Redragon M808 Storm Pro Review: Lightweight On A Budget

Wireless gaming mice are expensive, but do they have to be? The Redragon M808 Storm Pro manages to provide a strong performance along with wireless connectivity, all at a competitive price.

So if you want to learn more about the Redragon M808 Storm Pro, keep reading to find out if it is the mouse for you.

The Verdict

Top view of Redragon M808 Storm Pro mouse on white table

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The Redragon M808 Storm Pro offers solid performance at a very competitive price. It rises to be a top option under $40 by being a jack of all trades.

The M808 Storm Pro beats out the competition in a variety of categories. While other competitors may not even offer software or wireless connectivity, the M808 does. It gives you a decently light weight and a comfortable design too. The M808 Storm Pro certainly isn’t competing with top wireless options from Glorious, Razer, or Logitech but it is still a great option at its price.

If you are looking for an accurate sensor, a sub 100g mouse, with tasteful RGB lighting, and wireless connectivity that is superior to Bluetooth then the Redragon M808 Storm Pro manages to suffice those needs without breaking the bank.


Specifications

Length~126.8 mm
~4.99 in
Width~65.6 mm
~2.58 in
Height~41 mm
~1.61 in
Weight~96g
Sensor TypeOptical (100 – 16K DPI)
Polling Rate125 – 1000 Hz
Cable Length1.8m (5.9ft)
Advertisements

In The Box

Unboxing of Redragon M808 Storm Pro mouse

In the box, you will find the mouse with all the essentials and a few accessories.

  • Manuel: This will help you get started with the mouse.
  • Cable: A braided USB-C cable that is 1.8m (5.9 ft) long
  • Dongle: 2.4Ghz dongle for the wireless connection.
  • Sticker: A sticker with the Redragon logo.

Overall everything is packaged nicely.

Build Quality

Front view of Redragon M808 Storm Pro mouse

The Redragon M808 Storm Pro is made from an all-plastic design with some rubber on the scroll wheel. The mouse comes in at 96g making it a solid mouse for FPS games. Despite the weight and all plastic design, the mouse doesn’t feel cheap at all.

One area where the design lacks is with the feet. The feet are certainly better than some budget mice I have tested but are not as good as the top gaming mice companies such as Razer or Logitech. The M808 Pro allows quick flicks and a smooth travel but I would still recommend using it on a mousepad for the best experience.

Although there are physical holes in the mouse with the honeycomb design, it does not seem to have an effect on the reliability of the mouse. I would not recommend testing the water resistance of this mouse however in the few months that I have gotten to use this mouse, I have had no issues.

Redragon opted to use a USB-C port which I really like as some big gaming mice companies still have not made the switch to USB-C. Also, on the bottom of the mouse is a spot to store the 2.4Ghz dongle if needed.

The build of the Redragon M808 Storm Pro looks and feels a lot more premium than its price says it should be.

Style and Comfort

Close up of Redragon M808 Storm Pro mouse

Redragon’s M808 Storm Pro features an ambidextrous shape but its buttons on the left side make it perfect for people with right-handed mice. The M808 allows you to use either hand and does not lock you into any mouse grip either.

The M808 has a fairly short height like the Logitech G203 or Razer Viper. It also features a long shape. The side of the mouse is textured along with the scroll wheel to provide additional grip. The scroll wheel is made with rubber but the sides aren’t. I wish the sides did t least have some sort of soft-touch material but it would not likely add to the weight and cost.

The most defining part of the design is the hexagon-shaped holes on the mouse. Although there are quite a few of them to help lower the weight, they do not affect the comfort of the mouse at all.

Overall the mouse is quite comfortable to use with all hand sizes and grip styles. Additionally, the side and main buttons are placed quite nicely and are easy to press. The buttons on the top are not the easiest to press quickly but are still nice to have.

Switches and Scroll Wheel

Top view of Redragon M808 Storm Pro mouse on deskpad

The Redragon M808 Storm Pro comes with 8 programmable buttons. They all feel quite snappy. The main two switches are from Haunho. So far they have held up well and there don’t seem to be major reports of double-clicking.

In our testing, and that of others, we found the Redragon M808 Storm Pro to have a click latency of about 11 to 13ms. This is on the higher end for gaming mice however still an improvement over most regular mice. While actually playing video games I couldn’t notice much of a difference from other gaming mice that I have used. This may not be the best mouse for professional gamers but for the standard gamer, the M808 will do the job.

Sensor and Polling Rate

Bottom side of Redragon M808 Storm Pro mouse

With the M808, Redragon has opted to use the PixArt PAW3335 sensor. PixArt is renowned for making some of the most accurate sensors on the market and the PAW3335 is a very accurate option itself. from my testing, I did not notice any difference in accuracy while gaming between this mouse and my more premium mice like my Logitech G703.

The PAW3335 features a DPI range of 100 to 16000K with adjustability in increments of 100. Although I was impressed with the sensor’s performance, the fact that you can only adjust DPI in steps of 100 left me disappointed. I was not able to use my usual DPI with this mouse. I wish the M808 Storm Pro supported increments of 50 for slightly more precise tuning.

The strong sensor goes along with an industry-standard 1000Hz polling rate which you can change both in the software or with the rearmost button at the top of the mouse.

RGB Lighting

Side view of Redragon M808 Storm Pro mouse on desk

The Redragon M808 Storm Pro supports bright RGB lighting on the scroll wheel and the sides of the mouse. The RGB doesn’t feel like too much and makes for a nice accent. If you don’t like RGB then you can also easily switch it off in the software.

Many mice at the same price point have limited effects or don’t even have RGB but here you have multiple RGB lighting zones, numerous effects to choose from, and software to change the lighting. Considering the price point and the other features offered, this is quite impressive.

Wireless connectivity

Redragon M808 Storm Pro mouse with 2.4g dongle

In addition to a wired connection, the M808 Storm Pro supports 2.4Ghz wireless connectivity via a dongle. This isn’t as good as Logitech’s Lightspeed or Corsair Slipstream but it certainly better than Bluetooth. The wireless systems from the bigger gaming brands will give the same reliability and speed as a wired connection. A 2.4Ghz connection may be slightly worse than a wired connection. That being said in my experience during gaming I did not feel like the 2.4Ghz wireless took away from my gaming experience.

If you play singleplayer games or multiplayer non-competitively then I don’t think that using this mouse wirelessly will take away from your experience. Even in some competitive gameplay, I would say it is fine unless you are playing in the most competitive ranks. In those cases, there are some better alternatives, albeit that will cost more, or you could just plug the mouse in and use it in its wired configuration.

The M808 Storm Pro features a 500mAh battery. At 1000Hz with RGB enabled, I got about 20 to 25 hours of battery life with Redragon’s M808 Storm Pro. If you turn the lighting off or turn the polling rate down then you could potentially get through an entire week, or more depending on your usage.

If you are not using the mouse it will automatically go into a sleep state. Furthermore, there is an eco switch at the bottom of the mouse which seems to save battery when you switch it on. It turns off the side RGB but I am unsure if it does anything else. That being said it did seem to lower the rate at which the battery depleted.

Software support

Redragon M808 Storm Pro mouse software

Although the Redragon M808 Storm Pro delivers strong performance, the weakest part of the experience is the software. That being said many budget gaming mice don’t even offer software or the software might not support multiple languages like Redragon’s.

Redragon allows you to change button mappings, lighting effects, DPI, and the polling rate. You can also create macros and check the battery life (which is displayed in increments of 10). Any changes will be saved to the mouse directly which is nice if you want to keep your settings when switching to another computer.

Unfortunately, I had some issues changing button mappings. I found that with my current version at times didn’t even have the option to change them if I wanted to. At times I also had the same issues with changing lighting. Furthermore, the interface looks low quality. I wish the resolution was higher and the window was just a rectangle rather than having some gamery indents in it.

The software may not look as good as other options like Corsair iCue, Razer Synapse, or Logitech G Hub, but it is not as heavy. With a mouse of this price, it is clear that Redragon would have to make some sacrifices so I am not super disappointed. Ultimately you don’t need to use the software with this mouse if you don’t want to but it makes things like changing the DPI or lighting much easier.

Conclusion: Is The M808 Storm Pro Good For Gaming?

Redragon M808 Storm Pro mouse on deskpad

After my use of the Redragon M808 Storm Pro for a few months I can definitely say I am impressed. At such a price point I was not sure what to expect but Redragon offered me something that was better than other budget mice I have tested in the past. While none of the specs are truly flagship level, the mouse still delivers in a variety of categories.

The M808 Storm Pro does not have sub-1ms Lightspeed technology or very sophisticated software but I still found that as someone who daily drives a high-end mouse from Logitech I didn’t feel super disappointed.

My main two gripes are the issues with the software and the lack of adjustability with the sensor. I had to play at a DPI different than what I am used to and the software looked low quality. However, if this is your first gaming mouse, this is a great place to start. Wireless connectivity comes with many positives by getting rid of the cable and is a very pleasant experience. And with the M808 Storm Pro it is quite accessible.

Epomaker B21 Review: Retro With A Twist

Epomaker has pioneered the budget side of mechanical keyboards making some fantastic value boards. This is no different with the Epomaker B21 mechanical keyboard that features a retro-style design. The B21 is a wireless, 65% mechanical keyboard with a few unique features to pair with its classic design.

Today we will take a look at Epomaker’s B21 to see if the retro board is the one for you.

The Verdict

Top view of Epomaker B21 mecahnical keyboard.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The Epomaker B21 is a 65% budget wireless keyboard, perfect for those on a budget and want a retro-looking Bluetooth board. The things boasted on the B21 are dynamic backlighting, a 4000mAh battery, media keys, dials, and Mac & Windows support. Now I’ll be honest in this review, the looks definitely are not for me, but it will still attract the eye of those wanting a retro-looking board.

You get a few different switch options in the Cherry MX line, decent stabilizers, and a pretty nice keycap set for the price. The B21 is certainly a unique board and it stands out with a ton of features.

For anyone that wants a retro design, dials, and an overall solid prebuilt package, the Epomaker B21 is a great option.


In the Box

Inside the box, Epomaker gives you everything you need to enjoy the B21.

