AZiO Levetron Mech5 Mechanical Keyboard Review

AZiO Corp is a new brand to us at eTeknix, so we’re honoured today to be reviewing their flagship gaming keyboard, the Levetron Mech5. AZiO Corp is primarily and American brand, although we do occasionally see some of their products over here in the UK – and should expect to see them more often soon. This is the first time I’ve had my hands on one of their products to review, so I will make sure I pay close attention to the build quality and performance. The keyboard itself is known for its modular form, with nearly every aspect being customisable. The Mech5 features slightly more features and a tweaked design over the other keyboard in the range – the Mech4, which also has a different colour scheme, yet the same modular characteristics.  Before I dive into the review, lets take a quick look at what the Levetron will present us with feature-wise:

  • Highly Modular Design – Move the macro keys to where you can reach them. Numeric Keypad and Macro Keypad modules are removable and can be positioned on either side of the keyboard
  • 16 Dedicated Macro Keys – Programmable macro keys can be used as an in game shortcut, a specific keyboard character, or a whole key sequence using the keyboard software.
  • Cherry Black Mechanical Switches – The Cherry Black mechanical switch is widely believed to provide the best gaming experience. Featuring a linear design ideal for rapid pressing of keys and the right stiffness to help prevent accidental key presses.
  • Built-in Volume Knob – Perfect for audio control of your speakers or headset device.

You get all of this for approximately $109.99 so it’ fits in the middle of the mechanical keyboard market. Now I’ll take a look at this curious sounding keyboard, to see what its all about, though you should note, that since it is an American keyboard, it will have the US layout.

The Mech5 comes in a fairly large box, which is no doubt down to the modular parts. Straight away you can see the keyboard in all its glory on the front of the box so you know exactly what to expect. The design of the keyboard is almost grungy with a dark colour scheme and exposed metal. The left side of the front displays various features of what to expect with the Mech5.

On the reverse side of the box there is a more detailed breakdown of the various features and an explanation of the modular design. The right side also contains various translations of the features, in 8 different languages.

When you first open the box and remove the contents, it’s almost slightly overwhelming due to the different parts for the keyboard. The box contains the keyboard itself, which is an 80% design (Tenkeyless TLK), the additional numbered, the top macro buttons and the quick start guide and driver CD.

 

The whole point of this keyboard is that it can be fully customised to suit the user, so subsequently AZiO has made the Numpad modular along side the macro keys you’ll see shortly. AZiO have also included an additional calculator button, which is a nice touch as it is used often in our office. The Numpad can be attached on either side of the keyboard, which I’ll show you how in the image below:

On each side of the Mech5 there are “wings” which slide up to reveal a USB connector. The Numpad has the matching port on each side of it, so this simply slots into place and the wing lowers, locking it into place. For the purpose of this review, I used it primarily on the right side as it felt odd having it on the left.

The top row macro keys are also of a modular design, so you can decide if you wish to use them or not. The macro keys simply attach to the keyboard by a rail system – not dissimilar to that on a gun. There is a small cable around the back of the buttons which connects to a USB port on the back of the keyboard. This can then slide left and right along the top and can be flipped up to gain access to the function keys. In the top right corner there are two buttons, one that turns the win key on and off – useful when gaming, and A/B button that enables you to switch between two sets of macro keys that line the left edge of the keyboard.

In this image you can see the macro keys in the upright position. On the underside of it you can see a small retractable rest that when opened, rests between the function keys and the number keys – to give it a bit of support. To the right of the keyboard you have a nice, smooth volume knob that is great for controlling the audio levels on the fly.

Other than the top macro buttons, the Mech5 features a full compliment of Cherry MX Black switches, which AZiO describe as the best for gaming due to their stiff, linear movement.

AZiO has gone all out with the customisations you can do to the Mech5 by providing additional keycaps. These red caps replace the WASD keycaps. They are slightly lower than the surrounding caps, making it easier to relocate your hand on those crucial keys when gaming.

Fully assembled, you are presented with a beast of a keyboard. The whole design reeks of a mechanical, industrial machine with its chunky futuristic design. The hexagonal bolts are just a little bit of extra details, which really add to the overall design of the board. You can also see the macro keys down the left side of the keyboard we mentioned earlier. Despite the modular design, the wrist rest is attached to the board, which is an issue for some.

Setup and Software

The Mech5 is reasonably simple to setup, granted it is a modular keyboard so will take a bit longer to snap everything into place, but once settled, it’s easy to do over and over again. The cable is around 6ft long with two gold plated connectors at the end to provide the keyboard with additional power. Straight off the bat you can use the keyboard when connected to the PC, but you won’t be able to map the additional macro keys.

Once the drivers and software are installed from the CD provided, you are greeted with this screen. It is relatively simple compared to other keyboard programs we have seen, but I see this as a good thing. On this screen you can select the keys you want and assign them macros.

First off you have to create the macro you want, so then once it is saved into the software, you can bind it to a key.

When a key is selected, you are given the options in the image above. There are various things you can get the keys to do, from opening programs, running a macro or even quickly typing a string of characters. All of that can be done in the screen above. For the purpose of this review I set the top macro keys to media keys. It is as simple as pressing a record button, carrying out a sequence of actions, then saving the macro.

So that is it when it comes to setting the keyboard up and using the software. Now it’s time to put it to the test.

Gaming Performance

I’ve been playing a lot of Battlefield 3 when I can (surprise surprise) alongside a bit of Diablo 3 when I’m taking it easy. The Mech5 was great for the FPS as the Cherry Black switches were nice to push and required enough force so you knew when the key had activated. Where the keyboard really shone was in Diablo 3 as the macro keys were perfect to assign to casting spells and issuing commands. The ability to have the top macro keys set as media keys also allowed me to control my music whilst I was playing, great for those awesome kill streaks and capturing the flag in BF3: End Game. The one little issue I have with the keyboard is the strip of macro keys down the left side of the keyboard as I kept pressing the bottom key instead of the left Ctrl key – a small, but annoying issue I’ve had with all the keyboards which have macro keys in that position. Overall the Mech5 provided a great experience for gaming and in some cases actually improved my performance.

General Use

I do a lot of typing on my PC, whether it’s for eTeknix or when coding/designing websites so as you can imaging, typing quickly became a chore on the Cherry Black switches due to the larger amount of force required. This rapidly introduced strain into my fingers making it very uncomfortable during long typing sessions, like when reviewing. What I did like however, was the fact I could map so many keys to do different things. This was particularly useful in programs like Photoshop as I could use the “A” macro keys for things like selecting the vector tool, and then use the “B” macro keys for opening programs. The top macro keys were also well suited to acting as media keys and the volume knob was a great convenience, so much so, I actually miss it on keyboards that don’t have it.

Final thoughts

I think the Levetron Mech5 is a great keyboard for gamers, its got loads of useful features packed into it’s futuristic chassis and the fact that it is modular and almost fully customisable is a great aspect to have. Whilst some may find the keyboard bulky, even with the Numpad detached and the design off putting, when it is actually put to use, it is almost flawless. AZiO really has put a lot of thought into redesigning the Mech4 to create this monster of a keyboard, with little things like an added calculator button adding to a great experience. The overall quality is pretty decent as we often see with mechanical keyboards, so it’s quite capable of lasting longer than the components in your computer.

The keyboard isn’t all amazing however, as you may notice in the previous paragraph I did mention that it was a great keyboard for gamers, as it is not so great when it comes to typing. The Cherry Blacks are a good choice if you don’t press that many keys – like when gaming, but when it comes to typing the additional force required to get the switches to actuate, really puts strain on your fingers, resulting in an overall painful experience. As I also mentioned in the previous paragraph, some may find the design a little too chunky and the style of it too busy. Personally, I quite like the industrial look to it and I love the attention to detail AZiO have put into it, however some could see it as tacky and too busy. Another annoyance I had with the keyboard is the lower left macro key position, as I always have with keyboards with a similar positioning of the macro keys. However, this is more down to preference.

