Tag Archives: gaming

Amkette Evo Gamepad Pro Review: Good Build, Fun Gaming

Amkette Evo Gamepad Pro Review: Good Build, Fun Gaming

Amkette has, through the years, been rolling out numerous trendy trying cellular merchandise, beginning in 2012 in with the Amkette Evo TV, which was up to date and launched final yr because the value-for-money Evo TV MC. The corporate has additionally launched numerous wired and wi-fi headphones, in addition to a Bluetooth speaker. Now, it is launched the Amkette Evo Gamepad Professional, a Bluetooth gamepad to be used with Android gadgets, accessible solely on Flipkart, at Rs. 2,799.

Like Amkette’s different merchandise, the Evo Gamepad Professional is an efficient trying gadget. The button structure, and the position of its analog sticks seems to attract on the design of the Xbox 360 gamepad, with two analog sticks, a four-way route pad, 4 face buttons, two shoulder buttons, and two triggers, together with dwelling, again and begin buttons.

There is a flip out part within the center, which will be opened to function a stand to your Android telephone. Lifting the duvet additionally reveals the battery mild, together with the 2 indicators for the Bluetooth mode, the Micro-USB port to cost the battery, and an on-off toggle swap. We full charged it 5 days in the past and we’ve not had the necessity to cost it since regardless of clocking in round eight hours of gaming between then and now.

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The perimeters of the gamepad are lined with small grooves, which offer a pleasant grip that does not get uncomfortable over a protracted gaming session both. The orange accents below the sticks look good, whereas the buttons and triggers all really feel very rugged and satisfying to make use of. The one challenge we had with the design is that the clip for our telephone did not all the time lock in place correctly, which will be a problem when gaming.

Establishing the gamepad is fairly easy – simply energy it up and preserve the house button pressed for a couple of seconds, and it goes into pairing mode. To make the method even less complicated, you need to obtain the Amkette Evo Gamepad Professional app from Google Play; begin the app and it exhibits you a useful blueprint exhibiting you the place all of the buttons are.

The identical app additionally features a checklist of video games which can be suitable with the Evo Gamepad Professional, so you could find and set up video games simply. Should you’ve already acquired a number of the video games put in, these will even present up within the “Put in” tab within the app. It is fairly just like what Phonejoy did for its gamepad, which launched in April final yr, and this app makes it a lot simpler to search out the video games you need.

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The place issues fall brief, sadly, is within the precise gaming with the Amkette Evo Gamepad Professional. That is as a result of the compatibility with completely different handsets is a little bit of a success and a miss.

When it labored effective, we actually preferred the Amkette Evo Gamepad Professional. We have been reviewing Pac-Man 256 and actually loved enjoying the sport utilizing this controller. Seaside Buggy Blitz and Tabletop Racing each have been a number of enjoyable to play utilizing this gamepad, as was Useless Set off 2, although the latter required a good period of time to be spent customising the controls. However there have been another video games which have been a catastrophe.

For instance Meltdown, a twin stick shooter which is likely one of the featured video games within the Evo Gamepad Professional app – recognised all of the controls, however solely on the settings web page. With Meltdown, we might both shoot or goal. One other featured recreation that had points was BombSquad. There, the settings web page allowed us to assign completely different buttons to run. As soon as the sport began, none of them labored. We had none of those issues with the Phonejoy.

UPDATE: After this assessment was printed, Amkette contacted NDTV Devices to confirm the considerations which we had highlighted. After some testing, Amkette was in a position to confirm that the difficulty was as a consequence of a firmware drawback on the unit which had been supplied for assessment. We’ve since examined recent items of the Evo Gamepad, and confronted no compatibility points. Amkette has advised NDTV Devices that in case of any points with a buyer’s Evo Gamepad, it would present an on-site software program replace to repair the error, and additional, claims that it detected this drawback earlier than the retail items have been being packaged, so the chance of individuals going through points is restricted. Should you bought this gamepad and are going through any compatibility points, we strongly advise you to contact Amkette instantly.

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Regardless of some points with the primary unit we reviewed, we nonetheless just like the controller – the design and construct high quality is fairly good, and the worth is not unhealthy both. And if it really works nicely along with your Android machine, then we predict it is a fairly good gamepad; it is easy to think about somebody with an Evo TV shopping for this gamepad to play Android video games on their TV.

