Best Mousepad by 3DGAMEMAN

•April 24, 2010 • Leave a Comment

3Dgameman talks about purchasing a mousepad..

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SteelSeries Experience I-2 Mousepad

•April 23, 2010 • 1 Comment

I picked up a much-needed mousepad from Newegg at the recommendation of Otaku. He said that this mousepad usually goes for $50 retail, so it seems like a good deal to me. There’s a bigger version, the Experience I-2 that gives an extra 4 or so inches for $5 extra. I had to get the smaller version due to desk size, but the $5 didn’t seem too steep.

Speaking of size, the I-1 isn’t exactly huge. It’s about as tall as a standard mousepad, but is nearly 2 times wider. You don’t need that much for high-sensitivity mouse use, but will definitely come in handy for long, sweeping motions or if you’re a low sensitivity user. The I-1’s frosted glass coating may aid in laser and IR mouse tracking, but it doesn’t do very well for trackball users. It may still provide stability and coolness points, but I wasn’t able to test it with a trackball.

The mouse I used was the Logitech G5, which comes with built-in teflon feet, so I didn’t need to use the included stick-on ones. They may be useful down the road, as I’ve heard that hard mousing surfaces wear down on the feet, but I haven’t seen any signs of this on my mouse, yet.

Normally I would use Medium-Sensitivity for gaming and web use on my old felt mousepad, but as I’ve used the I-1 I’ve found High-DPI modes to be more comfortable and accurate. I’m able to move swiftly with short, precise movements that feel natural in both gaming, general use and Photoshop work. If I had a real workflow I’d say this has smoothed it and made it more productive.

See the pun I used there? Smoothed? Am I a good writer yet, guise?
Source: http://razetheworld.gameriot.com

Roccat Apuri USB Hub

•April 23, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Introduction

Continuing our Roccat review rollout we have another product from the company, the Apuri. It might be another peripheral but it’s definitely different from anything we’ve reviewed before. This one is designed to improve the layout of your desktop, and I mean the top of your desk, by managing your mouse’s cable and running all your USB devices in a simple and intuitive manner; or so the Roccat press says. Lets see how it really pans out.


Features

* Active USB Hub: Four fully powered ports
* Zero Drag Mouse Bungee: guarantees unrestricted movement
* Your Desktop Assistant: for device and cable management
* Direct Port Access: connect any USB device so it’s within reach
* Passive Use Possible: thanks to the supplied USB cable
* Secure and Stable Stand: with ROCCAT-style blue glow

Technical Specifications

* 4 high-speed USB 2.0 ports
* Output power active (using AC adapter): 2A
* Output power passive (using USB cable): 500mA
* Length of USB cable: 1.5m
* Length of power cable: 1.5m
* Detachable Mouse bungee
* 3 LEDs (top) + under lighting
* Stable tripod design

Conclusion

The Apuri is a nice product, it looks good and does its job very well indeed; in fact I was surprised at how much I did enjoy having it as part of my desktop setup. However, the pricing for it is simply ludicrous. This product is more expensive than some gaming mice and this just makes it more likely that someone will upgrade something else instead of purchasing this quirky accessory, as without trying it you can’t really judge what it improves.
Bottom line, it’s a nice product that has a good effect on your workspace by limiting cabling and helping your mouse one stay at the correct length, but for the price I doubt many will consider purchasing.
source: http://www.xsreviews.co.uk/

Microsoft Sidewinde X6 Gaming Keyboard

•April 23, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Back in the days when joysticks really mattered to all PC gamers, Microsoft came into the gaming peripherals market with a new brand, SideWinder, and quickly dominated the space. They weren’t the best joysticks, but they were pretty good, aggressively priced, and easy to find. As joysticks and gamepads fell out of favor in PC gaming, the SideWinder brand faded, until Microsoft finally killed it off five years ago.