Keyboard: The keyboard comes wrapped and surrounded by protective foam to ensure that it is in perfect condition when it arrives.

USB-C Power Cable: You get a rubberized cable that seems well made and is detachable. It matches the color scheme of the board.

Manual: The manual will explain how to use the board as well as get it up and running.

Advertisements

Build Quality

Side view of the Epomaker B21 mechanical keyboard

With the B21, Epomaker elected to use strong plastic with this board with a smooth feel. The dials are made of metal and the media keys, although not mechanical, still feel pretty good.

The design is love or hate. The retro theme is something that definitely appeals to a certain audience but I think it is pretty decent. For some, they may really dislike the board. The use of glossy plastic, the combination of pink dials with green and off-white keycaps, and rounded edges make this board look a bit childish. This impression was confirmed when my friend’s first impression was that the board belongs in a nursery, which is quite unfortunate when you think of all the benefits it carries.

The top part of the B21 definitely makes this board taller than most 65% options on the market but the width is not any bigger than most 65%s so when for gaming you should still have plenty of mouse space. If you want something that is very portable, this board is still pretty good but there are a few other options that we may recommend like Epomaker’s GX68 XS.

The Epomaker B21 has a decent build for the price and your thoughts on the design depend highly on what you are looking for. If you are looking for a retro design, you may love this board, otherwise, you could see the board as more of a toy than a tool.

Advertisements

The Keycaps

Keycaps for the Epomaker B21 mechanical keyboard.

Epomaker ties in the retro theme with some off-white, grey, and green keycaps. The keycaps are made from PBT in the ASA profile. The ASA profile is a higher profile that is a bit taller than the standard OEM profile on gaming keyboards but slightly shorter than SA keycaps seen on some custom keyboards.

The keycaps are rounded and sculpted for comfort but the higher profile could take some time to get used to for those who have never experienced something similar. The keycaps feel quite smooth but due to the concave shape, they still are able to hold your fingers and don’t feel too slippery.

The legends are big and centered. Epomaker uses double-shot legends for peak quality and they don’t seem to have any major issues.

Overall the keycaps feel quite good and seem to be a pretty good profile. I do like how they tie in with the theme of the B21.

The Switches and Stabilizers

Epomaker B21 keyboard with keycaps taken off.

You can order the Epomaker B21 with a few options from Cherry. You get linear, tactile, and clicky options.

Cherry MX RedA light linear switch with a smooth travel.
Actuation force: 45 g         
Travel distance: 2 mm
Cherry MX BrownA medium-weight tactile switch with a light tactile bump.
Actuation force: 55 g         
Travel distance: 2 mm
Cherry MX BlueA medium-weight clicky switch. It has a loud sound and sharp tactility.
Actuation force: 60 g         
Travel distance: 2 mm

Cherry is known for providing some of the best switches for pre-built keyboards, especially in terms of reliability. The linear switches are not the smoothest in the world but they get the job done and are perfectly fine for those who do not have an interest in modding your keyboard. The tactile and clicky switches are great alternatives for those who want a bump in their keypress.

The stabilizers are cherry-style plate mount stabs. They were alright. They definitely stood out as being better than the stabilizers of gaming keyboards from brands like Logitech or Razer with some factory lubing applied to the stabs. The stabs won’t make this board sound amazing but are quite good for a prebuilt keyboard.

One of my biggest disappointments with the board is that it is not hotswap. This means that the user will need to manually desolder each and every switch to replace or modify switches and stabilizers. If you want to buy a keyboard and play around with it, the B21 is not the best option for that. For those that want a keyboard that does the job and does it quite well, the B21 does deliver quite a good stock experience.

Advertisements

Back Lighting and RGB

RGB Led lighting on the Epomaker B21 mechanical keyboard.

As of right now, there is only one color offered on the B21. The board is backlit with white lighting rather than multicolor RGB lighting. The lights are decently bright but because the keycaps are not shine-through the lighting is not that big of a deal.

A nice thing with the lights on the B21 is that you can change the brightness of the lights via the dials on top. Epomaker has not released any information yet on what, if any, software will be available for this board.

Wireless Connectivity

The Bluetooth on the Epomaker B21 is my favorite part of this board. The convenience of switching between three different devices is an amenity that is so useful and easy to use.

So let’s talk about connecting it to just one device first, and the B21 handles that perfectly, so seamlessly. It took me less time to connect the keyboard than it did to plug my charger into my phone the other day. Bluetooth can be easily controlled by the dedicated buttons at the top of the keyboard.

The B21 carries a 4000mAH battery which can get you a few weeks of use with the lighting on and if you opt to turn it off you can use it for over a month. To charge the board, there is a USB-C port, which is pretty standard. On the B21 users can opt to toggle between wireless and wired connectivity modes.

Advertisements

Media Keys and Dials

Arguably one of the most defining features of the B21 is the media keycaps and dials. The dials are quite a unique feature and allow you to control volume and change the brightness of the lighting.

The media keys are helpful if you are in the middle of working on something and you want to quickly change background music or stop it to focus better. I also am a fan of multimedia keys while gaming so I don’t have to tab out just to change the song.

A nice little quick feature is the ability to open the calculator with a push of a button.

Overall I think the dials and multimedia keys on the Epomaker B21 are quite useful. My only disappointment is the fact that the pink of the dials kind of takes away from this retro theme and feels a little off.

Conclusion

Angled view of the Epomaker B21 mechanical keyboard.

If you want a retro look and a solid prebuilt all at a good price the Epomaker B21 is an excellent option. It delivers good performance and packs quite a few features making it sound out in the market.

The B21 gives you dials, multimedia keys, Bluetooth, and very long battery life. The board also features pretty decent switches, keycaps, and stabilizers.

The only main downsides were the lack of hotswap sockets and the design. Although the design is very subjective I felt like it was a bit childish but if you do love that retro look then it certainly is a nice theme. As a keyboard enthusiast, I would like to see hotswap sockets at this price to allow users to change keys or modify different parts of the board to personalize the feel to their liking if they choose.

All that being said I have enjoyed my experience with the B21 and love to see unique designs like this hit the market.

Thanks for reading this article! If you want updates on our articles, and more information about tech, make sure to join our discord.

Advertisements

Epomaker NT68: Revolutionizing Portability

Epomaker NT68 keyboard with an iPad and mug.

Epomaker has pioneered the budget side of mechanical keyboards making some of the most well-priced and well-built keyboards ever. Epomaker are responsible for the widely popular GK61 and GK68, many other starter keyboards, and even some more higher end keyboards.

One of their upcoming releases is the NT68. The NT68 is a wireless, 65%, hotswap keyboard with a few tricks up its sleeve to separate it from the other 65% keyboards.

For transparency Epomaker did send this to us for review, that being said I will try my best to not let that influence my review. Let this just be a reminder to take all subjective things I have said (like switch feel, sound, etc.) with a grain of salt.

Our Verdict

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The Epomaker NT68 is a budget hotswap keyboard with wireless, it also features a kickstand making it ideal for laptop and tablet use. Some subjective problems like the unstandardized layout set it back a bit for me but your mileage may vary. Overall, a fun and good buy if you’re a laptop user and primarily work on the go.

Sign up for the NT68 by clicking here!

Advertisements

In The Box

The unboxing was very textbook; the keyboard was there wrapped in its kickstand with all the other goods in a separate divided compartment.

It came with:

  • Keyboard
  • Documentation
  • Cables – They are kind of small
  • Keycap and Switch Pullers
  • Extra Keycaps
  • Some kickstand Stuff
  • Replacement Switches

Overall, pretty good stuff. The one catch is that the cables the NT68 comes with are 3 inches long, prompting me to believe this keyboard is meant to be used wirelessly most of the time.

Cables for the Epomaker NT68.
A bit small

The Case

Side view of the Epomaker NT68 keyboard.

Starting from the bottom of the keyboard, the NT68 features a minimalistic CNCd aluminum case, which is quite nice. The quality of the aluminum is that off the Drop ALT and its brethren, like the CTRL. That being said its quite light for aluminum weighing in at 572 grams. For comparison my acrylic GK61 weighs in at about 715 grams.

The entire assembly is made from one giant aluminum block sans a removable plate at the bottom made from ABS plastic.

The mounting mechanism is integrated plate which provides for a stiffer typing experience and pingy sound. Although with how thin the top part of the aluminum is, the ping is not nearly as noticeable as other keyboards that use an integrated plate mount method.

Advertisements

The Keycaps

Keycaps for the Epomaker NT68 keyboard.

The unit we received came with white keycaps with gray keycaps on the modifiers and some dark red accents on the arrow keys and the escape key. Stock they have MAC modifiers but you can add windows modifiers as they are included in the packaging.

Epomaker uses PBT plastic that is semi-textured compared to other PBT keycaps. Overall, they feel quite nice and definitely will not shine up after a while.

The legends are pretty clean. They look a bit more rounded than the standard GMK font which I like since it really adds to the simplistic and modern aesthetic of the keyboard.

The keyboard features flat profile keycaps, similar to XDA except slightly shorter. It is known as GSA and is on a lot of Epomaker’s keyboards. I personally don’t really like flat profile keycaps but you may like it.

Wireless Connectivity

Be gone tangling wires, this keyboard features Bluetooth 5.1, and it’s awesome. It’s easy to connect, pretty fast, and has 6 key roll-over, meaning you can press up to 6 keys at a time.

The NT68 only randomly disconnected for me once which is pretty good compared to keychron just not connecting at all for me until I gave it a full charge.

It connects up to three devices so you can use the NT68 seamlessly between your devices as changing between the devices can be done in a matter of seconds.

To charge the keyboard there is a USB-C connector on the left-hand side of the keyboard along with an on-off switch. I am not too big on the connector being on the side but since this is designed to be primarily a take it and go keeb for laptops and tablets, it makes sense. You can also use this keyboard wired if your heart desires but I would not recommend it considering how short the cables they offer are.

Advertisements

The Layout

Epomaker NT68 below a Keychron K6 keyboard.
Unstandard bottom row of the NT68 (bottom) vs fully standard Keychron K6 (top)

The layout of this keyboard might make it or break it for you. I’ll say right off the bat that it unfortunately is not standard. But it, fortunately, is not too unstandard. And most 65% keycap sets will fit this keyboard.