Overall AZiO has made a great first impression on me, from the modular design that allowed me to customise how I wanted the keyboard layout to be, to all the great features packed inside. Sure it may be like Marmite so some, but thanks to the innovate design (something we don’t often see with keyboards) it should really stand out for anyone looking for a decent gaming keyboard that also won’t break the bank. As the AZiO has used Cherry Black switches, I won’t be recommending this keyboard to anyone who does a fair amount of typing, but anyone who loves gaming and wants a keyboard that looks the part, then look no further. To sum it up, the AZiO Levetron Mech5 is decent, high quality keyboard with an innovative, customisable design and a full complement of features, making it perfect for gamers, but due to the characteristics of the switch type, it’s not so good for the heavy typists. For all these reasons, I’m happy to award the AZiO Levetron Mech5 with the:

Razer Ouroboros Wireless Gaming Mouse Review

It’s been a while since I last did a review on a Razer product, and since then there has been quite a few announcements regarding new products. Razer have hogged the spotlight at CES with their EDGE gaming tablet, which has overwhelmed the release of some of their gaming peripherals – but don’t fear, as I’m reviewing their latest gaming mouse today. Initially announced several months back – in fact, we first got a look at this mouse at Gamescom in Cologne back in September 2012, Razer have finally launched their flagship wireless gaming mouse: The Razer Ouroboros. The Razer Ouroboros is the latest wireless mouse to be released by Razer, which is also the first wireless ambidextrous gaming mouse by the company. The Ouroboros sits at the top of Razer’s product line, featuring all the latest technology to provide the best performance, so because of this, they have gone all out in both presentation and performance (and price!).

When it comes to gaming, we often look for the most comfortable mouse, with the best performance, all for the right price. I know Razer are known for their more expensive peripherals, but as long as the performance is there, then we shouldn’t have a problem. I’ve seen poor performing wireless gaming mice in the past, which have meant to be gaming grade – but always suffered from a bit of lag making it unacceptable in today’s fast paced games. Will the Razer Ouroboros be above average performance-wise in an already crowded market of gaming peripherals? Will it offer anything new? On paper the Ouroboros has a pretty impressive spec-sheet:

  • Customizable ergonomics to fit all hand sizes and grip-styles
  • 8200dpi 4G Dual Sensor System
  • Gaming-grade wireless technology with dock
  • Razer Synapse 2.0 enabled
  • 11 programmable Hyperesponse buttons
  • 1000Hz Ultrapolling / 1ms response time
  • Up to 200 inches per second / 50g acceleration
  • Approximate Size: 122 mm to 137 mm / 4.80″ to 5.39″ (Length) x 71 mm / 2.80″ (Width) x 42 mm / 1.65″ (Height)
  • Approximate Weight: 115 g / 0.25 lbs. (without battery) to 135 g / 0.29 lbs. (with battery)
  • Battery life: (Approx) 12 hrs (continuous gaming)

Just like the majority of Razer’s peripherals, this mouse runs off the controversial Razer Synapse 2.0 cloud based software, which requires an internet connection to use – a point that was recently brought to light by some of Razer’s fans. That said, who doesn’t have an internet connection right? Razer are renowned for their packaging on their premium products, so we were very eager to see what was in store for us with the Ouroboros – Let’s take a look.

Normally we cover the packaging here, but the Ouroboros was shipped in some special press packaging that won’t be found at retail. Inside the packaging we found all the components that will be available at retail; The Ouroboros mouse, a “gaming” dock, two sets of sides, a rechargeable battery, a USB cable and a rather unusual USB drive like device.

Let’s now take a closer look at the mouse. The Ouroboros by default have no sides attached to it as this is down to the gamer. Their are two different sets; a “wing” set and a “grip” set. The wing set are the sides used in the photo below. They cover more of the desktop and provide a rest for both your thumb and you pinky finger – although there is nothing to stop you using one from each set.

The mouse itself is of a very contemporary design – almost sport car like, which Razer did look at when designing the mouse. The mouse features the typical LMB, RMB and the scroll wheel, which has a series of 3 bumps to aid with the grip. Behind the scroll wheel are two additional buttons that control the DPI sensitivity. On each side are the thumb buttons – depending which hand you use it with. By default these control browser navigation.

The other set of sides have a flatter design and feature a rubber section to provide better grip. The texture of the mouse is slightly rough and matte black in colour with silver being used to highlight small details.

At the back of the mouse is a small wheel which when turned raises or lowers the palm rest to suit the user’s needs. To alter the wrist rest position or to gain access to the battery compartment, there is a button around the small wheel, at the back of the mouse, which when pressed, allows you to move the rest up or down, or even remove it entirely if you wish to access the battery compartment.

Upon separating the two halves, a small switch needs to be pushed to open up the battery compartment. For the power, Razer have used a standard AA sized rechargeable battery rated at 2500mAh, so should produce around 16 hours of use.

Unlike most mice on the market, the Ouroboros features a 4G Dual Sensor System, which is essentially just an optical and laser sensor, all in one package. The dual sensors provide accurate and precise tracking, on top of adjustable lift of distance, giving you more control over your movement. The sensors give you a whopping 8200 DPI, although I have little idea what the most sensitive setting could be used for. The under side of the mouse is fairly well coated with smooth feet to ensure slick performance no matter what surface it is on. The lock buttons turn the side buttons on/off if you wish the disable one side. The two holes near the rear of the mouse are the charging contact points. You can also see the small wheel at the far right, which is used to adjust the height of the palm rest.

The charging dock is made of a similar material to the mouse, and even features green LEDs. The two metal extrudes, slot into the bottom of the mouse to charge it without having to connect the USB cable. It also acts as the wireless transmitter. The button located at the front of the mouse syncs the dock with the Ouroboros. Around the other side, there is the USB port for connecting the cable. The base of the charger dock is covered in a rubber like material which sticks the dock to any smooth surface.

The Ouroboros simply slots onto the two metal knobs, enabling you to charge the mouse when not in use. If the battery runs low and you still want to use the mouse then you can connect the USB cable directly to the front of the mouse and use it like a standard corded one. When connected to either the dock or USB cable the three LEDs located in the middle of the mouse indicate that it is charging.

Now that we’ve had a good look at the mouse, it’s time to take a quick look at the software to see how easy it is to customise such a complex mouse.

Func Surface 1030 XL Mouse Pad Review

It’s not everyday I get an unexpected package turn up on my doorstep, but when it’s a brand new product that’s just about to hit the market, it’s a very pleasant surprise! Now I don’t normally spend this much time on mouse pad reviews, but since it is a new product, I’ll go into depth a little more than I usually would. Today, the product that I will be reviewing is the Func Surface 1030 XL mouse pad. Now some readers may find this type of product a little dull, but from first impressions this mouse pad is definitely worth having a closer look at.

We’ve seen many mouse pads hit the market recently, in what seems like a spate of most major brands refreshing their current mouse pad range, but it’s not often we see a fairly new brand crop up and release their own. Func is fairly small company with only a select range of mouse pads. From my time as a peripheral reviewer, it is clear to me that having a decent gaming surface is important if you wish to have unimpeded gaming performance.

There are two main types of gaming surfaces available, hard and soft, with the former being made of plastics, metals and sometimes wood, which offer better performance. The latter often have a cloth surface that covers a foam material that tends to be more comfortable, but not as great performance-wise as the hard gaming surfaces. The Func Surface 1030 XL fits into the hard category, as it’s made of a rigid plastic. What makes the Func differ from the majority of other gaming surfaces out there, is the fact that it double-sided, with one side being smooth and the other, slightly rough. Here are the full specs from the product page:

Specification

  • Surface material: Polycarbonate
  • Surface type: F30.r / F10.s
  • Size: 36×28 cm / 14×11 in
  • Weight: 422 gr / 0.93 lbs
  • Thickness: 4 mm / 0.16 in

Now we know what it looks like on paper, lets take a closer look.

eTeknix: On the go – Part 1

Here at eTeknix, we are constantly on the go, whether we’re attending a PR event for a new product, or attending a LAN gaming event. We are forever having to lug our equipment around with us, from iPads to laptops, and even our MP3 players for when we want to listen to tunes whilst in the car or on a plane.

Today we will be writing some mini reviews for several products that would be great for travelling, whether they are just to protect our gear, aid in transporting it, or improving the products further still. For this article we have had the pleasure of being sent several items from numerous brands. The products that we have in store for our readers today are the:

  • Pong iPhone 4/4S case
  • Overboard Waterproof iPad case
  • be.ez LE reporter Air 13 Kingfisher

As you can tell from the list of products we have in, most are orientated towards Apple products (as we do like our iPhones and iPads here at eTeknix), however the latter product can all be used with non-Apple products as you’ll see later. Whilst we know the majority of our readers enjoy the more PC hardware reviews, we thought we’d give you a slight insight into our jobs as tech journalists and increase our portfolio of product reviews to include the ever popular mobile market.

Razer SW:TOR Edition Headset Review

With a slogan of  ‘For Gamers, By Gamers’, Razer create a big image to live up to. This is something that they have done repeatedly for many years by releasing high quality, high performance peripherals aimed at the gaming market.