Late last year, someone at Microsoft had a good idea. If it’s all about the mouse and keyboard, why not produce mice and keyboards with the SideWinder brand? Enter the SideWinder Mouse, followed up this year by the updated SideWinder X5.

SideWinder X6 Keyboard
click on image for full view
Now, finally, Microsoft completes the duo with its SideWinder X6 Keyboard. From the company that probably sells more keyboards than anyone else comes their first keyboard designed specifically for gaming (the Reclusa was a joint venture primarily designed and built by Razer). This new sidewinder offers some interesting features, including nice big knobs to control the key backlighting and volume and the novel ability to detach the numeric keypad and hook it on to the left side of the keyboard. A few new features aren’t enough to earn high marks from us, though—you’ve got to get the basics right, too. Does the SideWinder X6 measure up?

A Visual Tour

The first and most obvious feature of the X6 is the ability to simply pop the number pad off the right and snap it on the left. What’s the point? Well, it’s certainly helpful for left-handed people that may want to do some quick calculating and feel more comfortable with the pad over there, or for those that want to use the number pad for movement in a first-person shooter or to select hotkeys in a strategy game or RPG (Role Playing Game). But the real point is to use all those number keys as recorded macro keys, when in the keyboard is set to the 2nd or 3rd macro bank (more on that in a minute).

Number pad on the left
click on image for full view
Of course, the ability to remove the number pad gives you the nice option of simply having a shorter keyboard, if you’re the type that doesn’t use the number pad and couldn’t care less. Good for those crowded tables at LAN parties or dorm rooms.

Number pad-less
click on image for full view
Taking a look along the top edge of the keyboard we find all the special function keys. First is the quick launch button, which opens the game explorer in Vista or the IntelliType software in Windows XP. Next is the cruise control button: press it along with up to four other keys and let go, and the keyboard will act like you’re holding those keys down. The macro record button, mode switching button, and media keys finish up the top row.

Top Edge
click on image for full view
You can’t miss the two giant knobs on the upper right edge, though. They really give the keyboard a very “Star Wars Imperials” sort of look, but they’re quite useful. The left knob controls the level of key backlighting. It sounds superfluous, but it turned out to be one of my personal favorite features—it turns out we don’t hate glowing keyboards, we just hate the amount of glow, and this knob lets us dial in to a very subtle glow that we find really attractive. The right knob controls volume, and we can’t say this enough: When it comes to volume control, knobs are good, buttons are bad.

Nice, With a Few Quirks

The SideWinder X6 is a very good gaming keyboard overall, and the ability to move the number pad to the left and set it up as a bunch of macro keys is perfect for macro-holics. The big knobs for backlighting control and volume are great. The keys have a nice “springy” feel with good bounce back, and nice big Shift, Backspace, and Enter buttons make basic typing easy.

Glowing
click on image for full view
There are a few gotchas, though. The spacebar is slightly longer than with many keyboards; most spacebars end around the “C” key, while this one goes halfway into the “X”. It makes it easier to strike when you have your hand over the W-A-S-D and want to jump, but hitting the left Alt key will take some getting used to. There’s no headphone jack or USB hub, if you care about those things. There’s also no PS2 keyboard plug—it’s USB only, though that’s not much of a problem in this day and age.

Our biggest gripe is the lack of “feet” on the underside to tilt the keyboard upward. Yes, we know it’s technically better for your hands to have the keyboard laying more flat than having the back edge raised, but that’s the way some people like to type. Microsoft told us the feet are missing due to cost (give us a break—this isn’t a $15 keyboard) and the technical challenges of having the swappable number pad remain secure. That’s the kind of engineering challenge we would expect Microsoft to have solved in an $80 keyboard.

All things considered, it’s a very good gaming keyboard for the price. It’s has a very good feel, great macro functions, a good key layout, and the nifty swappable number pad all for a reasonable $80. We’ve seen $100+ gaming keyboards that offered less. At the same time, products like Logitech’s G15 with its programmable LCD screen, while more expensive, may have even more utility for gamers. Microsoft has a winner here, but it’s not without room for improvement.

