Win a Turtle Beach Stealth 500P headset

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We’ve teamed up with the kind folks at Turtle Beach who provided us with a Stealth 500P headset which we’re giving away to one lucky winner!

Turtle Beach’s latest headset addition to their headset ranges for PS3, PS4 and PC, the headset provides fantastic sound and functionality. It’s the perfect accompaniment to any dedicated gamer, be it on PS3, PS4, PC, or mobile. In our recent review we found the headset to be a fantastic combination of great sound quality and functionality. If you’re not the winner this time the Stealth 500P is available at Game.co.uk for £99.99.

How to enter

Entry is simple, you just need to follow us on Twitter by clicking the button below. If you’re already a follower then unfollow us first to ensure you get entered!

Competition is subject to any conditions listed above as well as our standard terms and conditions available here. Competition is open until midnight GMT on Sunday 23rd November 2014. The winner will be selected at random from all new (or re-following) Twitter followers who follow us within the competition period. The winner will be notified within 28 days of the closing date. The prize is as stated: no cash alternatives are available. This competition is open to UK entrants only. 1 entry per person.

Turtle Beach Ear Force Stealth 500P: first look and hands-on

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Turtle Beach, purveyors of some of the finest audio equipment available on the gaming market, recently announced their latest addition – the Stealth 500P. This headset, while being of the popular Turtle Beach pedigree, will also be the first wireless gaming headset exclusively created for the PS4 and PS3 games consoles. The folks at Turtle Beach sent us one of these headsets to try out – and it left me impressed in many areas.

The main bonus with this headset is of course its wireless capabilities. First I tried out the headset with my home laptop – setting up the headset was as simple as plugging the dongle (the size of a memory stick) into a USB port and letting it install itself. Holding down the side of one of the headphones switches the set on – while wearing the set a voice can be heard, announcing “Powering on”. The headset instantly connected to the dongle and began playing music straight from my laptop instantly.

I was impressed by the range at which the headset still functions, heading downstairs 2 stories proved an adequate test, and the headphones maintained signal all the way, refusing to go quiet until I reached the bottom floor of my house, which is a decent range for the headset and means that you can continue listening to your game and talking to others even if you have to get up for a moment, which is a real game changer if you enjoy socialising via gaming.

Sound quality also held up rather well across the board – classical music on YouTube or the sounds of gunfire in-game were high-quality and audible at all times. The audio also centred well in-game, with distant cannon fire as audible as the sound of bayonets clashing during a Napoleonic skirmish, which is pleasing to a history buff like me. The power of DTS HeadphoneX: 7.1 Surround Sound kept the game as immersive as ever.

However, with the high quality and impressive features mentioned so far, there were also a number of drawbacks. I am no newcomer to the use of Turtle Beach, and am rather fond of my Turtle Beach P11 headset which I purchased for my PS3 around a year ago, which of course became my comparison point.

In the midst of battle I connected and enabled the 500P headset’s microphone (easily done with the aid of a button built into the unit) and entered discussion with my fellow players. They were less impressed with the headset, with most reporting that my microphone’s quality was far lower than the usual they expected from my P11’s microphone. Additionally, I noticed that the headset was prone to picking up the sound of my breathing which left a huge amount of static, much to the annoyance of everyone else. Thus I was left somewhat disheartened by the microphone provided with the 500P, and surprised that it was a lower quality than my older and cheaper headset.

Further use also highlighted a few other issues, one most notable being the fact that the headphones hug the head rather tightly, which becomes very uncomfortable after extended use. Additionally, the small but very bright light emitted by the dongle became rather distracting when connected to the side of my laptop, where it was likely to point for the corner of my eye, which became somewhat irritant after an hour or so. This, coupled with the other issues and the pleas of my fellow players had me reaching for my old P11 headset before long.

Taking the headset from the PC to my PS3 was a breeze however, with my PS3 already being tuned to using external audio devices, it was simply a matter of plugging the dongle into the system and connecting the optical cable from the dongle into the rear of the PS3. I could find no faults in the headset when running them from my PS3 – the speakers instantly captured the sounds around me in-game beautifully and maintained its quality throughout my session. Conversation with other characters sounded clear and lifelike, with the sound of babbling streams and the wind in the trees creating a solid atmosphere from the headset.

