VIZIO S4251w-B4 5.1 Review

Immerse sound with crystal clear clarity and perfect bass levels is what the VIZIO S4251w-B4 has to offer. First introduced in 2013, this model comes with a wireless subwoofer to ensure low bass surrounds the room. It also boasts satellite speakers to provide a true surround sound experience – all in complete 5.1.

Sound from All Angles

Sound becomes distorted the longer it has to travel. Sound technicians often have to worry about distortion based on the distance the listener is from the sound’s source as well as other factors, such as the size of the room or objects that the sound may bounce off of.

One aspect of the VIZIO S4251w-B4 soundbar that allows this it to excel is the sound pressure level measurement. This is done using pink noise to ensure that distortion is kept to a minimum.

Lower distortion allows the three channel sound bar to produce immense sound that is very clear to the user.

The wireless subwoofer works to ensure that bass levels allow for low and high bass to be heard, while the satellite speakers ensure treble is near perfect. You’ll never have a hard time hearing a movie’s main character talk while an explosion erupts in the background. The clarity on both makes it easy to distinguish, resulting in a pretty good immersive experience.Vizio S4251w review

Even without wires, the subwoofer has a 60-foot range, but it does work best when there is no disruption in line of sight from the sound bar itself. I want to note that the satellite speakers are not wireless and they must connect into the subwoofer. This is something that the manufacturer doesn’t mention directly, but it may be a concern in larger rooms where you don’t want visible wires. The colleague that let me test this had his wires running in the wall so all that was visible was the sub and the bar; no wires shown.

Easy to connect and install, the sound bar comes with wall brackets, or it can lay flat on an entertainment center. The 3 channels allow for clear 5.1 surround sound, and this model will connect to any HDTV with ease.

If you like to listen to Spotify or Pandora, you can easily use the built-in Bluetooth technology to stream music from your device right to the sound bar. The Bluetooth rounds out the devices’ usability due to how easy it is to connect and play.

Pros

  • Crystal clear clarity and a noticeable difference in different sound textures
  • 5.1 surround sound
  • Included subwoofer and satellite speakers
  • DTS Circle and Digital Surround technology
  • DTS TruVolume technology.
  • Built-in Bluetooth connectivity.

Cons

  • Can be quite expensive if you are only looking for a standard bar.
  • Satellite speakers aren’t wireless.

Vizio S4251w-B4Newer versions of the S4251w-B4 with 5.1 surround are no longer defective (some customers were reporting having minor issues with the older versions). While I didn’t experience these particular issues during my VIZIO S4251 review, other users had problems with the sound temporarily going out when they changed channels. The issue has since been fixed with the latest version of this sound bar.

One other concern is that the satellite speakers aren’t wireless. This is only a problem when the subwoofer and speakers will be quite far apart (perhaps if you set it up so the speaker is on top of the TV and the woofers are placed flat on the ground or on a stand). The wires do not bother me, but if you are looking for a sweet setup with no viewable wires in your home theater, I would begin looking at customer reviews online for how others have set theirs up.

You can also choose not to use the satellite speakers, and the sound will still be great.

The VIZIO S4251w is the perfect surround sound solution that is easy to install and does not take up too much room in the process. Meant for televisions up to 42-inches, this model will produce quality sound for your home theater. You can even stream your favorite music without having to dock your device thanks to the built-in Bluetooth.

Overall, the bar is a solid piece of equipment with great audible quality. The model as a whole is built and designed well. If you are looking for a multi-input bar that comes with beefy subwoofers, this one is a very good option, with many in the industry rating it highly as well.

Read next: we took up the challenge of finding the best affordable PCs with only a grand as our budget. Check out that article here: http://reviews.mysteryblock.com/best-gaming-desktops-under-1000/
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 8.0/10 (2 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)

VIZIO S3820W-C0 Sound Bar Review

The VIZIO S3820W-C0 is a great option if you are looking for an affordable yet powerful sound bar. There are a couple versions of the same model: one with a wireless subwoofer, one that relies on integrated bass instead of a subwoofer, and a bluetooth model with integrated bass. These options come at different price ranges, so if you are tight on money, be sure to only get the one that has the features you need the most.

Vizio S3820W Review

Sound quality across all units should be the same, but my VIZIO S3820W-C0 review is based on the soundbar with bluetooth capability. Below is my review and certain aspects I would like to mention in detail.

Bluetooth on a soundbar nowadays is a must.
Bluetooth on a soundbar nowadays is a must.

Crisp Sound Quality

Small and medium-sized televisions can have their audio increased tenfold thanks to the sound bar. When watching a movie or playing a video game, sound provides an immersive experience that makes you feel like you’re in the middle of the action.

Integrated deep bass technology allows for full range stereo output with low end frequency. If you’re worried about not having an external subwoofer, don’t be: the integrated bass still allows for great lows in sound quality minus the cumbersome subwoofer.

Even without a television hooked up, users can connect their sound bar to their smartphone or tablet using Bluetooth technology. Spotify or iTunes, among many other streaming music services, can be used while your television is off. This is useful if you’re doing chores around the house and want to listen to crisp audio when listening to your favorite music instead of the television.

Rear speakers aren’t needed thanks to DTS TruSurround technology, which simulates surround sound well in all my movie playbacks.

One aspect that I really loved about the S3820W-C0 sound bar is its DTS TruVolume. If you’re not a fan of commercials blasting the volume, the TruVolume technology will level out the volume, so loud commercials never force you to mute the station. This is an important feature also because it can be set up so you won’t have to change the volume between the loud parts of a movie and the more subtle parts when characters are speaking. I have had too many problems with previous televisions (though I did not attach a sound bar to them) where constantly changing the volume because I couldn’t hear the dialogue was existent.

Overall, from the sound perspective, this is one of the better sound qualities you can get for the price.

S3820W-C0 SoundbarEasy Hook Up and Mounting

Two brackets are included so that you can mount the soundbar to the wall, and there are only two screws that go into the back of the soundbar. There is a nifty paper template that shows you how to attach the unit to the wall and the amount of space needed between the unit and television.

