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This review is from: G.SKILL RIPJAWS SR910 Real 7.1 Surround Sound USB Gaming Headset
Pros: I'm going to list a bunch of things. Some of those things are very subjective, especially anything concerning aesthetics. So I'm not going to list some of the same things in the Cons that I list in the Pros. At the price point these suckers sell at, no one is pretending these are audiophile grade equipment. So certainly other factors than just "how do they sound" come into play.
* USB Plug & Play Connectivity - I was able to just plug them in and they worked without any fanfare. I fired up a game and was going.
* Good inline controller - Normally I hate having a device half-way up the connectivity wire that I have to mess around with for volume and mic muting. However, this this is solid, sits firmly in place with rubber feet, is attractive in design and offers enough features to play with.
* Attractive - They look really cool. The cup backs are smoked glass and allow you to peer into the inner workings exposing all 5 drivers per cup. Not only that, but the insides of those are fully lit with red lighting. The headband is matte black and decorated tastefully with logos and design. The head rest portion of headband is elastically placed and is decorated with red quality stitching.
* Solid - I'd be hard pressed to believe these are going to break in the common area of the headband. Its far too often a story told where someone has an expensive pair of headphones only to have the headband snap rendering them useless. I don't see how these would succumb to that. They feel well built.
* Comfortable (Sort of) - I prefer headphones are go around the ear as oppose to on the ear. These accomplish that. That being said, I debated on listing these as comfortable. When I first put them on, I thought they we quite uncomfortable and was convinced they might be some what painful over time. As I continued to wear them they became less noticable. In the end I declared them as "Not Uncomfortable". The cups buffer themselves against your head with a synthetic leather-type material, which for me did create a bit of prespiration. I prefer when a soft felt-like material is used for headsets.
* Mic - The mic can be slid away when not in use. It's basically a heavy wire with the mic on the end. I'm used to thick rigid plastic booms that place the mic near your mouth. This is rigid enough to stay in place, but flexible enough that you don't have to worry about hitting it and wrecking it. It could be a little longer though as it doesn't really reach far enough to get near my mouth. However this didn't seem to be a problem in receiving the sound of my voice.
Cons: * Size & Weight - I hate to jump on the band wagon with this one as I feel it's been mentioned to death, but it's not be be taken lightly by some. Yes, these are fairly large. I think with some of the design choices they made they have to be. The quality and durability of its construction lends to it's larger size. The cups containing so many drivers is another factor. The flashy appearance of included lighting, the cup swivel bearings, the separation of headband vs headrest all play a factor in keeping these things a tad on the large side. Weight, same story. There is just too much there in materials to keep them dainty. If they weighed any less they'd probably have to sacrifice the quality of materials.
* Sound Quality - They don't sound terrible. They sound good. But they don't sound great. And they don't really live up their cost. I've simply heard too many headphones at a better price sound better than these. If gaming is your only thing, these should work fine and I feel the concern of their sound is less. I used them for hours on end playing games and was never distracted in any way. When you think about how configurable a set with 5 independent drivers per cup with it's own dedicated software should be, you'd think that eventually playing around with the settings you could fine tune for better sound. I wasn't able to despite my efforts. If I described the sound in a few words it would be "muffled mids and lacking highs". The sound seemed cloudy and adjusting from the inline controls seems to do most with the sub-woofer channel and hardly anything else with the other surround channels.
Please note however that I am not a proclaimed audiophile guy. You know type. The guys that can't miss an opportunity to point out how flawed your opinion is as they drone on about headsets that cost north of $500. The guys that will publicly demean you if you happen to mention you like the sound of "Bose" (not that I'm advocating Bose). I've got moderate experience with sound. My normal headphones at my computer are Sennheiser PC360. So that is what I'm comparing to on all fronts here.
Other Thoughts: G.Skill is doing some really good stuff here. I like that they are building a quality constructed product that looks nice. Granted if you prefer a more reserved appearance these might actually serve to do nothing but annoy you. Still they have the start to something pretty unique and competitive, they just need to progress the product and iron out a few things.
One thing I wanted to talk about is the whole multiple drivers per can vs a single driver. The argument is usually using a single larger higher quality driver will sound better than multiple smaller drivers. From my experience I tend to find this to be true and in reviewing these headphones that assertion only affirmed. Of course the counter argument always goes back to how do you simulate surround sound then without all the individual drivers placed at the correct spots and orientations around the ear? It's assumed because one has to layout multiple speakers throughout a room to create surround sound that the same approach would have to be done in headphones. This is a flawed train of thought. In every moment of our life while listening with our ears, we are always doing so with only 2 ears. What makes us able to determine the direction of the sound is simply minute differences in timing and strength of the same sound reaching our two ears at different times and levels. Our brains then take that and decode it so we can determine from which direction the sound came from. So if it only takes 2 ears to determine proper surround, then at the close distance of headphones on one's head it shouldn't take anymore than 2 drivers. If our brains decode for sound orientation, then we can simply use software/hardware to encode the sound delaying it in time and intensity between the 2 drivers creating a virtual surround sound.
I've tried 2 or 3 surround sound headphones now using multiple drivers. I've also used quality 2 driver headphones using virtual surround. Hands down every time the virtualization approach wins out. It's just the reality of the situation.