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Overall, I am impressed with the 500P headset. If you are just entering the world of gaming headsets, this would make a great first choice – the ease of use provided by a wireless setup is wonderful, and the 500P captures this ease very well. The lower microphone quality may be off-putting for those like me who are already used to one headset, but if you have not use a headset or do not intend to have use for the microphone, this headset would make a great choice. The quality of sound and ease in setting up the system is great, and shows that Turtle beach is a solid choice for gamers looking to maximise their audio capabilities.

The Stealth 500P headset will be available on 10th October 2014, at an RRP of £99.99.

Our full unboxing video can be found below.

Oculus Rift “Crystal Cove”: What the critics are saying

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“Of all the exciting, innovative products we’ve seen at CES this year, the Oculus Rift “Crystal Cove” prototype is unquestionably the best of the best,” Engadget, January 2014.

When you consider the international CES is the biggest annual consumer electronics and technology trade show, where more than 3,000 exhibitors showcase their most innovative products, Engadget’s Crystal Cove complement is really quite an accolade.

So what exactly is all the fuss about the Oculus Rift ‘Crystal Cove’ and should we believe the hype?

In the world of Virtual Reality, Oculus Rift has been dubbed as being the “next big thing.” Crystal Cove is the latest prototype in the Oculus Rift line up. This wearable gaming headset combines an ultra-wide field of vision with accurate 3D and, as Digital Spy is quick to point out, “unnervingly accurate motion tracking.”

The buzz surrounding the Crystal Cove stems from the fact that after twenty years or so of VR non-starters, Rift’s prototype looks to change everything, opening, as Edge Magazine states, “the door to a world of new design challenges.”

“Tickling our rods and cones,” last year’s CES “absolute highlight” was getting a first glimpse at an Oculus Rift prototype, proclaim Tech Report with similar excitement as a seven-year-old opening an Xbox 360 on their birthday. Naturally, being so ecstatic about the Oculus Rift VR headset prototype update at CES 2013, Tech Report was keen to try out the 2014 version.

Tech Report’s Scott Wasson acknowledged that Oculus thoroughly deserved their Best in Show for CES 2014 award, an acknowledgement based on what he’d seen through the goggles.

In an informative hands on review, Tech Report inform that Oculus’ first generation VR hardware came with a 720p LCD screen inside, which was the one on display at CES 2013. Later in the year, Oculus upgraded to a higher-resolution 1080p LCD, with the Crystal Cove making important inroads to its ascendants. The Crystal Cove is designed to overcome Oculus’ biggest challenge, to work well for everyone. Wasson continues that people can develop nausea, fatigue and vertigo after using a Rift prototype, a problem which is apparently caused by a disconnection between what your senses expect to see in response to the head motions and what is actually on display. The Oculus team have been working hard to “squeeze any latency it can out of the sensor-to-display loop”. Hence the Crystal Cove contains a 1080p AMOLED display, which, by delivering much faster pixel-switching time, can help quash the sensor-to-display interval.

A “spaceflight” experience

PC World was equally as impressed, noting the Cove’s rudimentary position tracking, which is implemented by way of an external camera and some fancy dots on the headset. Quick to belittle Microsoft’s “enormous motion-tracking Kinect”, PC World focuses on the Cove’s tiny camera, which is just a few inches long.

Sitting in a suite at CES 2014 rented out by CCP Games, creators of EVE Online, PC World’s veteran gamer, Hayden Dingman, endured his third iteration of EVE: Valkyrie, CCP Game’s dogfighting space shooter game. Operating from a room hired from CCP Games, it comes as little surprise EVE: Valkyrie was an exclusive Rift launch title at CES. Alongside Rift, the game has “grown up” says Dingman.

“The art assets and the Rift itself have upgraded since the last time I saw the game, making Valkyrie even more impressive. It provides an experience that’s closer than I’d ever imagined to my longtime dream of spaceflight,” continued the PC World contributor.

