mates will never miss a word you say, unless your ISP lets you down.  The settings allowing you to control your mic pickup sensitivity eliminates those pesky players who breathe into the microphone.   Image result for Steelseries arctis 3   When it comes to in game audio I am a little on the fence.  Audio quality is good don't get me wrong.  Maybe I just had higher hopes for it.  Not having a equalizer button on hand to change up to suite each game is a little disappointing.  I would have liked to see an adapter with a equalizer or 2 as presets.  But the Audio is still crisp and very clear!  Voices are astonishingly good while other mid range tones seem sharp and at the correct height.  Highs are high enough but get drowned out by mids when the action starts to get big.  The lows are where the Arctis 3 dissapointed me the most.  Once again when there is not too much happening the lows are deep enough to match what is happening on screen but once the action picks up the lows are lost and make a slight appearance every now and again.  Even playing with the equalizer on the PC software fixes it slightly but having to actually disconnect and change it is a disappointing factor. All-Round the Arctis 3 is a very worthy headset and can be extremely versatile, but as a hardcore gamer headset I would say it is very competitive in its price range .  

Final Verdict

The SteelSeries Arctis 3 is an extremely capable headset and can do pretty much everything!  Perfect 1-headset-for-all!  Audio quality is very good and even though it currently, at time of reviewing, is going for under R1000 this would be a no brainer for anyone looking for a wired headset even in the R1500 market.  If was in the market for a headset under the R 1000 mark I would buy this for myself! With great Audio for all-round use and sleek and clean looks will allow you to wear the Arctis 3 in public without getting any strange looks by people passing you. Only personal niggles I experienced is the lack of a chat adapter for older gen Xbox controllers and the fact that they do not sit as comfortable as the Astro's do but that could just be my head being weird.   Image result for 8 stars rating  

I would like to thank Megarom Interactive for being so kind as to supply me with this review item.  Check them out at the link.

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STEELSERIES APEX M800 Review

From the moment of opening the box, you can tell the SteelSeries Apex M800 is gaming keyboard that means business and it comes with all the bells and whistles to do the job.

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 DESIGN

Before plugging it in, I took some time to inspect the hardware. It is a sturdy keyboard and feels strong. Strong enough to whack your friend over the head for taking the last slice of pizza during the LAN session. (Please don’t as this theory has not been tested)

The M800 is somewhat different to a normal mechanical keyboard. The switches is of a linear design, so you won’t be getting that clicking sound when pressing on the keys. It’s also worth mentioning, because of this design, the key stem is 1mm shorter than the traditional 4mm, making it very responsive and quick.

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Another striking feature is the spacebar, yes that landing strip in the middle. Most people, including myself, will find it strange because of the size but it works well as it is always in reach. This makes the design of the keyboard great for gaming and typing. What?! Typing? On a keyboard? Nooooooooo *mindblown*

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The USB cable is threaded making it more durable than normal rubberized cables. There is two USB plugs, one for the keyboard itself and one to power the two USB ports at the back. These can be used for your flash drive, mouse or even a desk fan.

FEATURES

The Apex M800’s main feature, besides being a mechanical keyboard, is its RGB illumination. When plugging it in, it lights up like a Christmas tree with its bright LEDs. The colour switching across the board is mesmerizing and extremely fun to play around with using the SteelSeries Engine 3 app. It is where you can tinker with all that is on offer.

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I have played around with colour switching for a good while and it is just amazing what you can configure. My favourite setting is the Equalizer. This is exactly what it sounds like and to see it in action puts a rather stupid looking grin on my face.

Button Mapping is easy and the whole keyboard can be mapped to your liking. Same goes for the LED configuration, you can either use the pre-sets from the app or you can crazy and give each key its own colour and effect.

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That being said, keys can be configured for Discord, CSGO and Dota 2 by default with the option to even make your own app. (This option shall not be reviewed). With 6 Macros buttons on the left side for dedicated mapping, again, this makes the M800 perfect for gaming or work related tasks.

Underneath the M800 you have four large rubber feet to keep the board in place. The two back feet can be interchanged with the bigger ones for those who prefer a keyboard at an angle. However, even when lying flat, it still feels incredible and is a joy to use, so the raised back is down to preference.

LIFE WITH THE M800

As an everyday PC user, and owning a rather older mechanical keyboard, I have grown to love mechanical keyboards and I don’t think I will ever go back to normal keyboards, also I don’t think my hands will allow it either. Mechanical keyboards are just amazing and believe they must become the standard.

But how has my experience been with the M800? It is one of the best keyboards out there, it feels great and is fun to look at when you made a setup on the app for a custom colour configuration.

Traditional mechanical keyboards make you sound like a pro hacker at work when you just to normal typing and use in general, due to the clicking sound of the keys. With M800 you can game and type away without sounding like a machine-gun on full auto at 12am.

ROUND UP

The SteelSeries Apex M800 is a fun and serious keyboard.

With the ability to setup each key individually for binding and colour, great for gaming, comfy for work and just so damn pretty to look at, I recommend it to anyone.

Image result for 8/10 stars   Once again I would like to thank Megarom for providing me with the hardware that I have done this review on. Image result for megarom Written by Ghost86 Edited by BigJapester11
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Razer Wolverine Ultimate Controller Review

Razers in the past, could be recognized by their outrageous colours and over the top designs, as well as a strange liking in calling their controllers after some sort of cat...  Previously the Wildcat was a over the top wired controller trying to compete with the luxurious Microsoft Elite controller.  With its large green grips and enormous Razer logos plastered all over, it was never going to win any styling prizes.  But that wasn't what Razer was going for, they wanted to be the ultimate in premium gamepads, but alas they failed in that to. So Razer went back to the drawing board, dropped the cat name, replaced it with a catchy stronger title, toned down the styling and what they created was sheer brilliance! The Razer Wolverine Ultimate is a modular, remappable monster that can easily be called the best Premium wired controller for the Xbox out there! Lets Jump in...  Pun intended ;)

What's in the Box

Image result for Razer wolverine ultimate case Upon opening the Wolverine I was met with a beautifully packaged unit, that sits snugly in its protective carry case.  This carry case feels like quality and even though it might copy the elite carry case it serves a purpose, it protects your investment.  Inside the carry case there is an additional D-pad, as well as a domed analog stick, as well as a longer stick. The usual manuals and warranty paperwork is in the box as well along with the USB to micro USB cable which is a good 4m long.  It is good to note that the micro USB end of the cable is moulded to fit into the controller so do not lose this cable as your other micro USB cables will not fit!

Design and Feel

Upon picking up the Wolverine the price tag made sense.  It is really really well built, Razer has toned down by adding the chroma strip to border the Xbox button, (which can be turn off via the Razer Synapse app).  The rubbery palm grips help keep the controller from moving around too much in your hands during play. But what makes this controller different from your standard controller is the customization ability so lets start with the interchangeable parts.  The analog sticks as mentioned above, simply just pull off when you want to change them, they are held on with magnets, which are great for quick and easy changing, I found myself swapping short and long analog sticks between rounds of Siege which was great. The short press mechanical AXBY buttons are weird to get used to at first as the travel on them is so minimal causing me to press them too early at first.  This is where my eyes started to open as to why Elite and Premium controllers DO make a difference or give you the competitive edge! Yet another amazing feature that Razer has incorporated is the ability to set your travel distance on your paddles.  When playing racing games your paddles can be operated as usual giving to good throttle and brake feathering abilities.  When jumping into Call of Duty or Siege where you need that scope and fire buttons to react lightning quick, simply flick two little sliders over and you have quick press triggers!  No more getting shot before being able to fire the shot!  Again, the Wolverine is justifying its price tag. Now we get to the extra buttons the standard controllers don't have.  Usually on the other premium controllers you only have 4 remappable buttons, all found underneath the controller for your unassuming digits to use in case of emergencies.  Razer goes one better and provides you with 6 buttons, four at the bottom and 2 on the shoulder!  Straight out the box Razer has set up the two longest back paddles to be a kind of toggle for sensitivity, hold in the left paddle and your sensitivity will drop right down low for when you need to be more precise with shot placing etc.  Pull  the right paddle and the opposite will happen, sensitivity will go right up giving you the ability to quickly spin around and catch that enemy sneaking up behind you. Now I can hear all of you saying "but I don't need all these buttons" and I felt the same way, until I started using them in-game. Whilst playing COD WW2 multiplayer I specifically realised the use of these buttons. The problem with any fast paced game is that you need to take your right thumb off the analog stick if you need to use any of the buttons and that is when you get caught, having the mappable buttons I could easily reload and swop between my weapons all the while keeping my sights ready for an enemy wanting to capitalize on a unsuspecting player! Another point to the Wolverine.

