Hardware

We take a different approach on reviews. We know there are great sites where you can get super technical reviews. We try to focus on the everyday consumer and make sure they have the information they need to make the right decision on a variety of purchases. Here you can find our hardware reviews.

Blue Mo-Fi Headphones Review

The first things you will notice about the Blue Mo-Fi Headphones is how LOUD they can be. The headphones have internal batteries that require no maintenance. The only thing they require is charge should you desire to use the amplied modes. The headphones have three settings: OFF, ON, ON+. OFF is what a normal person will use or what you will want to use most of the time if you’re not doing anything intense. This mode is still pretty loud compared to other headphones and it’s fine for everyday use. [...]

Retro Arcade Watch

In keeping with the arcade theme, the analog-style time is displayed with a combination of dials – space rocks for the hours and minutes, and a spaceship for the seconds hand. Did I hear you say Asteroids? Well, you said that, we didn’t. As mentioned previously, when the fire-button is pressed, the hour indicator dots are lit up in red, so if you find yourself in a dark alley and you need to know what time it is, just press the fire-button. [...]

MOGA: The Mobile Game Changer

Let’s face it, what good is a controller if it can not be used on a myriad of games. Given the MOGA is for Android 2.3+ devices (we used it on a Samsung Galaxy S3), there are numerous games on Google Play that are ‘enhanced’ for the MOGA. Having said that, games that are compatible with the MOGA must run via its proprietary app, the MOGA Pivot App (don’t stress, it is a breeze to setup and use). Unfortunately, this means that your much loved retro gaming emulators can not utilise this controller. [...]

Kingston DataTraveler HyperX 3.0 Thumb Drive

When transferring large files you will sometimes find yourself wanting this done in a hurry which is where USB 3.0 comes in. USB 3.0 is the latest standard and is about 10 times faster than 2.0 and this drive is even faster than your normal 3.0 USB drives. So for instance, if you had 12GBs of games to transfer, it might take up to 40 minutes with a USB 2.0 drive, six minutes with a standard 3.0 drive and 3 minutes with the DataTraveler HyperX. The question is, how important is your time? [...]

Gameboy Micro Famicom Edition

Here is the Micro along side the special edition NES Controller inspired Game Boy Advance SP we got here in North America. It’s crazy to see the difference in the screen size, and just the layout and size differences between the two. But I honestly love both and I’m so glad I have the two of them in my collection! [...]

D-Link Gaming Router AC1300

Another good thing is setup. The D-Link Gaming Router AC1300 comes with the main unit, an Ethernet cable, power adapter and a quick install guide. Trust me, this is a simple setup, and pretty much you plug it in, run the software and you are good to go. Now some people have talked about not using the StreamBoost and as a result you do not get access to some of the features in the UI interface. The interface is reached by entering the IP of the router and setting up your login and password. [...]

SteelSeries H Wireless Headset Review

One of the questions about wireless headsets was battery life and interference. As far as battery life, again the H Wireless Headset knows what gamers need. They understand that when your battery goes low you need to pop in another one fast. The good news is the battery life is a little over 20 hours and the transmitter holds a secondary battery that charges while the other is in the headset. It is quick and easy to remove the plastic cover on the headset, remove the battery, pop out the other fully changed one in the transmitter, pop it in, pop the other in the transmitter to begin charging and get back to gaming. [...]

The Logitech G19s

So let’s get right into it. One thing about any review be it video games or hardware is the question of, how can the reviewer give an honest review if their job is to continue to review products and maintain relationships with companies. I found after a lot of trial and error, that the key is to recognize the different aspects of people’s decisions in purchasing a specific product. For the Logitech G19s, a big issue is price and at $199.99 it is completely understandable. What you have to do is really look at all the features and then your own needs, wants and budgets and ask yourself is it all worth it. [...]

Arcadie Review

Straight off the bat, the Arcadie is compatible with Apple’s iPod and iPhone devices up to and including the iPhone 4S and iPod Touch (3rd and 4th Generation). Unfortunately, if you have an iPhone 5 or above, you miss out. Not only is the Arcadie hampered by limited hardware compatibility, it is also limited to proprietary software. The good news is, Zeon are releasing games exclusive for the unit and the best bit is, they are totally free (via iTunes App store). Let’s hope they keep on releasing more games for the Arcadie, as it needs them. [...]

