Creative SoundBlaster X Pro-Gaming H5 Headset Review

Introduction


Creative are on of the most iconic and instantly recognisable brands on the market when it comes to audio. Having created some of the most popular and best-performing consumer audio products for the PC market over the last few decades, I’m sure many of you, if not all of you, have owned or used a Creative product at one point or another. So when I heard that Creative felt they had one of the best gaming headsets on the market and that it would cost less than £100, I simply had to try it out.

CLEARER, LOUDER, HARDER, BETTER!

“The Sound BlasterX H5 radiates with comfort in every element of the design. It’s made up of reinforced steel headband and aluminium architecture. Sound BlasterX H5 features an ergonomically-tested design that guarantees comfort over long stretches of gaming sessions, and withstand the rigours of gameplay. Specifically designed for our pro-gaming teams, the H5 Special Edition is distinctly branded with a BlasterX label on both side-plates. Fans could use this chance to take their loyalty to a whole new level. Every time they put them on, it’s a way of showing their appreciation for great sound and comfort, and what they consider as the ultimate weapon for their gameplay!” – Creative

There are a few key design aspects that are going to be important with this headset, such as the fact it was designed for eSports. This means you can expect leather ear pads and a semi-closed back design, helping block out all that unwanted, game distracting, ambient crowd noise. We’ll also be expecting the detachable noise-reduction microphone to be pretty robust and focused on your voice, not the voices of the crowd.

 

“Experience your game the way it’s meant to be heard. The Sound BlasterX H5 is equipped with large, responsive 50mm FullSpectrum drivers that deliver astounding sound. Rated at 118dB/mW, the Sound BlasterX H5 is among the loudest gaming headsets of its class. Feel the tremor of every bone-shattering explosion and hear the rattle of gunfire in your gameplay, like no other.” – Creative

The packaging for the H5 is pretty stylish, with a clear bowl-shaped lid on the top showing us a fairly uncompromised view of the actual headset.

Around the back, there’s a little run down of some of the features, as well as the included accessories.

In the box, you’ll find the headset, obviously, as well as a detachable microphone, 3.5mm 4-pole to dual 3.5mm 3-pole extension cable and a 3.5mm 4-pole in-line controller cable.

CRYORIG H5 Universal CPU Cooler Review

Introduction


CRYORIG is a relatively new name in regards to cooling products and most of you won’t have seen the R1 Ultimate that was released last year. It was quite an impressive product especially as it was their first, however, it wasn’t very common in the UK. Most of the people from CRYORIG have previously worked for other large companies such as Phanteks and Thermalright so they do have a lot of experience even though they only officially founded in 2013. We hope that this experience isn’t wasted and that they bring us some more products that can bring even more competition to the cooling market.

CRYORIG have released two new coolers, the H5 and the H7. We have them both ready for our test bench and the first one we are going to look at is the CRYORIG H5 Universal.

The Box for the CRYORIG H5 is quite simple yet effective, it is a large picture of the cooler against a white background. It is clean, simplistic and a really nice design, it has product information on the sides of the boxes as well as links to their website which is actually very good. It has video tutorials on how to install the cooler as well as everything else you would expect to find.

Inside the outer box, we get this second box that protects the cooler and fan entirely. This is some excellent packaging from CRYORIG and shows how much they want to make sure the customer gets their product in good condition. It’s always nice to see products that are well packaged as if they care enough to pay for the extra, generally they will have the same mentality elsewhere.

Other information that can be found on the box includes the specification. What isn’t shown on our spec below is the socket compatibility. This cooler supports the following sockets – 2011, 1366, 1150, 1155, 1156, 775, FM1/2, AM2+ and AM3+. This means it fits all of the popular sockets that we will see on the current market.

Inside the box we get a nice bunch of fittings to allow us to mount the CPU cooler, the fittings are for both AMD and Intel. What is really useful is the really long screwdriver that is at the top of the following picture. This allows you to install the cooler without any problems as you do need to put the cooler through the central holes. This is an excellent idea and it shows that CRYORIG have certainly thought about the end-user.

With the H5 we get a XT140 fan, this is an all-black fan with the CRYORIG logo in the center. It is interesting to see that this fan is 140mm x 140mm x 13mm. Yup, that’s right, its 13mm thick, this means that the overall width of the cooler is kept to less than 100mm meaning it shouldn’t cover any ram slots.