Whether or not you are making an attempt to expertise retro remakes, or enjoying a number of the latest Android video games that assist controllers, there are a number of enjoyable experiences to have when you’re a gamer. As gamepads turn into standardised and reasonably priced, we’re hoping that Android gaming will lastly take off.

The Amkette Evo Gamepad Professional launched at present, and is out there solely on Flipkart at Rs. 2,799. We acquired a assessment unit which we used for per week earlier than penning this.

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Steelseries Siberia Elite Prism Review: Gaming in Style

Steelseries Siberia Elite Prism Review: Gaming in Style

The growth of the gaming scene in India has led to a massive upsurge in the availability of quality gaming peripherals. One particular segment that has benefited from this is gaming audio. A steady stream of personal gaming audio products has been making its way to the market, including products from top brands such as Kingston, Asus, Razer, and Steelseries.

Speaking of Danish manufacturer Steelseries, one of its latest products in India is the Siberia Elite Prism. At Rs. 16,999, it’s a fair bit more expensive than a lot of competing products such as the Kingston HyperX Cloud II and Asus Strix Pro. Unlike Kingston and Asus however, Steelseries is a specialist in gaming peripherals and is closely associated with electronic sports and professional gaming around the world. Does that give the Siberia Elite Prism a leg up over its competitors? We find out in our review.

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Design, fit and specifications
The Steelseries Siberia Elite Prism has a frequency response range of 16-28,000Hz, with an impedance of 32Ohms and a sensitivity rating of 120dB. The standard cable that is permanently attached to the headset is 1.2m long, but a 2m extension cable is also included in the box. Both of these cables are flat and tangle-resistant.

The standard connector is a UC-E6 pin, which connects to the included Steelseries USB soundcard. A couple of adapters have also been included, which convert the UC-E6 signal to either a combined 3.5mm headset plug or individual 3.5mm microphone and audio plugs. The headset has a retractable and flexible unidirectional microphone as well. The Siberia Elite Prism is compatible with Windows, OS X, iOS, Android, and the Sony PlayStation 4 out of the box, while Xbox One compatibility requires an adapter which is sold separately.

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The included USB soundcard is housed inside a compact piece of plastic that takes over digital-to-analogue conversion duties from your PC when plugged in through USB. It has no controls whatsoever on it; only ports for the UC-E6 and 3.5mm plugs and a small indicator LED. You can choose to bypass the soundcard and just use one of the 3.5mm adapters to plug the headset directly into a source device, or another soundcard or DAC. However, the included soundcard ensures Dolby virtual surround capability and a few other sonic improvements, so we suggest you stick to using it.

Controls for volume and the microphone are on the headset itself. The left casing has a switch that turns the microphone on or off, while the right one has a volume knob. The casings themselves are plastic, but feature a matte finish. The cushioning on the earpads is thick and plush, stuffed with memory foam that makes the headset an absolute pleasure to wear even for hours at a stretch. Although there is no active noise cancellation, the thickness of the padding offers effective sound isolation.

The lower headband is self-adjusting and has its own padding, while the upper headband is exposed steel, holding the entire headset together. It’s a comfortable, well-built and well-designed affair, and even though design is a matter of personal preferences, we think anyone with good taste will agree that this is a beautiful pair of headphones.

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The only real flaw is the size of the Steelseries Siberia Elite Prism, which makes it difficult to carry around. This is a big headset with no folding mechanism and no included carry case. Although light and comfortable enough, it’s still an immensely large product that might prove to be inconvenient if you’re used to taking your headphones everywhere with you.

One of the most unique features of the design of the Steelseries Siberia Elite Prism is its two 16-million-colour LED bands. Each casing has an LED band which lights up and glows when the headset is plugged in. You can use the included software to customise the colour or select pre-programmed colour combinations and light patterns. The light effects are impressive, and this is something that really makes the device stand out. It’s sure to get you a lot of attention if you use the headset in public.

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Steelseries recommends that you install its Steelseries Engine 3 software to optimise the experience of using the Siberia Elite Prism headset. Although the headphones will work fine without it, it’s still a good idea to get the software installed. It’s an efficiently designed application, and it recognised our review unit immediately on Windows. All settings reflected immediately, from changes in the LED colour to equaliser tweaks. The software is also necessary to switch on Dolby mode for virtual surround sound, and to adjust specific microphone settings such as noise reduction, auto compression, sidetone, and volume.