With the release of the highly anticipated Star Wars: The Old Republic (SW:TOR) which has been developed by RPG Power house BioWare, it is not surprising however, that they decided teamed up with the MMO to release some branded hardware. In total they have designed and released the SW:TOR Gaming Headset, MMO mouse, Gaming Surface and the Keyboard. As far as immersion is concerned in gaming, a headset can be the most important peripheral available, being able to completely immerse someone aurally into the game world.

As one would expect, being a branded product tie in, the price tag can be inflated accordingly as it’s a ‘licensed product’,  but can Razer deliver a product that not only looks good, but whose quality and performance can also be justified by the price tag?

This review will be focussing on the headset and answering just that.

Specification:

Before we have a look, lets review the specs from the site:

  • Dolby® 7.1 surround sound
  • Circumaural headset design with 50mm speaker units
  • Multi-colour lighting
  • Boom microphone with adjustable tension
  • Interchangeable faction emblems
  • Volume & mic control buttons on the headset
  • Adjustable headband structure for optimal comfort
  • Approximate Size: 195 mm / 7.7” (Width) x 180 mm / 7.1” (Height) x 100 mm / 3.9” (Depth)
  • Approximate Weight: 318 g / 0.70 lbs

Headphones

  • Drivers: 50 mm neodymium magnets
  • Frequency Response: 20 – 20,000 Hz
  • Impedance: 32 Ω
  • Cable length: 7ft braided cable
  • Connector: USB
  • Microphone
  • Frequency response: 50 – 16,000 Hz
  • Signal to Noise Ratio: 50dB
  • Sensitivity (@1kHz): -37 dB +/-4 dB
  • Pick Up pattern: Uni-Directional

Tt eSPORTS Level 10 M Gaming Mouse Review

We all know the gaming brand Tt eSPORTS and their high quality performance-over-features products and in the past we’ve had the chance to review a fair few of them, with many walking away with an award. You may have also spotted the eSports team – Team Infused  branding their peripherals and logo, so it goes to show, just how serious the brand is when it comes to gaming. The last mouse we got to review from Tt eSPORTS was the Theron gaming mouse, of which we were thoroughly impressed.

Tt eSPORTS have a particular range of products that come under the name “Level 10”. These products have been designed not just by peripheral product designers, but in collaboration with BMW DesignWorks USA – yes that’s right, a car manufacturer. Using their unique perspective, they have created some very different looking, innovative products, with the most well-known being the Level 10 PC Chassis. Whilst the product range is fairly limited, each product has been carefully designed, not just with looks in mind, but performance too, so much so that our chief – Andy, has his own Level 10 case that he uses for his main rig – and rightly so, as it looks amazing. The particular item we have in today, is a first in terms of having an out-sourced design company, design it. We’ve had cases, headphones etc before, but today is the first time we’ve seen a mouse created this way.

Normally for our gaming mice reviews, we like to establish the grounds of which the mouse needs to perform well in, or order for the product to obtain one of our prestigious awards. We all know how big a part the mouse plays when it comes to gaming, especially when playing competitively, so it is immensely important to have the right tools – and the best at that, for the job. Could this be a case of form over features? Well, we have yet to see this with the existing Level 10 products, so we are feeling hopeful that this will not be the case with the Level 10 M gaming mouse. The mouse is targeted mainly at RTS/MMO gamers, so we’ll expect to make use of the many buttons and take advantage of the high sensitivity.

Color Diamond Black
Iron White
Military Green
Blazing Red
DPI 8200
Sensor Type Laser
No. of Buttons 7
Game Genre RTS, MMORPG
Memory Size 128kb
No. of Macro Keys 11
No. of Game Profiles 5
Lighting Effect Yes
Pause-Break Effect Yes
Color Options 7
USB cable length 1.8m
Weight-In Design No
Graphical UI Yes
Industrial Rubber-Coating Yes
Weight 185g
Gold-Plated USB Yes
Dimension 147 x 67.5 x 38.8 mm

The mouse does look like it could pack a punch (as far as mice can) as you can see below, but will it perform well? What’s interesting is that the Level 10 is also one of the first passive cooled mice that we’ve seen, and that you’ll be able to see shortly.

Mad Catz S.T.R.I.K.E.7 Keyboard Review

Everyone knows MadCatz as one of the leading brands when it comes to peripherals across several platforms, with branches focusing on console peripherals (Tritton & MLG), PC peripherals (Eclipse & Saitek) and gaming peripherals (Cyborg), MadCatz are now even dabbling in console games themselves. Today, we will be taking a look at their most recent keyboard to hit the market, which there hasn’t been since the Cyborg V7, which was some time ago. Recently, we’ve seen a spate of high end gaming keyboards of the mechanical variety, but today we have something that is fairly unusual, and you’ll see why shortly.

When it comes to gaming, the keyboard plays a massive role in having a competitive edge. They can make all the difference between life and death, or even that extra kill. Mechanical keyboards are becoming much more popular despite the fairly big price, due to their durability and switch movement, plus also the fact that most of them are “no frills”, meaning you get just what you need with no extra features that get in the way. As we’ve already mentioned, today we have something a bit different to our usual high end keyboards, and that is the MadCatz S.T.R.I.K.E.7 keyboard with rubber dome switches – yes rubber dome! The reason we included an exclamation mark on the end of that last statement is because if you saw the price, you’d understand why. The S.T.R.I.K.E.7 features a price tag of around £249 RRP, you can see why, as it makes it the most expensive keyboard we’ve had in to review and it doesn’t even have mechanical switches!

The S.T.R.I.K.E.7 has been produced by MadCatz to fit in line with the Cyborg range of R.A.T. gaming mice, although it won’t be sporting the Cyborg  name, as MadCatz have decided to move away from that name (already having too many) and are instead using the MadCatz name and logo – you’ll see later that the keyboard is already MadCatz branded, but the packing is not. So will this new top end keyboard out perform mechanical? Let’s take a look at exactly what we are getting (from MadCatz website):

Fully Modular for Unparalleled Customization
Borrowing modifiable technology from the world’s most adjustable mouse – – the award-winning R.A.T. – – the S.T.R.I.K.E. 7 Gaming Keyboard’s unique design provides unprecedented customization options to enhance overall comfort. Armed with total control of your keyboard’s fit, size, color, sound, and programming, you can finally play your favorite games exactly as intended: How you like to play them!

5 Separate Hardware Modules

  •  1. Control Module with V.E.N.O.M. TFT-LCD Touchscreen Easily navigate the keyboard’s many functions with the Control Module’s intuitive V.E.N.O.M. touchscreen. Program advanced macros, adjust backlighting, and take in-game control of external functions – – balance game and chat volumes, launch apps and websites, even initiate and control TeamSpeak – – all with a few simple finger taps.
  • 2. Main Keyboard Thanks to a much smaller footprint than run-of-the-mill keyboards, the main keyboard gives your mouse plenty of extra space for large, sweeping movements. Replacement, interchangeable WASD and cursor keys adapt to your gaming style by giving you the choice of standard, contoured or rubber-edged versions. Full RGB backlighting – – with 16 million color variants – – matches the keyboard to your gaming rig and the keys’ laser-etched, lacquered light guides are ideal for gaming in dim environments.
  • 3. Function Strip Adding four programmable macro buttons to the mix, the removable Function Strip brings the total to 24. Including the V.E.N.O.M. touchscreen, the S.T.R.I.K.E. 7 Gaming Keyboard incorporates 24 programmable macro buttons over three modes to create 72 user-definable commands.
  • 4. NumPad Just like the Control Module, the NumPad is capable of loose or fix-mounted positioning. The custom connection scheme makes it all possible, and the included set of longer wires bolsters your arrangement options.
  • 5. 3-Part Active Palm Rest and Two Wrist Rests A height-adjustable, active palm-rest houses both a thumb wheel and an action button for even more controls at your fingertips. Both wrist rests utilize a rugged 5-pin connector to attach to the main keyboard module and NumPad, effectively enhancing your comfort during stints of extended gaming.

Uncomplicated Macro Programming
An intuitive graphical interface vastly simplifies the formerly tedious task of macro programming. Assign single or multiple keystrokes, complete with custom timings, to macro keys or interface icons and then easily fine-tune your settings. This ability is essential for fast-paced games which require clear but complex multi-key actions. Each of the keyboard’s three different modes can store your programmed macros; you need only switch to a different mode mid-game to triple your available commands. Once programmed, custom profiles can be published to share with your community and saved for later recall, allowing for a seamless transition to another gaming PC.