The actual cooler is beautiful, the CRYORIG design department deserve a pat on their backs, it’s gorgeous. It has a range of design features that we will look at in a moment, but as a whole package it just looks amazing. Sleek, clean, simplistic, beautiful; I think you get the picture!

The top of the cooler has a white plastic cover to hide any unsightly heat pipes. This is a nice change from most coolers and actually suits the cooler perfectly, the bottom of the cooler has matching covers to ensure that it looks universal.

Something else worth mentioning is CRYORIGs “Hive Fin” technology, again this looks great, but it is there to increase performance. CRYORIG claim that these fins compress the air making it move through the fins faster and increasing the rate that the heat moves away from the CPU. This is the first time I have seen this kind of technology so it will be interesting to see if it works as they say.

The contact plate for this cooler is nickel-plated copper and this along with the 4 heat pipes will help to ensure the heat is taken from the CPU and moved into the fins and then removed by the fan.

The installation method for this cooler is excellent. It is probably one of the easiest towers I have ever fitted. They use a patent pending “MultiSeg” quick mount system. This consists of a back plate that you add to the motherboard, you then just add 2 mounting bars and screw the 2 mounting screws that are already connected to the cooler into these bars. Below is a picture of the screws connected to the cooler which ensures you won’t lose them and as CRYORIG have included a 15cm screwdriver they are easily accessible; you should have this cooler fitted in minutes.

One of the big issues that people have with large coolers is that they usually overhang RAM slots meaning that you generally have to use low profile RAM. Due to the 13mm fan on this cooler though, there is no such worry, you have plenty of room to use large RAM such as Corsair Dominator Platinum.

So, we have seen how this product looks, let’s see how it performs!

Gigabyte Force H Gaming Series Headsets Revealed

When you think of Gigabyte, you likely think of their graphics cards or motherboards, but they’ve also been creating some very impressive, award winning peripherals over the years; a trend they look to continue with their new Force H gaming headsets.

The Force H headsets have been designed with the high-end consumer in mind, as Gigabyte aim to offer premium quality for music lovers and audio-savvy gamers alike. The H series offers up five new headsets, each packed with a unique design, high quality components, and a promise of high-end performance.

Each Force H headset has been designed with a different audio technology, making each one uniquely suitable to different consumer requirements. The H7 and H5 are the flagship models in the range, offering true 5.1 and virtual 7.1 respectively. The H3 and H3X feature a pair of powerful 50mm neodymium drivers with inclined chambers that are said to offer ” crisp in-game details with explosive bass and incredible positional audio to hardcore gamers”. Finally we have the H1, which comes with wireless Bluetooth technology, making it ideal for wireless desktop usage as well as mobile gaming.

All of the headsets are really nicely designed and feature a retractable uni-directional microphone. The H7 and H5 feature in-line controllers and the H1 has on-board controls. The H3X will be the first to hit the market this October, the H7 and H5 will follow shortly afterwards and the H1 will ship in October. No details on price just yet, but we expect Gigabyte to reveal this information shortly.

Thank you Gigabyte for providing us with this information.

Images courtesy of Gigabyte.

Luxa2 H5 Premium Car Phone Mount Review

Introduction


When it comes to premium mobile accessories, one of the most upcoming brands to look towards has got to be Luxa2; a sub-division of Thermaltake. Luxa2’s aim is to offer the consumer a product that not only has a premium ‘feel’ to it, but quality that is actually premium – all with a modest price tag. Recently we took a look at the H1 premium desktop mobile holder and what’s clear about the design and build is that it’s rock solid and flawless, meaning you get a product that is very much worth the extra price. At this point make a note of our old saying of ‘buy cheap; buy twice’.

Whilst the H1 is great for keeping your phone nice and tidy on your desk, there is an even more common place where we could all do with having somewhere to place our phones. This is of course in the car. Most of us connect our phones to our in-car hands free kits, stream audio from our handsets and use them for sat-nav, but the problem is that there is not really anywhere to place it whilst you’re driving. In the UK especially, it is illegal to use your phone whilst driving without using a hands-free kit, but even if you are using one, the moment you pick up the phone to call someone, your attention is diverted from the road as you glance down. Another problem is being able to see what your navigation app is trying to show you and this is where the H5 mount comes into play.

Like the H1, the H5 offers a fully adjustable grip to hold virtually all handsets on the market and there is the full flexibility to rotate and pivot the mount to suit your individual needs and preferences.

The H5 packaging follows the same Luxa2 colour scheme that we have seen from a number of their other products and alongside a snapshot photo of the mount itself there are a number of product features highlighted around the box.