The Steelseries Siberia Elite Prism is Dolby-enabled for virtual 7.1 surround sound. Although there are just two channels, the tuning ensures that there is a decent and fairly immersive sense of where the sound is coming from. This is particularly useful in FPS games, since being able to accurately pinpoint the location of enemies by their sound can make all the difference between (in-game) life and death. We go more into detail on how the Elite performed in the next section.

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Performance
We tested the Steelseries Siberia Elite Prism with a handful of sources and material, including our hardware review rig running Windows, a standard Windows laptop, an Android smartphone, and a Sony PlayStation 4. Games used in the review were GTA V, FarCry 4, The Crew, and Destiny, while media used included a selection of movies and music across genres.

We started out with GTA V on our review rig. The game is known for having some of the best audio design and engineering of recently released games, and we were fairly impressed. The sound was clean, detailed and immersive. The impressive sound imaging and soundstaging abilities of the Siberia Elite Prism made for realistic depth and separation of sonic elements. The sonic signature has been properly tuned to achieve as much detail as possible, and you can hear every bit of audio with realistic depth and feel.

Moving on Far Cry 4, we were able to test the headset’s virtual surround sound capabilities. The effect can definitely be felt – turning slowly on the spot while a firefight was taking place a short distance away gave a proper sense of the effect. Although you can definitely feel the direction and depth of the sound, there’s just a little bit missing in terms of accuracy. The virtual sound stage is excellent, but it leaves the origin of the faintest sounds feeling just a little too wide and unspecific thanks to its subtlety. Most experienced gamers will still be able to pick up on these cues, though, so the slight lack of accuracy is definitely not a deal-breaker.

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We used The Crew to test the tone of the sound. The roar of car engines and other loud effects such as police sirens and car crashes were punchy and powerful for the most part, although there was a little bit of thump missing. Once again, this can be attributed to the subtlety and the finesse of the sound, which keeps the audio toned down a hint and doesn’t quite let it achieve the aggression and attack that is sometimes needed to bring out the excitement in game audio.

The Steelseries Siberia Elite Prism is also great for use with movies and TV shows, thanks to its virtual surround experience. Sound was a bit soft, but comfortable nonetheless. Since the tuning is geared towards amplifying mids and highs, it works well with movies and shows. The surround isn’t quite as effective as it is in-game, but it’s still satisfying. The headset’s only real weakness is its handling of stereo music. The sound is weak and lacking in any excitement whatsoever, feeling forced and boring at times.

Finally, the microphone is particularly neat in how it retracts and can be switched on and off, but there is nothing really special about it except that when extended, it is close enough to your mouth to ensure your words are picked up clearly. It functions well, of course, but we didn’t find anything about the microphone that sets it apart from the run-of-the-mill microphones that are on most stereo headsets these days.

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Verdict
The Steelseries Siberia Elite Prism is undoubtedly one of the best looking gaming headsets on the market right now, thanks to its sheer size, styling, and the eye-catching LED bands. It comes with its own soundcard and software, both of which work well, and plenty of adapters and extension cables to make sure that you don’t have any connectivity issues. The sound is also excellent for the most part, with detailed and immersive audio performance with games and movies. The virtual surround effect is also fairly satisfying and detailed.

There are some minor weaknesses, such as a slight lack of accuracy with the faintest of sounds in surround mode, and poor performance with music. While the latter would be a serious concern with most headsets, it’s important to remember that these headphones are designed for gaming and music wasn’t meant to be a strong point. Furthermore, this can be improved a little bit by playing around with the equaliser settings.

On the whole, the Siberia Elite Prism is a comfortable, good looking and sonically capable headset. While it is a bit on the expensive side, rest assured that you are getting a decent return on your investment. We highly recommend the Steelseries Siberia Elite Prism to gamers looking for an immersive, detailed and good-looking pair of gaming headphones.