Extras and Features

I am a sucker for customization!  I will sit for hours customizing my face in Fallout without ever starting the game, so when I discovered the Razer Synapse app on the Xbox Store I was instantly in love!  Using the app you can change all your programmable buttons as well as set different profiles for them.  Yes, if you are playing one game and need a certain button to be at your fingertip, you can program it to be there, but you also play a different title where you need a different button to be in that same position?  Don't fear, Razer gives you the ability to flick between profiles with a simple button on the chat adapter that is built into the controller. Press the button watch the light change colour and you are ready for your alternative button layout. the Chroma feature, which is unique to Razer, is the light bar situated at the top of the controller.  With the Synapse app you can control this light strip to flash, pulse, respond to vibration , move in waves or just cycle all 16.8 million colours that it can produce.  Or, if you don't want to be distracted by the rainbows of colours parading around your controller, you can simply switch them off.

Final Verdict 

The Razer Wolverine is an extremely capable controller, in my review time I could literally see the improvement of my game just by using the controller.  It is something to get used to at first as the buttons feel different and respond differently to the standard controller.  The build is good and the features are easy to use and are very effective at what they are intending to do.  There are however a few minor points that I have to point out. The fact that it is wired only and the cable being 4m long can cause problems for users that sit further away from their consoles, but the wired part has a flip side to it.  The reason for the wired connection is to eliminate delay that you can get from using the wireless controllers.  For pro or serious gamers, those few milli-seconds can be the difference between winning and losing, but for a more casual gamer, and with our lack of local servers, adding a few milli-seconds on to your response time isn't going to make that much of a difference. Due to the lack of wireless which in turn means no batteries, the Wolverine is slightly on the light side to my liking.  I would prefer a little bit of extra weight to it but that can be achieved by adding control grips or something of the sorts. The chat adapter with all of its buttons is great but creates problems for gamers that use headsets with chat-pads attached...  Also when I was using the adapter on the controller I couldn't change my party and in-game audio mixer settings, after a couple of attempts I gave up and decided to use my Astro A40 through its own amp. Overall looking past the minor flaws that I mentioned above, I would get this controller in a heartbeat!  Razer has found the sweet spot in the Premium controller market and they can honestly give the Elite a run for its money! Image result for 9/10 stars

As always thanks to Apex Interactive for allowing me to test this magnificent piece of hardware!

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Turtle Beach Stealth 600

Image result for turtle beach stealth 600 Hardware reviews are very difficult to be objective about, and they are also really tough to do if you can't get your hands on the hardware you need to review, for obvious reasons.  So you resort to desperate measures.  Beg, borrow and often "borrow for extended periods of time" became the modus operandi.  Luckily with the help of an awesome company called APEX INTERACTIVE SA those days are now over!  The first headset that Ruan and his people sent me to try is the Turtle Beach Earforce Stealth 600, yes it is a mouthful its not just you... From the moment I was told that the Stealth 600 was on its way to me I was ecstatic!  I had never before reviewed a Turtle Beach headset and all my gaming buddies, bar one or 2 Astro faithful, all use a version of the Turtle Beach so I was excited to see what the fuss was about. When they arrived I quickly tore off the shipping plastic and basked in the beautiful green box.

Whats in the box?

The headset is well packaged, I wouldn't call it magical, I mean its packaging...  But it does the job.  Inside you have the headset itself, a USB charging cable and a small booklet on how to use and connect the headset. Image result for turtle beach stealth 600Image result for turtle beach stealth 600 Connecting the headset to the Xbox was fairly straight forward, if you have ever connected a controller to your console the process should be familiar to you.  Simply hold the bind button on the console as well as on the headset until the little green LED situated at the bottom of the left ear cup is flashing and you will be greeted by an audio chime as well as an onscreen message telling you the headset has been assigned to the profile that is currently logged in.  So far so good!

Controls and Features

This being my first Turtle Beach experience, I had heard so many things about the supersonic hearing and how it will improve your environmental awareness by many folds, I, being a R6 Siege player was eager to see how this can help me bridge the gap from a Gold ranked player to an elite Platinum hero, more on that further down. The Stealth 600 are of course wireless, which is great if you already have a fairly crowded gaming room and setup, one less cable DOES make a difference, and to have the freedom to move around without worrying you might trip over a cable is also great.  The batteries on the Stealth 600 seem decent, I never had a problem with it dying on me but it is good to note that my longest session was around 5-6 hours and not one hiccup during that time. The microphone of the Stealth 600 is extremely sensitive and clear, my online buddies all asked if something had happened to my voice overnight and no one complained of hearing a lot of background noise from my side.  It is a very short and small microphone sitting on the left ear-cup, unfortunately if you prefer your mic to be on the right there is no option of swapping it to the other side.  Want to mute that cough you feel incoming?  Simply flip up the mic and it will mute. Image result for turtle beach stealth 600 Seeing as the Stealth 600 is wireless you have no adapter plugging into your controller where you can control the audio intricacies, all of this is also on the left ear cup.  What I found, but this will improve as you get to know the headset, is that I often found my fingers spinning the volume knob instead of the party mixer causing me to either blow out my eardrums when I turn the volume up a touch too much or I would miss out an essential call out during a tight Siege match if i mixed the in-game volume over the party volume.  This is all just caused by not having spent more time with the headset so I wouldn't worry too much about this. The equaliser presets, which the button is ALSO located on the left ear cup, are all very well balanced, they cover most preferences so you are sure to find one that suites your liking.

Let the Sound do the Talking!

I consider myself a Astro fan boy, from the moment I placed my Astro A40 TR's over my ears I fell in love. The sound clarity and fullness blew me away, I was sure that the Stealth 600 wouldn't even get close to my dearly beloved.  Boy was I pleasantly suprised!  the 50mm drivers of the Stealth 600 are superb.  They deliver decent deep bass tones and beautiful higher notes.  From the quiet intense moments of Siege, to the bone-chilling nothing-ness of the Turing Test to the all out madness of Battlefield 4 they never missed a step and I was truly impressed!  The Supersonic hearing had me hearing operators entering a room walking over broken glass on the opposite end of the house which truly blew my mind (and helped me blow theirs as well)  In the sound department the Stealth 600 truly punches way above its price range.  Only once did I experience during a barrage of large explosives the bass couldn't keep up and i heard a second or so of hollowness but other than that, faultless!

Look and feel, less spectacular...