Integrated TeamSpeak Functionality with Visual Identifier
The team at Mad Catz collaborated with TeamSpeak’s development team to integrate their state-of-the-art chat technology into the S.T.R.I.K.E. 7 Gaming Keyboard. Once you have the TeamSpeak application running on the keyboard’s V.E.N.O.M. touchscreen, select specific game rooms to check who is online and who is actively talking. You can even control the chat volume from within the game you are playing, removing the need to pause and switch programs.

As you can see there are some really interesting features, from that touch screen to the fully modular design and even the specially designed rubber dome switches.

Ozone Xenon Gaming Mouse Review

Ozone are a relatively small brand when it comes to gaming peripherals and are often unknown to some gamers. We have seen some great products from them in the past like their multi platform headset and great budget mechanical keyboard, so they certainly know what they are doing and how to fit into the already crowded peripherals market. Today we get a chance to look at their latest product, the Xenon gaming mouse, so this will be a good opportunity to compare Ozone’s offering to other gaming mice on the market.

Gaming mice are one of the essentials when it comes to playing games, especially competitively, as they can mean the difference between being the hunter or the hunted. Gaming mice are currently split into three sections that are based on the sensor they have; optical – which tend to be more precise, laser – which have the sensitivity and speed and the few mice inbetween that have both (such as the Razer Taipan and EpicGear Meduza). Normally the high end mice have laser sensors, which offer great performance in terms of speed and sensitivity but can sometimes lack the precision and accuracy that optical sensors have. The Xenon features the latter, a 3500DPI optical sensor that could produce some great results.

Before we delve into the review, lets just take a quick look at the specs of the mouse:

OPTICAL SENSOR

  • Avago professional sensor
  • Acceleration up to 20g
  • Dpi 1000/2000/3000/3500

MATERIAL

  • Anti-tangle braided cord
  • Gold Plated USB connection
  • 30% base made out of teflon

DESIGN

  • Three colors available
  • Rubber grips
  • Ambidextrous

So from looking at the specs we can see that the Xenon is lacking in features, however this means it could make a great budget mouse for those gamer who just want a pure and simple device.

Razer BlackShark Battlefield 3 Edition PC Gaming Headset Review

Razer are a well known peripherals company that produce high quality and mass appealing products for both PC and console gaming. At eTeknix, we’ve seen many products from Razer for review, with many of them walking out the door with an award – will this be the case with the headset we have in to review today? Well we won’t be surprised if it does, as Razer have consistently produced high quality products, albeit at a slightly steeper price than other brands.

Today we have the luxury of reviewing only one of three of these headsets to make it into the UK – the Razer BlackShark Battlefield 3 Edition gaming headset. In the past we’ve had some very good results from Razer – particularly with the Tiamats, so we are expecting to see the same from these. As they are licensed with EA to brand them as a battlefield 3 headset, we will also be expecting the sound quality to be just as good, if not better than the headsets we’ve tested in Battlefield 3.

Based on the gear helicopter pilots wear, Razer have adopted a similar style for the BlackShark headset with a basic metal frame and lots of exposed metal. The design in itself is fairly simple considering some of the other headsets we’ve used. Before we take a closer looks at the headset, lets just review the specifications:

Specifications

  • Exclusive Battlefield 3 design
  • Stereo sound with enhanced bass
  • Sound-isolating circumaural ear cup design
  • Detachable boom microphone for voice chat or added mobility
  • Audio/mic splitter adapter cable
  • Memory foam leatherette ear cushions for maximum comfort
  • 40mm neodymium magnet stereo drivers
  • Approximate Weight: 290 g / 0.64 lbs

Headphones

  • Drivers: 40mm neodymium magnets with copper-clad aluminum voice coil
  • Frequency response: 20Hz – 20KHz
  • Impedance: 29 Ω
  • Sensitivity @ 1KHz: 105dB ± 3 dB
  • Input power: 50mW
  • Cable: 1.3m rubber sheathed
  • Connector: 3.5 mm audio + mic combined jack

Microphone

  • Frequency response: 50Hz – 16KHz
  • Signal-to-noise ratio: 50dB
  • Sensitivity @ 1KHz: -37 dB +/- 4dB
  • Pick-up pattern: Unidirectional

Unusually, the BlackSharks only have 40mm drivers, which is unlike most gaming headsets which have 50mm or larger, although this doesn’t always mean that bigger is better (so lets have none of that “mine is bigger than yours” nonsense). The headset also makes use of a combined mic and headphone jack, allowing you to use them in mobile devices – although we have a sneaky feeling no one would wear these out of the house.

LEETGION Hellion Mechanical Gaming Mouse Review

Not many people have heard of the brand LEETGION – an off-shoot of ThermalRight, who are much more well known for their quality CPU coolers. Similar to EpicGear  who are GEIL’s gaming peripheral branch, LEETGION’s core focus is on top performing and innovative products in the gaming arena. This is what LEETGION have to say about themselves:

In the world of RPG games, the Anvil figure represents your weapons and armor shop, the place where you repair or upgrade your gear to face the challenges of the next level.  In the real world, the Anvil has also been presented since the early days and throughout human history in one form or another.  It is the essential instrument needed to hammer out impurities, with skill and patience, and to refine the very tools we use.  At LEETGION, we focus on making the best “tools” for gamers, to help their pursuit in becoming leet.  We at LEETGION view ourselves as weapon smiths, in a digital gaming armory.  Hammering away at impurities of design and quality, to deliver the best products we can!  Be Leet, Game Hard!

Currently LEETGION’s range only consists of the one product we have in today, but they already have two others pending launch (expect to see them soon). Judging from their philosophy we hope to see these products raise the bar in terms of quality and innovation throughout the gaming peripheral’s market. What we have in to review on this rainy day, is the first product to be released by LEETGION – the Hellion gaming mouse. With this rather unusual looking mouse, LEETGION have taken a leaf out of the mechanical keyboard’s book and actually included a Cherry MX blue switch. The Hellion is targeted primarily towards RTS games, but more precisely StarCraft II, which has had a heavy influence on the design and functionality.

We’ve seen all sorts of features being packed in to today’s gaming mice, from LCD screens, to weight management systems, so seeing this unheard of addition of a mechanical keyboard switch certainly makes things interesting. What we are more concerned about is the overall performance of the mouse, and whether this new button will make any difference. With increasingly popular eSports it’s a necessity to have the best performing gear if you want to compete and with LEETGION today, they say they have provided the right tools for the job. As always, lets take a look at the Hellion on paper:

Specifications:

  • Avago 9500 Laser Mouse Sensor (100 to 5000DPI)
  • Four Japanese Omron Micro Switches
  • Cherry MX Key Switch Attack Button.
  • Six Fully Programmable Hotkeys.
  • Four Custom Profiles sets.
  • Four distinct LED lighting cues, for indication of the current profile.
  • Customizable 16.8 million color LED taillight for each profile.
  • On The Fly DPI Switching.
  • Size: 123 mm
  • 4.84” (Length) x 73 mm \ 2.87” (Width) x 42 mm \1.65” (Height)
  • Weight: 105 g / 0.23 lbs

CM Storm Recon Gaming Mouse & Skorpion Mouse Bungee Review

Today we have a slightly different review for our readers as it won’t just be a standard mouse review. Instead we’re including an additional accessory that is used in conjunction with the mouse so we thought it’d be more appropriate it we reviewed them together. The two products we are reviewing today are the latest products by CM Storm, the Recon Gaming mouse and the Skorpion mouse bungee. We decided to do these both together as not only are they perfectly matched, but the mouse bungee in itself isn’t worth it’s own review. CM Storm are a popular brand when it comes to gaming peripherals and cases. We’ve had the chance to review many of their products at eTeknix all of which have impressed us to a certain extent, so will this be the case again? Lets find out.

As we have already mentioned, CM Storm are a popular gaming brand and is relatively new in terms of existence. In the past we’ve got our hands on several keyboards such as the Trigger and QuickFire Pro and we’ve also played around with some of their gaming mice like the Sentinel Advanced 2. Most of the products we have reviewed have all been very good bang for buck – lots of features for a very good price. Today we’re taking a look at CM Storm’s latest mouse, the Recon Ambidextrous gaming mouse and the Skorpion mouse bungee.