Now what makes the NT68 unstandard is that there is an extra function key at the left-hand bottom row of the keyboard. It is a 1.25u sized key alongside 3 other 1u keycaps with the standard control, alt, and windows keys but these are 1u. And for those who are wondering, the spacebar is 6.25u so you don’t have to worry about having weirdly sized spacebars if you want to use an aftermarket keycap set.

Now, when designing really anything, there’s a reason behind all design choices. I personally think the reason for this layout change is to match most laptop keyboards. In a lot of laptops, the function key is where it is on the NT68. This is one of the primary reasons why I believe that this keyboard is designed for laptops and why it is supposed to be used on the go.

Of course, if you don’t like this change and find it unnecessary you can always use the software to change the key mappings, mapping the fn key to control, and so on.

Switches & Stabilizers

Close up of Epomaker Chocolate Brown keyboard switches on a desk.

As far as stock switches go this keyboard comes with the standard Gateron Black, Red, Blue, and Brown switches but it also comes with Epomaker’s custom “chocolate” switches. We got chocolate brown switches which are a tactile switch with similar weighting to Gateron Brown switches. They are pre-lubed with quite good acoustics and feel. Overall, a nice stock switch experience.

Of course, if you don’t like the switches then you can replace them easily with the hotswap mechanic. Thankfully it’s good old hotswap, accepts all switches unlike the Outemu sockets of the K530 and K522 from Redragon.

The stabilizers were hit or miss. Like a lot of prebuilt the pre-lube job was alright. Your mileage definitely may vary but since this is a hotswap board, modding the plate mount stabilizers is very easy.

Advertisements

Backlighting & RGB

The NT68 features per-key RGB which is quite bright and visible despite the keycaps not being shine through. The keyboard has a plethora of RGB modes saved on board but can all be changed via the software Ppomaker provides.

For now, a software has not been provided but when the keyboard does get launched there will be a software as said on Epomaker’s website.

The Invisible Kickstand

Epomarke NT68 being used as a keyboard for an Apple iPad.

This is the why of the keyboard. The reason you should buy it, its main attraction. It is a foldable kickstand that can hold tablets of many sorts, including phones. It can also prop up a laptop and your keyboard sits on the laptop while the laptop is raised with a bit of an angle.

Another good feature is it covers the keyboard when not in use which will more or less protect your keyboard if it’s stored in your backpack or something like that.

Overall, the feature is pretty cool. I used this keyboard at my desk mostly so I used the stand to prop the board up a bit since the stock typing angle was a bit too low for me. While I was using it on my laptop I used the stand for the same reason and not to prop the laptop up, I tried it but did not work out for me. Wasn’t my chalice of tea but might be yours.


Conclusion

Epomaker NT68 being hidden by its cover.
Stealthy

If you enjoyed this article and you want to talk more about tech then consider joining our Discord and as always thanks for reading!

Sign up for the NT68 Kickstarter by clicking here!

Advertisements

Best Linear Switches [2021]

Keyboard switches on a desk next to flowers and headphones.

There are so many linear switches available in the big bad world of mechanical keyboards, which one should you guys choose?

A linear switch is a switch that has uninterrupted travel all the way down. There is no feedback whatsoever and really no way to tell when you have actuated the switch besides when the entry shows up at the receiving end.

Terminology

Just like in the Tactile Switch article I have included a short guide with some useful terminology that will be thrown around.

Actuation: Actuation is when the switch actually activates and outputs to the device.

Bottom out: When the switch finishes traveling and hits the bottom housing.

Leaf: The metallic contacts in a switch, these themselves actually actuate the switch. The leaf is in the bottom housing as the picture shows.

Diagram pointing to the leaf on a mechanical keyboard switch.

Ping / Spring Ping / Leaf Ping: This is a metallic reverb produced by the sound of the spring, leaf, or both. In most cases it can be fixed by lube.

Advertisements

Disclaimer… Please Read!

This review is largely preference, my rankings will likely be very different from yours. Do not base your opinions based of mine, the best way to get opinions on a switch is to just try them yourself, guides like this, sound tests, and keyboard senpais like Taeha Types is not a good way to understand how switches feel. Just hit up your local vendor and buy a pack of whatever switch your fingers and ears desire to try them out. Use this guide to gain a general understanding of the switch and where enthusiasts like me stand on these switches.

Gateron Black Ink

Gateron Black Ink mechanical keyboard switch with rocks behind it.

Gateron Black Inks are a switch made by Gateron. They feature a 60g actuation and a 70g bottom out and actuate at 2 mm and with a total travel of 4 mm. They do not come prelubed and stock are quite mediocre. But when lubed and filmed they are mega smooth and have a very thoccy sound signature.

These are number 1 because of how pleasant the sound is coming in with a low sounding thocc in most cases. It also has top tier smoothness after lubing and filming.

We do recommend lubing these as in their stock form they are a bit scratchy and do not sound the best. Filming is also recommended but not required since the housings are not unbearably loose.

Advertisements

C3 Equalz x TKC Banana Splits

C3 equalz Banana split mechanical keyboard switch resting on a flower.

These switches are amazing, ill say that right off the bat. They are produced by TKC and C3 Equalz and are the first addition to the fruit switch lineup. They feature a hyper smooth experience with a nice high pitch clacky sound that is enjoyed by many typists around the world. They feature the typical 2mm actuation point and 4mm bottom out. They have no long stem action. These switches come with only a 62g weight option.

The Banana Splits take the number 2 spot because of the sound and smoothness being so good. They are pretty costly and have limited availability.

These switches don’t require filming or lubing but will benefit from both. We would recommend lubing these tasty switches up. There super good looking too, which is a plus.

Bobagums

Bobagum keyboard switch on a flower.

Gazzew’s linear deriving from the Boba U4s, which are top tier silent tactiles. These switches come in 62g and 68g variations, have great silencing power, and feature awesome smoothness.

Lubing these switches is always recommended but filming is not as housings may struggle to close with many types of film since they are already so tight.

These switches are perfect for a work or school keyboard. So if you like linear with a slight mush or just don’t want thocc or clack this is a right choice for you. They are the best silent linear on the market right now.

Advertisements

C3 Equalz x TKC Equalz Tangerine

C3 Equalz Tangerine switch resting on a flower.

Smooth, clacky, and did we mention its smooth? By far one of the smoothest switches out of the box. This pre-lubed switch from TKC is amazing. It features a standard 2mm actuation and 4mm bottom out. These switches come with a 62g version and a 68g version.

It is hard to rank the tangerines considering it is among the smoothest switches you can buy, but some of TKC’s problems in the past really dock this switch a few points. Its sound signature is also, if you will, boring and flat. By no means is it bad, in fact, it’s great but the other switches here do better. Again, this is completely my opinion, you may love it you may not.

If you do like a lower more muted switch then these are a great switch to consider but if you want something more lively and clacky then they may not be for you.

Lubing is not required as the returns are diminishing after lube. Lubing with a thinner lube like 3203 or 3204 is preferred since the factory lube and the 205g0 can be too much. Filming will benefit the tangies but is not required by any means.

Gateron Milky Yellow

Gateron Milky Yellow switch on a flower.

Budget, budget, budget. These switches are as it stands the king of budget linears. Standing in at about 24 cents a switch. They have a very nice thoccy sound and feature quite smooth action after lubing and filming. They are no Black Inks but they are also not 75 cents a pop. These siwtches weigh in at about 50g actuation and 60g bottom out.

These earned a spot on the list since the Milky Yellows are pretty much the epitome of budget switches and have been for a while. These switches come in many forms or revisions. The outstanding outcome or what is widely agreed as the best outcome is the black bottom and milky top housings. As they provide the best smoothness and sound but obviously that is up to you.

Do lube and film these, as without they are quite scratchy and the housings are pretty wobbly.

Advertisements

PrimeKB Alpacas

PrimeKB Alpaca V2 keyboard switch sitting on a pink flower.

These JWK Recolors follow a color scheme based on Minterley’s Bliss colorway. They feature very smooth travel with a deep sort of unique sound signature that is hard to find on any other switch making it a very desired switch throughout the keyboard community. They feature 62g springs which makes it a nice middle ground in terms of weight.

These switches do not need lube or films as they do come pre-lubed with a slight layer of oil and they have pretty tight housings.

Note that the latest version was tested. The previous iteration for this switch had quite loose housings but that has since been fixed. These switches are primarily only sold on PrimeKB and they have the newer version.

KTT Strawberry

KTT Strawberry switch sitting on a green plant.

These switches are an iteration of KTT’s higher-end switches. At around 40 cents a switch, they are mid to low-end switches in terms of price. But let’s not judge this book by its cover or more this switch by its price.

The KTT Strawberries are one of the smoothest stock switches out there right now, up there with tangerines for a bit more than half the price. And as far as sound goes, dang these really hit the spot, they have a clean and non-intrusive clack similar to that of the tangerines without the harsh high pitchiness. These have a 63.5g bottom out making them slightly heavier than Gateron Yellows.

Neither filming nor lubing this switch is required as they have very tight housings and very smooth travel in the stock form.

Advertisements

Vintage Cherry MX Blacks

Vintage Cherry MX Black switch sitting on a rock.

Chances are if you have even the slightest experience in this hobby you have heard of Cherry’s lineup and cherry MX Blacks. These switches are those exact things, except old. When a switch is made a mold is used to cast the plastic, so these switches use an older mold which was known to be very smooth. This paired with cherry’s magically sounding amazing housings made the holy grail of linears.

Now if there so good why aren’t they number 1? Because these switches are very hard to come by, for starters it is near impossible to get these switches through a commercial vendor like NovelKeys, Cannonkeys, etc. Second, in most cases these switches must be removed from an old keyboard (like really old) and then cleaned and sold via mechmarket or something like that. That being said, these switches follow the standard Cherry MX Black weighting which is about 60g operating and 80g bottom out.

These switches do need lube but filming is hit or miss since they have nice and tight housings from the factory.

Conclusion

All these switches are great choices for any linear build. Some switches that weren’t included which are also great are most JWK manufactured Linears such as the Durock L Series, Halu Halos, H1s, Tealios, many KTT and TTC switches, and much more. We recommend going on YouTube and listening to sound tests and finding what you like as it is difficult to make a proper decision from just words and pictures.

