SteelSeries Apex [RAW] Keyboard

Hey internets! This is Liz Poisonkiss, altruistic gaming hedonist extraordinaire!

Once again, I got my hands on a great product that I just have to talk about. The SteelSeries Apex [RAW] keyboard is an overall win in my book. Oh, let me count the ways!

steelseries-apex-raw

First off, I must clarify something so that this review gains some perspective. I use my keyboard a LOT. I wear down most keyboards really quick.  I’m constantly writing papers for my graduate program, composing emails, and doing some pretty intense PC gaming. So I was glad to get my hands on the Apex [RAW] keyboard.

This keyboard’s a little bigger than my other one because it extends down to form a  hand rest at the bottom. I’ll admit to preferring a smaller keyboard to conserve space but what it lacks in compactness it makes up for in performance. It’s low key profile and responsive keys don’t miss a beat as my fingers fly across the keyboard. The anti-ghosting modifications don’t let my game slow down when every second counts. Also, don’t you just hate it when you’re gaming full screen and in the middle of a heated battle and suddenly the game minimizes and your start menu pops up? Yup, you’ve hit the Windows key. But never fear, this keyboard gives you the ability to disable the Windows key and avoid all that mess!

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Not to mention all the freaking macro keys! There are 17 macro keys with two levels at your fingertips that give you the ability to instantly access 34 macros all customizable via the SteelSeries Engine. That’s a refreshing time saver!

Oh, another deceptively simple but nifty feature that the Apex [RAW] keyboard has is drainage holes. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve been writing late at night while enjoying a steaming mug of brain go-go juice (coffee) to have it spill all over my keyboard. At that point my work is abruptly interrupted as I run with my keyboard to the sink and say a silent prayer to the computer gods that my keyboard will not be a completely sticky unusable mess. At least I know that with this keyboard I stand a chance.

steelseries-apex-raw

Compared to its big brother (SteelSeries Apex) the Apex [RAW] gives you the essentials you need for a fraction of the price. For only $69.99 you get top notch long lasting performance on a budget (some of us have to pay tuition).

One more thing, I’m writing this review on my Apex [RAW] keyboard and I completed one semester (4 months) of work, emails, gaming, and it survived two coffee/drink spills. That’s why this keyboard wins.

liz

Tech specs:

Connection: Wired USB

Cable: 6ft rubber coated

Build: Plastic

Key switch: Rubber membrane

Backlighting: 8 brightness levels of white light

Gaming: 17 dual layer marco keys, extra arrow keys, Capable of disabling Windows key.

USB pass-through: No

Audio pass-through: No

Goodies: Low-profile keys, Anti-Ghosting technology, Media controls, Drainage holes for spills.

Steelseries Sensei Pro Grade Laser Mouse Review

Hey there, internets! This is Liz Poisonkiss, altruistic gaming hedonist extraordinaire! Today I’m reviewing the bad-ass Steelseries Sensei Pro Grade Laser Mouse.

SteelSeries-Sensei-Pro-Grade-Laser-Mouse

First off, I want to just say, wow. For the last month I’ve been using this amazing piece of hardware to game, surf the web, edit pictures, write, and pretty much do everything I do on my desktop.  From the first moment when I tore the Sensei out of the box I was impressed by its ambidextrous shape and silver shine finish. It also feels good in my hand (that’s what she said!), the size is just large enough to let my hand rest on it but not so small I would get cramps after only an hour gaming. But looks and size aren’t everything (honest!).

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As I was about to hook it up I noticed the cord is well protected with a flexible protective weave that shields the cable from fraying. That’s why my last mouse started crapping out on me; I was thrilled to not have to worry about that. After I plugged it in, my new mouse just worked after about a minute. But this is no ordinary mouse, we’re just getting started!

Even though I enjoyed having a smooth responsive mouse to play with, I’ll admit I wasn’t going to be satisfied until I make this thing fit me and my style. So off I went to install the SteelSeries Engine on my PC. It was super easy to install and honestly this is when my jaw dropped. When I opened that control panel an ocean of customization options opened themselves to me! I was in heaven!

SteelSeries-Sensei-Pro-Grade-Laser-Mouse

Here are only some of the badass changes you can make to this mouse. There are three areas to change the color on it with, get this, 16.8 million different colors to choose from! Underneath, the mouse has an LCD display which you can customize with your own graphic and/or use to remind you which one of the tons of detailed macros you have active on the mouse at the moment.  You can customize the speed of your mouse to a blindingly fast 11,400 CPI because it has its own freaking processer in the thing! This mouse is more powerful than some of my first computers. The eight strategically placed buttons can be assigned to do anything you like although, just like any ambidextrous mouse, sometimes misclicks can occur while you get used to holding it. Seriously though, if I wrote about every way you could customize this mouse it would take too long! On the box it says, “the world’s most customizable mouse” and I’m starting to believe it. Suffice it to say this mouse can meet even the pickiest gamer’s needs.

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So how much is “the world’s most customizable mouse”? The Sensei Pro Grade Laser Mouse retails for $89.99. Can you believe it? A quality fully customizable professional gaming mouse for under a hundred dollars. I was really surprised at this because I know that the market contains lots of gaming mice with fewer features for more money. After using it and abusing it in my typical fashion, I think I can look forward to years of hard gaming with top performance using this mouse. I’m glad I got my hands on it and you’ll thank me if you do.

