Saturday, 25 February 2017

SteelSeries Arctis 3 Review

The Arctis 3 is SteelSeries’ entry model in their new range of gaming headsets. It features a subtle and sleek design as well as virtual 7.1 surround sound, and a microphone claimed to be one of the best in any gaming headset.

The design of the Arctis 3 is unquestionably the best part of it (that is until you hear it, but we’ll get to that later). It features a build made up by mostly matte-plastic, but it definitely feels quality and well made. The ear cups have the ability to swivel inwards towards your chest, which is great as this allows you to casually rest it on your neck when you’re not gaming. One of the things i’m always hesitant about when considering a new headset is whether or not it’ll have a good fit. SteelSeries engineered a pretty interesting way of adjusting fit on the Arctis 3, and the entire Arctis line. A ski google-style strap rests on your head, thereby supporting the weight of the headset in a surprisingly comfortable manner. It’s one of the most comfortable headsets i’ve ever worn, period. The ear cups are constructed of a breathable mesh cushion which feels great and doesn’t put too much pressure on the sides of your head. Furthermore they don’t really become very hot when you’re wearing them, unlike a lot of headsets i’ve used in the past. This is awesome because it means you won’t get uncomfortable and have to take breaks from wearing it during long gaming sessions.

The microphone on the Arctis 3 is what SteelSeries claims to be one of the best on any gaming headset currently on the market. In terms of functionality, you’re able to retract it fully into the headset with just the end hanging slightly outside, however this actually adds to the aesthetic of the headset and makes it stand out. The arm of the microphone is fully adjustable, so you can put it in a position that works best for you which is great. The left ear cup is also home to a volume rocker and microphone mute button. I’m definitely a huge fan of this because not all voice chat softwares such as Skype can offer key binds to mute your microphone, meaning if you’re in a game you’ve got to tab out and navigate to the mute button on Skype. The Arctis 3 makes it super easy to bypass this, you skip all the hassle and just press a button on your headset in 3 seconds and you’re done. Wonderful!

An important thing to mention here is that if you’re actually wanting to take advantage of the 7.1 virtual surround sound, you’re going to need to create an account on SteelSeries website and enter your product key to activate said benefits. Admittedly this is a bit of a pain, but hey, it means SteelSeries can offer you better support now that your product is registered and you can take full advantage of your headset! Another thing you should keep in mind is the proprietary connector SteelSeries uses for the cable meaning if you lose it you’re gonna have to get one from them!

On to audio quality, which I suppose is technically the most important part. I must admit that I was pleasantly surprised with the audio quality from the Arctis 3. There’s excellent bass without sort of overdoing it like i’ve found with many other headsets. But oh my god is it excellent for first person shooters. As an avid CS:GO player myself, I can’t stress enough how important it is to be able to have excellent sound quality and precise surround sound. Pinpointing players footsteps is an essential part of the game, and boy does the Arctis 3 deliver. It manages to almost completely isolate any sound from the outside, meaning you can hear every single footstep and reload that your enemies make. This is perfect for gamers who are serious about their gameplay, and whats more there is minimal sound leakage from the headset.

Through tests largely involving too many hours of voice chatting on Teamspeak 3 with friends there’s a clear consensus that the microphone sounds crystal clear, and also is pretty darn good at ignoring random background noises so that only your voice is transmitted. This is great and means that your friends won’t hear your noisy neighbors dog barking in the background every five minutes. 

So, should you buy the SteelSeries Arctis 3? It really depends on what you’re looking for, what features matter to you and what your budget is. If you’re looking for a high quality headset with a great mic and comfortable fit, and you’re willing to drop £80 on it then the Arctis 3 is definitely for you. It’s an overall solid gaming headset with more perks then drawbacks, and even better is the brand that backs it, SteelSeries. It’s been an absolute pleasure to be able to use this headset for the past few months and I certainly love it to bits.

Sunday, 12 February 2017

Coolreall Ultra Portable 6000mAh Mini Power Bank

Let me start off by saying I really love the design of this power bank. At a 6,000 mAh capacity, its extremely light and really slim. In terms of my first impressions of the product, one thing I can say for certain is that Coolreall really hasn't compromised on the build quality of the unit. It's really well built and although light, still feels like a quality and durable product. So, what do you get in the box?

- The power bank itself
- A white micro USB cable
- An instruction booklet

As I said before, the design and build quality has to be one of my favorite things about this power bank. The matt black finish not only looks stylish, but also has a premium feel to it. The USB cable provided is nothing to write home about, but it gets the job done. 

The unit charges really fast, mine came 75% charged and once drained it took just over 4 hours to return to full power. It's high capacity of 6,000 mAh means it has no trouble charging my iPhone 6s Plus and delivers ample power at impressive speeds. It's great for carrying around with you on your daily commute which makes it great for people only needing an extra charge on their phones to get them through the day. 

However, if you're more of a power intensive user i'd recommend getting the higher capacity power banks offered by Coolreall. The power bank has 2 USB ports on it and 4 LED indicators letting you know how much charge you've got left and enabling you to charge 2 devices at once, which is a big plus as i'm yet to find other companies offering the same capacity with 2 ports as most only have a single port.

Overall this is a great choice for people looking to get a high quality, durable, well built and great feeling power bank to take with them to work or school and keep them powered the whole day.

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Syncwire's MFi certified car charger

This is my first Syncwire product, and I’m impressed. I wasn’t expecting much, however the quality and sleekness of this Dual USB car charger caught me off guard. It looks very modern and sleek, with a high quality Lightning cable stemming from the base along with one USB port for other device output charging.

To start, let’s talk about the packaging. This is actually something I care about, after all, what is a product if it has terrible and scruffy packaging? Thankfully, thats not the case here. Syncwire have packaged it in a nice and neat cardboard box with a large sticker overlaid containing a product image and details. Although it is a cardboard box, it actually looks and feels very high quality and professional. Inside is a neatly organized car charger as well as a card offering a lifetime warranty. Yup, that’s right, Syncwire has got you covered with a warranty that lasts a lifetime. Kudos to Syncwire for confidence in their product line!

On to design and performance. This is actually one of the best car chargers for money i’ve been able to find. It’s designed perfectly, fitting in my car no problem and the included Lightning cable is a huge plus as I don’t have to carry around a separate one and risk losing it. It’s great that there’s also an included USB port as well to allow for any other output of power to a USB device, which gives you freedom and peace of mind. In terms of performance, I found that it managed to get through my tests without breaking a sweat. I charged my iPhone 6s Plus from 30% to ~80% in just the 25 minute drive I have to work. It’s great. I don’t have to worry about waking up and plugging my phone in to charge anymore, I can just jump in the car, plug in, and go. Whats more, I don’t even need to remember the lightning cable because Syncwire has got me covered with a built in one! During operation it runs cool, not really getting very warm and delivering a constant flow of power to my device. I tested it with my iPad Mini which it managed no problem.

Overall i’m very impressed with this Car charger from Syncwire. It’s build quality, packaging and performance are truly excellent, and to back it all up they’re offering a lifetime warranty on the product. At this price, it’s a no brainer. Easily one of the best car chargers for money i’ve ever had the privilege of reviewing. I’d definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a well build, reliable and high performance car charger from a company as reputable as Syncwire.