Once mounted, the setup process is a breeze. All you need to do is:

  • Plug the unit into your television
  • Plug the unit into the wall
  • Change your television’s audio setting

Your television will recognize the Vizio soundbar as an external audio source.Bluetooth Soundbar Vizio

However, if mounting the bar to the wall isn’t your strongsuit, you don’t need to. You can:

  • Place the unit on a shelf
  • Hang the unit on the wall instead
  • Put the unit on an entertainment center

There is an external remote included, but the unit integrates with your cable and television remote, so you don’t need 3 remotes – just one. Alternatively, there are also apps on Google Play and the iOS App Store that permit you control of your soundbar.

S3820W-C0 Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Optimal sound quality
  • Easy installation
  • Easy mounting option
  • Rich bass, even without a subwoofer

Cons

  • Remote range is not the best compared to other sound systems
  • VIZIO TV remote did not work with my soundbar

Vizio S3820W Review - SubwooferI was surprised that my remote for my VIZIO television was not compatible with the soundbar, but other television remotes were. Even the included remote’s range is subpar, but this should not be much of an issue unless your television is very far away from your couch. If anything, extra remote controls can be purchased.

This unit is ideal for casual movie and audio, but audio snobs will notice that the lower octave bass is not as good as a higher-end unit. The majority of people, however, should feel right at home with the bass quality. Alternatively, there are also models with subwoofers included that provide an extra thump.

The VIZIO S3820W-C0 is a great choice for anyone wanting a low-priced soundbar that provides powerful audio and doesn’t take up much room in the process. Yes, the lower bass might bother someone coming from a high-end unit, but most users won’t notice the difference. When your television’s built-in sound is simply unacceptable, the S3820W is a very good system in this price range.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 7.5/10 (2 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: +2 (from 2 votes)

GeForce GTX 980 Ti Graphics Card Review

Can’t afford GeForce’s Titan X? The GTX 980 TI is meant to fill in the gap between affordability and power. One of the most advanced graphics cards in the world, we were lucky to get our hands on the card before consumers to give it a test drive for our Geforce GTX 980 TI graphics card review (Note: for this review, we used a pre-release version of the Gigabyte GeForce GTX 980 Ti card)

I was blown away.

Not only does the 980 TI come with 2816 CUDA cores (only 8% less than the Titan), it also comes with 6GB of GDDR5 RAM. Talk about power! It’s fast and efficient – even when playing the newest games. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, for example, on maximum settings is child’s play for this card.

NVIDIA GTX 980 TI Review, Specs, and Benchmarks

System Requirements

Before I go into the fine details of my review, I want to discuss the system requirements of the card. This model requires 250W of power by itself. While the recommended minimum power supply is 600W, I highly recommend going with a 750W+ power supply. The price difference is $10 or $20, and you won’t have to worry about changing your supply unit in the future.GTX 980 Ti Video Card

The rest of the requirements are:

  • PCI-E slot
  • 300 MB of disk space
  • 8 GB of system memory
  • Windows Vista, 7 or 8

GeForce even recommends having 16 GB of random access memory or more. This model can work with a 6-pin or 8-pin power connector, so you won’t need an adapter.

Note: You don’t want to place this card in an older system where your CPU will become a bottleneck. This card is meant for high-end graphics, so try to stick with at least an i5 processor (preferably i7 or something similar, though).

Speed and Performance

What does $150 more get you? A massive performance increase over the original 980. The NVIDIA 980 TI is retailing at $649.99, but it is worth every penny provided you are a serious and passionate gamer. Performance and speed is what matters most in the gaming world, so let’s start with the basics.

First, this model can handle:

  • 4K monitors
  • DirectX 12 (not released yet at the time of publication)

There are even features built-in for virtual reality, such as:

  • VR SLI
  • Multi-res shading
  • Direct Mode
  • Front Buffering

GTX 980 Ti LogoThen, we come to the massive CUDA Cores with this model, which is 2816. For reference, the Titan X has 3072 and has a price of over $1,000. The 980 TI also comes with some of the most impressive power specs in the industry with a base clock of 1000 MHz and a boost clock of 1075 MHz.

There is also 6 GB of GDDR5 RAM to handle virtually every game on the market – on ultra.

980 TI Game Benchmarks

Let’s be honest, nothing matters aside from quality – you can’t get better than 4K quality right now – and the frames per second on the latest video games. Keep in mind, the larger resolutions (3840 x 2160, for example) will come with a slightly lower FPS average. We did our tests with a 2560 x 1600 display. Also, none of the games were played in settings lower than the maximum.

The results? (Average over a 15:00 minute playthough, via FRAPS)

  • BF4: 96.2 FPS
  • THIEF: 74 FPS
  • GTA V: 62.4 FPS
  • Witcher 3: 44.7 FPS
  • Hitman: Absolution: 56.4 FPS

When trying these games out on the higher resolution models, the FPS dipped a little to:

  • BF4: 75.4 FPS
  • THIEF: 45.0 FPS
  • GTA V: 42.1 FPS
  • Witcher 3: 35.2 FPS
  • Hitman: Absolution: 41.8 FPS

This is with 4K quality – you might as well be part of the game it’s so clear. All testing was done on the highest possible settings. I didn’t test our any of the MMOs on the market because lesser cards have an easy time maxing out World of Warcraft, GW2, Final Fantasy, and so on. For these games alone, this card can easily knock them out.

The GTX 980 Ti is designed with 4k gaming capabilities
The GTX 980 Ti is designed with 4k gaming capabilities

People that are unsure of buying either the 980 or the GTX 980 TI should consider that the TI has a 25% – 30% performance increase and 45% scaling, according to several other benchmarks. It should be noted, also, that our game benchmarks may vary with other benchmarks.

Built for the Future

Crystal clear visuals and perfectly rendered graphics is not all this card has to offer. You’ll also be getting a card that is ready for the future. Most other cards are DirectX 11 compatible, but this card is designed to run with DirectX 12, which is yet to be released.