If you want to try or buy any of these switches then a great place to start is by looking at your local vendor. Take a look at our vendor list. A compilation of tons of keyboard vendors sorted by region.

If you enjoyed this article and you want to talk more about tech then consider joining our Discord and as always thanks for reading!

Advertisements

Is Ray Tracing Worth It?

As new hardware comes out, new graphics technologies develop. The newest leap is ray tracing, made mainstream by Nvidia’s RTX graphics cards.

Now that most modern GPUs are integrating the technology and games are starting to add support, let’s see if Ray Tracing is actually worth it.

Ray Tracing vs Rasterization

CC: Nvidia

Ray tracing may be new and exciting but what came before it? Rasterization is the current norm for graphics in video games.

Rasterization creates a 3D environment by processing polygons. The polygons are then processed by a shader to make up a specific color and shade. These polygons get turned into pixels. All the colors and shades are decided by parameters that the game developer has set up.

Ray tracing on the other hand directs lines from the light source in the game and calculates how light bounces off objects or gets impedes by them to show where the lighting would go. This makes effects a lot more realistic.

While rasterization can look very good, there is a lot less potential. Ray tracing can portray how different objects affect lighting around a room but rasterization cannot. For example, with ray tracing, if you have a very reflective material, then the light will bounce off that material onto other things. In contrast with rasterization that material may look metallic but still will not have any effect on anything else in the environment.

Additionally, ray tracing requires fewer initial parameters to be set up by game developers. Ray tracing uses realistic lighting physics which means developers do not need to make many calculations to suit their specific game environment and physics can be more consistent across games.

Advertisements

Does Ray Tracing Improve Your Gaming Experience?

Screenshot of Call of Duty Warzone with ray tracing enabled

Although ray tracing does provide some eye candy, how much does it improve the gaming experience and will enabling it make you a better gamer?

The main takeaway about ray tracing is that it most likely will not make you a better gamer. The whole point of ray tracing is the improvement in graphics.

Real-time ray tracing provides no improvements in games like competitive shooters but in some games, the improvement in shadows and reflections may help you to see things that are off your screen.

Where ray tracing improves your experience is in the actual looks and immersion. Better graphics can help you get sucked into the game, especially when you are in a campaign or story game that gives you time to enjoy eye candy. You are able to appreciate your environment more as ray tracing makes games look more realistic.

A graphic increase is often able to transfer a game like Minecraft with RTX which keeps the same core concept and physics but the gameplay is altered.

If you do not care about graphics or only play online competitive shooters such as CS:GO or Valorant then ray tracing wont benefit you.

Advertisements

Too Early To Invest?

Steam survey from april 2021
Steam Survey April 2021

One of the biggest criticisms about ray tracing is the lack of games that support the feature. Currently, there are around 40 titles with 10 to 20 more that are said to release in 2021. All these titles fully support ray tracing with Nvidia’s RTX GPUs but the same cannot be said about AMD. AMD supports a decent amount of these games but the performance is not that good on most of them or the creators worked on DXR for AMD as an afterthought.

Some games that feature ray tracing are Battlefield V, Cyberpunk 2077, Fortnite, and Metro Exodus. If you want more information about different games that support ray tracing, check out this list from Wikipedia.

The experience with Nvidia’s graphics cards is pretty good, especially with their DLSS technology, which optimizes the onscreen image to look the same while putting less load on the GPU. You can get 60 fps at 1080p on any of Nvidia’s RTX cards but if you want to play at a higher resolution then you have to pay for a better RTX card.

The issue is that to get a quality high refresh experience, you still need to pay quite a bit of money if you want to play at any resolution higher than 1080p. This also assumes that you are able to even get a graphics card in this current climate.

We would not recommend waiting to get a graphics card just because you want an RTX card from Nvidia but in the coming years, many of the most popular games will support ray tracing. Getting a system with the hardware to support ray tracing is not necessary yet and we would not say that it is too early to invest, especially if some of your favorite titles do or will not gain support soon.

Ray tracing is a great feature for those who care about graphics. If you want to future proof then getting an RTX card or a next-gen console is your best bet.

Advertisements

Ray Tracing Beyond Gaming

Unreal engine logo

Ray tracing is not just for gaming. Ray tracing has been used for years in professional situations. For example, many animated movies use ray tracing. It has especially gotten popular for 3D modeling, rendering, and movie animation in recent years.

As ray tracing has become more popular smaller creators and studios have been able to use ray tracing. This is causing it to continue to grow in the professional space. Not only will games start to look more realistic in forms of lighting and reflections but the same will also apply to animated movies and renders.

Additionally, ray tracing has grown very popular in the world of game development. Game engines like Unity or Unreal Engine are making it easier for smaller game developers to make games that have better-looking graphics.

Overall this all helps movie and game developing industries forward as smaller creators are starting to be able to work with ray tracing.

Different Implementations

Inside of gaming PC with an RTX graphics card

Although Nvidia started the movement towards real-time ray tracing, they now have other competitors. Aside from Nvidia’s 20 and 30 series GPUs, AMD has their 6000 series GPUs, and then the next-gen consoles from Sony and Microsoft also have their own implementations.

Nvidia has their RTX implementation that works with DLSS rather than AMD that uses the universal standard DXR. While both can look the same, Nvidia’s system works with more games and runs faster. This is partially due to the fact that DLSS improves the framerate of games.

Sony’s PS5 and Microsoft’s Xbox Series X also support ray tracing and due to great optimizations, the performance is pretty good for the price.

Overall Nvidia still does ray tracing the best.

Advertisements

Conclusion: Is Ray Tracing The Future?

Top view of PC with RGB fans

To put it shortly, ray tracing is the future.

This is just the beginning of a new wave. The benefits to graphics are great for the consumer and with all this tech going mainstream it will only push forward innovation. Games will look a lot better in the future and with the easy access to enable it in game engines now, many indie games or titles may be able to have ray tracing.

It is important to understand that the tech is not perfect right now and it is not everywhere. Many games do not have all the elements of ray tracing as they may only support ray-traced shadows or reflections for example. Ray tracing is constantly improving to look and run better.

Over the next, five to ten years is when we could start to see ray tracing properly replace rasterization. During this time hardware will also improve greatly as companies like Nvidia have made large strides towards their RTX tech.

If you enjoyed this article and you want to talk more about tech then consider joining our Discord and as always thanks for reading!

Advertisements

Epomaker GK68XS Review: Features, Performance, and A Great Price

Are you looking for a keyboard with a ton features and a great value. Epomaker’s GK68XS is a 65% mechanical keyboard that is packed with features like Bluetooth connectivity and a hotswappable PCB.

Today we will take a deep look at Epomaker’s GK68XS and see if it is right for you.

The Verdict

Top view of the Epomaker GK68XS mechanical keyboard
GK68XS with a custom keycap set

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

The Epomaker GK68XS is a great value keyboard for those wanting to join the custom mechanical scene without spending their life savings. For the price, it is one of the better 65% keyboards you can get coming with a whole host of features such as Bluetooth and a hotswapable PCB.

You also get a variety of switch choices, pretty decent stabilizers, and a decent keycap set.

For anyone wanting to start modding their keyboard but don’t want to give up the arrow keys with a 60% board, Epomaker’s GK68XS is a great option.


In The Box

The Epomaker GK68XS is packed with things in the box. Besides the keyboard, inside you will see:

USB-C Power Cable: You get a braided cable that is well made and is detachable. The cable does the job and looks pretty decent.

Split Spacebar Module: This can be swapped with the big spacebar to allow 3 buttons rather than just one. Changing it in and out is as simple as removing 3 screws.

Extra Keycaps: In addition to the keycaps already on the board there are a few extra keycaps for things like a split spacebar, mac specific keys, and for alternate modifier keys.

Extra Switches: If you use the split spacebar there are some extra included switches. They will be the same kind of switch as the rest of your switches.

Keycap and Switch Puller: A wired keycap puller is included. It is better than the cheap plastic one that many companies throw in the box. The wire puller won’t scratch your keycaps. The keycap puller also functions as a switch puller on the other side so you can swap out the stock switches for anything of your choice.

Manual: The manual will explain how to control the RGB lighting, where to download the software, and how to control the secondary functions and shortcuts on the board.

The board has tons of features and it gives you everything that you need to make the most of them. It is very nice to see at a board at such a good price.

Advertisements

Build Quality

Side view of the Epomaker GK68XS mechanical keyboard

The build quality is adequate for the price with a plastic case with a tilt for more comfort. It is quite simple which I appreciate and has a nice angular design to the case where it tapers down. There are also acrylic and aluminum versions of this case albeit at a much higher cost.

In my opinion, it looks nice however, it has a hollow sound. This is especially bad when you press the space bar since there is some reverb in the sound. If you get this board I’d highly encourage you to put some foam. It is a quick mod that takes about five minutes and makes it sound so much better.

At the back of the case, it has an indented USB-C port. This is quite nice to see because many budget boards still have not switched to USB-C or allow a detachable cable at all.

On the bottom, four rubber feet keep the board from sliding around too much however there are no flip-up feet so you cannot adjust the height. This is not too much of an issue because the case is already at a comfortable height.

The Keycaps

PBT DSA keycaps for the Epomaker GK68XS mechanical keyboard

Epomaker’s GK68XS comes with a pretty nice set of PBT keycaps in the GSA keycaps profile. The legends are dye-sublimated for long-lasting quality. There are also a few extra keycaps in case you want legends for mac or you want to use the split spacebar.

PBT material means that the keycaps will not develop a shine over time. They have a slight texture to them so they are easier to grip onto.

The GSA profile has a uniform height among the keys and is a pretty low profile. There is a slight curvature in the center of each keycap so they mold to the shape of your finger. These keycaps are quite comfortable to use but may take a couple of days to get accustomed to.

Advertisements

The Switches

Gateron Black mechanical keyboard switch

You can order the GK 68 XS with a variety of Gateron switches. You get linear, tactile, and clicky options.

