Wireless

All posts tagged Wireless

When it comes to choosing a new headset for your gaming needs, there is definitely a lot of choice about.  As well as having a large selection of headsets, there are also many different price ranges to choose from.  Do you buy something cheap and cheerful, something in the middle, or splash out on top of the range gadgets with 5.1 this and 7.1 that? Well, I’m hoping that the Afterglow Prismatic Wireless headset from PDP (Performance Designed Products) will show that you don’t have to spend huge amounts of cash to get decent, all-round quality.

As always, with any product, the first thing you notice is the packaging.  The box for the Prismatic headset is easy on the eye.  The front shows a view of the headset from the side, showing the different colours available for the illuminated earpieces.  It also gives you a list of devices that the headset is compatible with.  In this case, you can use the Prismatic headset with the Xbox 360, PS3, Wii & Wii U, PC, and mobile devices.  It’s worth noting that with the Xbox One chat adapter, you can also use this headset with the Xbox One console, and I’m assuming that it works in the same way for the PS4, although I am unable to try this as I do not own one.  The sides of the box has a feature comparison chart, as well as a run down of the custom audio profiles (see images).  Lastly, the back of the box shows a list of what the headset can do – from extraordinary sound, to the easy slide microphone.

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Now for the box contents.  To state the obvious, there’s a headset in the box!  As well as the headset, there is a large collection of wires – 2.5mm to 2.5mm (chat cable for Xbox 360), 3.5mm to 3.5mm audio cable, RCA cable with a 3.5mm connector, mini USB cable, and the wireless USB dongle (which is connected by default to the RCA cable via the 3.5.. connector).  As you can see, there is a cable for every occasion!  It is recommended that you charge the headset before using it for the first time, something that I did not do.  I soon charged it once I noticed a low hum while wearing the headset.  To charge, simply hook up the included mini USB cable and watch the lights in the earpieces flash away until the charging is completed, in which case, the flashing stops.

The headset itself seems to be very well built and sturdy.  The earpieces are made of a polyurethane leather type material, which only adds to the comfort of the ‘around the ear’ design.  The earpieces themselves are a decent size, but could possibly be a little bigger for those people with bigger ears.  The headset has a nice amount of flexibility, and is adjustable, although the earpieces do not rotate. The headband is made of plastic and sports the Afterglow branding and when adjusted, you can see the thin metal reinforcement strip that foes through the headband to the earpieces.  Lastly, the inside of the headband has a very nice padding which adds to the comfort factor when in use.  The left ear cup is where all controls can be found.  On the outside of the earpiece itself, there is a transparent plastic design.  Being able to see through to the inside allows you to see the circuit boards, etc, which actually looks quite nice! On the outer side of the earpiece is where the volume wheel is, as well as the mixer slider for voice and game sounds, connections for the 2.5mm Xbox 360 cable input, line in, and the mini USB port.  The front of the left earpiece is where the microphone can be found and pulled out for use, next to which is the Mode button that allows you to choose which lets you select the audio profile that you wish to use.  Lastly, on the outer left earpiece is where you’ll find the power/mute button.

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Now for the fun stuff!  Hooking the headset up to the PC was as simple as it could have been.  Simply plug the USB dongle into a free USB port on the PC itself, and then connect the 3.5mm jack to the speaker/headphone port on the sound card.  Once the drivers have installed themselves, you are good to go!  To turn the headset on, simply press in the button on the left earpiece until it lights up blue and you’re good to go.  Unfortunately, because of the amount of devices I have hooked up to my PC, there is a bit of a hum – this is only present on the PC and with the sound turned down slightly, the hum is not always noticeable.  To set the colour to one that you prefer, simply hold in the Mode button for a few seconds until it starts cycling through the available colours.  When you get to your desired colour, stop pressing the Mode button in and it will stay on the selected colour until the headset is powered off and back on again, or until it is changed manually – if you would rather stay colourless, you can depress the Mode button when you come to the part of the cycle that doesn’t feature a colour. The Mode button also allows you to choose one of the three audio profiles – Pure Audio (blue), Bass Boost (red) and Immersive (purple).  It’s easy to keep track of which profile you have chosen as there is a light at the end of the microphone that changes colour as you cycle through the profiles.