Note: DirectX 12 is expected to be released with Windows 10 this summer.

This is a major boost due to the Multi-GPU capabilities that will be added. This will essentially put all of the graphics resources into a “bucket” where the developer can then divide the workload in an optimal manner.

GTX 980 Ti SLINew frame rendering and Multi-GPU support is perfect for anyone that will SLI Geforce’s GTX 980 TI (we haven’t tried that personally). The power will be immense, and the card can support 4-way SLI.

Supporting the future of gaming means the 980 TI will last for several years while ensuring that gamers have the crispest visuals available. It’s about longevity, and supporting DirectX 12 will mean a major performance boost over DirectX 11. I would be shocked if a new card didn’t come with DirectX 12 support with the release so soon.

There is even support for VR, and of course, true 4K support for the best in graphics.

Features and Specs

  • RAM: 6 GB, GDDR5
  • Memory Clock: 7 Gbps
  • Base Clock: 1000 MHz; 1075 (Boost Clock)
  • CUDA Cores: 2186
  • SLI: 4-way ready
  • DirectX: 12 API ready with 12.1 features
  • Max Resolution: 5120 x 3200 (digital); 2048 x 1536 (VGA)
  • Multi Monitor: 4 Display Compatible
  • Connectors: DVI-I, HDMI, DisplayPort 1.2 x 3

Pros

  • Close performance to the Titan X
  • Built for the future of gaming
  • 4-way SLI compatibility
  • Runs cool
  • Not noisy
  • 6 GB of RAM
  • Much cheaper than the Titan X

Cons

  • Requires a larger case
  • Has a lot of other hardware demands
  • Cheaper than the Titan X, but still very expensive

980 Ti Review Conclusion

You can’t really argue about the price of the card, around $649.99, when you look at its nearest competitor, the Titan X. This is the industry’s top-of-the-line graphics card as of now. But when looking at other, less advanced video cards, the GTX 980 Ti is really pricey.

The 980 TI is fast, and built for the future. It comes with 6 GB of RAM and the capability to use 4-way SLI. You’ll never look at gaming the same way again after using the new GTX 980 TI.GTX 980 Ti Review

I had a blast taking an early look at the card before it was released. The graphics were amazing and definitely topped what I am used to. I review a lot of things, but the 980 Ti is up there in technology.

The price may sting to a lot of people, but my recommendation is this: Buy the GeForce 980 Ti right now, make sure you meet all the requirements to run and fully experience it, and then enjoy because you won’t be having to upgrade for several years. Of course, you can get a much cheaper card and then have to upgrade in a year or two again,  but if you want to go big and not have to upgrade for, say, 5-7 years then go all in with this amazing tech by NVIDIA.

If you’ve decided on purchasing this card and then not upgrading for several years, you do have a few options from different companies. Be sure to click and read reviews to find the pros and cons of each manufacturer’s version of this card:

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 8.3/10 (3 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: +2 (from 2 votes)

Alienware X51 R2 Review – Gaming Setup for 2016

I wrote about the Alienware X51 way back around this time in 2014. I took a look at the different configurations Alienware had for this model. However, I did not actually review the product. Well, today I will. I should mention that this X51 review will be viewed in the modern eye. Basically, that answers the question “Should you buy it today?” rather than “Should you have bought it when it came out?”

We will be looking at the hardware of the X51 and seeing how well it does against a varying amount of games. Also, at the end there’s a handy “pros and cons” list to summarize most of the points in this review.

— Note: This review is much longer than the majority of our reviews. If anything, take a look at the pros and cons list below or read the many Amazon customer reviews here to get a feel for this computer —

Alienware X51 Review, Specs, and Benchmarks

The basics

Before we get started, I should make this clear. I am reviewing this configuration of the X51 desktop. There are obviously other models available, ranging from an i3 version (more affordable side) to the i7 versions (which cost significantly more, but have much improved hardware).

In case you didn’t check out the link to the model I am taking a look at, here are the specs:

X51 specs courtesy of Amazon

The Alienware X51 I am reviewing has a 4th generation Intel i5 processor, with the standard Turbo Boost that comes with a lot of Intel’s finest units. It comes with 8GB of DDR3 RAM and a solid 1TB hard drive to store your media in.

The graphics card is a good GeForce GTX 745 by NVIDIA and it holds 4GB of its own memory. During my game-testing, which you will see more of below, it is a decent card and holds through in 2015. Of course, it is upgradable. Just be sure to search on the web the specific card you want to put in to see if it fits. Also, head to YouTube for tutorials on how to change your video card.Alienware X51 R2

This model also comes with a nice Blu-Ray reader, but it lacks a monitor for you to watch it on. Be sure to purchase one — we’ve made a list of some of the best monitors you should buy — or two, if you’re aiming for a dual-monitor setup, if you are considering the X51 R2. This also comes with a Bluetooth reader so you can connect wirelessly to devices like your smart TV, tablets, or phones. Of course, this is almost standard in most of today’s computers.

Lastly, if you buy the X51 today, Alienware is offering a branded gaming keyboard and gaming mouse combo included. It’s an appreciated addition so you won’t have to pay extra for peripherals once you’ve already purchased.

Performance

OK, so we know what the computer is. I am sure the majority of you are most interested in how this setup performs, considering it released around 2 or 3 years ago. Don’t worry! I did some playthroughs on a range of games, from older ones released in 2007, to newer and more graphically intense ones that came out in 2013, 2014, and 2015.

X51 Game Benchmark: Bioshock

GTX 745 GPU on the Alienware X51Bioshock 1 was released in 2007, so the GTX 745 should have no problem running it. During my testing, I installed the game, set up my monitor and closed all applications. I changed the settings from the default values all the way up to max settings.

It ran with a smooth 55 frames per second. Those looking for strictly 60fps should overclock their hardware, but for everyone else this is outstanding. Expect to be able to play every game on at least high settings from 2010 and older.