The Recon is the first gaming mouse by CM Storm that has a symmetrical ambidextrous design. It features a Avago 3090 sensor, giving it a DPI range of 800 to 4000 DPI. Below is the full specifications of what to expect from the Recon:

  • Avago 3090 optical sensor with 800-4000 dpi
  • On-The-Fly Lift-Off-Distance adjustments
  • On-The-Fly DPI adjustments
  • On-The Fly USB polling rate adjustments
  • Up to 1.5m/s or 60”/s tracking speed and 20G of acceleration
  • Highest grade Japanese Omron micro switches
  • Extra wide 16-bit USB data path
  • 1000 Hz polling rate / 1ms response time
  • Super Grip coated ambidextrous mousebody
  • Ultra swift mouse feet
  • Flexible 1.8 meter or 78.6 inch long cable
  • Dimensions (W x H x D): 64.4 x 116.4 x 42 mm/ 2.53 x 4.58 x 1.65 inches
  • Multicolor Mousewheel light to identify Profiles

We are also reviewing CM Storm’s latest gaming accessory, the Skorpion mouse bungee. This little device supports the cable for your mouse, ensuring the movement of the mouse is not impeded by any caught cables. This is the first mouse bungee we’ve had the chance to review, although the concept is not entirely new to us as other brands have also produced similar accessories. Here is the full feature list:

  • Flexible rubber mouse cord arm
  • Adaptive grip grooves for thin and thick mouse cords
  • Durable legs with super-grip feet
  • Heavy iron core for extreme stability
  • Can be disassembled for maximum portability

So together we have a good combination of products to review, so lets now take a look at them.

CM Storm Sonuz Gaming Headset Review

CM Storm are known for their decent performing peripherals, which have often walked away with an award. They have not been around for long in comparison to other peripheral companies, but have already produced an extensive range of products and still have many more in the pipeline. We’ve had a look at their keyboards and mice in the past, but today we have their latest product – the Sonuz gaming headset.

Before we launch into the review, we’ll briefly highlight the points we’ll be looking out for, as headsets play a crucial part when it comes to gaming, especially when it’s competitive as it can mean all the different between first and second place. First off, whilst style isn’t necessarily that important, comfort is, so as long as they are comfortable for long periods of time and look fairly good, we’re on the way to a winner. Obviously the most important feature of headsets should be the sound quality – from low tones, all the way up to the high tones. The bass must be deep and rich, and in effect, sound like like you are actually there. Whether or not true surround sound or virtual comes into this, it could be debated that having some form of surround sound is essential for when you are trying to differentiate from whether the gunfire is coming from the front or back/ left or right.

The microphone must also be of a decent quality, as what is the point of having one if no one can understand or hear you? All of these points and some others, we will pay close attention to, to decide whether or not CM Storm should be walking away with yet another award. The CM Storm Sonuz gaming headset is the first headset we’ve had in to review from CM Storm, so it will be interesting for us to see how it compares to other headsets in the same range.

It features 53mm drivers in each earcup so we’re expecting to get a lot of bass out of it and hear some lovely crisp tones. From an initial look it doesn’t look very appealing due to it’s very large headband to ear cup ratio, but we’ll reserve judgement until we’ve had a much close look and have tested them out. Before we do jump in, lets just take a quick look at the specs:

Specification Headphone

  • Driver diameter: φ53mm
  • Frequency range: 10 – 20,000 Hz
  • Impedance: 45 Ω
  • Sensitivities(@1kHz): 98 dB ± 3 dB
  • Connector: 3.5 mm gold-plated headphone jack
  • Inner Ear Cup Diameter: 97.0 mm
  • Cable Length: 2.0m
  • Max Output: 200mW

Microphone

  • Frequency range: 100–10,000 Hz
  • Sensitivities(@1kHz): -47 dB ± 3 dB
  • Signal-to-Noise Ratio: 58dB
  • Pick Up pattern: Omni-Directional
  • Diameter: 4×1.5mm

Libratone Lounge Speaker Review

It’s not every day that two of us get summoned to our office’s reception to collect a rather large package, especially when we had no idea what to expect. After we both carried the package up stairs, we placed it on our desk and began wondering what it could be, we knew it must be some sort of speaker due to the shape and weight of it, but really couldn’t put our finger on what we had requested. We couldn’t wait any longer, so we quickly started the unpacking process, to reveal yet another large box and then every thing became clear.

We had been sent a speaker from Libratone, a Copenhagen based company that produces high quality wireless speakers. They focus on three main points with their products: Scandinavian design, wireless technology and high quality audio to produce powerful, contemporary speakers. We had requested this product over three months ago, but due to high demand and lack of stock, it wasn’t until now that we finally got to get our hands on it.

It’s not every day we get a product of such high caliber (and price) in to review, so we were excited to see if the Libratone Lounge speaker would end our quest for perfect audio. The Libratone Lounge makes use of Apple’s AirPlay technology, which also means you will need an Apple device to make use of it’s wireless functionality, so could this just be one of the most expensive Apple accessories?

Many companies try and produce crystal clear audio with deep, powerful bass, but many seem to slack in one form or another. Even then, if they do manage to achieve this, they then slap a whacking great big price tag on. With the Libratone Lounge coming in with an RRP of around £1200, we have very high expectations! So lets see if this speaker system really is worth all that hard earned cash.

Specification (from Libratone’s site)

  • TECHNOLOGY – Wireless active speaker with built-in Digital Signal Processing and Digital Amplification. Implements Libratone patent-pending FullRoom acoustic technology for exceptional sound performance.
  • AIRPLAY – Works with iPad, iPad 2, the new iPad, iPhone 4S, iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, iPod touch (4th, 3rd and 2nd generations) with iOS 4.2 and iTunes 10.1 (Mac or PC) or later.
  • INPUTS – AirPlay (wireless) and 3.5-mm audio minijack for analog or optical digital sound.
  • AMPLIFIER – 150W total. 1x50W bass, 2x25W tweeter & 2x25W midrange.
  • DRIVE UNITS – 1×8″ inverted woofer, 2×4″ ceramic midrange and 2×1″ ribbon based tweeter.
  • ACOUSTIC PERFORMANCE – Frequency range: 38-20.000 Hz. Max output: 103 dB SPL/ 1m.
  • MATERIALS – Libratone Lounge is made of exclusive materials including a body of wood, high-end piano finish and Italian cashmere wool.
  • DIMENSIONS – H: 22 cm. W: 100 cm. D: 12 cm. Weight: 12 kg. H: 8.7 in. W: 40 in. D: 4.7 in. Weight: 27 pounds.
  • POWER – 110-230 Volt AC, 50/60Hz. Power consumption 80/6 W. Energy saving standby power consumption of only 1 W.Libratone Lounge is not rechargeable and needs to be connected to mains (110 – 230V AC) to play.
  • IN THE BOX – Libratone Lounge speaker, Mains cable, Wall mount, analog/digital cable and Quick Start Guide.
As you can read, there are also connectivity options, meaning we may not just be limited to Apple devices. You can also see just how big the speaker is, so lets take a look.

Razer SW:TOR Edition Wireless Gaming Mouse Review

Razer are a well known global gaming brand that has brought us high quality, feature rich products, such as the world’s first true 7.1 surround sound gaming headset and the Naga Hex (currently our favourite mouse). They also produce licensed peripherals from the likes of Battlefield 3, StarCraft 2 and Mass Effect 3, that often sport their colour scheme and logos – and even features that would help when playing. Today we are taking a look at the Razer Star Wars: The Old Republic Edition Wireless Naga Gaming Mouse.

Any Razer fanboy/girl would know that the Nage range of mice are primarily aimed at RPG players so it makes perfect sense for Razer to select the Naga as their basis for the SW:TOR edition gaming mouse. The 12 additional side buttons suit SW:TORs 12 slots for hotkeys (1 through = on the keyboard), so would make it much easier to play and possibly reduce the amount of use the keyboard gets.

It’s essential to have the best and most suitable gear when playing MMO’s as not only are you often playing for a long period of time, but you are also competing against hundreds, if not thousands of other players for the top ranks and best gear. This means that comfort and functionality must be at it’s best to ensure victory. We’ve seen many mice hit the market recently aimed at RPG players, all boasting that they are the best mouse for the job, so today we’ve got one of Razers’ offering that is meant to cover the most crucial features of an RPG mouse.

As always, let’s check out the spec of the mouse so we know what to expect.