From the very first look the Stealth 600 headset looks very attractive, slick and sharp lines, lots of black with the Xbox signature green on the inside of the cups as well as sneaking out around corners and edges with the ever present Turtle Beach logo found inside the ear cups as well as proudly sitting on the outside, this Headset looks the part without a doubt Image result for turtle beach stealth 600       Image result for turtle beach stealth 600 It is when u pick them up and put them on that my excitement faded.  They are very plastic, which is what you would expect from most headsets in this price range so I don't consider this a problem, but they do at times feel flimsy.  They are extremely light which is great for some but I like to feel that i have something that I just spent my hard-earned money on, once again that is an opinion.  the cups can be adjusted height wise as well as swing forwards for a few degrees, yet I struggled to find a truly comfortable position on my head.  I found myself constantly fiddling to find a more comfortable position which I was dissapointed about. The ear cups although they look beautiful, are rather shallow.  I don't have particularly out of the ordinary ears, but I found my ears to hurt after a hour of so of gaming, and also sweating.  The foam of the cups are not great, they do cater for spectacle-wearers with a nifty cut-out allowing your glasses to sit comfortably and not get squashed. I was very disappointed with this aspect of the Stealth 600 as they were really ticking all the boxes up to this point. Still, the Turtle Beach Stealth 600 headset is a really good wireless headset and I think you would be foolish if you do not consider them if you are in the mid-range wireless gaming headset market! It is good to also note that they are compatible with Windows 10 PC's but you will need to buy the wireless adapter which is unfortunately sold separately.

Once again A BIG thank you to APEX INTERACTIVE SA for supplying me with the headset

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Astro A10 – premium on a budget

Related image Most of us have heard of the headset brand Astro and we all instantly think seriously pricey pieces of hardware am I right?  For the most part you are correct, both the A40 and A50 headsets come with a hefty price tag, but they are both spectacular headsets in their own right. Whether you go for the wired A40 version or the wireless A50 you will definitely not regret it! They also come in a TR version that provides you with even higher sound fidelity but all of this just adds to a already large sum of money, or a kidney if you are that way inclined. But what Astro has done with the A10 is bring its premium sound, build quality and overall bad-ass look that they are renown for in their A40 and A50 models and packaged it in a budget headset that appeals to the majority of gamers that are on a tighter budget. I was skeptical at first, being a Astro A40 TR user myself I was curious to find out what the A10's bring to the already tightly contested "entry-level" price bracket, and boy oh boy was I impressed!

Good Looks on a Budget

It might not have all the metal and shiny bits and features that its older (and richer) brothers have but the A10's have a impressive sleek and sturdy look for a plastic headset around the R1 000 mark!  For all money it is a baby brother of the A40 sporting the big boxy cups and bendable mic that you only have to flip up to mute, clever trick there Astro!   Sporting a range of colours ranging featuring Blue, Green and Red that are aimed at the Xbox One, PS4 and PC users.  Luckily either headsets will work with your choice of platform unlike the older brothers that have platform specific colours and capabilities. The 2m long cable has a handy inline volume slider and can be easily detached making this very suitable for travelers.

Snug fitting, maybe too snug...

The A10's fit cozy, a little too cozy at times. With my A40 I can play for marathon sessions without feeling uncomfortable, with the A10's I found the earcup space to be smaller than my A40's leading me to feel the need to take a quick break after a few hours, but nothing to warrant not getting the headset, hell the comfort is alot better than many other premium headsets.  The headset is also extremely light, weighing in at only 340g.  Unfortunately the A10 cups can't swivel 90' like its big brothers but it can adjust up and down to help with comfort

Good sound at a Good Price

Image result for astro gaming The A10's impressed me when it came to their sound quality, delivering punchy highs and solid deep lows for every game.  During R6 Siege matches it gave me clear indication of footsteps and where enemies were placing explosives and during a quick hoon through the Australian outback in Forza Horizon 3 I could pick up very crisp squealing of  my tires all while comfortably chatting to a mate.  At this point I was regretting buying my Astro A40 TR's but the A10's do fall short when it comes to music.  the mid range sounds sound muddy and not as clear.  But still overs way better sound quality compared to other headsets in its price range.

Verdict

Astro has brought us a very very competitive headset in the A10.  It is easily up there as one of the best in its price range.  Astro has a strong foot hold in the premium market and they are looking to extend that grasp by way of the A10 and later the A20 (its wireless) brother.  With its typical Astro design and wonderful ingame sounds this is a must get for any person looking to buy into the Astro family!  They also have top-notch support via their website and I can account for their amazing service, having no problem sending me a spare inline mute cable when I wasn't sure if it came in the box, free of charge! Image result for 9/10 rating  
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Update 1710 is here, for some!

It is that time again, yes update time.  For some the dreaded "an update is required" will strike fear into their hearts leaving them longing for the good old days of no-update consoles.  But alas this is the present and with that comes constant innovations and changes to our console of choice. This last week saw some lucky insider program members be able to update to the latest OS build namely 1710 which, for those who are interested in these things, seems to be creeping closer to the Windows 10 build which is currently at 1710 as well.  Enough of that lets jump into what new wonders await you post update, whenever that might for you non-insiders ( seriously become an insider it's free and you get access to cool stuff)

Make your house a Home

With the latest update Xbox have decided to focus on the look, feel and movement of the dashboard.  It has been updated to focus mainly on speed, and expression.  You can now place all your important thing be it, friends or games, just have them right there at a glance.  It is simple as well, select the friend or game you want, press menu,and select add to home.  This creates an entire block of contents that can be manipulated how ever you see fit. More blocks will appear according to your habits and they will evolve with you as your habits and likes and dislikes change.  If you are part of the Insider Program head over to the "custom home page" quest to learn more on how you can make your Home feel more like home.  

Effortless Guide Navigation

With the recent update using the guide has become even faster.  The new layout gets you to things you want to see, faster.  Switching between tabs is now improved by using the left stick or D-pad to quickly navigate through menus.  Sign in, Achievements, multiplayer( parties, LFG and Tournaments), people, home and recent messages, broadcasts and captures all now have their own tab in the new guide.  

Make moving easy

Copy and moving of content has been one of the major complaints on the Xbox forums and so Xbox have decided to listen to the community and they have introduced a new easier method of moving your data. Simply head to Settings>System>Storage select your connected device Use the "transfer" option to move content between harddrives Using this feature allows you to either move content in bulk by using the select all feature, or move them individually. no more waiting for your queue to empty so you can copy another game to your external drive.     With all these wonderful features it is easy to forget that this is still in development stages and that is why Xbox uses the Insider group to test and iron out the kinks before the mass roll out to the larger audience.  I myself have not experienced any of these problems and I have really given the new update a fair share of testing but Xbox do state the following issues may occur  
  • Installations may fail - reboot and start update or install again
  • Pins movement on Home causing crashes
  • Xbox Insider app might lose focus - restart app
  All in all these problem are not anything that should hamper you from deciding to be a Insider.  You can try the Insider program and see how you enjoy it.  If it is too much for you you can move to lower rings to receive less frequent and unstable builds of the OS or you can even opt- out of the Insider program in total.
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Razer Wolverine – the New kid