SteelSeries Apex [RAW] Keyboard

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. [...]

Logitech HD Pro Webcam C920 Review

The C920 has a full HD resolution of 1080p which works when you are making your own videos and when video calling somebody, so long as your network connection has enough bandwidth (1 Mbps for 720p and 2 Mbps for 1080p quality). The maximum video capture resolution is 1920 x 1080 at 30 fps. The camera natively takes 15 MP pictures as well. The camera comes with automatic low light correction built-in so it is good for using it in a dark room (like at night). The camera also tends to auto-focus on one’s face which is a really useful feature especially when video chatting with other people. [...]

SGB Commander

The A and B buttons are in the exact same spot as on the Game Boy, but if you look above that you will see buttons that are specific to the Super Game Boy like Window, Color, Speed and even a Mute button. So now you don’t need to go into the menu to change your colors or frame, you just hit the button. You can speed up or slow down the speed of your game so if you are stuck on a part in your game you can slow it down a bit to help you get through it. The addition of a mute button is pretty neat, though I’m not totally sure how much you would use it. [...]

Steelseries Sensei Pro Grade Laser Mouse Review

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! [...]

Retro Duo Portable V2.0 Review

Should you rush out and buy the Retro Duo Portable V2.0? It depends, if you are happy emulating (legally) your 8-bit and 16-bit Sega or Nintendo games, then the answer is no. However, if you want a system that you can plug in your library of SNES, NES and Mega Drive carts, then the RDP V2.0 is perfect. The other plus to owning the RDP V2.0 is that you will safeguard your Sega and Nintendo hardware from further abuse, and let’s face it, these old consoles won’t last forever! [...]

Steelseries Siberia V/2 Review

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. [...]

Logitech G430 Surround Sound Gaming Headset Review

If you don’t want to use the standard audio connectors the headset comes with an adapter that converts the two plugs into a USB adapter. It’s recommended to install the software that comes with the headset should you wish to use the USB adapter with full functionality and support, as far as using it with a Windows PC. The cable is bright blue which is useful in the sense that it can prevent you from stepping on the cable since it is much more visible than a standard black cord. It also has a controller that lets you mute and unmute the microphone as well as adjust the volume of the headphones. [...]

The Stinky Footboard Review

The product itself is quite sturdy. A video shown at PAX East showed the Stinky Footboard being run over by a car and continuing to work with only minor case scratches. While that extreme was not used for this review, the product managed to survive hours of use by a 245-pound former pro wrestler without any loss of functionality. It continued to work like new, which is more than can be said about almost any other controller product. [...]

The Game Genie

Many gamers found this helpful, and different Game Genies were produced for a variety of game consoles, including the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), the Nintendo GameBoy, the Super Nintendo, the Sega Genesis, and the Sega Game Gear. Two different companies distributed the Game Genie over the years it was being manufactured: Galoob and Camerica, one of which (Galoob) was actually sued by Nintendo in an effort to prevent the Game Genie from being sold. Fortunately for many gamers, Nintendo lost their legal battle and had to pay Galoob for damages. [...]

Nintendo Color Screen: Game and Watch Table Top

Four Color Screen titles were produced in total. The first two, introduced in early 1983, were Donkey Kong JR and Mario’s Cement Factory, pictured in this leaflet. Later that same year, the range was extended with games featuring Popeye and Snoopy. Even though the Color Screen had a bright (color!) screen, it consumed very little energy. It cleverly used a combination of regular black liquid crystals with sunlight projected through a mirror to create the images. According to this leaflet, it was able to run for three years on two C batteries without ever being switched off. It did not even have an on/off switch. [...]

Creative Zen Style M300 MP3 Player Review

– One of the first things one can notice about the Zen is its small size. Think of it like a fatter but shorter iPod. – It is very light and you can hardly notice you are carrying it. – No software installation required. You can add songs to it in their properly named folders almost as easy as if it were a digital camera. – Amazing battery life! Up to 20 hours worth of life. – Cheaper than some Apple products, with almost the same quality of construction. Amazing value! [...]