Specification (from Razer’s site)

  • 17 Fully programmable MMO-Optimised Buttons – Equipped with a 12 button thumb grid to unleash countless abilities with ease.
  • 5600 DPI Razer Precision 3.5G Laser Sensor – Stride into combat with the ultimate precision and deadly accuracy of Razer’s 3.5G Laser Sensor
  • Multi-colour LED lighting – Up to 16 million customizable colors, which also respond to actions in game
  • Unlock a unique colour crystal – This rare Color Stone changes the color of your Lightsaber blade and blaster bolts.
  • Wired/wireless dual mode capability – Gaming grade wireless technology allows for complete freedom of movement
  • 1000Hz ultrapolling/1ms response time – Lightning quick response time ensures you never skip a beat in battle
  • Approximate size – 116mm/4.6” x 77mm/3.0” x 41mm/1.6”
  • Approximate weight – 142g/0.31lbs
  • Charging Dock – Allows for quick charging and also functions as a wireless receiver unit
  • Interchangeable gold-backlit faction emblems – Show your allegiance in battle
  • Synapse 2.0 enabled – Add and manage multiple devices with Synapse 2.0. Instantly store and access your macros, key bindings, configurations and more from anywhere.

Corsair Vengeance 2000 Wireless Headset Review

Corsair are one of the leading brands when it comes to cases, memory and cooling. We’ve seen some great cases from them, that are not only feature rich but look great. Their AIO water coolers are also very popular amongst the PC community and with the release of the Dominator Platinum RAM, Corsair are set to take a position at the top of the market. The product we have in today is in a field that is relatively new to Corsair, and that is gaming peripherals, called the Vengeance Gaming series. They have released keyboards, mice, mouse pads and headsets, the latter of which we are looking at today. Conforming with Corsair’s image of high quality and feature rich, their peripherals were a great hit amongst the gaming community. What we have in today is the Corsair Vengeance 200 wireless 7.1 headset.

Headsets are a vital tool when it comes to gaming, particularly when playing competitively, as being able to track your enemies movement by their footsteps, or identify what weapon they are using can be a matter of life or death. There are several key points that need to be considered when selecting a headset and these are: sound quality, comfort, looks, price and if wireless; battery life. We will address all of these points with the Vengeance 2000.

Often enough no one headset ever ticks all five boxes The Vengeance 2000 is the latest product to be added to the Vengeance headset range, where it stands just above the Vengeance 1500 USB headset, which it even shares many similarities with. The 2000s feature Corsair’s own HRTF positional audio technology, that accurately mimics 5.1/7.1 surrounds sound – a crucial feature for those FPS games. There tends to be a divide when it comes to surround sound, some prefer virtual, as it doesn’t compromise driver size and others prefer true surround sound – that gives better direction sound, so we’ll be analysing this in closer detail in the performance section. Both the 2000s and 1500s make full use of 50mm drivers, that eliminate any distortion you often get with the smaller 40mm drivers. The full specification can be read below.

Specifications

Headphones

  • Frequency Response: 20Hz to 20kHz
  • Impedance: 32 Ohms @ 1kHz
  • Sensitivity: 105dB (+/-3dB)
  • Drivers: 50mm
  • USB power consumption: 500mA
  • Connector: USB Type A
  • Wireless range: up to 40 feet (12m)
  • Battery life: Up to 10 hours

Microphone

  • Type: Unidirectional noise-cancelling condenser with adjustable, rotating boom
  • Impedance: 2.2k Ohms
  • Frequency Response: 100Hz to 10kHz
  • Sensitivity: -37dB (+/-3dB)

CM Storm Sentinel Advance II Gaming Mouse Review

CM Storm, Cooler Master’s relatively new (2008) gaming branch, are known as one of the top gaming brands having brought us quality products from cases to mice. By working with gaming enthusiasts and constantly seeking feedback, they are continuously refining their products to meet the many high demands of gamers. With a focus on quality and performance, we expect to see CM Storm raising the bar, so today we have got the soon to be released Gaming mouse. This is the latest and updated version of the CM Storm Sentinel Advance Mouse.

As with all our peripheral reviews, we like to reiterate the importance of having the right gear, especially when it comes to gaming as it can make all the difference between getting those extra frags. The mouse plays a large part in this, so having a decent, enduring mouse is crucial to not only success, but also continued comfort when spending hours in front of the screen. Gaming mice are renowned for being highly accurate, massively functional and incredibly configurable devices to use and the Advance II does not fail to deliver.

So lets take a look at what the CM Storm has to deliver:

  • 200 – 8200 DPI tracking resolution
  • 128 KB Sentinel-X TM Memory for profiles and macros
  • On the fly DPI adjustments (+/- 200 DPI)
  • As little as 1.5 mm lift-off distance
  • Up to 150 IPS – 3.8 m/s
  • 125 Hz – 1000 Hz USB rate fine-tuning
  • 5 profiles with 4 DPI setting each
  • 8 programmable buttons
  • 9 virtual buttons via button combinations
  • Right-hand Ergonomic Design
  • Customizable OLED logo
  • Customizable multi color LED light system
  • 5 x 4.5g weight fine-tuning system

Razer SW:TOR Edition Gaming Mouse Pad Review

Razer are a renowned mainstream gaming peripherals company, who’s products we have seen before at eTeknix. They deliver top quality, feature packed peripherals that are used across the globe. Their strapline “For Gamers, by Gamers” is true to their philosophy, so much so, that when advertising jobs, Razer have the criteria “Must be a winner” and be a “true gamer” in their job advertisements. They cover numerous categories: keyboards, mice, headsets, laptops and mouse pads, with the latter what we have in today.

Mouse pads are essential for today’s gamers. Having the right surface not only improves performance, but also increases comfort levels. There are two main types of mouse pads; cloth, which are normally fabric covered foam and hard, which are normally plastic covered surfaces that are rigid in nature. The former cloth mouse pads, tend to be more comfortable to use, but don’t have as smooth a surface as hard pads (not to mention not as waterproof/resistant). Hard mouse pads, tend to be the smoothest, but since they are made from a solid material, they are more uncomfortable. Today we have the Razer SW:TOR Edition mouse pad, a hard pad, specially designed for the Star Wars: The Old Republic MMORPG.

Lets see what Razer have to say about it:

  • Dual-sided Mousemat – Show your allegiance and display the faction side of choice
  • Non-slip, Anti-reflective, Abrasion-resistant hard coating – For added durability, increased accuracy and tracking performance
  • Performance-grade hard surfaces – Designed for smoother mouse swiping and gliding performance
  • Approximate size – 316mm/12.4” x 219mm/8.62” x 5mm/0.2”
  • Approximate weight – 318g/0.70lb
  • Non-slip rubber base and metal frame – Provides increased stability for intensive gaming

Take the jump to see what SW:TOR edition mouse pad looks like.

ZOWIE EC2 eVo Gaming Mouse Review

ZOWIE pride themselves on being a company focused on bringing you the best gaming peripherals out there, while doing everything they can to make sure the design and looks are not compromised. While ZOWIE’s product range may be fairly limited, covering, mice, headsets, keyboards and mousepads, each product has been designed with a lot of input from expert and professional gamers making sure each one is up to a very high standard. We certainly hope this is the case with the ZOWIE EC2 eVo.

The ZOWIE EC2 eVo as compared to the EC1 is smaller in all dimensions. For comparison purposes here are the dimensions of the EC1: 128 x 43 x 62~70 mm and the same for the EC2: 120 x 40 x 58~65 mm . While you might say that 8x3x 4~5 mm is not much it will certainly affect how the mouse feels to use and it is certainly noticeable in the looks department.

Having the right gaming mouse is crucial if you are a professional gamer or just a gaming enthusiast, they need to be the right shape, the right weight, the right sensitivity. They need to offer the best performance possible to stand out from the other gaming mice on the market. has ZOWIE achieved this with their  EC2 mouse? There is only one way to find out, read on.

Tt eSPORTS Chao Dracco Signature Headphones Review

Tt eSports are a relatively new brand when it comes to gaming peripherals, yet they are already renowned across the globe for their high quality gaming products. Their gaming range include headsets, mice, keyboards and even gaming gloves, all aimed at gaming enthusiasts. What we have in today increases Tt eSPORTS product range to include a new category; headphones – that are aimed towards the audiophiles.

The new sub-branch of Tt eSPORTS called ‘Chao’ that features the headphones we have today, not only cover audio, but also fashion. This new branch includes hooded sweatshirts and T-Shirts, something that we’ve often seen accompanying gaming brands, but never on this level before. The headphones are in a series called “Dracco” that feature the standard headphones and the Signature edition. The latter, sports a lick of gold to the colour scheme, giving it premium look and comes bundled with accessories that are not included in the standard version. The Signature model comes in at $109, whilst the standard version comes in at $89.

It’s good to see a gaming peripherals brand break away from the norm when it comes to audio. Most, if not all, gaming peripheral companies tend to neglect headphones in favour of headsets, which include a built in mic. Gaming headsets, don’t really tend to focus on audio quality, instead get a slick look and a bump in the price tag just for having the “gaming” in the product name. That said, some companies are going down the mobile audio route and we’ve seen a few headphones crop up on the market, such as the Razer Electra, that focus solely on the quality.

