Archive for July 28th, 2016

By July 28, 2016 Read More →

Sennheiser introduces its new flagship gaming headset PC 373D

image001With the release of its PC 373D, Sennheiser has announced the new reference headset for competitive PC gamers around the world. The new high-end open acoustic gaming headset by the leader in audio delivers incredibly immersive 7.1 Dolby Surround Sound and crystal clear gaming communications thanks to its high quality, noise-cancelling microphone. The sleek Surround Dongle and user-friendly software perfectly optimises the experience for immersive gaming, and even music. The superior features of the PC 373D are matched by its style and comfort to enhance your gaming experience, even after hours of playing.

“The PC 373D incorporates a host of impressive sound and design upgrades for the ultimate PC gaming experience”, says Tim Völker, Director Sales & Marketing Gaming at Sennheiser Communications A/S. “As the successor to our popular PC 363D, it is the definitive choice for gamers seeking to be fully immersed in their gaming sessions and that demand a very high quality surround sound level.”

 

Incredible clarity of sound through innovative technology

For an unprecedented gaming experience, the Dolby Surround Sound technology uses the shape of your ears to simulate the projection of sounds from different angles, creating a stunning 7.1 experience with a two speaker system. Powered by Sennheiser´s unique transducer technology for optimum clarity and accuracy, the high-end open acoustic gaming headset is paired with a sleek and intuitive new Surround Dongle, designed to optimise the sound experience at a single click of its Dolby button.

The all-new software incorporated into the headset’s Surround Dongle immediately allows the gamer to both customise the sound to his needs and quickly switch between stereo and surround sound”, says Troels Rasmussen, Product Manager Gaming, Sennheiser Communications A/S.

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A tailored sound experience

The software’s elegant, intuitive interface tailors the experience to each gamer, their game, or their surroundings. The equalizer offers four settings including optimised modes for competitive and immersive gaming, an eSports mode, and an ‘Off’ setting that allows for a neutral sound performance. The PC 373D also provides a music mode for a premium audio experience.

Crystal clear gaming communications

Thanks to its high quality pro noise-cancelling microphone and optional noise reduction algorithm, the PC 373D guarantees clear team communication with no background noise. Three side tone settings, easily adjustable via the software interface, allow gamers to choose exactly how much they hear their own voice.

Sound is easily controlled via the volume button, which is neatly integrated into the right ear cup, with muting quickly and effortlessly achieved by simply raising the boom arm.

Unrivalled style and comfort

The market-leading sound quality and technology behind the PC 373D is matched by its style and comfort. The stylish headset is equipped with large and comfortable XXL plush velvet ear pads that cushion ears during gaming, while the laser-cut open design aluminum ear-cups help players stay cool even as the tension rises. With its comfortable padded headband, the PC 373D is barely noticeable to the wearer, no matter how long the gaming session lasts.

The PC 373D is available from July 2016. As a Sennheiser product, the PC 373D is built to last and comes with a two-year worldwide warranty. RRP £209.99

By July 28, 2016 Read More →

O2 investigation shows three-in-four people get ripped off when buying a second hand phone online

 

2000px-O2_logo.svgO2 bought second hand phones from popular online classified and auction sites then tested them with Dominic Littlewood according to its ‘Like New’ criteria for selling second hand phones

  • Two thirds (66%) ‘did a Del boy’ and falsely advertised their phones
  • A third (34%) were broken
  • Over half (52%) were too badly battered to be resold
  • Only one-in-four (27%) would pass an O2 ‘Like New’ test

Three out of four (73%) Brits looking to get a cheap deal by buying second hand phones on popular online classified and auction sites are being ripped off, according to a new study by O2 and Dominic Littlewood.

As the second hand mobile market continues to grow and more and more people are looking to save money when buying their phone, knowing who to trust online is a tricky business. While people on online auction and classified sites seem to be offering great deals, after buying and testing a range of second hand phones, O2’s research seems to suggest that these deals are too good to be true.

One in three phones (34%) bought as part of the study, to compare them against O2’s own ‘Like New’ refurbished phone initiative, were broken, with 12% having broken screens and 12% having cameras or buttons that didn’t work. One in ten handsets (10%) didn’t charge and over half (52%) weren’t in good enough condition to be sold. Only 12% would meet O2’s ‘perfect’ standard whereas O2’s ‘Like New’ phones are tried and tested, nearly new handsets offered for a fraction of the usual price.

What’s more, two in three (66%) were advertised falsely, with either the physical condition or performance of the handsets being lied about in the advert and shockingly one in seven (14%) weren’t even real versions of the phones listed – dishonest fraudsters had created non-existent phones by putting older phones into new phone shells made to resemble popular devices.

