Friday, 27 February 2015

SteelSeries Siberia Elite Prism Headset Review!

 Purchase Link:

The SteeSeries Siberia Elite Pros, features superior sound, incredible comfort and high-end features that make it the ultimate choice in gaming headsets. SteelSeries took everything that was loved about the original, award-winning Siberia Elite and made it even better. Significant upgrades, both inside and out, make the Elite Prism everything you could ask for in a deluxe, competition-grade headset. 

Packaged in a much more deluxe box to its V3 smaller sibling the Siberia Elite Prism is all-round headset packed into a comically large design. There’s no shortage of praise for the build quality of the Elite Prism (as we’ve now come to expect as a standard feature from SteelSeries headsets).
Be aware, wearing this headset will make people look at you and giggle. The oversized yet extremely comfortable cups do add a bit of humour to the design and does look slightly distracting on ones head. If you wear these on public transport be careful not to smack another commuter across the face with the ever so large cups. The size of the Elite Prism is a bit larger than the V3 so larger heads should be ok with the sizing but it could have used a little bit extra just to make it sit just a tad bit better on your head.
The LED lighting effects can be controlled via the SteelSeries Engine 3 to go between numerous options, including ones that were left out of the Siberia V3 for some reason including Breathing & Volume Triggered. The software itself has a very clean interface and easy to navigate with simple and quick EQ controls and mic settings with added Dolby Headphone option.

This is where the Siberia Elite Prism takes charge after the Siberia V3. The sound quality is much more balanced and offers great response over all frequencies but it does require a firmware update (sound was pretty awful before the firmware update) which was done all through the SteelSeries Engine 3, which leads me to add the SteelSeries Engine has got to be one of the best software packaged I’ve come across for products like these. Gaming products tend to have very flamboyant and excessively designed interfaces that just plain don’t work or is a nightmare to work in, the SteelSeries Engine however is extremely clean interface, simple to use and it just plain works as it shows. Kudos for SteelSeries on that one, it’s definitely something to consider when purchasing a USB-enabled headset (settings won’t take effect under 3.5mm connection).
Music, movies and games were all a pleasure to listen and with multiple plug options and adapters it is usable on platforms like Windows, Mac, iOS, Android and PS4. Bass on the Elite Prism is much more defined and cleaner than its V3 counterpart but lacks solid ear rumbling lows which for most should be still comfortable to listen on (EQ is there for that reason).

Running the headset off both the USB adapter on a PC and the 3,5mm off a FiiO X3 Player the headset performed pretty evenly and is a pretty ideal daily headset to use if you have the space to carry and pack it. It’s not foldable and does not come with a pouch or bag so you will need to consider storage before hauling it around places.

For slightly less you get the Siberia V3 which drops on audio quality, the Siberia Elite Prism however is where the price difference kicks in and you get yourself a precisely crafted gaming headset. One thing I would say to SteelSeries is, drop the Dolby. It doesn’t really add anything necessary and the quality stereo setup of the headset is finely tuned enough to not need it. It is a precisely engineered piece of gear that is super comfortable and has the juice to make it a worthy investment choice.

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

SteelSeries Siberia V3 Prism Headset Review

Purchase Link:

The SteeSeries Siberia V3 Prism features a newly-refined design that is both flexible and durable while still offering the legendary comfort of the Siberia series. The iconic Siberia suspension headband returns offering enduring, lightweight comfort for hours of gaming. Powerful, next-gen SteelSeries speaker drivers deliver rich, detailed sound for enhanced gameplay. Noise reducing memory foam ear cushions aid in isolating the natural sounds and powerful bass while keeping out outside noise. A retractable, flexible crystal-clear microphone can be muted with the flip of a switch behind the ear cup. A PC adapter and a universal 3.5mm plug means Siberia v3 plays nice on nearly all gaming systems and devices.

Super lightweight and a very high chance of good comfort, Unfortunately the 2nd part of that statement is left a bit short from me due to the fact the headband isn’t long enough for it to sit comfortable on my head. Around the office was a similar issue with the Siberia V3 more suited for younger gamers (or people with smaller heads than us here in the office). The cups themselves are very comfortable and will not distract you for lengthy listening periods. The build quality and overall design of the Siberia V3 is unchanged since its first iteration and continues to be top in its class.
The LED lighting effects can be controlled via the SteelSeries Engine 3 to go between a constant colour to an interchanging glow which cycles through different colours. The software itself has a very clean interface and easy to navigate with simple and quick EQ controls and mic settings.

This is where the Siberia V3 is a bit of a letdown. The headphone lacks quality and clean lows and generally sounds a bit muddy listening to music and movies. It does a good job with games with the lack of a clean crisp sound often helping in the player getting a bit more immersed in the game. Compared to similar headphones around the $165 mark the Siberia V3 does fall short in performance at times. The lack of 3.5mm adapter also means you won’t be using these in your portable devices anytime soon. The microphone is good and should be a pretty sweet tool for gamers across multiple platforms (currently supports Windows, Mac and PS4)

If you’re after a decent sounding headphone with 2nd to none comfort then the Siberia V3 is the one to consider. Although it does leave a desire for slightly more bass and overall cleaner sound if you want something strictly for gaming and need it to be as comfortable as possible for as long as possible then the V3 is where you should be putting your money.

