Logitech HD Pro Webcam C920 Review

logitech c920
logitech c920

I’ve been using this webcam for the past 5 months using it a couple of times a week. So far it’s been the best webcam I’ve ever owned. This camera is basically a Logitech C910 camera but on steroids.

Video Quality:
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.

Audio Quality:
It has dual microphones for recording in stereo as well as built-in automatic noise reduction (could help with barking dogs, etc).

Compatibility:
Supposedly the C920 only works on Windows systems, although I have ran into some people that made it work on Mac. Some people have even gotten it to work on most Linux distributions.

I’ve used it with Skype and Google Hangouts and it was detected and worked automatically on my system, which is great because I have many peripherals installed (2 microphones and another camera connected most of the time).

Software:
The camera comes with Logitech software that you need to install to be able to use it to its full potential. You need it to be able to do the crazy video effects such as putting on a robot head on yourself and other silly/trippy video effects.

Mounting setup:
You can mount the camera to your monitor with the plastic mounting clips it has like the ones most webcams implement. If needed you are able to mount the C920 to a tripod because it has the required threaded mount for it. It has a 6 foot cable which should be enough for most applications (you can always use a USB extension cable to extend it).

The swivel support is not as good as I would want it to be but if you know how to place the camera on the correct surface then it’s not that much of a problem.

Hardware Requirements:
First off you need a free USB 2.0 port or better. USB 3.0 is highly recommended especially if you intend to use the built in microphones as well as record/broadcast at full 1080p. I would say to have at least dual core but since quad core CPUs seem to be the standard minimum these days that shouldn’t be a problem. Still, that’s something to consider if you are going to use this on an older system.

Value:
At the time I wrote this review this camera costs $72 on amazon with free shipping. Now yes there are webcams out there for about $20 but most people that would get something in that price range don’t usually care much about image quality. If you have a web show this is the best camera you can buy for the money right now that supports 1080p, hands down.

Conclusion:
I highly recommend the c920 – the image quality is well worth the price.

Logitech G430 Surround Sound Gaming Headset Review

We have been using this headset for about two months daily before writing this review.

logitech g430 gaming headset
logitech g430 gaming headset

Cable/Wire:

The connectors are standard, gold-plated mini-jack audio connectors that are not just compatible with all computers but MP3 players as well. The main cable is thin and it splits into a cable that you connect to a sound source as well as a cable that lets you use the microphone. 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 cable is long enough that they will be adequate for most situations.

Comfort:

The headset is light which helps the level of comfort in general and after extended usage. The ear pieces are soft to the touch and are easy on your ears. Since the earpieces are made out of cloth they won’t get hot (like most full ear headphones do) since they vent your heat successfully. This is great for marathon gaming (the kind that we usually do).

The earpieces can be rotated a full 90 degrees which make them easy to transport in most laptop carrying cases with no problems.

Construction:

This headset is mainly made out of plastic, rubber, and cloth. The thing most people will notice is the usage of the neon blue color on the earpieces and the headband.

We’ve dropped them (a couple of times) to see how sturdy they are on a tile floor and they only suffered minor damage that did not affect functionality.

Microphone:

We have tested the microphone with Skype, Ventrilo, TeamSpeak, and Raidcall and it worked great with virtually no configuration needed on our part. The sound quality is crisp.

The microphone can be muted either from the volume control in the cable or also by raising the microphone up from it’s working position.

Software:

The headset came with an installation pamphlet that directs you to download the latest software for the headset from the Logitech website. Once downloaded it installs an application that for the most part is dormant and becomes active when you connect the headset to your computer. You can use it to play around with the equalizer and other adjustments of that nature.

Sound Dampening:

When using this headset the material of the earpieces successfully blocks most outside noise. This is great for when working or gaming but it can result in people screaming to get your attention because the headset does a great job.

Sound Quality:

The level of fidelity is high in this headset. It does not distort badly even if set at maximum volume.

Loudness:

This headset gets loud which goes well with how successful they are sound dampened. They can be heard 5 feet away if you take them off and you have them reasonably high.

Surround Sound:

The 7.1 surround sound that is built into this headset works great with gaming and movie watching, for which they are intended. The surround sound features are designed by Dolby and they are effective in creating a realistic surround sound environment.

Value:

These headphones cost around $100 new, which seems like a reasonable price to me.

Conclusion:

I recommend these headphones over the similar Logitech G35 Headset that I reviewed earlier. They cost about the same and work better with less configuration on the user’s part. They are almost the same except that the G430 does not include the programmable sound buttons (that most people don’t use anyways), and they are superior because they have regular mini-jacks as well as the ability to connect via USB.