Here is a brief paragraph on what Tt eSPORTS say about their Dracco range:

“Tt eSPORTS CHAO series is about accessorizing your lifestyle and enhancing the unique characters of yours. It’s a bit of everything; from the way you dress, places you hang out, the choice of nightlife and your living philosophy. Chao is also a tribe with people imbuing a variety of artistic and street cultural elements in virtually everything, exactly what we are in the world full of acoustic and visual stimulations.”

Will the Dracco Signature just be a polished turd? Well today we are lucky enough to find out, but before we get our hands on the headphones, here is what the spec is:

Driver Unit : 50 mm
Frequency Response : 10Hz ~ 22K Hz
Sensitivity : 98dB at 1K Hz
Cable length : 1.5 m
Connector : 3.5 mm

Sharkoon DarkGlider Gaming Mouse Review

Not that many people know about Sharkoon and their peripheral products, as they are known more for their cases and accessories, but recently Sharkoon have been expanding their product portfolio with a whole host of gaming orientated peripherals. Known for their great value, we will expect to see a lot from Sharkoon in terms of features for the price paid, but will their be a trade off on quality? Well today we get to find out with their latest gaming mouse – the DarkGlider.

Gaming mice are one of the most important peripherals when it comes to gaming, as having the right mouse can make a world of difference. Many people don’t realise this, so will make do with a bog-standard generic mouse and miss out a great deal of extra frags. However, the market for gaming peripherals is saturated with mice offering gimmicky features, dozens of additional buttons, different sensors and many other aspects that have been crammed into the product to make it stand out from the others. Most of time all these additional features are unnecessary, as they increase the cost and may not even offer that much of a benefit. With the DarkGlider, there are many features packed into the mice, from an LCD screen that displays the DPI, to a weights management system, will these be of any use?

Before we take a closer look at the DarkGlider and how well it performs, lets check out the specs to see what we should expect.

Features:

  • Avago 9500 V2 Pro Laser sensor
  • 10 programmable buttons
  • Omron switches for left and right mouse button
  • Programmable 4-way scroll wheel
  • 5 lenticular ceramic slide pads
  • LCD display for DPI indication
  • 256 KB internal memory for user profiles
  • Gold-plated USB connector
  • Cable with textile sheathing
  • Weight Tuning System
  • Ergonomic design
  • Rubberized surface for maximum grip
  • Configuration software included
  • Supported operating systems: Windows XP/Vista/7 (32 and 64 bit)

Specifications:

Max. DPI 6,000
Max. acceleration 30 G
Mouse weight max. 150 g (w/o cable)
Dimensions (L x W x H) 130 x 82,4 x 42 mm
Sensor Laser (16 bit data channel)
Connector USB2.0 (gold-plated)
Cable length 180 cm (textile sheathing)
Max. FPS 11,750
Button reaction time 1 ms
Onboard memory 256 KB
Number of buttons 10
DPI indication LC display
Scroll wheel left/right yes
Illumination yes, configurable via software
Mouse slide pads 5, ceramic, lenticular
Chip Avago ADNS-9500 v.2 (72MHz)
Lifting sensitivity 1-5 mm
Weight Tuning System 4x 3,1 g / 4x 3,7 g

Package contents:

  • DarkGlider
  • CD with software and manual (as PDF)
  • Additional slide pads: 5x ceramic, 5x Teflon®
  • Weights: 4x 3,1 g and 4x 3,7 g
  • Transport bag
So as you can see, there certainly is a lot of features crammed into the mouse, so lets take a look to see how they managed to fit them all in.

Roccat Savu Mid Size Gaming Mouse Review

Roccat are renowned for their feature rich products such as the Isku gaming keyboard and the Kone. They often lead the way with innovative products and ideas like the upcoming Roccat PowerGrid app for smartphones.

Their peripheral products are very popular amongst the gaming community offering a host of features at very reasonable prices. We’ve had Roccat product in the past for review and the majority of the time they’ve impressed us enough for them to walk away clutching one of our prestigious awards, so will this Roccat product be any different?

Today we have the honour of reviewing the latest mouse by Roccat, dubbed the Savu.

The Savu is a mid sized mouse that is positioned just before the Kone[+] in terms of performance and price, rather than a direct replacement. It packs the world’s only PRO-OPTIC (R3) 4000 DPI optical sensor on top of some interesting new features that we’ve never seen before – we’ll take a closer look at this later.

In terms of gaming, having the right mouse is essential, not only must it be comfortable, accurate and precise, but it must also be durable. Will the Savu fit this criteria? Read on to discover it it does.

Features – taken from Roccat’s site:

  • ADJUSTBALE 4000DPI PRO-OPTIC (R3) SENSOR – with true 400, 800, 1600 or 4000dpi
  • EASY-SHIFT[+] BUTTON DUPLICATOR – with Easy-Aim + Easy-Wheel functions
  • CUSTOMIZABLE MULTI-COLOR LIGHTING – 16.8 million colors + effects and game profile illumination
  • NO-SWEAT SIDE GRIPS – for extended slip-free play
  • ROCCAT DRIVER + MACRO MANAGER – for advanced customization + presets for games & apps
  • OPTIMUM MID-SIZE DESIGN – with perfectly-balanced weight
  • ULTRA-PRECISE 2D WHEEL – with lock-in incremental steps
  • ERGONOMIC RIGHT-HAND DESIGN – with soft-touch, ultra-comfort surface
  • BRAIDED CABLE – offering a robust, stylish connection
  • ZERO ANGLE SNAPPING – for true competition gaming
  • HIGHEST-QUALITY COMPONENTS – for a solid build and long life

and the more technical specifications:

  • 4000dpi optical gaming sensor
  • Incl. Omron® switches
  • 60 inches per second maximum speed
  • 20G acceleration
  • 125, 250, 500, 1000Hz polling rate
  • Zero angle snapping
  • 1.8m braided USB cable

Roccat Taito Mouse Pads Review

Roccat are one of the leading gaming peripherals brands who have brought us feature packed products such as Isku keyboard, the Kone[+] mouse and the Kave 5.1 surround sound headset. They continue to deliver quality, affordable gaming gear that not only looks great, but is also innovative – anyone seen or heard of Roccat Grid – where your smart phone becomes an extension to your keyboard? Today, Roccat have supplied us with some products from an often overlooked area of the peripheral market, and they are the Taito Mouse Pads.

At eTeknix we’ve seen dozens of mouse pads, all with varying patterns or designs, but at the end of the day there are only a few factors that need to be considered when selecting the right mouse pad, these are surface type (hard or soft), size, material (if soft) and thickness. The size is an obvious point to consider, as what is the point of having a decent mouse pad if it won’t fit on your desk? The surface type is also a important factor to consider as soft surfaces tend to me more comfortable, but hard surfaces have a smoother surface and are less prone to liquid damage.

Roccat has sent us three mouse pads, one of each size; mini, mid and king, with the mid being 5mm thick and the others 3mm in thickness. So without further hesitation, lets take a look.

CM Storm QuickFire Pro Mechanical Keyboard Review

CM Storm are a fairly new company to join the peripheral market with products aimed exclusively at gamers. We’ve seen the likes of mechanical keyboards, feature rich mice, and even surround sound headsets come from CM Storm. Not only do they produce PC peripherals, but also cases, which we’ve reviewed in the past. Today we get to take a look at the latest mechanical keyboard to be released by the company. Read on to see why we got a little bit excited.

We’ve reviewed a lot of keyboards at eTeknix, with the majority of them being high end mechanical keyboards that would set you back an organ or two. With these mechanical keyboards, we’ve seen different flavours of switches, with the Cherry Blacks being the most popular for gamers. Today we get to test out Cherry MX Red switches, which are similar to Blacks in feel and motion, but require slightly less actuation force. Many gamers prefer red switches due to the lighter touch required, so you often see them on some of the higher end boards, which is the case with today’s keyboard – the CM Storm QuickFire Pro.

Slightly similar to the QuickFire Rapid, this keyboard features a full layout (the Rapid does not have a numpad), partial backlighting and of course Cherry MX Red switches instead of black. See below for the spec from CM Storm’s site:

  • Mechanical CHERRY MX switches
  • USB 2.0 full speed
  • NKRO in USB mode
  • Multimedia shortcuts
  • 1000Hz/1ms response time
  • Windows key disabled in game mode
  • Partial Red LED backlight
  • Removable braided USB cable with cable routing
As you can read, there are a fair amount of features packed into this keyboard, so lets take the jump and see how it looks.