Gateron Red
A light linear switch with a smooth travel.
Actuation force: 45 g         
Travel distance: 2 mm
Gateron BlackA heavy linear switch with a smooth travel.
Actuation force: 60 g         
Travel distance: 2 mm
Gateron BrownA medium weight tactile switch with a light tactile bump.
Actuation force: 55 g         
Travel distance: 2 mm
Gateron BlueA medium weight clicky switch. It has a loud sound and sharp tactility.
Actuation force: 60 g         
Travel distance: 2 mm

Gateron provides some of the best switches for pre-built keyboards. Their linear switches are often smoother than the competition and their tactile switches have a slightly more noticeable bump than Cherry options. Also since this board is hotswap, you can just change out the switches if you want to.

The Stabilizers

Stabilizers from the Epomaker GK68XS mechanical keyboard

With the GK68XS you will find minimally lubed plate mount stabs. Stock they sound rattly and are a bit scratchy but they have quite a bit of potential if you are willing to mod them.

Stabilizers are very important to how a board sounds and in this case, the GK68’s stabilizers are much better than boards from bigger gaming brands such as Logitech or Corsair.

We found that after making some mods to the board by lubing the stabilizers and adding foam to the bottom of the board helped the stabilizers feel quite smooth and not sound nearly as rattly. If you want that perfect sound for your stabs we would recommend going with some better plate amount stabs from either Durock or Novelkeys for a better experience.

Advertisements

The Software

Although the GK68 does have software support, it is one of the weaker areas of the board. The software does provide useful functionality but it is complicated to use. It took us some time to understand the software. We found that the interface is not that easy to work with or nice to look at.

While the software does have some issues, it provides a ton of functionality. If you want to remap buttons or have more in-depth lighting then this is the way for you.

In our experience, we found that we did not need it that much as most functions like changing lighting or using a macro can be enabled with a simple key combination but having dedicated software is very nice to see.

RGB Backlighting

Top view of the Epomaker GK68XS mechanical keyboard with RGB lighting on

The GK68 XS features per-key RGB backlighting with a variety of onboard presets. You can change them using different key combinations or via the software.

The onboard solution is a quick way to change lighting but if you want more control the software provides tons of options. It is important to mention that using the software will take some time to understand.

The only issue I faced was that there is seemingly no combination to make a static color unless you want a simple white backlight. I figured you can change to the color-changing mode and just pause it on the color you like but I would have still liked a dedicated key combination.

Hotswap PCB

One of the most exciting features about this board is the fact that it features a hotswappable PCB. This means that you can change out the switches without needing to solder any switches. It takes just a few seconds to replace a switch.

The PCB supports both 3 and 5 pin switches and it is north-facing. This means that the keyboard supports switches from most switch manufactures including Kailh, Cherry, and more. The fact that the sockets are north-facing means that there could be interference with Cherry Profile keycaps.

A hotswap PCB is great for those who want to mod their keyboard to make it sound or feel better. They are also great for those who may want to try different switches.

Advertisements

Bluetooth Connectivity

Another exciting feature of the GK68 XS is Bluetooth 5.1. You can connect up to three devices. With the 1900mAH battery, you can get a day or two of use out of it depending on if the lighting is on and how much you use the keyboard.

The latency is quite good but I did sometimes notice a delay when playing video games or typing very quickly. In most cases, this is not an issue and I found the connectivity to be quite good.


Conclusion: Should You Get The GK68XS?

Angled view of the Epomaker GK68XS mechanical keyboard

If you heavily rely on arrow keys and want a good value board the Epomaker GK68XS is an excellent option. It delivers excellent performance and tons of features.

For the price, it comes with some good options such as Bluetooth and hotswap sockets which just makes modding and using the board a lot more convenient. The board also has great switches, keycaps, and stabilizers considering the price and the competition.

The main downsides are the plastic case which, unfoamed, sounds quite hollow, and the north-facing switches, causing interference with cherry profile keycaps. There are other boards that may address these issues but if you want a board now and do not want to wait months for a board to arrive or you prioritize Bluetooth, this is a fantastic option.

If you are interested in the Epomaker GK68XS, consider checking it out on Amazon for a great price.

As always thanks for reading and if you are interested in more keyboard content check out our keyboard page.

Please join our Discord if you have any more questions.

Advertisements

Logitech G703 Hero Mouse Review: Wireless For A Fair Price

When looking for a new gaming mouse you may have been considering switching to a new wireless gaming mouse. The Logitech G703 Hero adds to Logitech’s extensive line of wireless gaming mice, providing performance striking above its price point.

Let’s dig in and see if the Logitech G703 Hero is the mouse for you.

The Verdict

Logitech G703 Hero with a laptop and keyboard.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The Logitech G703 Hero is a wireless gaming mouse with excellent performance.

It improves over the previous version with the use of the accurate HERO sensor and it supports Logitech’s Lightspeed connectivity.

The G703 has an ergonomic shape with large buttons and comfortable rubber side grips. The mouse supports tons of grip styles and is very comfortable over long periods of use.

You also get a lot of in-depth functionality with the software. The G703 also supports a lot of different features like an adjustable weight, Powerplay compatibility, and onboard memory.

The only major downsides of the mouse are the outdated micro-USB connection and the software that could be a bit confusing to use at first. Additionally, the shape of the mouse applies to a specific niche but I found it quite easy to adjust to.

So if you are looking for a wireless mouse with a great sensor, decent lightweight, and solid build then the G703 is a fantastic option to consider.


Specifications

Length~124 mm
~ 4.88 in
Width~68 mm
~ 2.67 in
Height~43 mm
~1.69 in
Weight ~95g (+10 with weight)
Sensor TypeOptical (100 – 25.6K DPI)
Polling Rate125 – 1000Hz
Cable Length 1.8m (6ft) Braided Cable
Advertisements

In The Box

Logitech G703 unboxed

In the box, you will find the mouse with all the essentials and some accessories.

  • Manual: There is a quick start guide to walk you through basic things like using and charging the mouse.
  • Cable: Logitech includes a braided USB-A (regular USB) to micro-USB cable to both charge the mouse or use the extender.
  • Dongle: This dongle allows for the mouse’s lightspeed wireless connection for very low latency.
  • Extender: If your mouse is far away from your computer or you are experiencing connection issues, an extender is included as a great solution to the issue.
  • Powerplay Puck: The puck is attached to the bottom of the mouse with magnets and is necessary for using the Powerplay feature.
  • Weight: Included is a 10g weight if you feel the mouse is too light.
  • Sticker: Logitech always throws in a sticker showing their blue G logo with their gaming products. It’s a nice touch.
Advertisements

Build Quality

Angled view of Logitech G703

The Logitech G703 is made from a mix of strong plastic and rubber. Rubber is used on the scroll wheel and on the sides for extra comfort and grip. Even at 95g, the G703 is quite robust.

The mouse looks all black with a translucent section for the G logo. The style obviously belongs to a gaming mouse but is not overly gamery.

The mouse feet on the bottom provide a smooth glide, allowing quick flicks and consistent travel. In my testing, they were not as good as the most premium mice like the Logitech G Pro Superlight or Razer Viper but they are better than many popular mice like the Logitech G203 or G502.

Overall the G703 has a fantastic build, especially for the price. My only disappointment with the design of the mouse is the use of micro-USB over USB-C. While this doesn’t affect the functionality, it’s nice to have.

Style and Comfort

Side view of Logitech G703

Logitech’s G703 has an ergonomic design but is not super sculpted. The mouse is great for those who are right-handed but it doesn’t lock you into any position so it is comfortable with all mouse grip styles.

I had no issues using the G703 with a fingertip, claw, and palm grip. Some mice lock you into a palm grip or claw grip but the G703 provides flexibility in this field.

Many people don’t like the design but I found it very easy to get used to and very comfortable, even during multiple-hour gaming sessions. The rubber helps a lot over time and it makes the mouse very easy to grip and hold.

Additionally, the buttons are quite large so they are easy to find. Typically buttons are quite small on the side of the mouse but the G703 has the biggest side buttons on any mouse so you can easily rest your fingers on the side buttons.

Switches and Scroll Wheel

The Logitech G703 has 6 buttons in total. They all have satisfying clicks and are very responsive. The switches are from Omron and have eliminated the double-clicking issues that Logitech used to face. These switches are some of the best ones that I have used in any gaming mouse.

On the left side of the mouse are two side buttons. They are some of the biggest side buttons that I have seen on the mouse making them very easy to find. Additionally, the scroll wheel has nice tactile steps and feels very solid.

Advertisements

Sensor and Polling Rate

Logitech’s Hero sensor uses optical technology, which is the norm among modern gaming mice. It is one of the most accurate and efficient sensors in any mouse. Additionally, the sensor itself is quite lightweight which is why Logitech makes some of the lightest mice on the market.

The sensor goes up to 25.6K DPI and can be adjusted through the software in increments of 50. Most people opt for a DPI between 200 and 1200, but the high range shows the accuracy of this mouse.

This fantastic sensor goes along with the industry-standard 1000Hz polling rate.

Powerplay Compatibility

If you want a wireless peripheral but the requirement to charge it is an issue for you, Logitech’s Powerplay could be the solution for you.

For this to work with the G703 you must purchase their Powerplay mousemat. This is an additional investment, but the mousemat will charge the mouse resulting in endless battery life.

Adjustable Weight

Weight and underside of Logitech G703

If you want a slightly heavier mouse, you can utilize the 10g weight. Adding the weight will increase the overall weight to 105g. You can easily add the weight by pressing it into the slot on the bottom of the mouse.

Using the mouse with its stock weight was the best for me. The G703 felt balanced and it made me more consistent in shooters. I was able to land headshots more frequently, manage recoil more easily, and make more accurate flicks.

If you want to further lower the weight, taking off the Powerplay puck on the bottom is an easy way to shave off a few grams making the mouse about 92g. The difference isn’t huge but still noticeable.

Advertisements

Vibrant RGB Lighting

Top view of Logitech G703 with RGB lighting

The Logitech G703 supports bright RGB lighting on the logo and scroll wheel. The lighting looks good at night and throughout the day. If RGB isn’t for you you can always turn it off or dim it.

You can control all the lighting with the G Hub software and you get a lot of functionality. You can have separate or synced lighting between the logo and wheel. Also, there are tons of colors and present affect to choose from.