Logitech G35 Surround Sound Headset Review

 

I’ve had this headset for about 5 months. Keep in mind how long a product was used when reading a review!

Logitech G35 Surround Sound Headset

Cable/Wire:

The headset connects through USB connector that is attached to a thick, very sturdy cable. This is great design improvement over other headsets that have a cable that’s thin and easy to get cut or broken. The cable is also long enough that you probably won’t need to get an extension for them. Even if you need an extension, USB cables are cheap to extend these days so that is not really an issue.

Comfort:

These headphones are extremely comfortable to use. The ear piece parts are well designed enough that it won’t make your ears sweat much and they will hug your ears providing great comfort as you use them. I haven’t gotten my ears to hurt by using these headphones for an extended period of time. I’ve used them 14 hours non stop and I haven’t felt uncomfortable during that period of usage.

Construction:

This headset is pretty sturdy. It seems to be made of aluminum, rubber, and the ear parts of imitation leather. I’ve dropped them from 8 feet and they only barely got scratched.

The headset has buttons on the left side of the ear muff that you can use to trigger functions such as launching your favorite media player, controlling it, reconfiguring them, etc.

Microphone:

The microphone works whenever you have the mouthpiece down; the rest of the time you can turn it off by lifting it up. The light on the piece helps you know when it is on or off. I’ve gotten good response from my guild/clan mates regarding the default sound quality of the microphone (tested using Skype and Teamspeak, using auto calibration).

Software:

It’s completely optional to install the software that comes with them but the software is useful for when tweaking the settings of the headset. The software/drivers sometimes go a little crazy if you decide to plug them in or unplug them during system critical points like in the middle of booting windows. From my experience this is a program that most USB audio peripherals seem to have versus traditional audio plugs. Sometimes I have to manually set my output to either be the headset or my speaker set depending on what I did.

Some games require you to quit them in order to use the headset correctly if you plugged them in while you were using speakers before. Usually the newer a game or program is, the less likely it is to have this problem. For example, Guild Wars 2 works like a charm but World of Tanks requires restarting the game for the headset to work.

Sound Dampening:

These headphones are extremely efficient when it comes to blocking out external sound. Usually when I am using them while talking to my guild on Teamspeak and my girlfriend is talking to me, I have to put one ear offset to be able to hear what she is telling me. I love this feature because I live at a house where there are plenty of loud noises most of the time (dog barking, people watching TV at airport noise level volumes, etc.).

Sound Quality:

For me, the best way to test sound quality is to play all different ranges of music on whatever audio equipment I’m testing. The sound quality is really good all throughout except for the bass when at maximum volume. Although the bass is decent enough when gaming, when playing bass heavy music you see a limitation in the bass feel of these headphones.

Loudness:

The G35’s max volume is loud enough to appease most users. I’ve had more powerful headphones in that past that were so loud that people two rooms away could hear them. Due to the better design, only the wearer can really hear the sound when they are worn.

They are loud enough that some games might shock you. I don’t classify them as being loud enough to make one go deaf but then again this is subjective.

Surround Sound:

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.

Value:

Right now the Logitech G35 Headset can be bought for about 90-100 US Dollars. I think that’s a fair price considering what you are getting.

Conclusion:

The Logitech G35 Headset is great to get if you are a gamer, live in a loud place, or need to use Skype/Teamspeak/Ventrilo privately with a good microphone.

Creative: Live! Cam Connect HD Review

Creative-Live-Cam-Connect-HD

Most gamers are on the leading edge of technology and communication. We keep in contact with our friends and gaming buddies via instant message, voice communication and video chat. The Live CAM connect HD from Creative allows uses to take full advantage of those forms of communication and more with a sleek design and reasonable price.

Design

Creative-Live-Cam-Connect-HD

The glossy black design and sharp styling’s of the Connect HD complements any computer setup. The unit itself measures 0.8 by 2.6 inches and is made of hard durable plastic. The unit comes with a clip-on mount that allows you to connect the cam to the top of a monitor or to a laptop lid. The mount itself allows the cam to be adjusted and pivoted in multiple positions so you can find the perfect camera angle for whatever you are doing and even place it on flat surfaces like your desk.

Software

Creative-Live-Cam-Connect-HD

The great thing about the Connect HD is right out of the box you can use it. Just plug it into your PC or Mac via USB and on Windows 7 operating systems, it will automatically install itself, so right away you can begin using the device for video chat or Google hangouts. Plus, the Connect HD is Skype HD certified at 720p and works with other video communications such as Windows Live Messenger and Yahoo Messenger. For PC users you can take advantage of the Live! Central 3 software bundle and tools such as video editing and a movie maker.