Pros

  • Looks good; well designed
  • Extremely comfortable to wear
  • Soundcard, software and adapters included
  • Detailed, clean sound with excellent depth and soundstaging
  • Virtual surround sound works well for the most part

Cons

  • Slight lack of accuracy in the virtual surround
  • Could do with a bit more aggression and excitement
  • Poor performance with music

Ratings (Out of 5)

  • Design: 4.5
  • Performance: 4
  • Value for money: 4
  • Overall: 4

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Asus Strix Tactic Pro and Asus Strix Claw Review: Gaming With Precision

Asus Strix Tactic Pro and Asus Strix Claw Review: Gaming With Precision

PC gaming is serious business, so much so that competitive gamers will do anything it takes to get the headshot every single time. For this reason and more, gamers need expensive mechanical keyboards and gaming mice with high dpi ratings for better precision.

Asus’ Strix series of performance gaming hardware, introduced last year, is aimed at such gamers – the kind who carry their own peripherals to a LAN party. Asus sent us the Strix Tactic Pro mechanical gaming keyboard and the Strix Claw gaming mouse for review, and after playing around with them (quite literally) for a while, we have our opinion.

Asus Strix Tactic Pro
Saying the Strix Tactic Pro is packed to the hilt with features would be an understatement. From 21 programmable macro keys to replaceable WASD keys, Asus has gone whole hog with this keyboard.

The Strix Tactic Pro is not as heavy as other mechanical keyboards we’ve used in the past thanks to the use of plastic in its build. However, it is definitely heavier than common membrane keyboards. If viewed in profile one can see that the keys are placed in a gentle curve which makes for great ergonomics. There are two sturdy kickstands on the underside of the keyboard which can be used to prop it up when required.

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Apart from two columns of five keys for macro functions on the left of the keyboard, all the function keys can also double up as macro keys. There are three more macro keys on the wrist rest at the bottom of the keyboard. These keys use decidedly lower quality plastic and are not mechanical. The multimedia keys are placed above the numpad, as is a wheel for volume control. This wheel has good traction and we got accustomed to using it. Asus also provides four separate, unlabelled orange keys which can be used to replace the WASD keys. The Strix Tactic Pro uses a fat braided cable which doesn’t tangle very easily and stays stiff.

Unlike Razer and Mad Catz, which use custom-made switches in their gaming keyboards, Asus has gone with the tried-and-tested standard Cherry MX switches. You can choose between Black, Red, Brown and Blue Cherry MX switches as per your preference.

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The Black variant was the first Cherry MX switch to ever be introduced way back in 1984 and it is the stiffest one of the lot. Cherry introduced the brown variant in 1994, which has a non-clicky sound and is more suited to typing in quiet environments. The Blue Cherry MX switch makes the loudest sound when clicked, making it easier to figure out when the key press has been registered. Cherry added the Red variant to the MX range in 2008, and it is more suited for gaming. Our review unit of the Strix Tactic Pro had Cherry MX Red switches. Regardless of the type of keys, they have a lifecycle of 50 million keystrokes.

These Cherry MX Red switches are great for rapid action, but remember that you need to bottom out (push the key all the way down) to register a key press on the keyboard. The keys aren’t too loud, which means they won’t annoy those around you very much. The face of each key is concave and so you always end up hitting them dead centre when typing.

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Gamers will also be delighted with the true NKRO feature, which means unlimited N-key rollover, on the Strix Tactic Pro – that too over USB. As a result you will be hard-pressed to detect any ghosting. Asus even lets you switch to a 6KRO mode in case you want the Strix Tactic Pro to behave more like a regular keyboard.

The Strix Tactic Pro has orange LEDs under the keys and one can adjust the intensity of the backlighting using the included software. There are four possible levels, but the colour cannot be changed.

Talking about the software, it is very unintuitive. The keyboard itself provides two modes – hardware and software – for programming the functions to macro keys. You can create three profiles in the hardware mode, and cycling through them on the fly is very easy. The keyboard stores these profiles in its 4MB of inbuilt memory so you can use them immediately on new PCs. You can also add many more profiles to your computer’s hard disk. Unfortunately, the software stops responding quite often, which can get annoying.

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Asus Strix Claw
The Asus Strix Claw is a light and simple gaming mouse that is ergonomically suited for right-handed gamers. The design of the Strix Claw is great if you predominately use a palm grip, but Asus claims it is designed for all grip styles.