You can also sync the lighting with a game or movie you are watching. For, example the color of your mouse will change because of the team you are on. This isn’t too crazy just on the mouse because you probably will be more focused on the game but if you have other Logitech products then you can sync this with them and the experience is quite unique.

Wireless Connectivity

Angled view of Logitech G703 with wireless adapter

Apart from the standard wired connection, the G703 also supports wireless connectivity via Logitech’s low latency Lightspeed technology.

The lightspeed connection via a dongle is about as fast as a wired connection. It is incredibly fast and reliable. If you ever have any issues like interference or you are just very far from your device you can also use the included extender. Without the extender, I was able to use my mouse over 20 feet away from my computer with no issues.

With wireless mice, battery life is always an important consideration. The battery is quite strong considering the mouse supports RGB lighting. You can get 35-60 hours of use off a single charge depending on how bright the lighting is and the polling rate. When you need more battery, you can completely charge the mouse in about 2 hours.

The mouse also has battery-saving methods. The lighting will dim after a minute of inactivity and the G703 goes to sleep after 5 minutes. Waking from sleep is essentially instant. Additionally, the lighting on the mouse will turn red if the battery goes below 15%. Overall the battery life is pretty good and the power-saving measures make it not a concern.

In-Depth G Hub Software

Logitech G Hub software used with the G703 mouse

The Logitech G703 works with the G Hub software to control it. You can do basic things like change the lighting, sensitivity, remap buttons or do more complex things like control game integration.

Setting everything up isn’t too difficult once you have gotten used to the software. As soon as you open the Software you will be able to see the estimated battery life.

Although G Hub is very functional, it can be very confusing to those who are new to it. Pages like game integration are not the easiest to find and saving profiles and presets can be confusing.

Additionally, I have run into occasional bugs. Sometimes a different DPI than I wanted would become my default DPI for the onboard profile or not all my lighting presets would save. Logitech has fixed most of the bugs that I have faced but I still think the software has its issues.

Advertisements

Onboard Memory

Logitech’s G703 stores up to five onboard profiles. You can save your preferred sensitivity, button mappings, and lighting all to the mouse.

Onboard memory is helpful if use your mouse with different devices. Additionally, if you don’t like Logitech G Hub this is nice because you can quickly save your profiles, and then you won’t need the software anymore.


Conclusion: Is The Logitech G703 Hero Good For Gaming?

Logitech G703 Hero on a mousepad.

The Logitech G703 Hero delivers a great experience for gamers, even for pros, at a great value.

The G703 supports the Lightspeed connection that has equal latency to a wired connection but the lack of a wire means you don’t have to worry about your mouse getting caught on anything or drag. The need for a mouse bungee is not existent.

Inside the mouse, you get high-quality Omron switches and Logitech’s famous HERO sensor that is among the best on the market.

The shape may not be for everyone but most people can get used to it and the mouse supports a wide variety of grips. It also has a solid build while still maintaining a decently low weight.

If you think this mouse is a good fit for you then consider checking it out on Amazon.

Thanks for reading and if you have any more questions check out our Instagram and Discord.

Advertisements

Razer DeathAdder Essential Review: Is It Worth It?

Have you been scouring the internet for a good gaming mouse, but everything you find is way out of your budget?

 If so, the Razer DeathAdder Essential might just be the answer to your problem, supplying great performance, without taking a huge toll on your bank account.

Let’s dive into the specs, and see if the Razer DeathAdder Essential works for you.

The Verdict

Rear view of Razer DeathAdder Essential mouse

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The Razer DeathAdder Essential is well built for its affordable price, and is partnered with a high caliber sensor.

If you are a gamer with a low budget, this mouse was practically manufactured just for you. The DeathAdder comes in two colors, black and white, both costing the same, affordable price, of about $30.

The DeathAdder Essential has a very sleek and comfortable design. The mouse boasts a very ergonomic shape, making it a great option for people who prefer the fingertip grip or the claw grip. Another positive aspect of the DeathAdder is that it is very lightweight, meaning after long gaming sessions, your wrists feel no strain.

Being a Razer product, the DeathAdder Essential comes with the inclusion of the Razer Synapse software, allowing users to adjust the LED brightness, adjust the sensitivity, and customize the functions for each of the 5 buttons on the mouse.

The main drawback of the mouse is that the only option for color customization is adjusting the brightness of the preset LED, meaning users cannot change the colors of the LED for their mouse, unlike the Logitech G203, which is priced at a similar mark.

If, by these descriptions, you think the Razer DeathAdder Essential fits your needs, check the price on Amazon.


Razer DeathAdder Essential Specifications

Length~12 mm
~12.7 cm
~5.01 in
Width~73 mm
~7.3 cm
~2.86 in
Height~43 mm
~4.3 cm
~1.69 in
Weight~96g
~0.1kg
~0.21 lbs
Sensor TypeOptical (200-6400 DPI)
Polling Rate500 or 1000Hz
Cable Length1.8m (5.9ft) Paracord cable

In The Box

At such a low price, you wont find any extra things in the box besides the mouse and manual. At higher price points, you tend to find amenities such as charging cables for Bluetooth mice, and maybe even weights for the most top tier of mice.

With the DeathAdder Essential, you don’t get anything other than a Razer sticker, some documentation, and the actual mouse.

Advertisements

The Build

Angled view of Razer DeathAdder Essential mouse

Mice can be the most subjective item when someone is talking peripherals, but when talking about the build quality, sensor, and switches, it can be easy to form an opinion.

Being the reputable brand they are, we all knew that Razer was going to knock it out of the park with the build quality on the DeathAdder Essential. Don’t get me wrong, it definitely does not feel like their more expensive mice, but for around $30, you can be assured that you are paying for something good quality. The main issue that I have found with the overall quality of the mouse is that the scroll wheel can start to make unpleasant squeaking noises occasionally.

Razer gives you a mouse with a plastic build and some rubber. The plastic feels high quality and does not raise any concerns. On the sides of the mouse and on the scroll wheel are rubber pieces that allow the mouse to be more comfortable as it is easier to hold the mouse.

The cable is a nice braided cable and I have no faced any issues. It isn’t a super heavy like many other gaming mice.

The Razer DeathAdder Essential has 5 re-programmable buttons. What does this mean? It means that out of the box, each button has its own function. But through the software, users can change the function for each button.

Shape and Comfort

Side view of Razer DeathAdder Essential  mouse

The Razer DeathAdder Essential is a very comfortable mouse. With some gaming mice, they are almost specifically designed for gaming, giving users a feeling of discomfort after using the mouse for a while. The DeathAdder Essential has an ergonomic shape, making it an excellent choice for those who suffer from pain in their wrists, or in their hand.

You can use this mouse with a palm, fingertip, or claw grip. All work quite well even though it is an ergonomic mouse. The mouse is also compatible with hands of all sizes.

The most important thing about the actual shape is that this mouse is specifically designed for right-handed people. If you are left-handed and in the market for a low-cost mouse, the DeathAdder is not a very good option for you.

Advertisements

Switches and Scroll Wheel

The DeathAdder Essential has mechanical switches with approximately a 10 million click life span. On the mouse, the switches are nothing special. They work and certainly aren’t bad, but the frustrating part is that they could be so much better.

Razer released the optical switches a few years back, that deliver faster clicks and minimal latency. The fact that Razer has implemented this switch on 10 of their other mice, but not this one is definitely a bit upsetting.

The scroll wheel itself is nice with some grippyness and nice tactile steps.

Sensor and Polling Rate

The sensor on the Razer DeathAdder Essential has a range of 200-6400 DPI. For those of you reading the article and wondering what DPI is, it stands for dots-per-inch. You can basically say that DPI is another way of saying mouse sensitivity. The higher the DPI, the higher the sensitivity. Disappointingly, you cannot change the DPI on the mouse through a DPI button, but you have to access the DPI controls through Razer Synapse.

The Polling Rate on the DeathAdder Essential can be toggled from 500 or 1000 MHz. The Polling Rate basically sends an update of the mouse’s position to the computer. 500 MHz means an update is sent every 2 milliseconds, 1000 Mhz means an update is sent every millisecond. The difference between 500 and 1000 is hardly noticeable, but the option is there for those who prefer either of the two.

Razer Synapse

Synapse Software for Razer DeathAdder Essential mouse

In order to utilize the full potential and features of the DeathAdder Essential, users must install Razer Synapse.

Within the software, three major changes can be made to the mouse. The lighting can be adjusted, the DPI and Polling rate can be changed, and the mouse buttons can be re-programmed.

The customize feature is great for people who like playing around with all sorts of settings and seeing what works best for them. With this feature, users can choose the DPI, change the mouse function, create windows shortcuts, activate multimedia settings such as play, pause, the ability to launch programs or disable each button on the mouse. Suffice to say, if you want a mouse that is jam-packed with features, the Razer DeathAdder Essential is looking pretty good for you right about now.

The DPI changes in increments of 100. In the program, users can set different sensitivity stages, which are effectively different presets for different uses. For instance, while gaming, if you prefer a higher sensitivity, you can make a sensitivity stage of an x amount of DPI, and you can make another one for work/web browsing.

Adjusting the lighting is another feature that Razer has included with the DeathAdder Essential. Although this feature is quite underwhelming and may be a bit of a letdown for the RGB fans out there who were enjoying the features of the mouse so far, you can’t really complain after you see the price of the mouse. You can only change the brightness, toggle between static light and breathing light, and choose if you want the lighting to switch off after a certain amount of minutes (up to 15 minutes).

Advertisements

Conclusion: Is The Razer DeathAdder Essential A Good Fit For You?

Front view of Razer DeathAdder Essential mouse

All in all, the Razer DeathAdder Essential is a great buy for people who are getting into the PC gaming world and are just playing casually with friends. While the mouse has a plethora of positives, I just want to mention the negatives right now to establish any deal breakers for you guys.

The DeathAdder Essential is designed for righties, if you are left-handed, this mouse won’t work for you. The only lighting available is the preset white or green (depending on which color mouse you purchase), so to all of our RGB fans, you might not be satisfied with the DeathAdder Essential.