Even though the Prismatic headset is primarily a previous gen headset, I was unable to try it with an Xbox 360 as I sold it literally the day before it arrived.  I did, however, hook up the 3.5mm audio cable to the headset and also to the chat adapter connected to my Xbox One controller and was able to use it for both game audio and chat.  I was informed by friends that my voice came across nice and clear, and it was the same for me whilst listening to them.  I’ve also connected it up to my phone to listen to music, and as previously mentioned, it has been used on the PC.  My partner even likes to take it upstairs at bedtime and hook it up to the TV so that he can watch without disturbing me.

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As far as sound quality goes, I have no gripes with the headset.  Game play was clear and I was able to decipher which location footsteps and gunshots were coming from whilst playing Call of Duty, and hearing the revs of engines in Forza 6 was just mind-blowing.  On the other hand, watching TV and listening to music were both impressive, even more-so with the bass boost audio profile in play – I like to think that the 50mm speakers played a nice role in this!  While on the subject of the bass boost audio profile, the bass levels are more than adequate when in pure audio and immersive profiles – having that bit of extra oomph never hurts though.

Overall, I am very impressed with the Prismatic headset.  The sound quality is great, the build quality is sturdy & makes the headset feel like it can withstand every day uses with ease, and the fact that it can be used across multiple platform makes the whole package worthwhile.  Althought the lights are a cool feature, I can’t see myself sitting here each time I use the headset and scrolling through all of the colours to choose the one I want.  A great headset that won’t break the bank as much as other gaming headsets.  You can currently grab this headset for around £70 on Amazon UK (at time of posting).

Be sure to head over to the PDP website, visit their Facebook, Twitter & Instagram pages!

I was recently sent the PocketBoom Rechargeable Bluetooth Portable Speaker for review from the guys over at KitSound.  This is one product I was looking forward to getting to grips with.  Check out the unboxing video below.

Setting the speaker up for use was an easy task.  simply power on the PocketBoom speaker and put your phone/device into visible mode.  Your device should pick up the speaker after a few seconds – once it has, choose the speaker from the list of available devices and it should pair up.  If you run into any issues when it comes to pairing the devices, check out the included user manual and you should be sorted in no time.

The sound that the PocketBoom pushes out is surprisingly awesome!  For such a small device, I was not expecting what I heard.  The speaker pushes out a decent amount of bass as well, but depending on what device you are using it with, you may want to adjust the levels on the device itself beforehand to get the best sound out of things – even if you download an equalizer app or something to help with this, it is definitely worth it.

Because the speaker also doubles up as a hands-free device, I was itching to try out both the incoming, and outgoing sound quality.  When a call comes through, simply press the little button on the top of the speaker (the one with the phone icon) and you will be connected.  Incoming call quality through the speaker was great quality and did not come through distorted at all – again, very surprised at the quality.  Outgoing voice was a little on the quiet side when listening through the phone, but I could still hear what was going on.  This was easily rectified by rotating the speaker a little so that the small microphone port was facing the person talking rather than facing the opposite way.

The small rubber section on the bass of the speaker provided a decent amount of grip when the speaker was placed on a surface.  Pressing the buttons, etc, did not cause the speaker to move about unnecessarily, something else that I really liked.  The overall design of the speaker is very easy on the eye and definitely something that you would not be embarrassed to be seen with.

Having the option to connect up a 3.5 to 3.5mm cable is handy, especially if you have been using the PocketBoom for a prolonged period of time via bluetooth and the battery is starting to get low – you can still use the speaker if you are not ready to power down just yet.  When it comes to recharging the speaker, simply connect up the Micro USB cable and plug in the other end of the cable to a PC or laptop, or even a USB mains adapter.  I have used the speaker and managed to get around 3 hours of continuous play from it before having to charge again.

This tiny speaker really does pack a punch when it comes to playing music.  No matter what style of music you choose to play, it comes through nice and clear, and with a decent amount of bass.  The hands-free feature just adds to this little box of awesome and makes using it an absolute pleasure.  You can pick up the PocketBoom Rechargeable Bluetooth Speaker in a wide range of colours and for the price of around £30.00 GBP.  An excellent product at an affordable price.

