gadgets

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

**A massive thank you to Sean who kindly agreed to do a guest review.  Please remember to take a look at the links included at the bottom of this review.

The TeckNet Redragon Centrophorus mouse packaging blends so very nicely with the style and look of the mouse.  The front of the box contains an image of the mouse, and well branded with the name of the mouse.  The back of the box lists some information relating to the mouse. Both sides of the box also has some information about the features of the mouse having 6 buttons, a gold plated USB 2.0 connector, weights and braided USB Cord. Opening the box reveals the mouse covered in a protective clear plastic shell.

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Over the years I have become used to using the Microsoft Wireless mouse range, but immediately the styling of the ReDragonLite mouse struck me. Once plugged in the mouse lights up with a red LED which is visible from the sides and the Dragon Logo on the back of the mouse. I have to admit that this mouse is by far one of the most visually impressive mice I have used, and I have used a few over the years. Despite its use of weights in the base of the mouse, I found it to be very light and similar to a laptop style mouse when in use. It is comfortable as the grooves on the side of the mouse help a light grip and it moves smoothly on any surface from mouse-pad to desk top.

The position of the six buttons are naturally placed easy to manage with just the simplest of hand movements, you instinctively find them without making a conscious effort to feel them out with fingers or thumb. The Scroll wheel has a rubber grip with treads that give you the sense of full control when it use. The DPI button is placed just far enough from the scroll wheel so its easily accessible with a press to activate and another to turn off and not so close that you will at any time accidentally turn it on during normal mouse use. It felt very natural to use as a mouse for use at work or at its designed use as a gaming mouse. As a gaming mouse it performed really well, responding to rapid movements with no issues when playing FPS games or MMO in Guild Wars 2 with the programmable buttons easy to configure for your needs.

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The moment I took a picture of the Redragon mouse and put in on social media and when I took it into the office for work to try out, once plugged in and lit up I know at least ten people who saw it and instantly placed an order for one on Amazon. Priced there for just £14.99 it is amazing value for that price both as mouse for work or gaming but also as a visual delight. Aesthetically pleasing as it is is effective as a mouse, the Redragon Centrophorus six button gaming mouse delivers on all levels for me and for the price is just amazing value.

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Review by Sean T. McCarthy. Please check out his blog and social media on the links below.
Blog: http://wasahiro.wordpress.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/CockneyCharmer
YouTube: http://bit.ly/1fYxozV

Today I have the Perixx MX-800 Laser Gaming Mouse and the DX-2000M Gaming Control Mousepad for review.  This will be a joint review because both items work so well together.  I’ll start off with the mouse and then cover the mousepad.

The MX-800 mouse packaging is very simplistic.  The front of the box contains an image of the mouse, as well as the Perixx logo and the name of the mouse.  The back of the box lists some information relating to the mouse, and also provides the same information in several languages.  Both sides of the box also has some information, including the fact that the mouse has 5 buttons, and a gold plated USB 2.0 connector.  The flap on the front of the box is held closed magnetically and when you open it up, you get a view of the top of the mouse.  In my case, the image on the front of the box showed a red mouse, yet when the flap was opened, both the image and the mouse were actually black.

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Included in the box is the mouse, a user manual, and some replacement feet for the base of the mouse.  I was surprised to see no bundled software for programming the mouse buttons, DPI, etc – however, you can download the required software and drivers from the Perixx website.

The mouse itself has a nice feel to it once you get it in your hands.  The shape of it seems to be better fitted to people with smaller hands, if I am honest.  I can imagine it could end up being uncomfortable to use if your hands are on the larger side.  The mouse fits nicely in my hand  and the placement of the buttons ensure that there is no need to adjust the hands position in order to use them.  When using the mouse, I didn’t encounter any hand fatigue, even after sitting at the PC for around 5 hours, which is always a good thing.  The mouse has a pulsating blue light effect that is visible through the transparent Perixx logo on the mouse, as well as on both sides of the mouse.  The DPI button is conveniently placed just behind the scroll wheel, which makes it easy to reach and use.

The software that you use with the mouse (download HERE) allows you to program the buttons to suit you, as well as setting the DPI (from 250 to 2500) and also change the light effects on the mouse.   It is very straightforward to use the software, meaning that pretty much anybody can set this mouse up to suit their needs.

Now we move on to the mousepad.  I don’t tend to use a mousepad very often, mainly due to lack of desk space, but nevertheless, I was looking forward to giving the DX-2000 a try.  It arrived in a thin cardboard box which boasts an image of the mousepad, as well as the Perixx logo and the name of the mousepad.  As with the mouse, the back of the box lists a bit of information about the mousepad, including the dimensions of the pad, all available in several languages.

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The mousepad was able to keep its shape in the box thanks to a firm cardboard insert accompanying it in the box.  Both easily removed by opening the flap on the back box.  First impressions of the pad were that it seemed to be high quality.  the stitching around the edge was neatly done and the bottom of the pad had a decent amount of rubber grip.  The grip actually kept the pad in place very well – no matter how much force I put behind it, there was very little movement.  Also present on the pad is the Perixx logo, as well as the DX-2000M branding.

Using the mousepad surprisingly made the mouse easier to use.  When used together, the mouse glided seamlessly over the pad and not once did I end up coming to the edge of the pad.

Overall, both products work very well together.  Perixx seem to have nailed it on the head, yet again, with this combination.  The mouse is easy to set up and use, and the pad adds to the experience.  I think I am definitely going to make a point of making a permanent space on my desk for a mousepad!