Razer Lachesis Gaming Mouse

•April 23, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Just when we thought the world wasn’t big enough for another gaming mouse, Razer unveils the Lachesis—a 4000 dpi behemoth. Not sure how fast that is? Take your average mouse and multiply its speed and sensitivity by five. Most non-gaming mice clock in around the 800 dpi range, while today’s gaming mice peak at a blistering 3200 dpi. Razer’s Speedy Gonzales (if you will) reminds us of a popular quote from Nvidia Chief Scientist David Kirk: “Why use a screwdriver when you can use a sledgehammer?”


The Lachesis has a total of nine buttons (all of which are programmable), 32KB of on-board memory for storing profiles, macros capabilities, and on-the-fly dpi switching. Razer touts its third generation laser sensor to have significantly improved tracking and precision over their previous 1G and 2G laser sensors—and its 4000 dpi sensor is legit, that is, not exaggerated through software interpolation to achieve artificially fast dpi speeds. You can read up on Razer’s 3G technology, which also discusses tracking speeds and acceleration.

The Lachesis qualifies as an ambidextrous mouse with its symmetrical shape. It measures five inches long, roughly two-and-a-half inches wide, and about an inch-and-a-half tall. The Lachesis improves upon the Razer DeathAdder with the inclusion of side buttons on both sides of the mouse, including two on-the-fly dpi buttons below the scroll wheel.

Razer Lachesis
click on image for full view

The Lachesis’ unique design veers a bit from conventional bar soap designs seen with many average mice. It has a wide front, narrow center, and elevated palm, all of which are coated with a satin-like, rubberized texture for a non-slip grip. For additional appeal, the scroll wheel has a blue backlight, and the Razer snake logo pulsates. Software tweaks can cut the lights if this sort of thing doesn’t jive with users.

Overhead View
click on image for full view

The Lachesis’ scroll wheel registers those clicky detents when scrolling up and down, ideal for weapon selection or simply line-by-line scrolling in general apps. With the mouse belly up, three Ultraslick Teflon feet are revealed, along with a profile button, and its super fast laser sensor. Its light weight coupled with Teflon pads ensure that the Lachesis glides smoothly across any flat surface.

Underneath the Mouse
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The Lachesis requires a PC with Windows XP or better. Along with the mouse are plenty of goodies: a quick start guide, installation CD, a 20-page instruction manual, stickers, and promotional stuff.

Enough talk. Let’s see just how impressive this sledgehammer is when the metal hits the concrete..

Using the Lachesis—Hits and Misses
There’s no question that the Lachesis is a powerful mouse with all of its bells and whistles, but just how well does it handle gaming and general tasks? Let’s takes a look at several important characteristics: look and feel (ergonomics), precision, buttons, scroll wheel, and software.

Ergonomics
An important consideration, perhaps the most important, is just how ergonomic a mouse feels in a person’s hand. We’re looking at comfort here, but unfortunately we didn’t feel that comfort was the Lachesis’ strong suit. As many people have argued, symmetrical mice have a difficult time as it is matching the comfort of a right- or left-hand specific mouse. And its unconventional shape didn’t bode well compared with a more modest, bar soap designs.

Its wide click buttons, narrow center, and high palm rest are more suited for user’s who control mice with their fingertips. Those with small- to medium-sized hands can gently rest or graze the palm rest in this case, thus elevating the hand slightly for fingertip control.

When we placed our hands entirely on the mouse, we didn’t feel that it shaped our hands very nicely, and we really didn’t have the sense of complete control. The side buttons, which our fingers are on all the time, make it tough to really give the mouse a firm squeeze when maneuvering.

Of course, ergonomics are always a unique, personal experience. We prefer the more average-shaped DeathAdder design over the Lachesis because it forms the hand a bit more nicely.