Now while the DeathAdder Essential is a great buy for those with a budget of about $30, if you do have the extra price, Razer has many other products. The direct level above the DeathAdder Essential is the DeathAdder V2. The V2 has all the great features of the Essential, and more. The ability for full RGB customization, the world-class Razer Optical switches, up to 20k DPI, and 8 programmable buttons are all present. However, all of these extra features have to come at a raised price, and the V2 comes in at about $60.

The DeathAdder V2 Mini is another great option, but those with bigger hands might not prefer it. The V2 Mini has similar features, with full RGB customization, 8.5k DPI, and 6 programmable buttons. The V2Mini seems like a great pick, but keep in mind that it will come in a significantly smaller size.

Overall the Razer DeathAdder Essential is great for gaming, especially if you are on a budget and it is a great option to consider.

Thanks for reading!

Advertisements

Razer Viper Review: Your Next FPS Mouse?

The Razer Viper competes in a heavily saturated market of low-weight gaming mice with competitive prices. Razer delivers excellent performance alongside a shape that has allowed the Viper to become a very popular option.

Let’s take a closer look at the Razer Viper and see if it could be the right mouse for you.

The Verdict

Razer viper front view

Rating: 5 out of 5.

The Razer Viper is a gaming mouse featuring a lightweight, accurate sensor, and popular shape among many gamers.

Its shape and weight make it very popular for those who game often, especially those who play FPS titles. The light weight makes flicks easy with the shape with an ergonomic design that is friendly for claw and fingertip grips, grips often used for gaming.

The mouse features RGB, friendly software, and onboard memory to store presets. This makes the software customization pretty easy.

There are no major downsides with this mouse but the price is occasionally overpriced for a wired mouse. Paying $80 or over may not be worth it if you do care about wireless connectivity. Also, it is worth mentioning that due to the side buttons being on both sides you may find that distracting and have to adjust to it.

Overall Razer delivers a fantastic option for gamers if you think this mouse suits you then check out the Razer Viper on amazon.

In The Box

  • Manual: This tells you everything that you need to know to use the mouse and in case you run into any issues.
  • Razer Stickers: The stickers have the razer chroma lighting and look like something you would get with a CPU.
  • The Mouse: The mouse is packaged nicely with the cable tied to keep it all neat in the box.

Build Quality

Angled view of Razer Viper on wooden desk.

The Razer Viper has an exceptional, lightweight build, coming in at 69 grams. This is very light for a gaming mouse and it does so even without having holes. There are some slightly lighter options but those do have holes in their frame. So, if that bothers you, this is one of the best choices.

Mice with honeycomb shells often have issues in the long term with cleanliness as dust and dirt can get in and although no super common, can cause issues. It is nice to see that Razer didn’t opt for the honeycomb design.

The shell is made of high-quality black plastic with rubber for the sides providing additional grip. Mine has a little rattle when shook, however, I’ve owned mine for a long time. Although I have this issue it is common with many mice. This is because scroll wheels will often move around a bit.

The Viper has an amazing flexible cable that doesn’t slow the mouse down. It also has great feet with a smooth glide.

Overall the build is quite nice and delivers a standard experience among many high quality gaming mice.

Shape and Comfort

Razer Viper mouse on a deskpad.

The Viper is a medium-sized mouse with an ambidextrous shape. It is ideal for a fingertip grip as well as a claw grip. Palm grip works as well if you have smaller hands however, ambidextrous designs are better suited for the other grip styles.

The great compatibility with claw and palm grips makes this mouse a great option for gamers.

The sides have a rubber texture and are indented quite a bit making them easy to grip and it has a fairly large hump that does not get in the way when claw or figure gripping it but is comfortable when palm gripping. The shape works well for FPS games which require very precise aim.

Advertisements

Switches and Scroll Wheel

The Razer Viper has optical switches that have a nice and satisfying click. Razer claims that these switches have lower actuation times and longer life spans. Also, they are meant to eliminate double clicking issues. In my experience, these are amazing switches but there has not been a perceivable difference compared to ordinary switches so I would not recommend buying this mouse based solely on that.

It also possesses side buttons on each side allowing you to use this mouse with either hand. These are smaller than most to avoid accidental clicks. I’ve gotten used to them however, I still prefer bigger side buttons on one side.

The scroll wheel also is top-notch with nice, tactile steps.

Additionally, to avoid accidental clicks, the DPI button is on the bottom. There is a light on the bottom of the mouse which changes color based on the sensitivity.

Sensor and Polling Rate

The Razer Viper utilizes the Razer 5G optical sensor with a DPI range of 16,000. You can change the DPI in increments of 50. Most people use a DPI of 1200 or lower, but the high range shows the great accuracy of this mouse.

The sensor is one of the most accurate ones in any gaming mouse at the moment. During my use, I have encountered no issues. It is very light too and helps the mouse achieve such a low weight.

As for the polling rate, the Viper supports the standard 1000Hz and you can change it for whatever reason in the software.

Advertisements

Chroma RGB Lighting

One feature that the Razer Viper supports is their Chroma RGB lighting. The Razer logo lights up with decently bright RGB lighting. It also features a lot of customization.

It is quite bright, and you can choose the color and effect. The effects include breathing, spectrum cycling, reactive, audiometer, and static. Additionally, there are more advanced effects in Chroma Studio which allows you to customize the RGB more in-depth.

Useful Razer Synapse

Razer Synapse software being used to control Razer Viper mouse.

The Razer Viper utilizes Razer synapse which provides a deep level of customization. You can change the lighting of the Razer logo on the back, edit button mappings, change the sensitivity, and more.

The DPI can be changed be in increments of 50. Things like polling rate can be changed too.

Buttons can be remapped to do various functions. If you want to remap the side buttons to have different functions you have the option to do so. There are a total of 8 buttons and all remapabble.

You can set all your settings to various profiles. These changes will save to your system as well as the onboard memory of the mouse. If you make a synapse account, your profiles get saved to it so if you log in on another computer they will transfer. This is very useful if you use your mouse on multiple devices.

Advertisements

Onboard Memory

The Razer Viper has onboard profiles that will allow you to save specific settings like lighting, sensitivity, and button mappings to the mouse.

The onboard memory is helpful if you use your device with multiple devices or take your mouse to different places. It also enables you to keep all of your settings without Synapse running.

If you don’t like to use software this is nice because you can quickly save your profiles and then uninstall or not run it in the background.

Conclusion: Is It Good For Gaming?

Front view of the Razer Viper

The Razer Viper is one of the mice for gaming, especially if you are interested in FPS games, requiring high precision. Its accurate sensor and responsive switches paired with its low weight and comfortable shape make this mouse solid in all kinds of gaming.

Even though the mouse may not be wireless, the cable is very light and flexible making it not have issues. The Viper also features things like RGB lighting, onboard memory, and Razer’s powerful synapse software.

The only issue that I faced was that the buttons are a bit small and are on both sides so that takes some time to get used to. Aside from that, the original price was a bit high but it has been on sale for quite some time, anywhere from 25 to 50% off.

If you think the Razer Viper suits what you want and the games you play, check it out for a great price on Amazon.

Advertisements

Sennheiser GSX 1000 Review: The Best Gaming DAC?

The Sennheiser GSX 1000 is a great DAC for gamers and those who can benefit from its many features.

With support for a mic input, virtual surround sound, a screen interface, and more, Sennheiser’s GSX 1000 is a great option for those who game often. It delivers plenty of features with only one drawback, the price.

Let’s take a look at the GSX and see if it is right for you.

Sennheiser GSX 1000 DAC

The Verdict

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

If you game often but want an improved audio experience the Sennheiser GSX 1000 is a great option for you. It will improve the audio quality for both your headphones and microphone.

Those who have been looking for more adjustment to their mic and sound setting or are looking for more clarity. If you are a fan of virtual surround sound, the GSX 1000 has the best surround sound processing in any DAC in terms of accuracy and sound clarity. As a result, the GSX 1000 can further your immersion in games.

Features such as a touch screen, dial, profiles, and more allow you to have more customization. This allows you to change the settings to suit your preferences.

The GSX 1000 won’t be able to drive power-hungry, premium headphones but that is also not what it was designed to do. It is a great way to improve a gaming headset or make a regular pair of headphones have features such as virtual surround sound.

If you need to power premium headphones or you don’t need things like the input or virtual surround sound then this option is not the best for you. Getting a non-gaming DAC and amp will probably suit your needs best.

It is worth mentioning that we tested the GSX 1200 Pro but it is exactly the same as the GSX 1000 with the addition of a couple minor features. We will high highlight the additional features of the GSX 1200 Pro in this review too.

You can find the Sennheiser GSX 1000 and GSX 1200 Pro, for a bit more, on amazon for their best prices.


In The Box

Sennheiser GSX 1000 Unboxing

When you open up the box you will find everything you need to get started. In the box you will find:

  • The DAC: The GSX comes surrounded with foam presented to you quite nicely.
  • Micro USB Cable: To power the device and send information to the DAC, Sennheiser gives you a red USB A to Micro USB cable. It is best to use this cables as you may have issues with other cables.
  • 3.5mm to 3.5mm Cable: This cable only comes with the GSX 1200 Pro so you can connect it to other GSX 1200s for latency-free LAN parties.
  • Quick Start Guide: This guide tells you how to get the device up and running and provides links to their website so you can learn how to use the device.
  • Manual: This tells you anything you would need to know that is not the basic stuff on the quick start guide.

Advertisements

The Build

The build of the GSX is pretty good. The materials aren’t necessarily high end but like most Sennheiser products it is built well and does not give the impression that it can be broken easily or it won’t break quickly.

The construction is mostly plastic with some rubber, aluminum, and glass. The body is all plastic and it doesn’t feel cheap. Rubber is used for some long pads on the bottom so the DAC doesn’t move when doing things like adjusting the volume. The scroll wheel is made of aluminum with glass for the screen.

Sennheiser’s GSX 1000 weighs in at about 10.6 ounces or 0.66 pounds.

Looks And Interface

The GSX 1000 has a black build with silver and white accents on the scroll wheel and logo on the flip-out leg. There are also red accents as the wire is red and there is red LED lighting around the scroll wheel to go with the screen. Although the LEDs can’t change color it is nothing too intrusive and would not ruin a desktop theme.

The GSX 1000 is quite small being 5.63 inches long by 5.47 inches wide with a height of 2.76 inches. It is quite portable if you want to take it to move it to a different setup or go to LAN parties.