Image result for Razer Wolverine The premium and elite controller market has in the past been dominated by the likes of the Scuf brand of controllers.  Later Microsoft joined this one-sided contest and brought its A-game with the Elite controller.  Now a familiar name in both console and PC accessories is back with yet another masterpiece.  Razer bring the Wolverine controller with the hope to dethrone the mighty Elite controller from its imposing, customizable throne!  With many years of experience and countless accessories behind its name, lets see if Razer has what it takes. Image result for Razer Wolverine   Straight from the onset Razer comes out swinging in its traditional fashion of flash.  As with nearly all of Razer's latest creations they feature a multi color LED  strip that is capable of creating around 16.8 Million colors by ways of Razer's own Chroma software.  This allows you to really amp up the atmosphere by setting the LED strip to whatever color your heart may desire. Don't think that the Wolverine is just a gimmick.  It matches Microsoft's Elite controller in terms of providing 3 variants of thumb sticks, normal, conical and extra long for a varied feel depending on what is required for each occasion. Image result for Razer Wolverine Two D-pads are also provided to suite the users preference.  Be it a fixed round disc or individual D-pad buttons. The Wolverine starts taking the fight to the Elite controller with its 6 programmable paddles that can be removed if not needed.  It also boasts a quick on board control panel which allows users to swap programmable  button profiles as well as turn on "Hair-trigger mode" Image result for Razer Wolverine The Wolverine has only recently been announced so not too much is known as of yet but here is a list of what we know so far.  It will be retailing for around 160 Euros which to us is around the R2 500 mark which still comes in under the Elite controller. Here’s a list of features for the Wolverine Ultimate:
  • Remappable 2 Multi-Function Buttons & 4 Triggers
  • Razer Chroma lighting with full 16.8 million color options
  • Interchangeable D-Pad – Choice between Individual and Tilting Designs
  • Interchangeable Thumbsticks
  • Hair-Trigger Mode with Trigger-Stop for rapid-fire
  • Quick Control Panel
  • Tactile Switch Action Buttons
  • Ergonomic Non-Slip Rubber Grip
  • Razer Synapse for Xbox app
  • Razer Chroma SDK enabled
  • Play Anywhere – Play on Xbox One or PC
  • 3.5 mm audio port for stereo audio output and microphone input
  • Carrying case
  • Detachable 3 m / 10 ft lightweight braided fiber cable with Micro-USB connector
  • Approximate size: 106 mm / 4.17 in (Length) x 156 mm / 6.14 in (Width) x 66 mm / 2.60 in (Height)
  • Approximate weight (without cable): 260 g / 0.57 lbs
As more details become available and a possible test unit comes my way I will give you all a more in-depth review.   If you are a Razer-fan then I am sure that you will be interested in this one!
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Turtle Beach XO Seven Pro – The way its meant to be heard!

Turtle Beach XO Seven Pro

Headsets now-a-days have become so varied in price, looks and functionality that it is extremely difficult to look at only one.  The headsets of today range from dirt cheap to take-a-loan expensive.  With a wide variety of brands out there it is tough to make a educated decision.  I myself am a Astro man but after testing this Turtle Beach I was pleasantly surprised. Image result for turtle beach xo seven pro pics

Unboxing

  The magic starts right from the word go.  Apart from the expected headset you get Turtle Beach's own version of the Microsoft chat adapter as well as two break away cables.  One for the Xbox and the other for other devices with a in-line mic.  A microphone boom and a micro USB cable is also included.   Image result for turtle beach xo seven From the very first glance it is difficult to deny the shear beauty that is the XO Seven Pro.  Sturdy yet lightweight and from the moment of slipping them on you realize they are built for comfort!  50mm earcups with memory foam cushions makes it feel like you have your favorite pillow strapped to your head while also providing superb noise cancellation.  Whether you are using this headset for work, music or gaming it blocks out the outside world while allowing you to immerse yourself completely.  For those of you with the bigger heads the headband is also cushioned and adjustable.  

Setup

  Image result for turtle beach xo seven pro Setup could not be easier!  Simply plug the adapter into your controller, plug the headset into the adapter and you are good to go!  The microphone boom is removable if you feel the need to get away from your pesky online friends that keep nagging you to play that one title that you so utterly despise!  The minimalist approach when it comes to cables and no batteries to be charged makes this a very nice no-fuss headset.  

Sound

Image result for turtle beach xo seven pro 1080p

I know that we all skim through headset reviews to this exact point.  Not many people really care alot about what their headset looks like, if its comfortable, yes that is important but what really matters is whether it sounds good! The XO Seven Pro sounds...  GOOD!  Due to obvious limitations brought by the adapter sound is only rendered in stereo but this is nothing to be sad about.  This headset makes even stereo sound really really good!  What I personally use to differentiate a good headset from a poor one is the subtle sounds that are generally not even heard.  Take for instance a game like the Witcher 3, have you ever taken a moment and just stopped and closed your eyes and listened.  Really listened to the living environment around you. From the wind changing directions to the rustle of the leaves to your trusty steeds' hooves scraping the beaten pathway...  The XO Seven Pro allows you to indulge in every single one of those delights. What makes this headset extra special is on the adapter you have a little wonder-button called "superhuman hearing".  At a push of a button your headset goes from great to AMAZING!  With a press of a button you suddenly experience a sense of awareness that I cannot put into words!  Sounds develop more depth, bullets sound more piercing as they fly by you.  Explosions rumble into your bones!  You basically have Cinema-style sound right on your ears!      

Functionality

  Like the normal chat adapter, the Turtle Beach one comes with the ability to adjust the mix between chat and game volumes.   What the Turtle Beach offers above the standard is the ability to pick between microphone presets.  Add either bass, treble or just let the normal levels pass through.  Thanks to mic-monitoring you can adjust how much background noise get sent to your party members allowing you to avoid feedback from your tv or just ambient noises. Another added benefit to the XO Seven Pro's is the fact that they look great, meaning you can wear them out and about if you want to listen to some music while walking the dog.  The in-line mic works great for talking phone calls.  You can also personalize your headsets by exchanging the faceplates on the back of the earcups to give them that personalized feel.   Image result for turtle beach xo seven pro 1080pImage result for turtle beach xo seven     If you are in the market for a decent headset or you are tired of your entry-level gaming headset then this is definitely looking at the right headset!  You will never go wrong with purchasing a Turtle Beach headset and like many others have before, once you purchase a Turtle Beach you will never want anything else!    
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New Xbox One UI update

August has been a exceptionally quiet month for gaming with not much to talk about in general.  One of the talking points is the new Operating System for the Xbox One family.  Currently only going out to a selected few Insiders who have been able to make their way deep into the realms of the elite Alpha Ring were allowed to download the latest iteration of the OS which boast a quite significant change in the look and feel compared to the current one we all currently use.   With the new update that will effect both console and PC users, Microsoft has focused on making the experience more fun, personalized and social.  Microsoft has gone to the community and asked what we as users want and they are delivering on every new update they bring.  The major talking points are the changes coming to Home, Guide and Community as well as updates to Avatars, Game Hubs and Profiles all coming in following updates.  PC users will receive updates to the game Bar and Gaming settings menu.  Lets get a little more up close and personal with the new features:

Make it YOUR Home

.GIF of new content blocks on Xbox One The first thing that users will notice when firing up there freshly updated console will be the new Home screen.  This new design is part of a design that Microsoft is calling the fluent design.  The design is focused around speed customization and expression.  Microsoft has taken the best of all the previous versions and the best aspects thereof and has added and improved them all which has led us to this.  Your tiles and pins and everything will evolve and change along with what you do.  Playing more Forza Horizon 3 lately?  Your tiles and pins will show more Forza content.  From your friends who also play Forza and their screenshots or captured clips, to activity feeds from major figures in the Forza community. .GIF of Community UI on Xbox One Another awesome feature is the removal of the screens you flip through when moving from home, social, and my games and apps.  This means easier access and less waiting which in turn means speed and fluidity which makes us all happy!  

Your  Xbox YOUR Community

.GIF of new Activity Feed filter Getting connected with clubs and friends have been dramatically improved.  The entire activity feed has been revamped to show more content at a glance.  When you take a closer look the items and images will be displayed in glorious full screen mode.  Comment are easier to read with the new full screen comment section.  Game Hubs, Profiles and Clubs have been revamped to make them more dynamic and engaging.  Currently the only title to be found in the Arena section is Killer Instinct, this will be changing as well and Arena will soon bolster a large array of titles to get everyone in the competitive spirit a shot at the glory. Game bar on Windows 10  

Game Bars, Game Bars everywhere!

In the past enabling and disabling the Game-mode feature was a serious mission, you had to turn it on and off for individual games, not anymore!  With the new Game bar coming to the PC, the game mode button will be right there on the game bar easy to see, easy to access.  Using mixer, the game bar will give you a ton of extra features.  It will give you options to broadcast game-only audio, or system wide audio.  For the days that you might have some networking problems the kind people at Microsoft have decided to include a Xbox Live network Troubleshooter options to the settings menu right there in the Windows 10 setting menu which means you can sort out your issues quicker and get back to what you really want to do, GAMING!