Apart from some funky graphics, the Strix Claw has a fairly unassuming design, which is actually a far cry from other gaming products. However, the plastic build of the body doesn’t inspire confidence nor does it justify its high price. A scroll wheel sits in between the left and right buttons, and below it there is a DPI Clutch button which allows you to switch DPI levels on the fly. A large Strix logo is placed below the DPI switch, and it lights up in bright orange to match the Strix Tactic Pro.

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There are three claw marks on the right button, which also have LEDs under them that act as a vague indicator of the DPI level as you cycle through them. There are three programmable buttons on the right, where your thumb naturally rests. Talking about DPI the Strix Claw’s 5000dpi Pixart PMW3310 optical sensor promises precision 1:1 tracking in-game. The mouse also uses Japanese-made Omron D2F-01F switches, which have great tactile feedback and a satisfying click, but the buttons themselves feel flimsy.

Using the mouse is easy and it feels very comfortable. The fairly low lift distance of 3mm is great for players who often reposition their hands to line up shots without the crosshair moving wildly. The smooth movement of the optical tracking is an added advantage.

The software lets you program all the keys, including the scroll wheel, to your preference. Once again, we were really let down by the iffy nature of the software.

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Verdict
Asus has priced the Strix Claw and the Strix Tactic Pro at Rs. 3,600 and Rs. 7,200 respectively, which is frankly quite good value for what both offer. The well-built Tactic Pro is lighter than other mechanical keyboards and has a great set of mechanical keys, thus making it a great LAN party tool. Similarly, the Strix Claw is easy to use and the 5000dpi sensitivity is great for precision gaming. If you can look past the not-so-user-friendly software, which might still be fixed through future updates, both gaming accessories are good investments if you are particularly into FPS and MMO games.

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Mad Catz C.T.R.L.i Review: Console Quality iOS Gamepad

Mad Catz C.T.R.L.i Review: Console Quality iOS Gamepad

Purists always argue that gaming on a smartphone is inferior to console or PC gaming, and quite a big chunk of their argument has to do with the unintuitive nature of touchscreen controls. In a way, they are right. Racing, fighting, and first-person/third-person shooter titles are the most affected by the placement of on-screen buttons. For example, the original Bioshock on iOS was panned by critics for its poorly implemented virtual buttons.

However, there is a solution in the form of game controllers that either plug in to smartphones or work as standalone Bluetooth accessories. Apple opened this avenue to third-party manufacturers with iOS 7, albeit with a long list of conditions.

The Logitech PowerShell, MOGA Ace Power and SteelSeries Stratus are a few examples of gamepads made for iOS devices and certified by Apple. However, all these controllers had some flaw or the other; if one had tiny analogue sticks another was too expensive. Mad Catz, a gaming peripherals manufacturer that has been in the business for almost 25 years, hopes its own controller will solve all the problems of iOS gamers who want a console quality experience on the go.

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Look and feel
The C.T.R.L.i, which is part of its GameSmart brand, looks unmistakably like the Xbox 360 controller, which is not necessarily a bad thing. It has the same asymmetrically-placed joysticks, a D-pad, and face buttons that are labelled X,Y, A and B just like on the Xbox 360 controller.

Four pressure-sensitive analogue triggers sit on the rear of the controller. A pause button replaces the Xbox 360 guide; this button can, as the name suggests, pause games and take you to their menus. It worked without any glitches in all the games we tested. The Bluetooth toggle lies above the pause button, and four LED indicators are below it.

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On the front, sandwiched between the handles, is a power switch that springs back to its original position. Thankfully, the device turns itself off after 30 minutes of inactivity, and you can’t set any other duration of time. The rear has a mount to which the travel clip can be screwed. There is a compartment for two AAA batteries on the bottom.

The travel clip can hold a phone as large as the iPhone 6 Plus. The C.T.R.L.i can easily slip into a bag but don’t expect it to fit in a trouser pocket like the Logitech PowerShell can. Attaching the travel clip and a phone actually makes it top heavy, so you’ll need to hold it tight. We received the black variant for review but the C.T.R.L.i is also available in red, blue, orange and white.

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We have only one gripe with the design: the glossy faceplate looks rather cheap and attracts smudges and scratch marks. On the flip side (quite literally), the bottom has a matte finish which helps in gripping the controller.

