gadgets

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Technical specification

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

Product Features

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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