DPI and Precision
With five programmable dpi settings, within a range of 125 dpi and 4000 dpi, the Lachesis was game for any task imaginable. We found its on-the-fly dpi buttons to be handy when switching from a speedy cursor for gaming, to more pixel-precise control for sniping and image editing. The Lachesis takes the cake in providing the most dpi setting combinations over any other gaming mouse out there, offering over two dozen, with adjustments in increments as low as 125 dpi.

We tried using the Lachesis with a 4000 dpi setting, but that’s just way too fast for us. It’s too easy to overshoot the cursor, and the darned thing is too jumpy anyway. A more modest 2000 dpi sensor is more to our liking. Nobody out there will complain that this mouse isn’t fast enough.

We were able to clock the Lachesis’ polling rate at 500Hz, even though the software says that it can go as high as 1000Hz. 500Hz is a good response for a gaming mouse, so we don’t care if our tests don’t match Razer’s claim.

Overall, the precision of the mouse was very good. The mouse gently glides across a smooth surface, which we felt was a strong point with the Lachesis. Not once did we experience any jumpiness.

Picking up the mouse to move it to the other side of the mousing surface spawned little or no pesky cursor jumps that most gamers are familiar with. This is very impressive, and gaming mice usually always have this lift-off annoyance.

Using the Lachesis—More Mouse Analysis

Buttons
There are nine buttons on the Lachesis. None of them really gave us any problems. It’s a good thing the side buttons require a lot of pressure to click, otherwise we’d constantly run into the problem of clicking them by accident. The two on-the-fly dpi switching buttons are conveniently located below the scroll wheel, and we had no difficulty pressing them at will. These buttons are very clicky with plenty of tactile feedback.

The right- and left-click buttons do have an extra groove to keep the fingers in place; plus, with the rubber coating, our fingers never slipped.

Scroll Wheel
The scroll wheel provides a solid amount of tactile feedback while scrolling up and down—perfect for accurately measuring each click. As a middle-click button, the scroll wheel was easy to press down, and didn’t require extra force. We can’t recall accidentally pressing the middle-click button when scrolling up and down, nor vice versa. Nor do we recall ever overshooting the cursor when pressing the middle-click, which is common among many mice with hard-to-press scroll wheels.

Software
Razer has a reputation of having a sleek, cool-looking interface for its software, though we’d prefer something a little less edgy and a little more intuitive. You’ll have to scoot towards the screen to view all of the included options.

Once you do, there’s a wealthy amount of options to fine-tune the Lachesis. Razer has improved their amount of options here. Switching DPI modes, reprogramming buttons, and other tweaking options are very simple to do. It’s easy to miss the Advanced Settings and Sensitivity tabs because they’re tucked away in the top left corner, but once you press the little triangle, the menu expands to reveal more options.

Razer Software
click on image for full view

What’s also impressive with the software is the ability to record macros. You can assign a single- or multiple-key macro, up to eight different keystrokes. You can insert a 50 millisecond time delay between each keystroke if you’d like. We’d prefer more time delay options, or even better, the ability to record and play back with time delay. The G9 and SideWinder have the Lachesis beat in this category.

Macro Management

Profile management had its hits and misses. You can record up to five different profiles. However, if you choose to select profiles manually by pressing the profile button below the mouse, you may have to cycle through some extra profiles before returning to your selection, even if some slots are empty. This can be annoying for users who’d like to switch profiles mid-game.

Final Thoughts
The Razer Lachesis charges into the gaming market with a loud introduction, boasting a super fast 4000 dpi laser sensor, nine buttons, macro and profile management, and the list goes on. Its assortment of gaming characteristics will surely attract recruiters looking for a gaming mouse, though our only concern is with its design, which adopts an unconventional shape that doesn’t bode well for ergonomics.