X51 Game Benchmark: Bioshock Infinite

I felt like being cheesy, so I decided to do the latest installment of the Bioshock series with Bioshock Infinite. It came out in March of 2013, so it’s a game that hits right around the peak of the GTX 745 graphics card’s life.

At high settings, I was getting a good 34 frames a second on average. I’ve asked around forums and most people got around the same results, with some exceptions of getting up to 40fps.

Toning it down to medium settings should get you past 50 frames, but my play-testing was cut too short to check that out. Ultra settings was too much of a burden, laying out 23fps on average. Unless you have a dual-card setup or you plan to upgrade your Alienware X51’s graphics card, I wouldn’t expect ultra settings for videogames that came out between 2010 and 2013.

X51 Game Benchmark: Metro 2033 Redux

Metro Redux Alienware X51My last game to test was the remake of the excellent Metro 2033 game. Seriously, if you haven’t played either of the Metro games and are looking for a bit of eye candy, be sure to check out the “Redux” version, which comes with both 2033 and Last Light remastered.

Anyway, to be short, I ran this game just fine on medium settings, with a few graphical adjustments. I turned down some of the settings after changing it to the “Medium” preset. With this configuration in place, the X51 did solid with an acceptable 33 frames per second average.

X51 Game Benchmark: Grand Theft Auto V (PC)

I can hear the PC fans screaming with joy after GTA V finally came out ffor the PC. Anyway, this game looks better than ever. The graphical improvements that Rockstar has engraved into each iteration of its Grand Theft Auto series, whether it was from GTA IV to GTA V, or GTA V for the PS4 to GTA V for the PC. All of these improvements were appreciated and a great display of Rockstar’s hard work as a development team.Intel i5 CPU on X51 R2

Well, as good as GTA V looks (I played it previously on my other gaming computer), you unfortunately won’t be able to play it in all of its graphical glory. Playing on the maximum settings only lets me get 15 frames/second on average, which is very unplayable.

What you can get, though, is a medium setting preset, which will produce roughly 30 fps with no significant spikes or drops in frames while playing. For other games that come out through the year and even next year, or the year after that if you’re considering not upgrading the X51 GPU, you should expect to play games on medium only, and then eventually expect low settings. The GTX 745 on the Alienware X51 R2 is starting to get dated, but it is still a solid card that will last you a couple more years, depending on how badly you want to play the latest games.

Pros

Alright, so we have discussed the specifications and performance of the Alienware X51. How about some good, old pros and cons? These should help you make a final decision, based on what you’re getting in total from purchasing.

  • Small design, perfect for those tight in space
  • Cool-looking light effects
  • Runs most games well (must configure video settings)
  • Solid price-point
  • Comes with a branded keyboard and mouse

The design is very neat. It is glossy on the outside and the lighting effects have become a staple in all of Alienware’s products. This is a small machine that you’ll want to show off to your friends.X51 Compact Design

As mentioned above, it runs most of the games we’ve played on it well. You will have to adjust your in-game settings accordingly, though, as it won’t run recent games on high anymore.

Lastly, the price is good. Check it out on Amazon. Also understand that you have options, like the i3 model (which is much cheaper, with a more dated Intel i3 processor but it keeps the GTX 745 video unit — that’s more important if you’re after some medium-setting gaming) or the i7 model.

Cons

  •  Small design, can be tougher to upgrade
  • Only an entry-point gaming computer
  • Pricing gets expensive on the i7 scale

Inside the Alienware X51As this isn’t a full-fledged desktop with all the size, looking to upgrade the parts inside will be a hassle. Alienware restricts us with size limits, so you’ll definitely have to be sure a hardware part, like the GTX 970 video card for example, will fit. Of course, this is all only if you are an enthusiast. The X51 R2 is best suited for those that are not looking to upgrade significantly and for a standalone gaming computer.

With the kind of money you’re spending, you won’t be able to get much more from Alienware. In the end this is an entry-level PC. You will have to upgrade in a few years down the road, but if that’s all you need it for (unless you plan to play older games, then by all means have at it!) and you just want to play low settings for recent games, then you’re good to go.


VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 7.3/10 (3 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: +3 (from 3 votes)

Logitech G930 Wireless Gaming Headset Review

Logitech is a brand that I have had the pleasure of using for many years, so when I needed a new gaming headset, I decided to give the Logitech G930 a try. This highly rated headset had a few major selling points that drew me to it – First of all, it’s price. And then the 7.1 surround sound while having wireless playback capability.

So how did my Logitech G930 gaming headset review go? I’ll look at important factors like the feel of cans on my ears, the ergonomics, the features, and how well the microphone and speakers work.

Comfort and Design

Comfort and design are very important to me. When gaming for hours, the worst feeling is your ears hurting because there isn’t enough padding. The ear pads have faux leather padding on them, which allows for good comfort and minimal heat production – so your ears won’t sweat or feel suffocated after hours of use.

Logitech G930 Review
Read thousands of customer reviews here

The padding is very durable — mine has lasted for a year so far without wearing off.

Featuring an almost cup design, the ear pads cover the ear, which leads to the noise cancellation that gamers want when playing. I used these headphones for several playthroughs (specifically while play-testing the hardware on my Lenovo) without much discomfort, if at all.

You can adjust the size of the headphones to match the size of your head for a precise fit.

Another feature that is geared directly towards gamers is the 3 G-Keys right on the ear pad. This is a hot-key setup that comes in handy while playing. You can activate or mute your mic or perform other in-game tasks with the G-Keys. The choice is yours how you set them up. There is also a volume control on the side of the ear piece for precision volume modifying without needing to touch a keyboard or find the volume controls on your computer.

Note: G-Keys can use profiles, so multiple users can have all of their own programmable settings.

Mic and Sound Quality

When it comes to the real test, it starts and ends with the sound and mic quality. Before delving into my experience in terms of sound, I wanted to touch on the mic a little bit. The mic features noise cancellation, which works well, and I never had an issue with other people hearing me talk when playing any game.