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

MSI GT80 Titan SLI Laptop Review

On October 31st, 2014 MSI announced its latest gaming notebook dubbed the GT80. At first glance the unusual and different layout of the keyboard was an early indicator that this wasn’t going to be just an ordinary gaming notebook. Joint engineering with SteelSeries the MSI GT80 Titan is the world’s first notebook with a backlit mechanical keyboard fitted with Cherry switches. But it didn’t stop there, throw in dual NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980M and the best and latest mobile CPU from Intel.

There is no doubt that this is hands down the most powerful laptop on the market today. We’ll get to performance later but first let’s take a look at the specs on the highest model available.

Intel® Core™ i7-4980HQ 2.8GHz to 4GHz (i7-4720HQ Review Model)
32GB Memory (16GB Memory Review Model)
Dual NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980M 8GB SLI
18.4” Full-HD 1080p Anti-Reflective Display
SteelSeries Cherry MX Brown Backlit Keyboard (RED LEDs)
1TB Solid State Drive + 1TB Hard Drive (512GB SSD Review Model)
BluRay Writer
Windows 8
2 Years Warranty (Includes 1 Year Global)

We received an engineering sample from MSI so the packaging was pretty standard laptop style but I’m sure the full retail versions will offer much more to the customers who buy this beast!
With a screen sized 18.4” the GT80 Titan SLI is a big unit, but the screen size isn’t what makes it the monolithic size it is. The sheer parts inside this beast coupled with a mechanical keyboard makes it a beefy monster that will trouble the strongest of guys carrying it around.

The sides of the GT80 contain 5x USB3.0 ports, audio jacks and an optical output. Towards the back of the sides you’ll find two large vents which exhaust an incredible amount of air. Be sure to keep these vents cleared of any objects that aren’t fond of heat. The GT80 produces and incredible amount of heat but the cooling does an incredible job on getting all that hot air out.

Along the top you’ll find the SteelSeries mechanical keyboard with Cherry Brown switches which is my personal favourite switch so I did find it quite pleasing that they opted for browns. It gives you the tactile feel without the ‘click’ of Blues. The placement of the mechanical keyboard is towards the edge of the laptop to accommodate for the switches and plethora of hardware housed in the GT80. However, I did find the placement to heavily compliment the 18.4” sized display when gaming. It meant that you could comfortable sit back and game like you would using a standard keyboard and desktop with the 18.4” sized display perfectly coupling the distance you would normally be using the GT80. The 18.4” display is vibrant and good enough display for casuals and professionals; however with the dual 980M’s in here it would have been nice to have a 1440p display option (no 4K for me).
Next to the keyboard you’ll find a cleverly designed digital trackpad. When lit up the trackpad acts as a number pad, click the ‘NUM’ button on the trackpad and the lights turn off and it now acts as a mouse trackpad. The trackpad itself is a bit of an awkward location but with a laptop this size most users will find themselves using as USB or wireless mouse so it’s not really that big of a deterrent. Above the number pad are the only physical buttons with the power, GPU switch and fan controller. The fan controller only allows you to switch between full speed or auto control.

The rear of the unit keeps it basic with air vents on either side, 2 mini Display Ports, HDMI, Ethernet port and a large 4-pin power jack accompanied with a huge 360w power brick. The power brick is big and does get warm so always remember to keep it well ventilated. The lid is presented in a faux brushed aluminium and has a clean look to it, just be cautious though as many of the surfaces on the GT80 Titan is a magnet for fingerprints.  The back side of the display has a gently illuminated logo that adds a subtle classy touch to the overall design.
Back at the front of unit above the keyboard area you’ll find a removable cover that reveals just some of the powerful internals including the DVD drive, a 4x m2 SSD’s and a mechanical hard drive. You see glimpses of the GPU’s and CPU but all those components are revealed more on the bottom side of the unit.

The performance of this laptop is what makes it come to life. No matter what game I threw at it (aside from a few AAA titles) it managed to hold up ultra-graphics at comfortable 100fps+. Playing games on this laptop truly felt like a full desktop experience. It looked good and performed amazingly well. The concerning thing was the total underutilization of the GPU’s for most parts which can be partially put on lack of driver updates. In the coming months with NVIDIA’s strong driver support and updates I do expect the GT80 to push performance even more with future updates.
Gaming was comfortable and pleasantly comfortable with the large screen and mechanical keyboard, the laptop did remain pretty cool with GPU temps hovering around 70-75 degrees on load. The keyboard area remained cool with means you can game on the GT80 for prolonged times without the need to worry about sweaty palms. The placement of the keyboard is definitely a win for MSI and I would like to see more gaming focused laptops to adopt a similar style.

One of the key things MSI has done with the MSI GT80 Titan is open the path for future upgrades. With promised GPU upgrades for at least the next 2 GPU cycles you’re looking at a laptop than can last for a solid 5 years (if not, much longer). With most of the other internals being upgradeable or changeable it does give the customer pretty open options to play with.

The biggest and most talked about thing about the MSI GT80 Titan SLI however, is the price tag. At $6299 it’s priced as much as a small vehicle so you have to really ask yourself if this is something you actually need. For hard-core gamers or even people who do a lot of travelling and aren’t happy with their under $1000 modest laptop, this could be an option for you. Sure, it’s a massive investment, but some people do travel a lot and want that full gaming experience wherever they go. Unfortunately no other laptop other than the MSI GT80 Titan SLI will give you that. It simple is the most powerful and convenient gaming laptop on the market.

When doing these reviews I always ask myself what would I change if I were to build this from the ground up? Firstly, I’d stick with a single GTX 980M, which is a fair chunk of the price cut, a 1440p display and more basic storage options (standard SSD’s)
Sahin Selvi