The NEC PC-FX Review

This doesn’t mean the PC-FX is lacking in quality affordable titles however, just that such games are difficult to play without some understanding of written Japanese. The system has many remakes of classic titles – ‘Farland Story FX’, ‘Der Langrisser FX’, ‘Power Dolls FX’ (the suffix wasn’t actually used as much as I’m making it out to be), original exclusives like ‘Last Imperial Prince’, ‘Miraculum’ and ‘Kokuu Hyouryo Nirgends’ and even games that ended up finding some success elsewhere – ‘Wakusei Kougekitai Little Cats’, ‘Boundary Gate: Daughter of Kingdom’ and ‘Angelique Special’ all ended up with Saturn or Playstation ports at a later date. [...]

Kingston HyperX 3K Series 120 GB SSD

Overall, both the Kingston HyperX and Patriot Memory Wildfire seriously beat the hard drive in just about every test as shown in these tests. Comparing both SSDs to one another the Wildfire is faster under two of the three benchmarks and the HyperX is faster in one of the three benchmarks. I normalized the score of all three reviews and took the average of the normalized scores and I must conclude that the Wildfire under most operations is about 12.74% faster than the HyperX. In order words, the HyperX is only about 88.70% as fast as the Wildfire. [...]

Logitech G27 Racing Wheel Review

The shifter is both soft and sturdy. I would compare it to using a shifter in a manual Japanese car like Honda Prelude or Nissan Skyline. The wheel itself has flappy paddles which can be used to much like in a real Ferrari or Lamborghini. It is a matter of personal preference and the G27 provides both the flappy paddles and the normal manual shifter. The wheel part has an LED tachometer, which is color coated green, yellow, and red, which makes using a manual gearbox a more viable option in your game. [...]

Astro Wars Review

So, how does this Astro Wars play ? Well, as a shoot’em up, it is quite simple – move your earth ship left / right to avoid missiles from the fierce squadron of attacking fighters and fire back to blast them into smithereens. Once you blast away waves of enemy fighters, warships and command ships, you attempt the docking manoeuvre – landing the upper module to the rocket part of your earth ship. Succeed with this manoeuvre, and you are given extra points. Speaking of points, once you reach 9999, the counter resets to zero and you have effectively “clocked the game”. When you do end up finishing the game, you still want to re-play it. Now that is saying something for a game that has been around for 30+ years. [...]

Hands-On Review: Plantronics GameCom Commander

This headset is tough and will likely last longer than your keyboard and controllers will. As I noted earlier, I’m a pretty big guy and yet my experience with the Commander marks the first time I’ve ever been unafraid that I might break a headset. I considered giving it the same test that I gave the case and see if it could take me stepping on it, but opted not to since I have to return this sample copy to Plantronics. The volume control uses a flat dial that makes it hard to accidentally bump in the middle of play. The odds of accidentally muting yourself in the middle of a firefight or blasting your ears off accidentally are low. [...]

The Turbo CD Review

So if this accessory was the greatest thing to happen to gaming since the release of the Atari 2600, why didn’t everyone own one? Well, to begin with, it was an accessory for the TurboGrafx-16 system, which was fighting for ground in the Nintendo vs. Sega console wars, and losing. It was also BIG, which was odd, considering the Japanese model it was based on (for the PC Engine) was quite small. Perhaps the North American fascination for big trucks and luxury cars blinded the design team at NEC, since they clearly thought BIGGER was better. Unfortunately, retailers don’t want giant boxes that are mostly Styrofoam or packaging today, and they didn’t then, either. [...]

Mini Stick: The Joystick for Gamers Review

Setting up is simple. You have the Velcro pads already attached to the Mini Stick and then three Velcro stickers to attach to your Up, Left and Right keys. Just make sure you secure the stickers well and press down when attaching the Mini Stick. With it installed I played some emulators first and the Mini Stick worked great in games like Mappy, Pac-Man, Alien Syndrome and 1942. I then tried out Guild Wars 2 and while using the mouse or a gamepad still proved overall better, the Mini Stick performed well and I found myself using it more and more. [...]

Logitech G35 Surround Sound Headset Review

The surround sound in these headphones is even better than the 5.1 Surround Sound speakers I use and they are also from Logitech. I was very impressed by them, especially when gaming and they make you have a significant advantage while playing a game with a good audio engine. The first time I used these headphones I was playing World of Tanks at 4 AM, at max volume, and it was amazing to hear cannon shells flying by and exploding all around me. It felt like actually being in a real battle. The surround sound capabilities are specifically useful for hearing things behind you in games and in movies that take advantage of proper sound channel placement. [...]