Adhering to Apple’s stringent policies, Mad Catz claims that the each of the controller’s buttons is rated to last one million cycles. Of course we couldn’t test that claim, but we can say for sure that the buttons did feel sturdy. The face buttons had great tactile feedback but for some reason the X button on our review unit was slightly more recessed than the others. The D-pad buttons make hollow clicking sounds which aren’t very satisfying. We absolutely loved the sturdiness and the feel of the analogue joysticks. Even the triggers felt solid.

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Usage and performance
Connecting to iOS devices over Bluetooth was a fairly painless process. Long pressing the Bluetooth button puts the controller into pairing mode and the LED indicators start blinking rapidly. After pairing your device of choice once, the connection establishes itself automatically in the future. Unfortunately, the controller can only connect to one device at a time.

A companion app is available in the App Store. This app has three basic tabs: Updates, Gamepad, and Gamesmart. Updates displays the remaining battery capacity in percentage and automatically updates the firmware (if any) over the air. One can use the Gamepad mode to check the pressure sensitivity of the buttons. Gamesmart is an online resource that displays the number of compatible iOS games.

The list of supported games is long enough to satisfy most gamers, but the absence of popular ones such as Modern Combat 5 and N.O.V.A 3 may not go down well with some (Update: Mad Catz added support for Modern Combat 5 after this review was published). For testing purposes, we used an iPhone 6 and played Oceanhorn, Into the Dead, Dead Trigger 2, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, Asphalt 8, Real Racing 3, FIFA 15, Bruce Lee: Enter the Game, Joe Danger: Infinity and Impossible Road.

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Of all the games named above, we had the most fun with Into the Dead and Asphalt 8. Into the Dead has a very simple objective: escape from zombies. With the controller attached, we broke our previous high score on the very first attempt. We think the C.T.R.L.i actually feels tailor-made for Into the Dead. Similarly, race cars in Asphalt 8 could be controlled really well using the C.T.R.L.i, especially with the pressure-sensitive triggers coming into play. On the contrary, the more true-to-life environment of Real Racing 3 didn’t really translate well using the controller. The awkward camera angles that capture the action when hitting corners caused some distraction.

To navigate through the menu screens of certain games such as Oceanhorn, some publishers have implemented a mouse cursor in the shape of a hand. However, in other games such as FIFA 15, the menu is inaccessible by the controller in which case one has to use the touchscreen. Admittedly, it feels awkward to switch between using the touchscreen and the buttons.

Mad Catz claims that a pair of batteries will last for 30 hours on a single charge. which we found to be mostly true considering after almost 20 odd hours of gaming we still had 29 percent of battery life remaining.

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Verdict
The Mad Catz C.T.R.L.i gets a lot of things right like the tactile feedback of the buttons, the inspired design, the ergonomics, and to a large extent the roster of supported games. However, at Rs. 4,990, the C.T.R.L.i feels overpriced. The Logitech PowerShell is now available for as little as Rs. 2,250 and the Moba Rebel can be had for Rs. 4,490. We would still recommend the C.T.R.L i to interested buyers because there aren’t many options available in the market, and this one could very well be the best of them.
Mad Catz also makes an Android version of the controller, called C.T.R.L.R. Priced at Rs, 3,990, the C.T.R.L.R is cheaper than its iOS counterpart.

Price: Rs. 4,990

Pros

  • Great tactile feedback
  • Good design despite being an inspired one
  • Travel clip is a good addition

Cons

  • Slightly expensive
  • Glossy body attracts smudges and scratches

Ratings (Out of 5)

  • Performance: 4
  • Ergonomics: 4
  • Value for money: 3
  • Overall: 3.5

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Mad Catz S.T.R.I.K.E. TE and Mad Catz R.A.T. TE Review: Better Than They Look

Mad Catz S.T.R.I.K.E. TE and Mad Catz R.A.T. TE Review: Better Than They Look

Described as “a company that consists primarily of hardcore gamers”, Mad Catz has been around longer than contemporaries such as Razer. The latter is perhaps the most visible in the gaming peripheral space, thanks to its products’ catchy names and sleek looks. However, Mad Catz is known for radical designs, unique controllers, and most notably, arcade sticks for fighting game aficionados.

Today we have the Mad Catz S.T.R.I.K.E. TE keyboard and R.A.T. TE mouse for review. The TE suffix denotes that these two peripherals are of Tournament Edition quality. This means they’re tuned for whatever most e-sports junkies are up against in competitive play – or so Mad Catz would like us to believe. How do they really fare? Read on to find out.