One of the most unique features of the GSX 1000 is its interface and the way you interact with it. On the top of the device, there is a screen. On the screen not only does it display the volume but it is a touch screen. On the screen, you can change the output, add sidetone, switch between stereo and surround sound, add reverb to the sound, change the direction of where the sound is focused, and choose from preset EQs.

In addition to the screen, there are also four touch-capacitive buttons or sensors on the four edges of the device to select profiles. Just slide your finger over the LED and you will switch to that profile. The only issue is that profiles will not work when HD audio is enabled. Having four profiles is nice if you want one profile for regular stereo audio and then different profiles for the different games that you play.

On the GSX 1200 Pro variant, you can hold the top left and bottom right sensors for 10 seconds and then your device will go into “Tournament Mode” meaning the settings cannot be changed. This is to make sure you don’t accidentally press something when quickly changing volume or anything else.

Gaming DACs and amps have a dial to change the volume but they are usually oriented on the front rather than on the top of the device with the GSX. Depending on your preference the dial of GSX 1000 may be more comfortable to use for you.

In addition to the main volume wheel, you have a scroll wheel on the right side to control your mic input volume and with the GSX 1200 Pro, you will also have another scroll wheel on the left side to control the amount of volume coming in from people talking to you. This scroll wheel is only needed if you are using the feature of zero latency talking via connecting this DAC to other GSX 1200s.

Advertisements

Inputs and Outputs

Sennheiser GSX 1000 Inputs and outputs

As for inputs and outputs, the selection is sufficient for most people, especially the market that the GSX 1000 applies to. The GSX is not recommended for those who want a ton of outputs for a speaker setup but for gamers who it is for it will have everything that you need.

To send all the information to the DAC and power there is a micro USB cable. On the GSX 1200 model only you can have latency-free conversations with others who have the DAC next to you which is what the 2.5mm ports are for. The last three ports are 3.5mm for the speaker and headphone outputs and the mic input.

The fact that the ports for a headphone and mic connection are on the back is one of the biggest cons for me as it can make cable management harder and it can put the cable in an awkward position.

Advertisements

The Sound

Sennheiser GSX 1000 screen

Although modern motherboards have pretty decent sound, the GSX 1000 is a step up and a good improvement if you have an older computer or a laptop.

You will notice an improvement an increase in the clarity of the sound and separation between different elements of music like instruments.

After using this DAC it will feel as if a veil has been lifted away from the sound and the detail of each note will be more noticeable. Sounds that may have sounded more recessed and in the background like vocals will be more forward.

Overall this benefit in sound won’t be necessarily noticeable while gaming but you will notice it when listening to music.

If you are listening to music for a longer period of time it is recommended that you enable HD audio. When you do enable this mode the sound clarity will be even clearer than before but you will be locked with stereo sound and will not be able to change the EQ, use profiles, or control Sidetone.

This mode is only really good while listening to music but while gaming you will want to go back to the regular mode or you won’t have access to most of the settings.

To enable HD audio you must go to your “Sound Settings” then go to the “Sound Control Panel”. Then you will find the GSX 1000. In the settings of the device, you will go to the “Advanced” tab and then put the quality to the highest quality.

Depending on what you are doing you will want to select a different option. If you are listening to music putting the DAC’s quality to the highest setting will put it into HD audio mode but otherwise putting it to the second-highest setting will enable all the features while retaining most of the audio quality.

It is unfortunate that you have to choose between having HD quality sound and having access to the features of this device but the option of HD audio is nice and there is definitely an improvement in clarity.

Even though the GSX 1000 will improve sound quality if you don’t need the features of this device, a dedicated amp and DAC will improve your setup the most.

7.1 Surround Surround Sound

Sennheiser GSX 1000 DAC with virtual surround sound enabled.

One of the most unique features that the GSX delivers is virtual surround sound. Headphones are a stereo device meaning they create sound using two speakers or drivers but the GSX1000 makes it possible to simulate an experience where there are more speakers for an overall more immersive sound.

The GSX 1000 is known for its virtual surround because of how accurate and immersive it is. Most gaming headsets support virtual surround sound but the directionality of the sound is often not that accurate and the sound may actually be more distorted because of how bad the surround sound method is for the headset.

Sennheiser developed this device to have much better surround sound than gaming headsets. The difference is night and day. The implementation is probably the best out of any gaming DAC or gaming headset out there in accuracy and the customization that you can have on the sound to make it more immersive. A GSX 1000 can make most stereo headphones perform better in the surround sound experience than even dedicated gaming headsets.

The virtual surround sound implementation from Sennheiser helps position sounds better than headsets from Logitech, Corsair, and other companies. These other companies create a surround experience by making all of the sounds seem to surround you rather than correctly positioning where each gunshot, engine sound, or plane is coming from.

With the GSX 1000 you can hear the exact floor and room someone may be in while gaming headsets often have more distortion and less accuracy in the sound.

I found that while testing the GSX in various titles, it was great for simulators, open-world titles, and some competitive shooters. In contrast, you will see no benefit in 2D games or titles where locations of sound are not as important.

It is also worth mentioning that surround sound is often not all competitive shooters will benefit from surround sound. You may like using it with games like CSGO or Rainbow Six Siege but surround sound won’t necessarily make you a better player.

Overall what matters are the games that you play and your preferences.

Advertisements

Mic input

Another great feature about the GSX 1000 is the option for a mic input. If you have a headset with both a microphone and headphone jack then you can plug them into the GSX 1000 for more control and better sound.

With the GSX 1000, the sound of your mic should be cleaner and you can adjust the gain easily. The option to change the mic volume so quickly is great as some applications take in more or less sound than others. This can also make it easier than having to go into settings to change the volume of your mic.

Sidetone

If you have closed-back headphones, like a gaming headset or noise-canceling headphones, it can be annoying or weird to not be able to hear yourself.

Sidetone fixes this by taking your mic input and putting some of that back into what you hear. The quality of it is also quite good. It sounds as good as your mic would sound raw and you could potentially not even notice a difference.

It is similar to the transparency mode of Apple’s noise cancellation products or any other noise cancelling product with that option.

On the screen you can also change if you don’t want Sidetone or the amount of volume that you want to hear of yourself.

Zero Latency Communication

Unfortunately this feature only works with the GSX 1200 Pro but in theory what it allows you to do is quite interesting.

Typically when using apps like Discord, Zoom, or Teams there is a little bit of delay between when people talk and the other person hears it. Typically this ok when you’re not in the same room but if you are calling other people while in the same room this slight delay can be quite annoying.

If you are at a tournament or LAN party and the rest of your team or friends have the GSX 1200 Pro then you can connect up to eight devices together. Doing so will allow you to have communication with each other with no latency or lag between the sound.

You can also change the volume of how much you hear your teammates with the scroll wheel on the left hand side.

Although this is quite a cool concept in theory, in practice it probably isn’t worth it for everyone in a team to get one for just this feature.

Advertisements

Alternatives

Sound Blaster G6

The biggest competitor to the GSX 1000 is the Sound Blaster G6. They share features like a mic input and virtual surround sound.

When comparing the GSX to the G6 the GSX has the step up in the interface, the mic input, and virtual surround sound.

While both have a dial for the device volume, the GSX has a screen to control the interface and a scroll wheel control for your mic volume. The G6 has neither but it does have software support and a few buttons to enable things like virtual surround sound. The software gives you the same functionality as the GSX’s screen like EQ editing.

The mic input is the same but the GSX has more features like Sidetone so you can hear yourself and control your mic volume.

Although both options have virtual surround the GSX 1000 has slightly more accurate virtual surround sound and the option to add reverb to the sound and change where the direction of sound is coming from.

There are two areas where the G6 has a step up over the GSX 1000. It provides more power and it is usually a lower price. If you want to use something that is more power-hungry than a gaming headset or efficient headphones then the G6 will fair better. The price difference is not very big but is notable because it brings up the idea of value. If you won’t need the mic input, don’t care for the screen, and are willing to sacrifice on slightly worse virtual surround then the G6 is a better option.

Advertisements

Schiit Fulla 3

The Schiit Fulla 3 does not have all the features of the GSX 1000 like Sidetone, virtual surround sound, or a screen but it still packs as much power as the G6, is the most compact option here, and is the cheapest option.

If you don’t care for exciting features like virtual surround sound then this is one of the best options you can get if you need a mic input. You can find the Fulla 3 for about $100 on Schiit’s for most of the year.

The sound quality is quite good and it can power power-hungry headphones at the $300 price range. If you want to use a Sennheiser HD6XX with this then it can drive the pair really well.

Schiit Hel

Schiit’s Hel is the most expensive alternative to the GSX 1000/1200 Pro but also provides the most power. It delivers the same features as the younger brother, the Fulla 3, but significantly more power. If you have premium headphones but still want to use a mic input then this your best option.

The Hel can power premium headphones like the Beyerdynamic DT990, HiFiMan HE400i, HiFiMan Sundara, and Sennheiser HD6XX.


Conclusion

Top view of Sennheiser GSX 1000 DAC

In the category of gaming DACs and amps, the GSX 1000 delivers the most features to the consumer, albeit at a higher cost.

You may not be able to power $300+ headphones but, the GSX is a step over motherboard audio so you will get cleaner sound in your headphones or speakers with more separation between sounds and less distortion. The GSX 1000 will also improve your mic sound so you can sound better not just in discord but if you are recording something like a voice-over.

In addition to better sound, the interface, virtual surround sound, and other customization make the GSX 1000 and great DAC. The screen that always displays the volume is very useful to see volume instantly along with an easy to use touch screen and dials. The virtual surround sound implementation is accurate and probably the best out. Finally the customization to things like the mic with Sidetone is a really nice addition and gives the GSX 1000 a step over the competition.

Although the GSX 1200 Pro has a couple additional features, the sound and core features are the same. It is not worth it to pay more for the GSX 1200 Pro unless you need the additional features so for most people it is recommended to buy whatever is the cheapest option.

If you think that either suits your needs, check out the GSX 1000 and GSX 1200 Pro on Amazon for a good price.

Happy listening!

Advertisements

Create a website or blog at WordPress.com

Up ↑