The TurboGrafx-16

What made the TurboGrafx unique was how they promoted their handheld game system. Most competitors used separate games for the console systems versus the handheld systems (like the NES and the GameBoy). If you wanted to play Tetris on the NES and GameBoy, you had to buy one NES version and one GameBoy version. But the TurboExpress (the handheld version of the TurboGrafx-16) used the very same games that it’s parent console used! The games – called HuCards – fit in either system and played the same. The TurboExpress even played in FULL COLOR! Wow, back in the day that was an AWESOME gaming experience. [...]

The Atari Lynx

As Atari thought they were on a winner with the Lynx II, along came Sega’s Game Gear in 1991. Although the Lynx was far superior than the Game Gear, it could not compete with Sega’s vast advertising budget and resources. The Game Gear was also backward compatible with the extensive library of Master System games. Even though Atari’s Lynx was relegated in the portable device market by the Gameboy and later by the Game Gear, it was still home to some awesome games and arcade conversions like: Chip’s Challenge, Klax, California Games, Blue Lightning, Rampart, Lemmings, Roadblasters, Paperboy, Rampage, STUN Runner, Xenophobe, Xybots and Zarlor Mercenary. [...]

The Top 5 Sega Genesis Accessories

If you had the cash, the Sega CD was a must-have accessory. It came in two designs, a CD-player style for the older Genesis systems, which stacked on top of each other, and a top-loading style for the new Genesis systems, which acted as a base and the Genesis inserted into its side. (The Nomad would be released later.) Some of the best games for the Genesis were released on CD-format, including Lunar: The Silver Star, Sonic the Hedgehog CD, The Amazing Spider-Man vs. The Kingpin, and Earthworm Jim. Now that’s quality retro gaming! [...]

The SteelSeries Merc Stealth Gaming Keyboard Review

The keyboard is meant to be used hand and hand with their “Z engine” software. Z engine is a program that has preloaded gaming profiles that take advantage of the gaming terrain. There are about 180 profiles spread across three categories; FPS, RTS, and Shooter. I found it very easy to use, and it runs in the background taking up virtually no resources. That being said, even with the new updates, I found the preloaded profiles to be very dated. Looking over the list, I believe Far Cry 2 was the newest title, and that was released in 2008. This really is not a big deal, though, since the default profile makes all the keys on the gaming terrain a copy of what is on the normal qwerty side of the board. Also, it is very easy to make your own profile for any game you choose. It would be nice to see Steelseries update their software with newer game profiles though. [...]

Samsung Series 7 Gamer 700G7C-S01 Review With Benchmarks

The Samsung Series 7 Gamer laptop is ideal for a power gamer and user that needs to be able to take their desktop with them but cannot carry a tower, monitor, and speakers with them. The hard drive is massive (1.5 TB) allowing storage of many file libraries, which is rare on a notebook. The rest of the parts on the system make it a strong performer for nearly any computing need a power user will have, whether gaming, 3D rendering (strong video card), music editing/engineering, etc. The current price $1600-1900 as off 8/8/2012 is what I would expect a laptop like this to cost and is reasonable. [...]

Kingston HyperX 3K Series 240GB SSD Review

We tested the 240GB version of the Kingston HyperX for this review. For people looking to add more programs and games in addition to their operating system, this size is a perfect fit. This model is also lower in price costing a litter over two dollars. For your O/S 100GBs of space is a good number to go with. I personally have used as low as 50GBs with a few applications added, but was always low on drive space. With this 240GB drive, you will have more than enough room for your operating system, your applications and games. If you collect media like movies and music you could add them as well, but its best to run those from a traditional drive as it does not really impact performance. [...]

The Razer Anansi MMO Keyboard Review

Razer’s configuration software allows for a ton of configuration options. You can literally change every key function on the board so in essence you can make any key a hot or macro key. You can also configure the backlighting, which shines though each key and if you wish, set the backlighting to randomly change color (16 million of them) which is pretty awesome when playing in a dark area. The keyboard itself has a good length and low profile, which works well for small and large hands alike. Al l the basic functions keys are there including the numeric keys and while not mechanical, pressing the keys feels comfortable and gives a good feedback response be it in games or typing. The keyboard sits stable when using the legs or lying flat and is sturdy so you heavy key pressers will not have to worry about damaging your keyboard. [...]