I think it’s only fair that I start off this review by saying how much I love these Manhattan headphones from KitSound.  Out of all of the ones that I have reviewed, these are my absolute favourite!

First up, the packaging.  As with all of their products, KitSound know how to make their packaging stand out, but not in a bad way.  The front of the box has an image of the headphones, as well as a few tidbits of information regarding play time and call-handling.  The sides of the box gives some information in regards to where the name of the headphones came from, and the back of the box lists the features and specifications for the products, as well as the contents of the box.

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Speaking of the box contents… The headset is well packaged between two cardboard inserts that offer a high level of protection during storage and transit.  Pulling these pieces apart, the headset is there for you to see in all its glory, and it is a very glorious sight!  Also provided is a USB to Micro USB cable, a Micro USB to 3.5mm jack cable, and a user manual.

The headset itself feels great in the hand.  The fully adjustable headband is padded, but not too much, whereas the rotatable earcups have a nice amount of padding.  The earcups are fitted to the headband using a silver metal fastener, which is also used to adjust the size of the headband.  The cables that feed through the headband are a braided material rather than the rubber material that you find on other headphones – a really nice change as there is no chance of stretching and damaging the cable.  The earcups both sport the KitSound brand logo on the outside and the bottom of the left earcup has the Bluetooth On/Off switch, the Micro USB port, Forward/Back button which also couple as the Volume + & – buttons, the Microphone and the LED indicator.

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Setting up these headphones to use with my phone was rather straightforward.  Because they are wireless and include Bluetooth 2.1, they are compatible with most devices out there right now.  I set them up firstly with my HTC One and I had them working within 30 seconds.  It was just as quick setting them up with the iPhone as well.  If I did run into any issues, the user manual provides steps to get things paired. Getting used to the controls on the earcup took a little longer, but once I had got used to which way I had to press the button to change song/volume level, everything as fine.

Comfort wise, I cannot fault these headphones.  They are light enough to sit on my head and over my ears for hours of use with no discomfort from both the headband or the earcups.  The sound quality is pretty amazing, too.  I have used a few high priced pairs of earphones and the Manhattan’s are way up there with those.  There is a decent amount of bass, the music doesn’t sound tinny, and no matter what genre of music I tried them with, the music sounded as it should have.  Call quality is top notch too, both incoming and outgoing sound.

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The battery life on these headphones is impressive – 18 hours of play time, 30 hours of talk time, and up to 300 hours standby time!  Charging the headphones’ Lithium Polymer battery is as easy as hooking up the Micro USB cable to the port on the left earcup and the USB to a power source and you’re away.  The other thing that I love about the Manhattan’s is that if you are caught out with a low battery, you can simply hook up the Micro USB to 3.5mm jack cable and use them as wired headphones!

If you haven’t been able to tell already, I am in love with these headphones.  They have impressed me no-end since I started using them and I look forward to using them on a regular basis.  If you ask me, these are well worth the £34.99 price-tag, and more.  I HIGHLY recommend these to anybody looking for a decent pair of headphones at a decent price and with them being available in a range of colours, there is sure to be something to suit everyone!

The more products from Razer that I use, the more I fall in love with them as a brand.  I have grown accustomed to the outstanding quality, ease of set-up and use, and the range of people that they cater for.

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The moment I saw the packaging for the Mamba 4G 2012 gaming mouse, it was a pure ‘wow’ moment.  The mouse itself is presented in a transparent box packaging that shows off its beauty before you even touch the box.  The mouse is shown attached to a stand that allows you to see all angles of it.  The top right hand corner of the box is sporting the Razer logo, while the right top corner informs you that the Mamba is powered by the all new 4G Dual Sensor system.  The bottom half of the box is encased in a cardboard sleeve that you simply slide off to remove.