Its wide front, narrow center, and elevated palm rest proved to be more apt for gamers who control mice with their fingertips. Even with this orientation, however, we wanted more control, more grip, something we felt we couldn’t achieve with the thumb on the side buttons at all times. Gaming mice typically have these buttons out of the way while users are moving the mouse. We felt that the design of the Lachesis and placement of the side buttons seemed to undo the successes achieved with the Razer DeathAdder, which we are big fans of.

What the Lachesis does do well, possibly beating every other gaming mouse out there, is its ultra-smooth glide during use. Heck, the Logitech G9 felt rough by comparison. We’ll chalk this up as a pro, though some people prefer mice with a lot of friction. The Lachesis also has over two dozen different dpi settings to choose from, more than any other mouse, along with two on-the-fly dpi buttons that cycle through five programmed dpi modes.

The included drivers and software have been refined, with additional features and some interface tweaks. Programming buttons and selecting among different profiles is a cinch, though we would prefer more macro abilities, and switching profiles manually was annoying because you had to cycle through all five.

We wouldn’t peg the Lachesis as being a better mouse than the DeathAdder; in fact, its design was something we felt kind of spoiled it. Still, it has some solid features, a super slick glide, and plenty of horsepower.

Source: http://www.extremetech.com

SteelSeries Siberia V2 Gaming Headset

•April 23, 2010 • Leave a Comment

As all good companies do, SteelSeries have taken one of their existing products, and made a series of improvements, upgrades and enhancements. The original Siberia headset, already a success, did have a number of flaws; perhaps the most notable of all was the microphone. The V2 should be able to put all this right as well as a few other bits and pieces. So can the Siberia headset be transformed from a good headset to a great one? Let’s take a look…
SteelSeries’ Take on the Siberia V2

siberia1

“Based on the award-winning SteelSeries Siberia Full-size Headset, the v2 features major enhancements in sound quality, comfort and its microphone. Every element of the v2 has been optimized for pro gaming, making the headset a preferred piece of equipment for the worlds’ best competitive PC gamers – the most demanding headset users in the world.

Sporting 25% larger 50mm driver units, the SteelSeries Siberia Full-size Headset dramatically boosts overall acoustic performance. Experience a rich and detailed soundscape from immersive atmospheric background music to precise 3D positional sounds of footsteps, gunfire and more.

The close type ear cups feature thick leather padded cushions built from sound dampening foam, designed to offer passive noise reduction from loud surroundings and improve comfort over prolonged use. A virtually invisible uni-directional microphone can be retracted from the left ear cup, optimized for essential voice communications.

The v2 remains lightweight and its trademark headband suspension construction makes it extremely comfortable for use over long periods of time.”
Features

* Closed type headphones
* Pull-out microphone
* Crystal clear high, low and mid-tones
* 50mm driver units
* Lightweight suspension construction
* Integrated volume control located on the cord

Specifications
Headphones

* Frequency response: 10 – 28.000 Hz
* Impedance: 32 Ohm
* SPL@1kHz, 1Vrms: 112 dB
* Cable length: 1,0 m + 2,0 m = 3,0 m / 9,84 ft.
* Jack: 3,5 mm

Microphone

* Frequency response: 50 – 16.000 Hz
* Pick up pattern: Uni-directional
* Sensitivity: -38 dB