The bundled software is easy to use even if you are a novice. You have tabs to the right that allow you to play around with effects such as avatars and various visual effects. The settings tab allows you to adjust the picture including brightness, face tracking, zoom and other features to improve or tweak overall video quality. You can also adjust the built in microphone. Additional you can take snap photos from Live Central and record video. Best of all you can directly upload your videos to YouTube with a touch of a button.

Video

Creative-Live-Cam-Connect-HD

The Connect HD records in HD and has a built in H.264 hardware video processor. H.264 is used for video compression of high definition video meaning you get the quality without taking up to much space and using too much CPU resources, which is important when steaming video or using video chat as it keeps you from experiencing lag or the stutter/choppy motion you sometimes see with lesser web cams.

The Connect HD Liquid-Crystal lens auto focuses and records video at up to 30 frames per second and looks incredibly crisp and clear in 720p HD. Now for other video chat programs HD may not be supported but the video quality was still very clear and the colors vibrant.

Audio

The Connect HD comes with a built in microphone that does a great job at picking up the sounds you want and leaving out the ones you do not want. With its noise-canceling microphone, your voice comes in clear in Skype or even voice only programs like Ventrilo. In addition, background noises and sounds are not picked up as long as you have noise-canceling active, which is great for conversations or web meetings.

Conclusion

Overall, the Live Cam Connect HD from Creative offers clear HD recordings and video for Skype and other video chat programs for a reasonable price. The audio is clear, and background noise is eliminated. The software is user friendly and the device can be easily setup almost anywhere. Definitely a good choice for the price-point and features. You can find the Connect HD for about $60 on Amazon.

SteelSeries Siberia v2 Gaming Headset Review

SteelSeries Siberia V2 Full-Size Gaming Headset Black and Gold Edition

Looking for a great gift for the gamer in your life? The great thing about getting them an excellent pair of headphones is not only will they enjoy all their games and media in high quality sound, but it keeps the rest of the house quiet. Well, until they yell out “Boom Headshot!

Personally I have never been a fan of headphones mainly because I love to crank up the sound in my office, but mainly because of uncomfortable headphones that just become bothersome after wearing them for a few hours. One of the first things I noticed with the Siberia v2 was how comfortable they were.

This is achieved by two means. One is their unique band that adjusts to your head. With most headphones you need to pull and adjust them to fit, but the Siberia v2 fits like a soft leather glove and speaking of leather that brings us to the number two reason.

When wearing headphones after a few hours you really can tell if the padding on the earpieces are made for comfort or not and the soft padded cushions built from sound dampening foam really does keep you from even noticing you are wearing them.

Let’s face it, if you are a gamer you are spending a lot of time doing what you love, so, if you are chatting using Ventrilo or Skype or in game voice clients you want a headset that feels great to wear for long periods of time and the next important factor is sound.

steelseries-siberia-v2-black-gold-plated

First let’s look at the numbers:

Headphones

  Frequency response: 18 – 28.000 Hz

  Impedance: 32 Ohm

  SPL@ 1kHz, 1 Vrms: 112 dB

  Cable length: 1 + 2 = 3 m (9,8 ft.)

  Jacks: 3,5 mm

Microphone

  Frequency response: 50 – 16.000 Hz

  Pick up pattern: Uni-directional

  Sensitivity: -38 dB

So first the tech. The Siberia v2 uses high-performance 50mm driver units to produce an optimized soundscape for games, music and other media. However, when it comes to games the headset really shines especially in FPS games. The Siberia v2 is engineered so you can hear the direction of enemies or sounds from all around you. I personally tried this out in Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3 and Battlefield 3 and believe me it makes a difference.

It is established that the Siberia v2 has high-quality sound, but what about volume and noise reduction? Earlier we talked about the leather padded cushions made with sound dampening foam. How does this translate into the real world? The staff at Obsolete Gamer travels often and of course we game or listen to media on the plane. With too many headphones you get the high quality sound and high volume, but you still hear too much outside noise which kills the immersion factor.

SteelSeries Siberia V2 Full-Size Gaming Headset

The combination of the sound dampening foam and the precise fit of the Siberia v2 allows the sound quality to remain within while blocking out passive noise. Now you will still hear some of the jet engine, but much less than other headphones and even ear buds that I have tried. Now place yourself in a noisy dorm or home and the passive noise reduction means you will be focused on the game not outside distractions.

Finally we come to the microphone. Anyone who has been in a Ventrilo channel knows what it is like to have someone with a bad mic. With the Siberia v2 one of the first cool things is its retractable microphone. Forget that crappy bendable wire that reminds me of the microphone in fast food joints. This mic can hide away in the left ear cup when not in use and pulls out easily when you need to talk.