That being said, I think they should take this product and revamp it. I think they should figure out a way to reduce the size and weight of the product without sacrificing the quality and durability of the construction, switch to a 2 quality driver approach and develop a good virtualized sound software driver. Swap out the synthetic leather around the cup with a soft felt material that doesn't make your head hot. Also one last thing would be to reduce the binding pressure applied from the headband. It's just a tad too tight and probably the biggest reason why I find them initially uncomfortable when putting them on.
Pros: Unit looks great and feels solid. It has a nostalgic appearance back to the good old Linksys days before they stopped DDWRT from working on their routers.
3rd party firmwares are offered this time around also.
Cons: Had to reboot constantly, otherwise it the network just stopped working, no internet, nothing. Unlike many of my other chances to review routers where I can leave them connected continuously for a month or so, I was constantly having to switch back and forth between this one and my regular router, all because I couldn't keep it connected and let people in my household perform as normal.
Other Thoughts: This is the busiest time of the year for me. Between kids back to school, fall harvesting and a full time job it leaves only sparse moments to review products.
For wireless routers this however isn't an issue usually as I get plenty of feedback from my family or in cases where things are so good that it's transparent, no feedback at all (which is good). I find time to test specific things here and there over a long period of time.
This wasn't the case with this router. Try as I might I couldn't keep this thing connected and then leave the house. It needed to be rebooted too often. I was essentially stuck trying to test this in the very little bit of time I had and that not being enough to do justice.
How much info can a guy get from a device that sees little time being connected. I was a bit concerned that I didn't have enough material to speak of concerning this router. But really what would it matter how nice any one other thing might be if it's completely underscored by an inability to simply work.
Even if it had worked, I feel like it might have been priced a bit higher than it should also.
This review is from: TP-Link Archer T2UH AC600 High Gain Wireless Dual Band USB Adapter
Pros: This things works! In fact it works rather well. I normally don't bother to use any type of USB networking device. I make sure to either purchase my mobile devices with adequate integrated wireless connectivity or I go the PCI-E route for desktops needing wireless connectivity (although many motherboards today have it onboard now too). For a desktop needing wireless AC, this is a pretty decent solution however, as it is easily up and running within minutes and avoids all the fanfare of installing a PCI-E card and the like.
So I tested this on my daughter's computer, which is the only machine in our house that isn't a laptop that connects using WiFi. I also happens to be located across the entire length of the house, whereas the majority of other WiFi devices are usually much closer to the router.
Let's just say it worked really well. There are a few if any devices that ever hit their advertised theoretical speeds and this one is no different. This is because of a few reasons, some of which I'll share later, but ultimately because no device does due to real-world conditions and overhead. So I could list some numbers of transfer speeds, but I don't feel as though they provide much context. So instead I'll explain why this device did well. When I compare it to any other USB network adapter I've ever used or tested, it did anywhere from 2-3 times better in terms of transfer speeds. I did some gaming with it (albeit some what light gaming) and it was fine there also. It had strong connection despite it's somewhat poor location. I was able to use both 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands equally as well. So it's the best right?
It was good sure. But it's numbers were no better than the PCI-E AC900 Wireless Adapter I already had installed in the same machine. You might be thinking "Well why would it be better? It's advertised as an AC600 and you are comparing it to a AC900 device". And that's totally logical. It's just that if the PCI-E AC900 does no better, then there are other factors at play that are probably limiting both devices and sharing the numbers is a bit misleading. I do feel comfortable stating however that it did perform as well as the better more expensive solution. This is why I feel comfortable recommending this as a good affordable solution for a desktop machine that needs Wireless AC.
Cons: So the obvious issue with this device is simply this. It's a USB 2.0 device. USB 2.0 is only capable of up to 480Mbps. They are stating the wireless technology is capable of 600Mbps. So there you go, it could never actually ever do the advertised speeds. So we can hold that against them.
However, as I explained in the Pros section, it's unlikely it matters. Sure they are being very truthful in how they are describing and marketing their device. But at least in the scenario I tested the device in, a better PCI-E AC900 wireless adapter performed similarily.
I do feel that it should support USB 3.0 though. It just should regardless of any real world arguments and I'm a little dissapointed that it doesn't.
Here is another thing I didn't care for with the device. It's long and unweildly. I first was going to spend my time testing this using a laptop and then after trying it thought to myself, "Who would really be using this thing in a very mobile situation?". It was constantly in the way and thought I was going to catch it on stuff as I moved around. When I finally felt comfortable using it with my laptop I was sitting at the kitchen table with my laptop in a relatively static position. This is why I decided to stop using the device with my laptop and instead focus on using it with a desktop. I'm not saying it is a bad fit for laptops, for any laptop that doesn't already have AC, this will work, but it might limit your mobility a bit or at least make you be a little more careful. Granted the length and need for the large antenna is part of the technology that makes it work well, but if they ever figure out how to minimize the technology and keep the effectiveness, this device is going to seem a bit dated.
Other Thoughts: Again I'd like to state that I think this is a good device. I think it's most appropriate application is using it for a desktop machine that needs a higher bandwidth connection and is easy and quick to install. An older machine that doesn't have any open PCI-E slots is probably a good canidate.
Video streaming (Netflix, A-VOD, Hulu, HBO, etc...)and gaming (TF2 is what I tested it with) all worked great for me. I got slightly better signal strength and lower latency using the 2.4GHz band. This was probably due to my poor location from the router. Despite that 5GHz worked fine.