The mic pulls out and can be bent for better placement.

One real neat feature is that you can bend the mic up to be out of your way. When you do this, the mic will automatically mute since it won’t be hearing any sound. This is important for situations like when you have to go for a break during a multiplayer session but you don’t want to leave it. The mic will turn off when you’re away, and people on the other end won’t hear any background noise in your house.

Counter Strike G930 HeadsetSound quality is exceptional. When playing something like Counter Strike or Thief — games where sound is a huge factor to understanding your virtual environment — you’ll be introduced to a whole new level of realism while playing. The 7.1 surround sound picks up on small in-game noises and sound effects to really put the user right in the middle of the game – it’s exceptional considering there are no wires.

Bass response is fairly deep and clear. Mid and high range sounds are sharp and distortion free.

Whether you’re playing a game or listening to Spotify or iTunes, the sound quality is decent. Obviously, you should not use a set of gaming headphones for basic music or movie use, but the G930 still does the job in that sense.

In terms of sound lag, none was experienced. The range on the headphones is 40 ft. so I was able to freely walk around my office and the house without much of an issue. Going down or up a floor did cause some issues with connectivity, but that is to be expected because of thick walls and range.

Features and Specs

  • Wireless
  • 40 ft. range
  • 1 surround sound
  • 3, programmable G-keys
  • Noise-cancellation
  • Works on Windows and PS4
  • Software includes voice changing capability

Pros

  • Exceptional sound quality.
  • Great distance.
  • Usable when charging.
  • G-Keys allow for advanced functionality.

Cons

  • Loses connectivity sporadically but not commonly.

One minor problem I noticed was that once every hour or so, the headset would lose connectivity for a few seconds. This seems like an issue a lot of users have, but it is common with wireless headsets in the low- to mid-price range. This should be only a minor blip in the long run.Logitech G930

What Others Are Saying

There have been over 4,700 people that have reviewed this headset on Amazon. There are a lot of rave reviews, and some bad reviews as to be expected. Those that didn’t like the headset state:

  • Connectivity is lost once in a while.
  • Headset broke after a year.

Most of the bad reviews deal with connectivity issues, but this is not the norm for most users. The positive reviews include:

  • The ear pads cover my entire ear. I don’t hear any outside noise at all.
  • The most comfortable headset I’ve ever owned.
  • Love the G-keys – they work great with Ventrilo.

The Logitech G930 headset is exceptional in sound quality and comfort. While connectivity does drop on occasion, it is not a major issue and is something that every headset I ever owned has done. With the enveloping ear pads, the sound quality is boosted by noise cancellation, and the 7.1 surround sound provides a whole new level of realism to the gaming experience.

Click here to see the Logitech G930 online.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 8.0/10 (2 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: +2 (from 2 votes)

Logitech H800 Wireless Headset Review

Logitech is a brand that is known for their keyboards, mice and webcams, but how are their headsets? This is what I wanted to find out when I needed a new wireless headset. I decided to try my luck with the H800 and was quite surprised by the result.

Were they perfect? No. But were they good for the price range I bought them at? Absolutely.

Let’s see what this product offers in my brief Logitech H800 headset review.

First Impression

Lightweight and black in color, these headphones fold up, so they won’t take up a lot of desk space and can easily be carried on-the-go. Durable and sleek, these headphones can take a beating. I have dropped them before, and they never broke in the process.

This is one of the simplest designs we’ve reviewed in a while. Whether or not that is good is up to you.

The fit of the H800 is great and the model itself is easy to adjust. There are sculpted ear cups that allow for decent comfort for extended use over a period of time.

Great Connectivity

The 40 ft. range allows you to walk around most rooms without losing sound. Hooking these headphones up to ta PC is simple, but you probably would prefer to use these headphones via bluetooth on your smartphone, tablet, or even your smart TV.

There is also a built-in microphone that tucks away nicely when not in use and unfolds to produce crystal-clear communication.

There is also noise-cancellation on the microphone that will prevent outside noise, aside from your voice, from being transmitted. It’s not 100% perfect, but it does block out most noise.

While I was running across the house to get coffee, the headphones held connectivity pretty well with minimal connectivity loss. I didn’t measure out the range, but I would estimate 40 or more feet range is pretty accurate.

Sound

Logitech states that you’ll hear rich digital stereo sound, and they are right. There is a built-in equalizer, which allows for adequate bass and treble. However, the sound wasn’t on-par with higher-end models, such as the Sennheiser RS 170.

Logitech H800 Folding MicI wasn’t expecting the sound to be as good as the RS 170 since it is almost a third cheaper.

Don’t get me wrong, the sound is as good as earbuds, but it isn’t as audiophile-friendly as the RS 170 or many other higher-tier models.

Features and Specs

  • PC, smartphone and tablet compatibility
  • 40+ ft. range
  • Six-hour rechargeable battery
  • USB charging
  • Built-in equalizer
  • Noise-cancellation
  • Lightweight at under 10 ounces
  • Folds up for easy storage
  • Built-in microphone

What did I really like and dislike about this model? Let’s briefly take a look at the most noticeable pros and cons:

Pros

  • Great price
  • Comfortable for everyday use
  • Decent noise-cancellation
  • Small and compact for easy storage
  • Great range and connectivity

Cons

  • Battery life is 6 hours (would love to see 8+ hours)

    The ability to fold neatly lets you bring the headphones anywhere.
    The ability to fold neatly lets you bring the headphones anywhere.
  • Has a slightly smaller fit, so it slid off my head while doing more active things like cleaning the house
  • Mine didn’t come with it’s own charger – only a USB cable

This isn’t a high-end wireless headset, but it provides immense comfort and a great range while still allowing for good audio quality. The one thing I would have really loved to see is the battery life being 8 – 10 hours. Six hours is too short if you plan on working with a headset on.