Ozone Strike Mechanical Gaming Keyboard Review

Ozone are one of the most recent gaming peripherals company to support us at eTeknix. A company made by gamers, for gamers, believe that we need to evolve to continue to strive in the gaming arena. They produce a wide range of peripherals from headsets and gaming mice, to keyboards and mouse pads that are affordable by everyone, without compromising quality. Whilst they are considered a smaller peripherals company compared to the much bigger brands such as Razer and Roccat, they still have an impressive product portfolio and are just as active participating in gaming events.

What we have in today, is the Ozone Strike Mechanical keyboard with Cherry MX Black switches, something that we often see in the top end gaming mechanical keyboards. Will the Strike offer anything new? Or is it just a decent contender in the mechanical keyboard market? Today we put it to the test, so without any further hesitation, lets take a look at the specs on paper:

  • 7 multimedia keys
  • Ozone F-Key (Left Windows Key Replaced With Function Key)
  • Cable length 1,6 m
  • Net Weight = 1.55 KGS
  • Gold plated Cherry Black switches
  • Lifecycle: 50Million keystrokes
  • Anti-ghosting / Nkey rollover function (with PS2)
  • 2x USB 2.0 + Audio and MIC jacks
  • Braided cable with Gold Plated connectors
  • Detachable palm rest
  • Extra WASD keyset (red marking) + tool for easy exchange
  • 8x FASTER – Polling Rate of 1000Hz: Response time 0.1 miliseconds
  • USB Interface with USB to PS2 adapter included
  • Compatible OS: Windows® 7 / Vista / XP and MAC
  • Body Dimensions (L*W*H): 430*160*40

That’s the Strike on paper, now lets take a look at the actual keyboard.

Razer Tiamat 7.1 True Surround Sound Headset Review

Razer are a well established gaming peripherals brand that is incredibly popular across the globe. With product ranges including gaming mice, keyboards, speakers, headsets and even gaming laptops, Razer cover all the bases with high performing and top quality peripherals. We’ve seen several of their products here before at eTeknix.com, and with no surprise the majority of them walked away clutching an award. Will this be the case with their newest headset that we have in today? Lets find out.

Headsets are a very important component for the full, immersed gaming, studio or cinema experience and there are many companies out there that claim they provide the full experience. This isn’t always the case though, as a lot of the time cheap headsets are given a facelift, and have “gaming” slapped in the name, hiking the price up another £20 or so, for comparatively a lot less. Then there is also the debate over the best kind of surround sound – virtual or true. Today Razer have provided us with their Tiamat 7.1 True Surround Sound headset, so we hope to address some of the issues.

The Razer Tiamat is the company’s first true 7.1 surround sound headset, which they even boast as the “World’s first true 7.1 headset”. Could cramming 10 drivers into the headset reduce the depth and quality of the sound? There is only way to find out… read on

Bayan Audio – Bayan 7 iPod Speaker Dock Review

At eTeknix, we’ve rarely ventured into the audio world (other than headsets of course), but recently we’ve been given the opportunity to expand into this unexplored arena and luckily we’ve  managed to get our hands on a speaker dock by Bayan Audio. Whilst we primarily focus on PC hardware, we have also covered some of the mobile peripheral market for some Apple products, so we jumped at the the chance to get our grubby mits on Bayan Audio’s flagship speaker dock.

Bayan Audio are a UK based company (a division of Radiopaq Ltd), that specialise in design, development and manufacturing of home audio products. Their mission is to produce top end audio products that are compatible with the latest media devices, such as  android based smart-phones and Apple products. The current product range of speaker docks include the Bayan 1, 3, 5 and 7, with the Bayan Grand being released later on this year. What we have in today is the Bayan 7, the current flagship speaker dock of Bayan Audio, that has some very interesting features and a unique design, but before we delve into the specifics, let’s just have a quick overview of the current speaker dock market.

Currently when people think speaker dock, they immediately associate it with Apple products – mainly the iPod; the world’s most popular media player. There are many companies that have tapped into this very popular market, producing a variety of products that can be used in conjunction with Apple products. The speaker dock is one of the more popular products that nearly everyone who owns an Apple device, possesses. At the moment there is a large range of speaker docks available, ranging from the very top end brands like Bose and Bang & Olufsen, and scaling all the way down to budget brands like logic3 and Gear4. In most cases in the audio world, quality is reflected in the price (with some exceptions of course), so the more you pay, the better the sound and design of the product. Will this be the case with the Bayan 7? Lets find out.

First up, a brief look at the features we are to expect:

  • Power Performance: A massive 120W power capability, channelled through a twin amplifier set-up generates undistorted monster volume output with depth, definition and zero distortion. When the Bayan 7 is turned up you will literally feel the music.
  • TDMA Noise Rejection: Bayan Audio products are approved with Apple’s stringent TDMA Noise Rejection tests, to ensure there in no interference from mobile phones or other radio transmitter devices when in use.
  • Charge and Play: When you dock either your iPod or iPhone into any of the Bayan Audio systems, they will automatically charge whilst playing music.
  • Twin Amplifiers: The Bayan 7 is driven by two amplifiers. One drives the four mid and high range speakers, and a second is dedicated to driving the 8 inch bass speaker. The amplifiers are linked to produce just the right power, depth, detail and balance through each of the speaker drivers.
  • Music and Voice sound profiles: If you love to listen to internet radio, audio books or podcasts from your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch, simply switch your Bayan speaker dock from music mode to voice mode. The result is a clearer, more pronounced voice ensuring you don’t miss anything.
  • IR Remote Control: The remote control shipped as standard with all Bayan Audio products allows you to control all aspects of the docking system. You can select tracks, play, pause or mute. You can also change the level of bass, treble and volume as well as switch the system to standby mode.
  • iPad or Tablet charge and play ports: As standard on all Bayan Audio Speaker Docks for iPod, we have incorporated ports at the rear that let you plug in your iPad or Tablet and play it through the docking system. You can also charge the iPad directly from these ports (3.5mm audio + USB A type ports)
  • Apple Approved: Bayan Audio is an Apple licensed partner. This means that all the systems we use to connect to your Apple device are original Apple parts, including certain control components. Our products have been tested and certified to Apple standards. This ensures you can use your Apple devices with Bayan Audio products with confidence.
  • Quality:The choice of materials used to build Bayan Audio products is key, not only to how they look, but also how they perform. We have encased the main speaker in 12mm thick wood to produce a more natural sound and to reduce the reflections internally. All speaker frames (which are critical to the sound performance) are made from metal, not plastic. And finally, the amplifier is built using the best components, enabling us to finely tune each Bayan Audio product to achieve the best sound possible for its configuration.

(taken from Bayan Audio’s website)

Now we know what to expect from Bayan Audio, so now it’s time to have a look.

CM Storm Trigger Mechanical Keyboard Review

CM Storm, Cooler Master’s relatively new (2008) gaming branch, are known as one of the top gaming brands having brought us quality products from cases to mice. By working with gaming enthusiasts and constantly seeking feedback, they are continuously refining their products to meet the many high demands of gamers. With a focus on quality and performance, we expect to see CM Storm raising the bar, so today we have got the soon to be released Trigger Mechanical gaming keyboard.

As with all our peripheral reviews, we like to reiterate the importance of having the right gear, especially when it comes to gaming as it can make all the difference between getting those extra frags. The keyboard plays a large part in this, so having a decent, enduring keyboard is crucial to not only success, but also continued comfort when spending hours in front of the screen. Mechanical keyboards are considered to be amongst the elitist gaming gear, as they offer a much greater durability, more tactile feedback and faster response over the standard rubber dome keyboards. The Trigger features the Cherry MX black switches that are very popular with gamers due to the movement and the actuation force of the keys.

So lets take a look at what the Trigger has to offer.

  • High durability gold-plated Cherry switches rated for over 50 million key strokes
  • Multi-media control keys for convenient sound control
  • 5 macro keys with profile management
  • 18K gold plated ultra low latency USB plugs
  • Anti-ghosting 6 key rollover
  • 64KB on-board memory for profile storage
  • Storm tactics key for deactivation of Windows key
  • 1000Hz driverless polling / 1ms response time
  • Two port enhanced USB 2.0 hub
  • Detachable wrist rest
  • Braided cable for durability
  • Non-slip rubber coating

The Trigger has a couple of interesting features that differentiate it from some of the other mechanical keyboards, notably the on-board memory and macro keys. So lets take a look.