PC

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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!

**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!

I’ve definitely got used to high quality products from the guys over at Razer, and their Kraken 7.1 Virtual Surround Sound Gaming Headset was something I was looking forward to getting my hands on. Is it going to be something that continues the long running, high quality success that gamers have come to know and love?

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The packaging for the Kraken 7.1 headset is keeping up appearances, literally.  With its eye catching black and green colour scheme, it definitely catches the eye.  Being a fan of everything green any way, this is a great start as far as keeping me interested.  The box itself shows you what to expect design wise by sporting a nice image of one of the earcups, complete with the mesh finish and the illuminated green Razer logo on the earcup.  Also included on the box is some headset related information, including the fact that it is a 7.1 virtual surround sound headset, and that it has an enhanced digital microphone.  The back of the box lists product details and specifications, as well as a detailed image of the headset.

As with all Razer packaging, getting into the box is almost as good as looking over the outer box.  The box opens from the right to left and you are instantly greeted with a full on view of the headset.  The inside of the opened flap contains a long paragraph relating to the headset.  The headset is covered by an easily removable plastic covering that slides off of the box.  Removing the headset is relatively straightforward enough – unfasten the ties that are holding it in place and take it out of the box.  The braided USB cable is neatly tucked away behind the cardboard sleeve insert beneath the headset and the Razer user manual  and stickers are located above the headset between the insert and the top of the box.

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First impressions of the headset – it feels very sturdy, well made, and comfortable.  The not overly padded, fully adjustable Razer branded headband ensures that the headset does not cause any discomfort during prolonged use, as do the extremely padded and comfortable, foldable ear cups.  The ear cups themselves have a closed cup design to help maxmise the sound.  The Razer logo can be found on the outside of both, as well as the solid, mesh type design.  On the left ear cup, you will find the retractable, enhanced digital microphone, and also the 2 meter braided gold plated USB cable.  It all fits together extremely well and is very, very easy on the eye.

Setting the headset up to get the most out of its features, requires you to download Synapse 2.0 from the Razer website as there is no software CD included.  Once installed, you are required to calibrate the virtual surround sound – this is very straightforward and only takes a few minutes.  Once you have completed the calibration process, you will notice that you have more menu tabs to choose from, including audio, mic, mixer, eq, and lighting.  Each of these menus give you the option to make additional changes to features such as bass boost, sound normalization, and voice clarity, and mic sensitivity/volume.  The EQ menu allows you to choose from a list of presets, and also gives you the option to create a custom preset.  Lastly, if you decide that the lights on the headset (Razer logos on the ear cups and the small light at the end of the mic) are too much for you, you can disable them from within the lighting menu.

While using the Kraken headset, I mostly played World of Tanks, Far Cry 3, and some Battlefield 3, while using Mumble for chatting.  I could not fault this headset at all if I am honest.  Voice chat came through crystal clear, and I was informed that my voice was also coming through clear – clearer than it did while using my previous headset.  I think that the inclusion of a digital microphone rather than a standard mic was definitely a smart move.  Also, if you don’t fancy chatting ALL the time, there is a mute switch located towards the end of the microphone itself – if you do mute it, you will be able to tell because the green light goes off when the mic is off, and on when the mic is on!  The game sounds were, in all honesty, amazing!  Being able to hear sounds coming from all around you definitely helped in identifying what directions the enemy were coming from, as well as being able to hear simple sounds that were not picked up previously.  Put all of this together and you have the perfect package!

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I didn’t only use the Kraken for playing games, though.  I also watched a few films and TV shows while using them, as well as using them for listening to music.  Being able to experience watching TV/films using the 7.1 virtual surround sound  was simply awesome!  It added so much to the overall film and actually made you feel a part of it.  Music wise, there was a lot of bass even with the bass boost turned off, and this kind of overpowered the music itself.  I think it all depends on your music taste when it comes to using this headset for music – if you like music with a lot of bass, then I doubt this will be an issue for you.