Microsoft has promised to listen to the community and they are doing just that.  They have a top notch insider program that is open to anyone where you can sign up to try out the early versions of the updates before they launch to the public.  This is where feedback is given from all the insiders in terms of what needs to change, improve or removed.  Go and check out the Insider Program and become part of making Microsoft and Xbox great!
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Projector vs TV – Which is best for you?

BIGGER IS BETTER, right?  Not necessarily, with the ever growing demand for screens to go bigger and bigger many people have started to look towards projectors as a way to combat this ever growing demand for a bigger screen.  In the past projectors used to be really expensive costing nearly as much as the contents of the room you are placing it in, add all the changes you need to make to accommodate the projector and its screen, most people decide against this and purchase a smaller (yet still large) TV.   Here I will give you a few pointers that should help you during this tough time of choosing whether to get a Projector as well as giving you a few pro's and con's of owning a projector.  I'm sure we all own a TV of some shape or size hence i will be focusing more on Projectors.  It is also good to note that i will not be taking 4K projectors into consideration as they are currently very expensive and would just defeat the object of looking at the best unit for best price.   Lets get straight to it, So you want to watch TV, sport or play games on a 100 inch or more screen, but you also don't want to break the bank to do it, then a projector is what you want.  Before running out to get one here are a few Pro's and Con's of Projectors. PRO'S
  • Screen size - with the right setup you can easily have a 100 inch screen right in the comfort of your own living room.  No more going to the Movie Cinemas you now have your own with the added benefit of being able to pause to go for a bathroom break or to grab another snack
 
  • Cost - As a whole projectors are cheaper than any comparable TV.  TVs that are 75 inch will cost you around the R35 000, with a projector delivering FULL HD setting you back around R10 000.
 
  • Viewing Experience -  Many people tend to think that with a larger screen comes lower brightness levels, this is true but with slightly decreased brightness comes less strain on your eyes providing you with a more comfortable and immersive experience.
  CON'S
  • Light - Light is the major drawback with owning a projector, unless you will be enjoying your projector in a room with curtains or blinds drawn you will not have the best experience possible.  Even in a dark room the picture beam can still be affected when someone passes by in front of the beam.
 
  • Lamps - Projectors have a extra added cost of lamps, depending on your usage and lamp settings, you will need to replace lamps periodically.  Lamps life generally ranges from 1 000 hours to 2 000 hours. So use it sparingly if you do not want to replace bulbs too often.
 
  • Sound - Some projectors come with built in speakers, others don't.  Realistically with a screen heading in the direction of 100 inches you would want a Home theater audio setup to take full advantage of your monstrous screen.
  So after all of that you still want a projector?  Fantastic, lets see which is best for YOU!  Projectors can be used anywhere you can find a power source, a flat surface be it a smooth wall or film screen, and enough space.  Depending on your setup you can either mount your projector to the ceiling via a roof mount or stand it on a table or a shelf. The room that you decide to turn into your cinema room will need to be dark and large enough to accommodate the screen size you wish to have.  Ambient light or light falling directly on your screen will cause images to look washed out.  This is because a projector uses true black for any part of the image that is black meaning it simply turns the light off in that area so if there is external light falling on the screen your contrast will be severely affected. Here are a few key things to consider when comparing projectors:   BRIGHTNESS - Many people will tell you brighter is better, this is not always the case.  The brighter your images become the less crisp they will be as well as the strain it places on your eyes will not help when you are trying to sit through a long sports match or a drawn out movie.  Brightness is measured in Lumens, if your room is dark then consider looking at brightness levels ranging between 1300-1500 lumens, as the ambient light increases so will the required Lumens, most projectors run around 2000 Lumens. SCREEN OPTIONS - the cheapest option is to simply display your image on a smooth wall, if this is not a option you can either buy special reflective paint to use on your walls that will help show better picture, or you can purchase a dedicated projector screen.  Many of the newer models of projector can compensate for walls that are painted in light coloured paints eg beige. CONNECTIVITY - Projectors come with garden variety connections but in modern times the only connection you should consider is HDMI, this is the only way to ensure true native HD picture being displayed. THROW DISTANCE - When setting up your new projector it is essential that you look at the throw distance, this is a calculation that can be made that will help you find the correct distance that will help your projector display at its best.  Be sure to check the throw distance and use the calculator above to work out if your projector will work in the room that you are planning to use. FAN NOISE - Projectors generate heat and they use fans to cool them, certain models can be noisy and with a increase in price so the noise levels will decrease.  This is a important thing to consider if you are someone who who has a problem with noise.  It is also important to mention that you should place your projector in a area where it can have enough air and space to have enough air flow to ensure that it doesn't overheat.   If some of these points I have mentioned can be a possible problem that you will not be able to solve then maybe investing in a large TV would be the best option.  My personal opinion would be to analyze what your main use will be and whether or not buying a projector can become an inconvenience.  If it is then a TV is the way to go.Hooked xbox one up to the projector for our daughter     I really hope this article has shed some light on projectors and what you should look out for when considering or buying one.  For any further questions send me a mail and I will gladly help and give opinions.        
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Becoming a streamer part 2 – Microphones

By now you have read my first article where I covered 3 capture cards and you have got one and you have since started setting up your streams and hopefully have had a few people watch your streams.  Now its time to step it up, time to start involving your audience in the stream, yes they might send messages that you can read on the side of your screen or however you have set it up, but you are playing, you don't have time to text back and when you do speak back to your audience you get crappy sound from your headset microphone.  Time to get a proper MICROPHONE!  Lets have a look at a few microphone options. a very important thing to understand before reading this article is to understand how these microphones get tested.  Things I looked at was:
  • Recording quality - we tested all these mics in the "cardioid" setting meaning infront of mic, which is where you will be when using these mics
  • Adaptability - these mics need to perform well under varied circumstances hence the best mic might not be here because it only performs well in specific enviroment
  • Form Factor - this might not be a fashion show but you don't want to stare at a hideous creature on your desk when streaming, and neither do your viewers
  • Price - because we are not rich, yet!
 
  • RAZER SEIREN PRO
Once again Razer comes to the party with a absolute monster of a microphone that can hold its own with some of the best in the business.  The build quality of this unit is superb, almost everything is metal with only a few plastic pieces scattered around but nothing to be concerned about.  The front features a LED that shows Mic gain, headphone gain and current polar pattern.  Directly below this is the headphone volume control as well as a mute button.  This mic features 4 polar patterns namely stereo, cardioid, omnidirectional and bidirectional.  Each of these patterns have their own purpose and they all deliver very well.  I can go on about this microphone and all the neat little buttons it has and lights that make it so much more attractive.  This unit also has an extremely low noise floor which is great if you don't have a room or studio that is perfectly quiet. Add in the fact that it has amazing frequency response and you have a great microphone. The Razer Seiren pro prices at R4 500.  
  • TURTLE BEACH STREAM MIC
Related image Turtle Beach is a well known name among gamers with their astounding range of Headsets, but they have proved that they can compete on the Streaming Mic stage as well with their aptly named Stream mic.  A general rule I have is the less you pay the less you should expect but this mic defies this rule, the construction is functional using varied materials to give it a decent weight and feel.  In my opinion it has a classic look with it swing arm and shape of grill with a nice turtle beach emblem at the top with a very nice looking mute button on the front with a LED ring to show muted or not.  The Mic comes with a magnitude of audio options and a really comprehensive program to adjust every little aspect of the audio quality, the only downside to many options is that it can be difficult to find the perfect setting for you.  As said earlier this mic is cheaper than the Razer meaning lesser audio quality but no reason to ignore this microphone as a real option.  The really unique feature is that it can be integrated to your party chat and any 3.5mm headset can be connected to it and it will feature a mic monitoring feedback. Turtle Beach will give you this Stream Mic for only R 1 800.  ( personally my best choice for first time streamers)  
  • BLUE YETI MICROPHONE
Straight out of the block I need to tell you this mic is seriously big, it is very tall so take this into consideration if you are considering this unit.  This microphone is a really pleasing unit, it delivers really good sound quality and is relatively inexpensive for the quality of audio it records.  It is very comfortable in an array for circumstances that would flummox most mics during stream sessions.  It might fall short when it comes to gizmo's and tweak-ability compared to the previously mentioned mics but this is a very versatile unit which delivers really good sound and has decent build quality for the price.  The only negative is when using the mute button the click can be picked up in your stream which could lead to some annoying clicks if you are planning on muting during your sessions.  The design is nothing exotic or out of this world but for some this is a good thing, it looks like a mic, it acts like a mic and performs like a mic, therefore, it must be a mic. The Blue Yeti retails for R3 500   Good luck all future streamers, always remember to persevere and you will succeed!
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Becoming a streamer part 1 – Capture cards