For gaming and casual wear, this is a great option. The microphone folds up nicely, and the people on the other end will have no issues hearing you talk. The ability to walk around freely without worrying about cords or wires is also a major bonus.

Click here to check out the Logitech H800 wireless headset and read 1500+ customer reviews.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 6.5/10 (2 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0 (from 2 votes)

HP Pavilion 27XW Monitor Review

What’s all the fuss about the HP Pavilion 27xw? The #1 new release on Amazon has piqued my interest enough that I had to try this 27 inch gaming monitor out for myself though I did have to borrow it from a friend.

Exceptionally large at 27″ diagonally (although 25-inch or 23-inch models are available), this monitor provides some of the best visuals I’ve ever seen on a gaming display and is LED backlit with in-plane switching (IPS).

During my HP Pavilion 27 XW review, I found that crystal clear clarity is simply unmatched (with other comparable 27-inch monitors), especially when HP’s Enhance+ technology is used.

Pavilion 27XW:

Aesthetics and Design

The 27 XW has a silver frame that is ultra-slim at just a ½” thick. For anyone who likes thin displays, this is one of the thinnest ones available. Unfortunately, with a monitor this skinny, speakers are not included, but that can be okay if you were intending to buy a separate set or wanted to use an older one. Normally, built-in speakers lack the true sound quality needed to enjoy movies or games anyway.

There is no bezel, so the monitor’s edges are thin and are black, which provides a nice accent. All-in-all, the gaming monitor’s exterior looks pretty sharp.27XW Monitor manufactured by HP

Energy Star-rated, the monitor attempts to use as little power as possible and is LED backlit.

What’s important about LED backlighting? Well, without going too in-depth, older monitors would use cold-cathode florescent lamps (CCFL). With CCFL, a lot more energy is needed to power the monitor, and mercury is included, which was a major hazard if the monitor broke. LED is also far superior and allows for better overall color while keeping energy usage down and allowing for a slimmer display.

LED is also known to last a lot longer and won’t burn out on you in a few years.

In general, you want an LED monitor simply because the technology is superior and the longevity is unmatched.

There is also plasma, but these are best used in dark rooms and don’t have the same level of brightness as LED. However, plasma-based monitors do produce the best blacks.

The monitor doesn’t have a height adjustment, but it does have a tilt adjustment, so you can move the monitor forward or backward to your preferred angle.

As far as connectivity is concerned, there is one VGA port and 2 HDMI ports available.

HP Pavilion 27XW: Viewing Experience

Nothing is as important as the viewing experience, and that is why the Pavilion 27xw is rated so highly. The 27″ digital screen is superb in every aspect. Crisp in color, the 10,000,000:1 contrast ratio really illuminates the brightest whites and darkest darks for true color contrast. Shadows and shading is extremely detailed whether you’re watching a movie on Netflix or playing games like Dark Souls II, you’ll notice a big difference in visual effects with the 27xw.

HP is a consistently high-rated company in the monitor industry.
HP is a consistently high-rated company in the monitor industry.

HP includes a new technology called HP Enhance+ that is meant to improve the quality of the image and reduce noise for an enhanced picture. The standard IPS technology is incorporated to overcome the old flaws seen in LED monitors.

Worried about haze? There is a low haze enhancement that reduces reflections without causing a loss in clarity or contrast. This is a must-have for any gamer who wants to view the highest quality visuals with little reflection or distortion.

The monitor has a 16:9 ratio so movies and games look beautiful. It also has a resolution of 1920 x 1080 (other monitors like the AOC i2757FH also have a 1080p resolution, but ultimately offer much less for a steeper price than this Pavilion). The response rate is a low 8ms, so the display is presented as quickly as possible. The brightness can go up to 250 nits. The viewing angle is 178 degree horizontal and vertical with vivid colors.

It’s one of the best gaming monitors on the market with the only real drawback being that you can’t adjust the height. It definitely should not shunt your decision one way or the other, and isn’t much of a concern for me, but a lot of people nitpick features, so it is very much worth mentioning in a review.

I should note that you can hook up 3 total displays with the HDMI and VGA output, and switch between them. This is great if you have two computers or a laptop and you want to hook in the monitor to switch between systems.

Features and Specs

  • 27 inch digital screen
  • Open WEDGE stand design
  • VGA Port
  • 2 HDMI ports
  • Full HD at 1920 x 1080 resolution
  • 10,000,000 to 1 contrast ratio
  • 16:9 aspect ratio
  • 8ms response timePavilion 27XW
  • LED backlit
  • Tilt angle
  • Energy Star certified
  • ½” thickness

There is a lot to like with this 27″ gaming monitor and two small cons that I found. Sure, I was being a little picky during my review, but this monitor is near perfect.

Pros

  • Crystal clear and high quality visual display
  • Ultra-thin at a ½” of thickness
  • 1920 x 1080 resolution
  • 27 inches of beautiful, well-made technology gives a pleasing viewing experience

Cons

  • No HDMI cable included – this is not a requirement, but with so many other monitors packaging it in, it felt unusual not to have the connector cable for your monitor to your computer/console
  • No height adjustment

The HP Pavilion 27xw provides a high-end monitor at a price that is unmatched. There is a reason why this is Amazon’s #1 new release (at the time of this writing): it exceeds customer expectations. There is no HDMI cord included, so make sure you have one ready when you buy this monitor for the clearest possible visuals. A VGA cord is included, however, but I highly encourage you to pick up an HDMI from Amazon or Walmart for a few bucks if you are going to shell out a few hundred on a well-built gaming monitor like the Pavilion.

The graphics are bright and vivid, shadows look great thanks to the high contrast ratio, and the HP Enhance+ technology really displays the power of newer monitors.

The HP Pavilion 27 xw gaming monitor is available for purchase here. It is rated 4.7 stars out of 5.0 on Amazon.