The Siberia v2’s microphone is uni-directional so you don’t need to swallow the mic to talk. Also, the microphone is optimized for voice chat meaning you will come across clear without the need to yell unless you must have a Leroy Jenkins moment.

I got to test out the Black and Gold special edition and as you can see they look pretty sweet, but you can find them in an array of colors on the SteelSeries website. Two last things to mention. One is the extended cords that come with the headset which is great for those whose PC is far away from them or when connecting them to another media device. Like your prom date said, nothing is worse than a short cord.

Second is the volume controls on the cord. Sure, this is nothing new in the world of gaming headsets, but the Siberia v2 controls are smaller than most and not noticeable until you need it. The volume itself can get pretty loud which is great and being able to adjust the sound as well as mute the microphone at the touch of a button puts the icing on the cake.

All in all the Siberia v2 is a great gaming headset and for about $90 it is in the perfect range for those looking for a high quality audio experience. We were so pleased with these headphones we gave it our Totally Not Obsolete seal of approval.

The Obsolete Gamer Show: Episode 7

PVP vs non-pvp PVE
PVP vs non-pvp PVE

Player versus Player and Player versus Environment was the topic for this week’s show. We were happy to have our good friend Edwin in the studio with us and had a great conversation via Skype with longtime Obsolete Gamer fan, Liz Poisonkiss.

We started off with a recap of last week’s show which featured MMO’s and then moved into our Facebook fanpage question of the week which asked which our fans preferred to play PVE or PVP type games. From there we talked about our Insider Discussion question of the week which asked our panel which had a bigger impact on PC gaming RTS or FPS games.

From there we dove right into the main topic discussing the differences between a FPS mindset playing games such as Quake 2 and the strategy side of RTS games such as the original Warcraft game. Edwin also talked about his online Street Fighter games and said that he preferred to play again a human which we all agreed.

We premiered a new feature on OGS called Skype with a fan where we talk with people who have participated on our Facebook page and Forums and our first guest was longtime fan Liz. Who shared her thoughts on being a gamer girl, fps versus rts and pvp versus pve.

In our final segment Ignacio, Edwin and I discussed our various experiences in PVP from MMO’s to X-box live to arcades. Overall we had a good discussion about an important subject in the world of gaming. So give us a listen and we will be back next week with a brand new show.

The Obsolete Gamer Show: Episode 7

The Obsolete Gamer Show: Episode 6

MMO collection
MMO collection

Love it or hate it massive multiplayer online role playing games or MMORPG’s for short have played a big role in gaming and this week on OGS we wanted to talk about some of our favorite times and memories involving games such as World of Warcraft and Everquest. In addition during our research for a review on the documentary Second Skin I discovered a good friend of mine was featured along with her guild in the film.

This was our first show using Skype and we wanted to bring some of our longtime fans and friends on the show that either currently or in the past played MMO’s. First we talked with Edgar who gave us his take on World of Warcraft from him fighting off the addictive nature of MMO’s to how the gameplay had to be modified to accommodate new players who may not have the experience of more seasoned gamers.

MMO logos
MMO logos

Next we spoke with an officer from the World of Warcraft guild Amber Knights. Candice is also a good friend of mine and fan of Obsolete Gamer and we spoke to her about running a guild made up of friends and how it can differ from being in a guild of strangers. In addition we talked about her maintaining a happy marriage with her husband and fellow gamer Felipe and finally we chatted about being a gamer girl in a gaming world dominated by men.

Our last Skype interview was with Javier aka Vigo from the World of Warcraft guild Decent. Both Ignacio and I worked with Javier at Alienware (along with Edgar by the way) when World of Warcraft was released and we talked about how we all decided to play it and the choice to either PVE or PVP. The connection was a little bit off for this one, but it was still a good conversation and we were happy to be able to have a good discussion with our fans.

Ignacio/honorabili talks about his best experiences with Auto Assault, Global Agenda, Warhammer Online, and Battleforge. His most memorable memory from Auto Assault is running an elite guild and meeting a group of old gamers that have been playing together since Mechwarrior Online.

Throughout the show we played clips from my interview with Sairys who was one of the couples featured in the documentary Second Skin. We talked about how she got introduced to the Second Skin guys and how she first joined her guild (also profiled in the film) The Syndicate. She told us a heart filled story about how members of the guild helped each other even in the saddest of times and recounted hers and Ebony’s (he boyfriend) fondest memory in a MMO.

All in all a great show and we hope you enjoy it as well and as always leave us feedback and tell us how we did.


The Obsolete Gamer Show: Episode 6