Most gamers play for more than just a way to pass the time or because they like gaming a little.  True gamers are passionate people and they are passionate about what they love, GAMING!  With the likes of Youtube, Twitch and Mixer promoting gamers to create and stream live content so that millions of viewers can watch so to has the demand for better capturing equipment.  With the Gaming industry sitting at just under $100 Billion and streamers like controversial PewDiePie racking up $15 million a year more people are trying to get into streaming and for this one of the crucial tools you will need is a capture card.  So lets have a look at 3 of your best options around.  
  • ELGATO GAME CAPTURE HD 60
Image result for ELGATO capture hd 60 When it comes to capture card Elgato is the name everyone knows.  This version of the device doesn't disappoint.  Its sleek pebble-like design makes for easy positioning and it blends in seamlessly with your current setup.  Setup is straight forward, HDMI cable from console to Elgato, from Elgato to your TV, and a USB cable from Elgato to PC.  Software comes with the card that allows for editing and recording or streaming directly to your preferred location.  This card packs alot of punch and can capture in 1080p at 60 fps and because of the upgrade to USB 3.0 all of this is achieved with nearly 0 latency.  If you want to add commentary to your streams its as simple as plugging a mic into the appropriate slot and off you go.  One of the downsides is that you won't have the master copy feature which means while streaming in one quality you wont be able to record the same project in a different quality.  Overall the Elgato HD 60 S is a good card for anyone and you will struggle to find something to compete with it. The Elgato HD 60 S retails around the R4 200 mark which is a competitive price.  
  • RAZER RIPSAW
Razer is the new kid on the block when it comes to capture cards, but Razer is a well known company who has produced some seriously good 3rd party equipment for PC and console.  Once again the Razer Ripsaw doesn't disappoint with really easy setup in terms of hardware, a user friendly software.  Packaging is spectacular in true Razer fashion.  The design is sleek and professional with a smooth black finish and the signature razer green light on the front.  The Ripsaw also features close to 0 latency via its USB 3.0 port.  One of the best features of the Ripsaw is the compatibility with both Open Broadcaster Software (OBS) as well as Xsplit which gives you the freedom to use the software that you are familiar with. The Razer Ripsaw retails for around R3 000 depending on where you shop.  
  • ROXIO GAMECAPTURE HD PRO
Roxio being the lesser known name among these 3 capture cards doesn't make it any less of a good option,  the Roxio does all the things that the previous 2 cards do, it captures in 1080p in either 30fps or 60fps, it can live stream to Youtube, Twitch or Mixer, it offers the ability to customize and edit your captured content using its own software, but where it differs is in the connection options.  If you are considering using older consoles not fitted with HDMI but only component connections then the Roxio has you covered.  Other than that it is very similar to previously mentioned cards. Coming in as the cheapest option between the 3 cards at R 1800, this would be my recommendation for new streamers who are still getting into the business and don't have a massive budget.   Before making a decision on buying a capture card please consider a few things.  Streaming is very popular but it is also done by many, so for you to be successful it doesn't mean that you will need the best equipment, what it does mean is that you will need to decide what you want to achieve and what you want to stream.  Once you have decided on this then you will need to decide on the type of personality you want to portray while streaming as well as discover what group of viewers you want to appeal to.  After all of this you will need to be dedicated.  You might get 0 views for the first month.  Don't Quit!  Keep trying and trying new things, be creative and innovative, that is what its all about! Good luck!  Hope to see many of your streams out there in the future!
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Headset Review – Astro A40 TR

It is nearly Payday weekend!  If you are in the market for a new Headset, this article is for YOU!   This Review might be slightly biased as the Astro A40's are my everyday headsets, but this also makes me the perfect person to tell you all the advantages, and the extremely few disadvantages, of this magnificent headset.  I will be discussing numerous aspects of the A40's and I will list them accordingly.  It is important to note that the Astro A40 range comes in 2 distinct colours, namely white and black, this is not just by chance.  each colour is for a specific console, black being for the PS and the white variant for the Xbox.  I will be reviewing on the Xbox One, so lets Jump in... little Xbox joke there... funny?  nope?  okay then...  
  • DESIGN AND BUILD QUALITY
  Lets us start from the moment that you unbox your newly acquired Astro A40 TR headset.  From the moment i opened the big square box and set my eyes on this headset I was inlove.  Everything is beautifully packaged.  Headset, cables, 3.5mm headphone cord, Toslink cable, micro USB to USB, and a USB power cord, all supplied.  Some setup guides, which is almost not needed as the setup is so easy, and ofcourse the TR Amp.  Once unpacked and installed and set up, few settings to be changed in your sound options, and I was ready to go. The build on the headset is very solid and well weighted, it uses a mix of hard plastics and metals to give it a strong and robust feel while not feeling heavy when wearing.  The material earcups are extremely comfortable and the slider allows for precise preferences to be set that result in extreme comfort and no sweating around the ears during marathon sessions.  Astro allows for endless modification kits, sold separately,  which gives you the option for leather earcups and different back-end plates as well as more cushioning on top of your head if the standard one is not enough.  The snap in and snap out mic can be placed on either side depending on your preference by simply removing the back-end cup coversThe A40 headset design is a rather aggressive gaming style, while I personally like it I can understand how this might not appeal to many.  The cables provided might be a problem for some who sit further than around 3m from the TV or console.  For players and user who are desk bound this should be no problem.  But before you make up your mind and decide to go with something else, do continue reading this review for there is large amounts of good things coming your way.    
  • AUDIO QUALITY
  Image result for astro a40 tr amp   I have experienced many headsets over my gaming career ranging from dedicated audio headsets, to expensive gaming headsets, to in-ear earpieces and I can say, without a doubt, that the A40's deliver exceptional sound across all boards and they rank up there with headsets that out price them 4:1.  They are simply breathtaking.  Whether you are using them for gaming, music or movies they deliver on each.  The TR amplifier improves clarity and delivers amazing quality sound that warrants the price bump from the cheaper Astro A40 mixamp pro option.  I have tested this headset amidst many varieties of sound be it the clarity of classical music, the fast paced drums and riffs of metal, the deep bass of house and dubstep and the mixture and chaos of Battlefield 1, to the pinpoint audio required for those tense standoffs in Rainbow 6 Siege.  It might sound like I am harping on about this but I cannot express the sound quality, in Siege this headset alone has made me win in clutch situations due to the fact that I can hear magazines dropping on the floor during reloads which give away their positions.  This might sound silly but I see all you Siege players going "wow" at the other end of your screens.  The TR amp (TR which stands for Tournament Ready, yes they use these as standard for Gaming Tournaments) has 4 equalizer options which can easily be changed and customized with the Astro software which is free to download from their website.  The Microphone is decent too it provides a feedback so you know when you are shouting or annoying your party members with breathing into the mic.  It is important to note that even tho almost every major headset brand says it can do Dolby Surround via a headset, this is only simulated, same with the A40, the Dolby surround option on the TR amp gives you a simulated Surround sound which is actually one of the better ones I have tested.  It is also good to note that the TR amp has a daisy chain connection option which is perfect if you want to hook up a few A40 TR amps and create a party chat via a LAN for zero lag.    
  • SHOULD I CHOOSE THE A40 TR's?
  Let me first point out a few things that you should take note of,  firstly if you are multi console user then it is good to know that these TR amps won't work on different consoles, they are console specific so if you are looking for something to use you might need to buy a second Amp (they are sold separately) for the second console.  Secondly, the Surround Sound, I cannot stress this enough if you are looking for a console headset that delivers true surround sound you are going to struggle.  It is simply near-impossible to fit enough drivers, at proper sizes and correct spacing inside a earcup, hence many manufacturers go for single drivers in each ear but do some magic on software processing side to give it the illusion of 5.1 surround sound.  Lastly, which I think is extremely important is the customer service and this is where the guys and gals at Astro really go above and beyond, before I purchased my own A40 TR I did a large amount of research and i read a few people mention that they were not supplied with a inline mute cable.  I promptly emailed their support staff and asked.  And so the wait began, I was shocked when 1.5 hours later i received a reply, not a automated reply, a actual reply from my new friend at Astro,  I chatted to him and within 20min my problem was solved, not by assuring me that the cable is in the box, which it is, but by asking me for my shipping details and promptly sent me one, free of charge, he then apologized for it taking 4-5 working days to ship from USA to RSA!  I had my inline cable before I even bought my headset!  The Service and Support offered by Astro is astounding, much like there product, simply amazing. What I am trying to explain is that even though they are pricey ( coming in at R 3500 roughly) but you are not just purchasing a headset this is an investment that comes with really good support and I would recommend it to anyone!  
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Tips and Tricks – Part 2