Read the customer reviews, buy it (or check out the 25-inch version), or read more of our gaming hardware reviews here.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 8.3/10 (4 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: +4 (from 4 votes)

AMD Radeon HD 6450 Review: Cheap, Fast and Perfect for a 3-Monitor Setup

Looking for an affordable, everyday use graphics card? To briefly introduce this processor we are reviewing today, the AMD Radeon HD 6450 is a low-end model that is meant for people that can’t necessarily afford (or simply has no need for) a higher-end card like the GTX 980 or the TITAN X. Perfect for everyday computing, the 6450 uses 160 stream processors and 1GB of 64-bit DDR3 memory.

Though I am not a light gamer, I did need to build a cheaper computer that allowed my client to:

  • Watch HD movies.
  • Play light video games
  • Display on multiple monitors

While I say light gaming, you’ll still get respectable frames rates for plenty of games (more on that soon).

— Note: Looking for more AMD? Pair this video card with something like the AMD FX-8320 to complete your AMD desktop–

Easy-to-install and SetupAMD HD 6450 Video Card Review

Easy-to-install, your motherboard will need to have a PCI-Express 2.1 slot open to run this graphics card. Virtually every modern motherboard will have a compatible slot, so simply push it into place and secure it.

When setting up your monitor(s), you’ll be able to choose between:

  • DVI
  • HDMI
  • VGA

If you want a three-monitor setup, some models require a DisplayPort and others require an HDMI port for the third monitor.

The PC I was building is a little older, and this card was a minor upgrade to the on-board graphics card I was initially going to hook up. For older PC users, this card will run on as low as a 240W power supply. but I will note that the manufacturer recommends a 400W power supply.

Drivers are easily installed and are included with your purchase, but I recommend downloading them directly from AMD, or your respective manufacturer. VisionTek, MSI, XFX and Sapphire all make their own versions of the 6450.

Performance and Gameplay

For me, it’s all about performance when it comes to graphics cards. With a low-end model, you won’t be maxing out heavy games like The Witcher or Crysis, but that’s not what this card is meant for anyway.

There are several versions of this card on the market, so performance will differ:

  • XFX has a 2GB version
  • MSI and Sapphire have a 1GB version

Quiet and cool, this card will not produce much noise and doesn’t run hot. While gaming, the card can get up to 55 6450 Video Carddegrees centigrade, but that’s the same with every card. Of course, when building or at least upgrading your own computer (which I assume you are doing if you are looking at reviews for a processor), you should always have a solid cooling system installed too. Water cooling, though expensive, will be more than enough, but a good cooling fan should be the minimum to keep everything running cool.

If you’re a Linux fan, this card is compatible with newer Linux-based operating systems.

Earlier I mentioned that this is not necessarily a gaming card, but it can play a lot of games on medium settings using HDMI. I did test this card out on a few games that I own, and had the following results (on average):

  • Minecraft: 60FPS
  • SWTOR: 35FPS
  • Skyrim: 22-30FPS (no mods)
  • Left 4 Dead 2: 35FPS

All of these games were played on low or medium settings, with the exception of Minecraft, which was easily run on max (no mods). I tried to play something heftier like Crysis 3, but the frames per second count was too low to play with any decent response time.

Using the 1GB version, this card is powerful enough for any movie streaming or basic computing. I wouldn’t recommend this card for hardcore gamers, but at such a low price, you can’t expect much more than what the HD 6450 offers.

Feature and Specs OverviewRadeon 6450 Graphics Card by AMD

  • 625 MHz engine clock
  • 512MB – 2GB DDR3/GDDR5 memory
  • 160 stream processing units
  • PCI Express 2.1
  • 2560 x 1600 max resolution
  • HDMI 1.4a
  • Displayport 1.2
  • DirectX 11; OpenGL 4.1
  • Eyefinity multi-display technology
  • HDMI / D-SUB / DVI ports

Pros

  • Offers 1GB and 2GB options
  • 3-monitor support
  • Easy setup; compatible with Linux
  • Low power requirement
  • High max resolution
  • Low price

Cons

  • Gets hot on graphic-intensive games
  • Fairly big (takes up 2 slots on smaller motherboards)

Radeon HD 6450 ReviewYou’ll want to make sure that you have a slot next to your PCI-Express slot open when installing this graphics card. Like most cards on the market, this card will take up a lot of room on your motherboard and may need the adjacent slot to fit properly.

A decent graphics card capable of running a three monitor setup, the AMD Radeon HD 6450 is the perfect choice for the budget-friendly shopper. Just be sure not to get your expectations too high up, as this is a fairly outdated processor. Purchase only for basic (web browsing, etc) to light (older games like Left 4 Dead or World of Warcraft) use.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 6.7/10 (3 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: +1 (from 3 votes)

Is the CyberpowerPC Gamer Xtreme GXi3800A Desktop a Smart Buy?

If you’re in the market for a gaming computer that allows you to enjoy all sorts of PC gaming action due to its powerful processor and its array of gamer-friendly features, it is probably wise to be doing careful comparison-shopping or online research before you buy this one.

To help you comparison-shop and make your shopping easier, we’ve created a detailed review of one gaming computer, the Cyberpower PC Gamer Xtreme GXi3800A Desktop.

This desktop is available for around or under $500 at Amazon.com (check exact price here – no need to add to cart), so it’s within the mid-range price point, just the sweet spot for most people looking for affordable hardware. To help you discover whether or not it will suit your needs, let’s explore its features and then take a look at its pros and cons.CybertronPC GXI3800A Review

Our goal in this post is to make it an honest and impartial review. We’ve outlined what you would get from this computer, and more importantly what is missing and why or why not you should purchase it. Read on…

Features of The CybertronPC GXi3800A

First of all, this computer looks average, if perhaps a little cheap. It features a black and blue design on the main stack, as well as a black keyboard and mouse with red accents.

However, looks probably aren’t your main priority here. It is much easier to just change out the tower case of your desktop than the actual hardware, after all.

If you’re an avid gamer, you’re looking for high performance, as a strong and consistent PC will allow you to have a great experience playing games or efficiently do other work without having to worry about your computer breaking down.