Tech specs:

 SteelSeries-Sensei-Pro-Grade-Laser-Mouse

SIZE AND WEIGHT:

Weight: 102 grams (0.22 lbs)

Height: 38,7 mm (1.5 in)

Width: 68,3 mm (2.7 in)

Length: 125,5 mm (4.9 in)

SPEED:

Default CPI range: 1 to 5,700 CPI.

Double CPI range: 5701 to 11,400 CPI.

BUTTONS: 8

FRAMES PER SECOND: 12,000

INCHES PER SECOND: 150+

ACCELERATION: 30G

SENSOR DATA PATH: True 16 bit

LIFT DISTANCE: 1-5mm

CABLE: 2m-6.5ft

Steelseries Siberia V/2 Review

Hey there, internets! This is Liz Poisonkiss, altruistic gaming hedonist extraordinaire! Today I’d like to discuss the merits of a super cool pair of headphones from Steelseries: the Siberia V/2 Full-Size headset.

Liz Poisonkiss

I’ve had these headphones for about a month now and have they seen some action! They have been smushed  in my backpack next to my laptop and heavy load of graduate study textbooks, tossed around wildly while getting caught around my feet and my cat’s paws, and it’s cord tangled and untangled repeatedly as I hastily put them away before class (or sex!). This sturdy piece of hardware took all my abuse and begged for more, working flawlessly every time I plugged it into my various devices.

So what kind of performance are we talking about here? I played games, made Skype calls, watched movies/TV, and listened to lots of music through these and I must say it was excellent! When listening to music I could hear the touch of the piano keys, the tangible twang of guitars, and the breathing of the performers.  I was particularly impressed at the bass reverberating in my ears as if I had a tiny portable subwoofer.  And the 3D sound was magnificent as well. While gaming I could head the footsteps of my teammates and enemies as I stalked around being all rogue-y. But when I was caught or a monster roared in my direction you better believe I jumped out of my seat.

Speaking of rogue-y types things, did you know that these headphones have a little rogue microphone hiding inside them?! Curled up in the left headphone is a tiny extendable microphone.  And besides soaking up clear and crisp sound, I love the fact that it’s retractable. It stays out of the way unless I need it.

Oh, and the comfortable leather pads around my ears are soft and allow me to ignore the rest of the world while I have them on. Yay for not being interrupted! And boy can I have these suckers on for a long time. Not only are the headphone pads comfortable, but the unique design of the headset’s headband doesn’t squeeze my head or place the weight of the device on my head allowing me to play for hours and hours. However, there is a risk of going deaf! Be careful, these guys go up to 11. I’m sure the handy in-cord volume and mic control can keep that in check.

Oh, and the nicest part about these headphones is the price. At $89.99 performance like this is a bargain. They come in a rainbow of colors so you can match them to your personality. No matter what you use these babies for, they are sure to provide you with years of premium performance. I just am crazy about these new headphones and anyone who enjoys premium performance for a great value will enjoy them too!

Tech specs:

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Headphones:

Frequency response: 18 – 28,000 Hz

Impedance: 32 Ohm

SPL@ 1kHz, 1 Vrms: 112 dB

Cable length: 9.8 ft. (1 + 2 = 3 m)

Jacks: 3.5 mm

Microphone:

Frequency response: 50 – 16,000 Hz

Pick up pattern: Uni-directional

Sensitivity: -38 dB

Games and the XX Chromosome

xx chromosomes
xx chromosomes

I’m normal, I swear. I get up every morning, have something to eat, shower, go to work, come home. However, instead of planning a new outfit, painting my nails, or going shopping; I pop in a video game. Does that make me so different?

According to the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) “Forty percent of all players are women and women over 18 years of age are one of the industry’s fastest growing demographics.  Today, adult women represent a greater portion of the game-playing population (33 percent) than boys age 17 or younger (20 percent).”

So why is it still such a shock to see a woman enjoying some good old fashioned interactive virtual fun? Why does the stereotype still exist? Is it because the games themselves sustain female stereotypes? Is it the social awkwardness of the typical male who chooses the video game as their media of choice? Or, is it the gaming industry that tries to paint this idyllic view of their manly models playing their games in ads?

Oh, I’ve heard it all before. “But chicks only play the cutesy and lame games.” “Girls only play for their men.” Not so, in fact, a significant number of women are out there playing MMOs, FPSs, and RTSs. And according to the ESA “the average female gamer plays games 7.4 hours per week.” So why is it that people still think that games are a male dominated arena?

It’s because the game development is still predominantly male. “Studies have shown that nearly 9 in 10 workers in the industry are men.” However, when girls are exposed to games early enough (like their male counterparts) they can see game development as a viable career option. The more we play and the more we get behind games, the more we can broaden the gamer image.

Games are everywhere now, from smart phones to Facebook. And with the Microsoft Kinect, the game world has expanded to include those who have always shied away from complicated button controllers. Sooner or later we will all become gamers as the media shifts from static entertainment to interactive. And the days of the all male gamer stereotype will fade away. And we’ll all be able to bask in the glow of our favorite electronic media!