Oculus Rift may have bowled over the techies, journalists and editors at this year’s CES, it’s tactic as giving them as promo items was a shrewd move, but the company’s biggest challenge still lies ahead – getting the Rift into the hands of consumers. Oculus remains hush-hush about the Crystal Cove’s release date. One thing Oculus does state with diligence is “2014 is going to be a big year for VR.” With the Oculus Crystal Cove winning the Best of CES Award 2014, VR’s year has certainly got off to a flying start.

Check out this ‘hands on’ from the folks at Tested:

Abolish ‘I’ll have to call you back” scenarios with the Jabra Supreme headset

If you want to be able to concentrate and enjoy having a conversation with somebody without the intrusion of annoying background noise and interference, you may be interested in reading about the Jabra Supreme – the first non-stereo headset to incorporate Active Noise Cancellation technology.

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Boldly going where ‘no headset manufacturer has been before’ in exploiting the benefits of Active Noise Cancellation technology, it sounds logical that a user’s listening experience will be improved. Incorporating an electric chipset within its internal components, the Supreme headset generates an “anti-noise” function that essentially blacks out any ambient noise, providing a greater depth of call quality.

We have all experienced some kind of annoying interference at some point when talking over the phone and Jabra are intent on making this an affliction of the past, as its Noise Blackout 3.0 allegedly ends all potential interference that causes many a caller to grumpily cry ‘I’ll have to call you back!”

Windy conditions are often not the best time to enjoy talking to someone on the phone with crystal clear clarity, but thanks to Jabra’s new Wind-Noise Reduction technology, high quality conversations can be achieved regardless of the weather conditions.

Asides from its ambient noise reducing qualities, the Jabra Supreme boasts a ‘state-of-the-art’ adjustable earhook, meaning it is both non-intrusive and sits comfortably and inconspicuously in one’s ear and possesses a powerful 24mm speaker to provide authoritative sound.

The Jabra Supreme can connect to two Bluetooth devices with Advanced Multiuse TM Technology, weighs just 18 grams and provides 6 hours of talk time and 15 days of standby time.

Although for a headset this ‘supreme’, it will cost you – £99.99 to be precise.

More info here

BlueAnt Q2 bluetooth headset review

Remember the BlueAnt T1, the rugged little Bluetooth headset we threw around here. Well, slightly more fancy but just as powerful is the Q2. The T1 claimed to be the toughest Blutooth headset and the Q2 has the ever bolder claim that it is the best Bluetooth headset ever made, which is a perhaps a little self aggrandising.

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However, the call quality is excellent undeniably excellent and the voice recognition worked reasonably well – I’m a self confessed mumbler so I’m impressed if anything is understood by man or machine. You can pretty much drive the whole device with voice controls – including dialling and answering. If you have rich, stentorian tones then the Q2 should play along nicely.

Also handy is the ability to read out SMS messages and announce callers, although this has to be supported by your handset. Despite the T1’s rugged label, I didn’t hear any significant difference between the wind proofing on the T1 and the Q2 and the Q2 has a slightly nicer look to it.

Set up is remarkably simple and it would be hard for them to include more hand holding. Stick the Q2 in your ear and it will talk you through all the steps. The Q2 comes partially charged and set to pair mode so you can get down to business pretty much straight away.

As you’d expect the Q2 has A2DP support and you can get 5 hours talk time and 100 hours of standby on a 3 hour charge. Not too shabby. The headset is lightweight and unobtrusive and it’s easy to forget it’s there until you catch a glimpse of yourself in a reflective surface and see how ridiculous you look – a problem endemic to all Bluetooth headsets.

Either way, if you’re into Bluetooth handsets, then take a look at what BlueAnt has to offer.

Quick look: Vuzix Wrap Virtual Reality Tracker 6TC

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If I offered to put an LCD screen centimetres from your face, you’d probably punch me in mine. Enter Vuzix, a company that makes its trade on doing just the. The difference, however, is that the company uses specialist glasses with high-density screens to give the illusion of distance. And now, with the Wrap Tracker 6TC add-on, the goggles lets you move the images on the screen as you move your head.

The video eyewear, the Wrap 920, is the basic product. Two screens, two noise isolation earphones (in three sizes) are mounted into a set of glasses that black your senses from the outside world. You’re then immersed in a world of stereo sound and simulated 67-inch screens, where gaming comes alive.