This unit comes with an Intel Pentium Processor of the G3240 variety, which offers 3.1 GHz (3 megabyte cache) of processing speed. This isn’t particularly exceptional, as this type of hardware is actually a quite dated at this point. In GXI3800A Desktop and Accessoriesaddition, this computer includes 4GB of DDR3 RAM. This amount of memory is fairly standard with most computers, but it does feel lacking compared to the other gaming rigs we’ve played on. Other features of the GXi3800A include an AMD Radeon R5 230 graphics card and the Windows 8.1 operating system included with purchase.

Since so many computers offer the same hardware and the same operating system — not to mention a lot offer even more for around the same price — we rate these features at 2.25 stars out of 5. The truth is that this computer is basically an entry-level PC being marketed as a gaming computer.

— Note: Official Amazon customer reviews agree with us (2.5 out of 5). You can read them here

Pros and Cons

The GXi3800A is an economical machine, probably one of its main selling points. However, you will need to balance your desire for performance with your desire to save money. In other words, paying more for higher quality and ultra-modern hardware is going to be an investment in your own gaming pleasure that would really pay off down the line. In other words, if you want a real gaming experience, you’ll have to shell out the money or look at better sub-$500 gaming desktops (we listed some of the best ones for you).

On the other hand, you may not have enough money to go for a computer which is more tricked-out. It’s actually possible to find deals on computers which are more suitable for gamers, without needing to spend more money. So, do shop around before settling for this pre-built computer. Again, we’ve provided you with an article to check out our list of the best budget computers (sub-$1000).

As you can see, the chief “pro” of this system, its relatively low price, may also be a major “con”, depending on how you look at things!Gamer Xtreme GXI3800 Gaming Machine

The primary con of this computer is its heavily outdated hardware. In a nutshell, you can do better with your money. A mediocre system like this one isn’t going to grow with you as your gaming requirements progress, unless you’re willing to tweak it yourself by purchasing and installing your own separate hardware. A brand-new gaming computer should offer a lot more, right out of the box.

We can’t recommend this mediocre system to anyone who is truly passionate about PC gaming – it just doesn’t measure up in terms of offering the latest hardware and processing power. It is a basic system with nothing special about it! This is why we advise you to remove it from your short list of possible gaming computer choices.

If you are looking for a new budget gaming PC, the CybertronPC GXi3800A is unfortunately not the answer, not even for a standard-use desktop.

Final rating: 2/5

— Still looking for a CybertronPC gaming rig? At roughly the same price, the Patriot GM1293D should give you much more for your money. Follow the link to check out our review —

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 5.3/10 (4 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: +2 (from 2 votes)

Steelseries World Of Warcraft Gaming Mouse Review: Features, Pros, and Cons

SteelSeries is a huge, renowned manufacturer of hardware used by gamers around the world. They make a wide variety of products, from keyboards, headsets and mice used both professionally and casually.

The SteelSeries World of Warcraft mouse is a relatively new mouse manufactured by this company. SteelSeries developed this mouse in conjunction with Blizzard Entertainment, the main company that developed the massively successful trio StarCraft, Diablo, and World of Warcraft. All three game series have been played by millions of people.

Features Of Steelseries World Of Warcraft Gaming Mouse

The SteelSeries WOW gaming mouse has been released at least 3 times. The one we are reviewing here was specifically built to work with the World of Warcraft game. Its features include:

  • In game integration which allows one to configure the settings of the mouse directly from the World of Warcraft interface which you will find to be extremely convenient if you play frequently.
  • It is medium sized with an ergonomic shape

    WOW Gaming Mouse
    Click above to see the price!
  • Has an easy to reach 11 button layout that makes it both comfortable and functional
  • Build with an intuitive dragging and dropping software, which enables the users of the mouse to program the 11 buttons with at least 130 game commands. This enables them to not only create custom macros, but also use an in-game scripting language with ease.
  • Capability to customize the appearance because of the 8 million color illumination
  • 4 pulsation levels and options
  • Compatible not only with Windows, but the Mac OS too
  • Very light weight and compact; measures 8 x 6.8 x 2.2 inches and a mere 10.6 ounces
  • Designed for use in long playing sessions
  • Sleek design

Pros Of The World Of Warcraft Mouse

MMO Mouse for World of Warcraft

As we have shown, this Steelseries mouse has several features. We have listed only a few notable ones here, though there are definitely more advanced features for the more hardcore.

  • It has a medium size compared to other mice, making it comfortable to hold and use
  • Sleek design which can give one a feeling of sophistication and coolness
  • Has numerous buttons which makes it very functional to use when you’re gaming
  • It is light weight, making it efficient to use with your gaming PC setup
  • Has inbuilt software which means that it updates with WoW automatically
  • Has good reviews on Amazon from people who purchased and used it
  • Has a fair price compared to previous versions (there has since been an upgraded version, called the Cataclysm gaming mouse — click to see it)

Cons Of The Steelseries World Of Warcraft Gaming Mouse

Although our research revealed a lot of glowing reviews for this WOW mouse, some were not so bright and optimistic. One buyer for instance stated that they were not pleased with the way it was built, having a plethora of buttons on Steel Series World of Warcraft MMOthe side. Though we do see this as becoming a hindrance to some, it did not get in the way of our testers, as they are most certainly experienced in testing out other gaming hardware and were used to setups similar to this.

Another buyer, on the other hand, thought that the light being emitted was too strong, making it tough to play in the night. This was a common opinion amongst our panel of 3 hardware reviewers at Mysteryblock. There was also no setting to dim the light, though it did look pretty neat in the daytime.

Verdict

In general, the Steelseries World Of Warcraft gaming mouse has several fantastic reviews, multiple features and very few cons online. It can thus, pass for a very good addition to your gaming paraphernalia.

PS: You have two purchasing options (three if you count the Cataclysm version) – the cheaper wired World of Warcraft mouse or the slightly more expensive wireless version.

Check to see if they are discounted!

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 4.5/10 (2 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: +2 (from 2 votes)