Once again we are back with some more Tips and Tricks to get the most out of your favorite black ( or white) box in your house, yes you know how to play your favorite game but are you using it to its full potential?  Fear not for I am here to help show you the road to being a Xbox-Pro.  Continue Reading and become a master!  
  • STREAM FROM XBOX TO WINDOWS 10 PC
  You can now stream all your awesome footage straight to a Windows 10 device which makes it alot easier to capture all those clips that you want to brag to your friends about.  All you need to do is ensure that both devices are connected to the same network and that you have the xbox app installed on this device.  First step is to set up your console for streaming, head over to settings - preferences and ensure that "allow streaming to other device" is ticked.  Now head over to the device and open the xbox app and be sure to click connect on bottom left of screen.  It is as easy as that!  
  • TAKE A SCREENSHOT
  We have all wanted to take a shot of that one moment you were MVP or top of the scoreboard and you had no mates around to prove it...  Well Xbox has heard your mutters under your breath asking for screenshots and they have made it really easy as well.  Simply double-tap your xbox button (the glowing xbox orb) and a menu like above will appear and simply hit Y for screenshot or X for a recording of the last 30 seconds.  These recordings will be uploaded to your feed which you can either see on your console under activity feed otherwise view them on your xbox app on any of your devices!  Now you can show all your friends how well you can play, even if its only when no one is watching.  
  • FREE TO PLAY LIBRARY
  Image result for f2p games on xbox one 720p With the ever increasing price of living, gaming has to be the friend who gets picked last for all the teams, fortunately Xbox has you covered, yet again, like you ever doubted this!  Xbox delivers a ever growing Free to Play (F2P) library with amazing titles entering this category on a regular basis.  All you need to do is head over to the store and search under the free to play section and you will discover gems like Warframe (picture above), Crossout, Paladins, World of Tanks to name just a few!  This means you can have hours and hours of playing without even spending a cent on new games!  If that isn't amazing I don't know what is!  PS: these titles are not enough i hear someone saying?  Get Xbox live Gold and get free titles EVERY month!  
  • EDIT YOUR GAMECLIPS STRAIGHT ON YOUR XBOX
  Fancy yourself to be a creative genius who can give some of the big name Hollywood a run for their money, then upload Studio is for you.  Edit and spruce up all your gaming clips to make them look like they are ready for the bigscreen.  add voice overs, cut some bad aiming or driving from your clip, include mesmerizing effects to anything all from the comfort of your lounge and controller in hand.  When your masterpiece is complete its as simple as sharing to social media or uploading it your OneDrive account to keep and share for years to come!  
  • PIN GAMES AND APPS TO HOME PAGE
  With all the free to play titles at hand and Backward Compatibility (which i mentioned in my previous Tips and Tricks) you are bound to end up with a good couple of titles installed.  This will become alot of effort to navigate around so why not make it easier by selecting what you want to see on a regular basis and stick them to your home screen.  Simple, navigate to the game or app you want and press the MENU button on your controller and select "Pin to Home".  Now head to the home screen and scroll down to the bottom and you will see all your pinned tiles right there for easy access.        
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Co-Pilot : the way to make non-gamers become GAMERS!

We have all had moments where you just cannot get passed that sticky mission or cannot get that lap time required to progress to the next level.  This is where in the past, you would either sling slurs and profanities at the screen, turn of the console declaring " who has won now" and then running to your room to cry... just me?... I digress, Microsoft has answered the call to all gamers with either non-gamer significant others or gamers who just need a helping hand without handing over that controller to a mate that then proceeds to make you like a total amateur at your favorite title.  Introducing CO-PILOT! This new little nifty feature allows you to assigned 2 controllers to a single profile which means that both controllers' inputs will register and resulting actions will occur as if they are coming from a single controller. I hear people muttering " why do I need this Feature I know how to game" but think of it this way my fellow gamers.  We have many fellow gamers who for some reason might not have the full function of their hands or fingers which in turn makes it difficult for them to play.  Microsoft is really doing a good thing here allowing for players like this to be able to either configure buttons or allowing for a second controller to assist with the inputs that are troubling the "pilot" player.  Another awesome feature this brings is the ability to get your significant other into gaming by assisting them and essentially playing together without taking the controller from the new players hand to get past tricky bits.  This is great for the kids who are always asking for mom and dad to help get past this part of the game. It is important to note that this feature is online on local play, no online feature.   for those of you wanting to try out Co-Pilot here is a link to the official xbox support page on how to access this amazing feature. Once Again i would just like to commend Microsoft on this feature  I am sure this will make many players extremely happy.   Stay tuned for another amazing Feature heading your way soon!   Thanks for Reading...   BigJapester11  
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XBOX X – THE WAIT IS OVER!