I think that anybody who picks up a Razer Kraken 7.1 Virtual Surround Headset will definitely not be disappointed.  With the eye catching colour scheme and the overall comfort factor, this headset would make a lot of people happy.  The crystal clear voice chat and game sounds only adds to the whole gaming experience, and it also adds a bit of a WOW factor to watching TV & films.  Being able to customise the headset to suit you using the Synapse 2.0 software is a nice touch, especially with the list of presets that you have to choose from.  If that wasn’t enough to sway you, maybe the price will?  At time of posting, you can pick this headset up for around £89.00 from Amazon UK

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Tech Specs

  • Advanced 7.1 virtual surround sound engine
  • Enhanced digital microphone
  • Designed for extended gaming comfort
  • Razer Synapse 2.0 enabled
  • Powerful drivers for highest-quality gaming audio
  • Closed ear cup design for optimal sound isolation
  • Foldable ear cups for maximum portability

Headphones

  • Drivers: 40mm neodymium magnets
  • Frequency Response: 20Hz – 20kHz
  • Impedance: 32 Ω
  • Sensitivity @ 1kHz: 112dB
  • Output Power: 30mW
  • Connector: Gold plated USB
  • Cable Length: 2m / 6.56 ft braided USB cable
  • Approximate Weight: 340g

Microphone

  • Frequency response: 100Hz –12kHz
  • Sensitivity @ 1kHz: -40dB ± 4dB
  • Signal-to-noise ratio: 63 dB
  • Pick-up pattern: Omnidirectional

System Requirements

  • PC / Mac with USB port
  • Windows® 8 / Windows® 7 / Windows Vista® / Mac OS X (10.6-10.9)
  • Internet connection (for driver installation)
  • At least 100MB of free hard disk space

Today, I have the Venom Vibration XT+ Headset for review.  The XT+ is a step up from the XT model, and has added support for the PlayStation 4 console.  As well as working with the PS4, you can also use it with the Xbox 360, PS3, PC, and Mac.

First up, the packaging.  The front of the box has a half and half design going on.  The left side of the box has the Venom logo, the name of the headset, and a short bit of text informing you about the vibration technology that is included.  The right hand side of the front of the box gives you a view of one side of the headset through a clear plastic window.  Under this window there is a list of the platforms that this headset can be used with.  The back of the box lists several pieces of information related to the headset, including the fact that the headset boasts 40mm drivers, as well as the 3.85 metre cable.  At the bottom of the rear of the box there are a couple of diagrams showing how to quickly set up the headset for both component and HDMI cables.

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The headset itself is securely transported in a clear plastic insert.  The first thing I noticed when removing the headset from the box is how light the headset is.  It has a nicely padded, fully adjustable, Venom branded headband, padded earcups which both have the Venom logo, and the generous 3.85 metre cable. The cable contains the inline volume controls, the USB connector, component cable adapters, and the 2.5mm plug for the Xbox 360 controllers.  Also included in the box is a detachable microphone for the headset, and a user manual.

Connecting the headset up to your platform of choice is reasonably straightforward, especially if you are familiar with setting up headsets previously.  If you do get stuck, the included user manual is helpful as far as getting you up and running.

I don’t have a PS4 so was unable to test it with that console, but I did put it through its paces on the PS3, Xbox 360 and PC.  The headset vibration feature is something that worked surprisingly well and being able to control the amount of vibration using the dedicated switch on the inline control was a nice touch.  The vibration made all the difference during game play with the 30mm vibration speakers – it was as if it was bringing the game to life that little bit more.  Also included on the inline control box was the mic mute switch, and the volume controls for both chat and game volumes.  Having dedicated game and chat volume control is always a nice bonus because there is nothing worse than not being able to hear chat over the game volume.  The sound quality was very impressive for both game and chat on all platforms, and I was informed that my voice was nice and clear and there were no reports of any feedback or distortion.  Having the logo on each earcup illuminate in an eye catching red colour when in use just added to the list of nice touches that this headset contains.

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The XT+ headset was a pleasure to wear for prolonged gaming periods.  The padded headband and earcups definitely played a large role in the comfort department, as did the fact that the headset is nice and light.  I don’t have massive ears and did not encounter any discomfort during long sessions.  I cannot comment as to how comfortable the headset would be for people with larger ears, though I doubt there would be an issue, if I am honest.

Overall, I am pleasantly surprised with the Venom XT+ Headset.  It provides comfort, it adds to the game playing experience, and the fact that you can use it on your choice of platform (all except the Xbox One) is a bonus.  The vibration features adds an extra level to the game that you are playing and having the option to increase and decrease the level of vibration means that it isn’t something that is forced on you.  For the price you pay (£32.99 GBP) and the fact that you can use it on your choice of platform, this is a headset that I would highly recommend.