Mad Catz S.T.R.I.K.E. TE

The S.T.R.I.K.E. TE is Mad Catz’s first mechanical keyboard. It might not look one with its bright colours and unconventional design, but it takes no more than a few clicks to realise that it’s not as ostentatious as it looks. If you’re upgrading from an existing Mad Catz keyboard, the difference is immediate. This is due to the use of Kailh Brown switches instead of the usual silicone dome variety used on other keyboards. In spite of appearing rather plasticky, it has a surprisingly sturdy build.

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Purists might sneer at the lack of Cherry MX switches, the gold standard for mechanical keyboards, but you’d be hard pressed to tell the difference. Much like Razer’s BlackWidow Chroma that uses Razer’s own switches instead of Cherry’s, there’s very little variance if at all. Keystrokes feel smoother, faster and a lot more responsive what you’ll be used to if you use a non-mechanical keyboard. The keys spring back up with each tap, making the S.T.R.I.K.E. TE a joy to use.

But where it really shines is with its 30-key rollover. This handy feature lets you hammer down on 30 keys at once without the keyboard freezing. It’s a nice addition given that real-time strategy (RTS) games such as StarCraft II and multi-player online battle arena (MOBA) games such as League of Legends have you using multiple keys in one go. While it’s rare to find yourself pressing down on 30 keys at once, the feature is welcome as it ensures that you’re future-proofed against games that might involve even more hectic virtual battles.

In another e-sports-friendly move, there’s a switch that allows you to disable the Windows key so you don’t accidentally switch out of your game. It’s a nice touch to help avoid losing in the middle of a frenetic firefight.

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Furthermore, you can customise the level of brightness of the S.T.R.I.K.E. TE’s backlight, allowing some mission-critical sections such as the WASD keys to shine brighter than others. It’s easy enough to set up and works well, making movement more accurate and reactions faster in dimly lit environments. The keyboard ships with a detachable wrist rest, so you can game with or without it. You might prefer the latter since it attaches loosely at best, decoupling itself from the keyboard more often than not.

Where the S.T.R.I.K.E. TE falls short though, is with its macro keys. They’re placed in a row on the very top of the keyboard, but they’re squeezed together and are small. Although they’re easy to program with Mad Catz’s proprietary software that’s available for download on the company’s site, any competitive advantage they hold is diminished by their design.

Mad Catz R.A.T. TE

Also from Mad Catz is the R.A.T. TE mouse. It looks like something out of Tron, with a slick design and splashes of neon blue paint to boot. It’s deceptively light compared to other gaming mice, making swift movements easy to pull off. That said, if you’re used to heavier mice, don’t be surprised if you end up flinging it off the desk as we found ourselves doing.

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While the R.A.T. TE may look like it’s made of flimsy plastic, using it will dispel that notion. It’s surprisingly durable and is built to last, featuring OMRON switches on its left and right buttons that are rated for five million cycles. Each of its nine buttons has a satisfying click, and the sensitivity can be personalised between 100 to 8200 DPI

Weightiness (or lack thereof) aside, the R.A.T. TE favours those who prefer using a claw grip. What this means is, if you’re the sort who uses a mouse with your hand clamped to resemble a claw, you’ll be just fine. But if you’re the sort who uses your palm (read: most gamers), there isn’t that much room, thanks to its low profile and light frame.

Your fingers aren’t forced into specific position though, making it easy to use. Even if you favour holding your mouse with your palm , there’s a fair amount of flexibility for you to adjust your grip and use it as it was intended to be used.

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Much like the the S.T.R.I.K.E. TE, you can configure the mouse via Mad Catz’s proprietary software. Each and every button can be customised with the exception of the rapid fire button that works just like the left mouse button.

Verdict

At first glance, Rs. 11,990 for the S.T.R.I.K.E. TE keyboard and Rs. 5,990 for the R.A.T. TE, might seem way too high. You have to actually experience them. If you can get past their wacky design, you’ll realise that their looks belie their utility.

Both are well-constructed and are built to weather a substantial amount of wear and tear. For the competitive gamer who is able to live with their appearance, they’re smart alternatives to the slew of serious looking, similarly priced gaming peripherals available.

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Original NDTV Gadgets