THE WAIT IS OVER!!!  I know that most of you are really really excited for the new XBOX X ( aka Scorpio) like we all knew it up to last night.  This is Really a massive step forward into the new age of true 4K gaming, so without further ado lets jump into the specs of this new beast that is going to revolutionize the way we see 4 k gaming! Lets get all the Technical specs out of the way first:
  • CPU - 8 custom x86 cores @ 2.3GHz
  • GPU - 40 custom units @ 1172 MHz
  • Memory - 12Gb GDDR5
  • Memory Bandwidth - 326GB/s
  • Optical - 4K UHD Blu-Ray
  • 8 millions + pixels
  • HDR
  • Wide Color Gamut
  • Dolby Atmos
  • Liquid cooled vapor chamber
Now that all the technical people are all passed out from the little heart attack caused by those monstrous specs, we can chat about this beast in more everyday terms. Image result for xbox X I know many of you are saying: " But I don't have a 4K tv so what does the Xbox X provide me with that my current XB1 or XB1 S can't do already?  Microsoft has assured us that the Xbox X has been made with 1080p user in mind as well.  The X will be taking its 4k native and down scaling it to true 1080p with a much better picture validity.  This means even on your 1080p TV the X will make everything better, this means better picture quality and with the processing power of the X loading times will be drastically improved as well.
  • DOLBY ATMOS
Image result for xbox one X Microsoft has long been working on incorporating Atmos into the gaming world, for those who don't know what this means here is a quick explanation: traditional surround sound places sound into specific channels  but with Atmos sounds can be placed in a 3D space meaning channels will be shared to create pin-point accuracy.  For the first time height will be added to the spectrum as well as creating realistic sounds for objects passing overhead.
  • COMPATIBILITY
With the massive response to backward compatibility on the XB1 and XB1S the new X will be compatible with all your Xbox 1 accessories and gadgets.  All your games will play on the new console from day one and be improved in many areas mainly improved fidelity and isotropic filtering.
  • CRAFTSMANSHIP
Image result for xbox one X Microsoft has really listened to the consumer on every level. I'm not going to go into the exact spec of every transistor and processor, you can view this here but it has been given a liquid vapor cooling system that is usually used on high end servers.  A new Power Management system has been created especially for the X, it will optimize each console for each individual task meaning peak performance all of the time.  You are probably thinking with all this power crammed under the hood surely it must have a seriously large case holding it in, but no, this console will be the smallest Xbox yet. I will be doing a few follow up articles as everything settles down and more info becomes available but for now have a look at what Microsoft will be offering in the future in this link.  Check out my recap of the Microsoft E3 games announcement as well in a day or two. important to note that the Xbox X is for ALL, not only 4K tv owners please don't forget that and with a Price tag of R7499 it's not that badly priced, don't believe me check out for yourselves right here.    
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Elite controllers (Which one will work for you?)

Elite controllers In the market for a new controller after smashing your current one after dying in that boss battle for the umpteenth time?  Consider yourself more than just a casual gamer?  Well then these two controllers will make all the difference in getting that final kill, goal or combo. Today we will look at 2 of the leading “elite” controllers on the market, be aware that  these controllers don’t come cheap so be prepared for hefty price tags.  SCUF INFINITY 1 vs XBOX ONE ELITE CONTROLLER
  • DESIGN
This will be the first thing people will notice when seeing your newly bought controller and if you are willing to spend the money this is where the Scuf really does shine.  The elite comes with metal on the sticks, triggers, bumpers and D-pad the rest is finished in a matte black which gives it a refined appearance.  The Scuf has the same matte finish in a variety of colours, the sticks, triggers bumpers and D-pad is finished with a gloss plastic.  When you visit the Scuf Customization link <here> you will be able to design your controller as understated or garish as you want.
  • TRIGGERS
In competitive situations like all gamers find ourselves in on a regular basis a quick trigger finger means the difference between life and death, these controllers have you covered.  The elite features a hair lock trigger that allows you to restrict the travel on each trigger independently by a flick of a switch on the back of the controller, quick and easy.  The Infinity requires a little more effort, it requires you to loosen and tighten a screw using a special tool supplied.  
  • PADDLES
Both these controllers come with up to 4 paddles, the Scuf choosing to go with vertically mounted paddles, they are stiff and responsive but can feel a little out of reach.  The Infinity 1 comes mapped standard for the face buttons, changing this will need you to have added the electro-magnetic remapping feature during the build and then use the Mag key to change inputs.  Changing this can become a little intricate. The Elite controller paddles are all removable as they are all attached using magnets.  They are much better positioned meaning no adjustment of your grip to reach them.  Remapping of these paddles is made easy with the Accessories app on both your PC and console and they can be done on a per-game basis.
  • STICKS
The Scuf option has many options with you only picking one during the build (or pre-built) option, be it domed, long, medium or short or concave with the same length options. Each stick can also be individually picked.  Swopping them with extra sticks bought from Scuf can also be tedious as you need to use a tool.  This is where the Elite is leaps and bound ahead, featuring 3 variants of sticks all packaged in the clamshell case.  These sticks are all metal shafts and plastic pads, again the sticks are held in by strong magnets making changing them really easy.
  • BUTTON MAPPING
The Scuf only allows you to map the paddles of your controller and only a single profile meaning if you jump from one game to another and need to remap it can take some time.  The Elite on the other hand is a customizers dream.  It allows you to customize and remap every button using game specific presets, adjust various sensitivities of triggers and sticks.  To make it even more impressive you can do a second profile and switch between them by a flick of a slider meaning you can jump from one game to another without skipping a beat.
  • PRICE
If you are looking at controllers like these you have surely done your homework and you know that prices for these beasts don’t come cheap, at time of creating this article prices were as following: Elite controller: R2999 Scuf Infinity 1: starting at $119.95 (ROE 1$ = R12.84) - R1540.16 Please take not the Infinity 1 price is without customizations these prices will depend on features selected.     Save
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Best xbox headsets under R1000

Whether you want to be part of the chaos of war in Battlefield 1, get drawn into the wonderful world of Witcher 3, explore Australia in Forza Horizon 3 or just chat with a buddy while playing a few casual rounds of Fifa 17, a good gaming headset is an essential part of your gaming hardware.  But unfortunately Headsets can range from just a couple of Rands to a couple of Thousands, Luckily BigJapester is here to help you find a couple of headsets for around a R1000.   Check out this quick guide below:  
  1. Polk Audio Striker XZ
  The Polk audio Striker XZ is a very distinct headset with its Signature L design.  Unfortunately this does not do its structural integrity any good and this headset feels flimsy in hand.  It does however make up for it in its ability to deliver crisp and clear high end sounds from any form of media.  Another of this headsets strengths is the chat loop function allowing you to hear your own voice during those loud and intense moments.  They are also very comfortable sporting leather padded cups and adjustable headpiece.  
  1. Turtle Beach Recon 50x
  The Turtle beach range spands across a large price range this being the cheapest in the family you can expect a drop in build quality but this comes at an advantage as it makes this headset super light which helps for those long sessions.  the cups are cladded in synthetic leather and doesn’t make your ears sweat like many other headsets.  The sound, as mentioned before this headset is entry level, is entry level, deep lows and crisp highs at low to medium volume but they don’t quite meet the occasion when they need to, the mic on the other hand is great at not picking up ambient sounds.  
  1. XBOX one official stereo headset
This headset really is perfect for the budget gamer, they have a sleek design that matches the xbox one console perfectly, and the cans are big and very comfortable with significant amount of noise cancellation.  The mic folds away neatly into the headband.  The sounds from this headset ranges well with lows getting down low and the highs reaching higher than you would expect from a headset priced like this one!  The adapter is also great for changing balance between game and chat audio on the fly.
  1. Steelseries Siberia X100
Steelseries has long been known for making good hardware and this headset is no different. The simple design makes it sleek and doesn’t make you look like a complete clown if you were to wear it somewhere else. The cups are well padded and breathe well, no sweaty ears here!  The Sound is top notch and hold up the brand name even at this entry level headset.  Solid lows and good highs make this a good option for the budget gamer.  
  1. Plantronics RIG Flex LX
This headset is the most expensive on the list but for good reason, the cups are large and fit over most ears and they are well padded for awesome comfort.  The headband adjusts to all sizes.  It comes with interchangeable mics, noise cancelling boom mic for those crazy cacophony moments!  Or switch to the inline mic for those times you need to chat to your buddies.  The 40mm drivers allow superb sound with the LFE (enhanced low frequency effect).  This headset ticks all the boxes if you can drop a little extra cash.     Hope this article can shed some light and help make the tough decision of purchasing an all round good gaming headset. Article By: BigJapester   Check out my next article where I will be reviewing more mid-ranged headsets! Save
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