The company states that Wrap 920 makes you feel like you’re watching a huge screen TV from three metres away, which sounds great. The issue, however, is that those two LCD displays are only 640 x 480. This is super-high resolution for their size, but it means there’s potential for low-picture quality and certainly not HD performance.

The battery life is also a bit of a pain – a paltry three hours from 2 AA batteries. On the plus side, at least this limitation will cut down gaming sessions to a mroe health- and safety-friendly period of time (which is around an hour).

The Wrap Tracker 6TC is the real innovation. Once plugged in (it comes as a cute little chip), the assorted magneto-resistive sensors, accelerometers and gyro offer highly accurate head tracking.  For gamers, this means:

“The Wrap 920 VR bundle adds a unique 3D ‘in game’ element for PC gamers. When you hear the enemy coming up behind you, the ability to physically turn your head and view them or to be able to view the complete landscape of the game play zone offers the player a unique advantage over their game opponents.” – Paul Travers, Vuzix CEO

The Tracker 6TC is compatible with over 100 popular PC games, including Batman: Arkham Asylum, Call of Duty, GRID and World of Warcraft. More can be found at the company’s website: www.vuzix.com/UKSITE/consumer/products_vr920_support.html.

The ability to turn your head to change the view in-game is a level of immersion that just isn’t possible with any other technology on the market. With the addition of the sound-isolating headphones, you’re able to totally leave the real world behind as you explore fantastic lands. As long as you can use a keyboard and mouse without seeing them.

BlueAnt T1 Bluetooth headset review

Bluetooth headsets get a bit of a bad rap – mostly because they make you look at little bit silly (make up your own tired reference to the Borg and Bankers). But they are useful when you want to have hands-free chat. And as the technology and design improves, the arguments against using them vs the convenience offered by some of the more cutting edge headsets makes the case for popping one in becomes more and more compelling. BlueAnt asked us to have a look at their T1 headset, so we braved the mockery of others and gave it a go.

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The T1 is labelled as “rugged” and boast of clear audio at wind speeds up to 22 Miles/hour. I don’t have an anemometer to hand, but it held up on a particularly windy walk down the Thames and a very unpleasant walk along a busy highway (see how I suffer for you guys!). This is apparently the industry’s best and it was noticeably better than the Jawbone Icon I compared it with. As the name suggests, it’s also a study piece of kit and I felt fairly comfortable tossing it around – i.e., with my keys into my drawer, not hurling it against a wall. I’m not mad.

The T1 will also tell you who is calling – or at least try to. It struggled valiantly but failed when my friend Qiongfang called. There is also A2DP so you can work with GPS turn by turn directions or listen to podcasts – I threw in some earwolf.com shows and they were perfectly pleasant. There is a BlueAnt Android T1 app that I didn’t get to test as my Android phone was out of action (oddly enough that *was* thrown against the wall in what is a long story).

The BlueAnt T1 is out now.

Cyber Snipa Sonar 5.1 Championship Headset review

So many gaming headsets are out there, we thought we would put one of them to test. Cyber Snipa specialise in PC gaming perishables. We got to try out the Sonar 5.1 Championship Headset from their award-winning line.

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The audio was crystal-clear coming from the four speakers from each cup. The 3D positional software made me hear exactly where the enemy was coming from. The in-line controller allows you to control volume and each channel independently, including the sub, front, center and rear. This is useful for adjusting settings according to what are listening to, chat, movie or music. It has speaker drivers which gives true surround sound. I could really hear the action coming from all around me. It was really comfortable to wear and I was happily wearing for a few hours. It looks amazing and the design feels solid. A unique feature is the flexible boom mic so you can put it as close or far as you like. For the clearest sound, a mic should be touching the side of your mouth and some boom mics are made too far away or too short. This can be moved to suit you. You can also turn off your mic on and off if you need do not want your teammates hear something. The boom mic includes noise cancelling so your team mates will only hear you and not your mum (or wife) shouting to come down for dinner.

It plugs in with a 3M USB cable. I could sit on my sofa and easily have it plugged in. Some headsets can have short cables which I find annoying. If you attend tournaments or travel, this will suit you as it has a travelling case. The earpads can fold in to save space. I can see why they called it the Championship Headset. You can get it now from Amazon for £41.77 here.