siberia2

The new Siberia is clad mostly in white (hence the name) with a few bits of black here there. Currently, this is the only colour available but I wouldn’t be surprised to see a full black version released at some point as SteelSeries has done this in the past with previous headsets.
The original Siberia headset was first christened the Icemat Siberia but upon the merger of both Icemat and Steelseries, it was shortened to just the Siberia; the successor of which is the V2.
In terms of aesthetics and style, the headset not only looks great but also has a unique design with the two rigid white cords bending around to create the shape of the Siberia V2. The headband is situated just below the two cords and is constructed of very soft material in order to make it very comfortable to wear.
The use of elastic threads allows it to suit any head shape and doesn’t require the size to be set at a particular level.
The earcups have been developed from the Siberia giving them more padding with a smoother, silky feel. As with its predecessor, the actual speaker is just covered with a thin piece of material in order to prevent any muffling from occurring.
The outer parts of the earcups are constructed from solid shiny white plastic white a black grill effect in the centre. A small SteelSeries logo and either the letter ‘L’ or ‘R’ denote which way the headset should be worn.
Another, and perhaps the main, difference that has been implemented into the Siberia V2 is the position of the microphone. The original had a bulky mic attached to a clip so that it could be positioned on your shirt but in reality it just didn’t work and the ability to detach the mic completely wasn’t really a great feature.
So how has it been changed in the headset’s successor? Well, for a start the mic is an integrated part of the headset positioned at the bottom of the left ear cup. In addition to this, the mic is retractable allowing it to tuck away neatly when not in use. Overall, it’s a much better solution and the boom type, bendy cord allows it to be positioned in the perfect place for any user.
The cabling has also been adjusted with thinner, neater white cables. An extension cable is included bringing the total length to three metres with a small volume regulator and mute button for the microphone. Again, this is a good upgrade and just gives the Siberia V2 the edge in terms of practicality.
The connectors themselves are 3.5mm jacks, one for both the mic and headphones. So after the first showing everything looks top notch, but how will it perform?
siberia3
Conclusion
It’s very difficult looking for faults with the revamped Siberia; personally I’d prefer an all black design and maybe the price could be a little lower but to be honest I’m just being picky in order to try and come up with any sort of criticism. The Siberia V2 is an awesome headset: it’s got great sound quality, comfort in abundance and at last a decent microphone.
The mic mute and volume control makes the headset more practical and the headband works perfectly as we knew it would from the first Siberia.
So you’re looking to buy a new headset? Look no further; the SteelSeries Siberia V2 is almost perfect and definitely as good as it gets – great job SteelSeries.

Source: http://www.xsreviews.co.uk

Roccat Kave 5.1 Surround Headset

•April 22, 2010 • Leave a Comment

A Desert Eagle isn’t worth its fancy name, if you don’t know where to aim. Imagine your advantage within the heat of the battle when you exactly hear where your opponents are before you can actually see them. Knowing the position of your enemy is half the frag. Realistic 3D surround sound makes you locate your opponents easily by the noise they generate. The desktop control enables you to adjust to situations quickly with sound and microphone mute buttons and volume control for different channels.
Roccat Kave
“WHERE IS HE?”
Do you enjoy playing first person shooters with headphones?
Then sure enough you have asked yourself this very question before. But you won’t have to, ever again.

Imagine a headphone, not with simulated, but with three very real 40mm speakers arranged at a 12° angle embedded into the earcups, plus 2 additional vibration units. A true advantage, because no matter which game you play, opponents coming from behind and from the side you can find in almost any game.

WITH ROCCAT YOU ALWAYS STAY IN CONTROL
That also goes for the ROCCAT Kave. With the Tip’n’Control Desktop Remote, you receive a tool with extraordinary functions. Designed for maximized comfort and functionality, it can be placed firmly on your desktop. Beside the over-all volume, you can separately control the center, front and rear volume as well as the bass. You can even switch between the sound-profiles.

Thanks to the microphone with mute LED, the times of accidently giving away information are over. Due to the illumination on the micro itself, you can tell whether the micro is muted. Easy as never before. Furthermore, you can switch between the sound-profiles. You can choose between game and movie sound.

Great attention has been paid to convenience while wearing the Kave. The headband contains 3 separately bedded pads, which guarantee an equal weight distribution. The generous earcups are hand-sewn and especially comfortable, featuring external noise cancelling. The Kave is foldable and of compact design, it’s safe and easy to carry.

“After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is real sound.”
Dr. Erik J. Dale, ROCCAT Scientist
Source: roccat website