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Getting into the box was a bit tricky for me.  I don’t have much strength in my hands so the fact that you have to press the two sides of the box together and pull out the top from the bottom before you can get into the box would have put a stop to things for me straightaway.  Luckily, I had my partner to open the box for me.  Once the top was separate from the bottom, gaining access to everything was pretty easy.  You simply unclip the mouse from the stand to remove it.  Looking around the back of the box, you are greeted with three cardboard drawers, as well as the standard  envelope that contains the Razer stickers and information.  The drawers themselves contained even more goodness.  The big drawer at the bottom of the three was housing the mouse charging dock.  The dock itself has the Razer logo, a sync button, and a space in the back to plug-in the cable.  Drawer number two contained the 1100 mAh battery, which provides around 12 hours of use once fully charged.  In with the battery you will also find the battery compartment cover for the base of the mouse.  Finally, in the last draw, is the braided Mini USB cable which you can use to connect the charging dock to the PC OR you can plug it directly into the mouse to make it wired – how amazing!  The mouse simply sits on top of the dock – it’s pretty simple and once in place, feels quite secure.

Setting the mouse up took only a few seconds.  Plug the dock into the PC and insert the battery into the mouse.  The battery may need charging before use, so maybe set it up a little while before you intend to use it, or use the USB cable.  Once plugged in and turned on, the RGB LEDs went to work and my gosh, they look amazing!  The dock lights up all around the base and the mouse lights up in unison.  The lights are fully customisable using the Razer Synapse 2.0 cloud software – you can also use the software to personalise your mouse DPI  (range of 100 to 6400), buttons and cursor settings – perfect for if you have different profiles for different people.  Also using the Synapse program, you can keep track of the battery power level and also calibrate the mouse to suit you.  Finally, the Mamba is sporting the new 4G sensor, which uses both a laser and an optical sensor, which when coupled with the ultra slick mouse feet, provides increased accuracy across a number of different surfaces.

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After using the mouse as both a wired, and a wireless mouse, personally, I could tell no difference.  Both modes worked seamlessly well and having the option to go wired and wireless is definitely something that could come in handy.  The Mamba fits very nicely in the hand and access to all buttons (Left & Right, scroll wheel, two small buttons at the top of the left mouse button and two on the left side of the mouse) is easy and effortless.  It is very comfortable to use for both short and extended periods of time and for someone who gets sore hands from long sittings at the PC, I can honestly say that I encountered no discomfort.  The base of the mouse has the sensor, power button, sync button, an eject button for when the USB cable is attached, making it easier to remove, and of course, the battery compartment.

After having time to use the mouse for a number of activities, the ease of use with the Synapse 2.0 software, and also being able to sit back and watch the light show provided by the charging dock, I am very impressed with the Razer Mamba 4G mouse.  It is an absolute pleasure to use, no matter where you are or what surface you are using.  The option to have both a wired and wireless mouse is a nice touch and would suit any and every body.

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I needed a new wireless keyboard and mouse because the wired ones that I had were no longer convenient due to the PC’s location. I didn’t want to pay through the nose for something, so went looking for something cheap and cheerful.

I came across the Octigen Wireless Keyboard & Mouse set for £11 on Amazon UK, and after reading the reviews, I decided to give it a try. Needless to say, I am pretty happy with the product.

When first setting up the keyboard & mouse, it was just a case of plugging in the USB dongle, putting the batteries in the keyboard and mouse, and away we go – it really was that simple.

The mouse itself is very nice to look at, although it is reasonably smaller than a regular mouse. I have fairly small hands and it fits quite snuggly and is a pleasure to use. If you are male, or have large hands, this may not suit you quite as well.

The keyboard is a decent size, complete with all of the regular hot keys – volume, mute, mail, search, etc. It fits quite nicely on my lap when using it, and does what you would expect of a keyboard. The keys aren’t noisy and clunky like some keyboards, which adds to my pleasure because I like them quiet. There is a glossy effect to the keyboard which seems to be a magnet for fingerprints, but these wipe away pretty easily.

I have had my keyboard & mouse set for almost 6 weeks at time of posting and have only had to change the batteries once. I believe this could be because the batteries that were included were just your bog standard batteries, which do the job at first to enable you to set up and use straight out of the box.

All in all, for the price, I would definitely recommend the Octigen Wireless Keyboard & Mouse set to anyone who wants something that does the job, but without breaking the bank.

**Review written 21/05/12