Synthboy

Dust off that first gen Gameboy as we have a very cool interface dock that converts the handheld gaming system into a state of the art 8-bit sound machine. There is a growing community of musicians and audio artists that are using these old gaming system sounds. We have used some of the achievements from the 8-bit community and created the SYNTHBOY+. Easy to plug into your mixer or home stereo with all of the various outputs. Midi IN/OUT makes it easy to connect to almost any keyboard. We have a limited number of units available on Kickstarter.com. [...]

Video Game Controllers

Having played a ton of console and computer games, I have of course used a ton of different controllers. This is not so much a listing of the best or even all that I have used, but more of a look at some of the controllers I played the most on and my opinions on them. [...]

Diablo III Hardware Checklist

Now you have the gear and you have a nice quiet place to game. You will want to keep the area cool and clear and have a big waste basket around for all the food wrappers and if possible some recycling because it’s just a good thing to do. Set your phone to vibrate, your instant message status to, “Leave me alone noobs I’m pwning Diablo 3” and leave reality behind. Just don’t end up on the news because you neglected your kid or your house burned down with you in it. [...]

Atari’s XE Game System

The XEGS also boasted of a huge library of games available for play due to backward compatibility with previous Atari products. While technically true, the game library was deeply aged by the time the XEGS hit store shelves. Most of the XE branded games in stores were simply repackaged Atari computer game titles while others were translations of other home computer licenses as Nintendo had exclusive deals signed for almost every other arcade hit. [...]

Origin PC: The EON 11-S

The EON 11-S is an 11-inch notebook that sports third generation Ivy bridge processors from Intel, that alone screams power for the pc gamer. In addition, the EON 11-S features the NVIDA GeForce 650M video card with Optimus 1.2 technology. The Optimus technology is important because it extends your battery life meaning, you get the graphics you need for games, but without the need to remain plugged into an outlet 24/7. [...]

iCade 8-Bitty

Recently iCade released their 8-Bitty, a retro gamepad that looks and feels like the classic NES game pad. The device is wireless and uses blue-tooth connectivity allowing you to pair your pad with your Apple or Android device. The pad features four buttons and the classic D-Pad and it fits in your pocket. The 8-bitty runs on two AAA batteries and has a power saver mode so you are not always replacing them. [...]

The Logitech G9x Laser Gaming Mouse Review

When you first look at the mouse the design looks to be a bit bizarre but when you hold it with your hands it gives you a great feeling of control and it gets better. The interchangeable grip allows you to drop that smooth surface the mouse original comes with and allows you to replace it with a textured grip. The textured grip is not rough enough to feel like you are holding a piece of sand paper but gritty enough to where it won’t slip of your hands when you build some moisture. The bottom pads give the mouse a gentle glide over your mouse pad but other flat surfaces will work just as well. [...]

The Logitech G510 Review

Installation is a breeze; I’ve always loved this about all Logitech products. The Logitech Gaming Software gives you fast and easy access to all related controls on the keyboard mainly GamePanel LCD, Profile settings adjustments and backlit color control. The customizable “G” command keys on the left can be edited via this interface but it’s not required since you can set them on demand. Profiles can be saved on the keyboard itself so you can take you pre-configured profiles on the go from machine to machine! It’s extremely easy to setup, sync and manage profiles using the gaming software so easy that and end user wouldn’t really need to read a manual in order to use. [...]

Origin PC goes Pro

ORIGIN PC announced today the launch of their new line of desktops and laptops for professionals. Featuring options like the latest Intel Xeon E5 processors, ORIGIN PC professional overclocking, and NVIDIA Quadro workstation graphics cards. The new PRO line of systems from ORIGIN PC is designed specifically for artists, engineers, and professionals. ORIGIN PC now offers its award-winning performance, endless customization options, and industry leading U.S. based lifetime 24/7 support to professionals worldwide. [...]

Sound Blaster Recon3D Fatal1ty Professional Review

Staying in the world of voice the beam-forming microphone I found is great for voice communications. We talked about push to talk, but sometimes in some versus games you might need to be able to constantly talk and what is great about this microphone is it creates an acoustic zone suppressing noise outside that zone. What does this mean? It means when talking your speaker noise is less likely to be heard allowing you to speak freely without others hearing your background noise. I tested this in games like BF3, Star Wars the Old Republic and League of Legends and it works like a charm. [...]