Out of 52 phones bought across a range of popular online auction sites:

  • 33 were falsely advertised
  • 17 had something fundamentally wrong with them
  • 25 weren’t in good enough physical condition to be resold
  • 7 were fakes
  • 2 devices never turned up

All the phones O2 received were analysed by O2 before being given to independent expert and consumer champion Dominic Littlewood, of Cowboy Builders and Don’t get Done, Get Dom fame, to assess. He said:

“If you smell a rat, you’re probably dealing with one. Not only were a lot of the phones I looked at fake, or broken, some didn’t even turn up. If you’re buying a second hand phone, you are far better buying from a trusted operator where you can get a guarantee, rather than a stranger off the internet. You wouldn’t buy a phone from Del Boy, would you?”

All ‘Like New’ O2 refurbs have been returned within 14 days and restored to their original condition. Each handset also has to go through a series of checks to make sure it is in perfect working order for its new owners. Things tested include the physical condition of the phone – if it is not perfect, nearly perfect, or perfectly fine (with a maximum of 5 minor scuffs or scratches) then it cannot be resold. Phones are also tested to make sure they are not fake or stolen before being run through five key checks to make sure they are in fully working order:

  1. Battery – ensuring the phone takes and holds a charge
  2. Audio – getting clear and crisp sound from speakers and microphones
  3. Screen – checking typing, rotation and pinch to zoom functions
  4. Interface – checking the buttons, security features and cameras all work
  5. Connectivity – making sure connectivity features like Wi-Fi work correctly

If a phone passes these checks, it is then wiped of all data, which is particularly important given 10% of phones in the study either had old customer data on them, or content such as images and video that would not be suitable for minors. Customers can also return the phone within 14 days if they’re not happy or change their mind – just like a new phone.

Ben Bevins of O2 says: “All of our phones are refurbished and put through rigorous testing to make sure that they are in perfect working condition. While it is possible to snap up a bargain, it isn’t surprising that a lot of the phones on these classified sites are broken or fake. You just have to ask yourself, if the phone is legitimate, why are they selling it so cheap? If you do decide to buy from one of these sites, make sure you don’t pay for the product until you have had a chance to look at it yourself.”

Find more about O2 like new handsets at: www.o2.co.uk/shop/like-new.

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By July 28, 2016 Read More →

ADATA i-Memory Flash Drive Review

productGallery4496Even the most stalwart iPhone user will concede that one of the major limitations of the device is the lack of expandable memory. This isn’t much of an issue if you splashed out on the 128gb model, but those with the 16gb version will know the pain of having to upload and delete holiday photos to make room for more. Enter the ADATA i-Memory 64gb flash drive, potentially the answer to many prayers.

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With its rounded edges and rather tasteful metallic rose colouring, it looks the part, very apple-esque. Once out of the packaging however, it does feel a little plasticky. It doesn’t have that “just throw it in a pocket/in your bag” feel. Aluminium would have been a nice touch but would increase the cost significantly. But does it work?

Right out of the gate we hit a stumbling block. Being a clumsy oaf, the first thing I do when I get a phone is to put it in a robust case, in this instance, an Otterbox Commuter. As you can see, the lightning connector is rather short and does not work with encased phones. That’s a bit of a pain.

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Once out of the Otterbox (and feeling vulnerable) the ADATA fits nicely into the iphone, and you are prompted to download the free i-Memory app. The app appears extremely simple in design, allowing the user to select Photo, Music, Video, Document and File Manager for both the phone and the ADATA drive.

Unfortunately it becomes quickly apparent that the Achilles heel of this device is the app. It is simple, but not particularly intuitive nor pleasant to use and did have a few glitches and hang-ups when I was using it.

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There are no tutorials, prompts or on screen instructions in the app, so you’re on your own. Transferring photos or videos from your camera roll is fairly straight forward, but no transferable music or document files could be located on my phone. It allows access to an “internal storage” for your phone, but could not find anything in it. It was unclear where this storage actually was. At this point I couldn’t help but wonder if this is an iproduct specific app, or a generic template that has been beaten into an apple shape.

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Still, I used the rather nifty sliding connector feature and plugged the device into my pc. Another snag. Due to the width of the device, it covers two USB ports if they are side by side. This could be problematic for laptop users.

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The pc found the device without issue and up opens like any regular flash drive. Once in familiar territory of dragging dropping, the ADATA performed well and transfer speeds were impressive.

Plugging the ADATA back into my phone, I found that accessing the new data through the app was easy enough and was pleased to see that both music and video files played directly from it without hesitation. Transferring content to the phone is the same somewhat clunky procedure as before. Out of interest, I decided to copy a music file from the ADATA to the internal storage area of my phone. According to the app, the file transferred successfully, however, it would not appear in any searches carried out on the phone. It would appear that anything sent to the internal storage is only accessible through the i-Memory app and does not integrate into any other apps. This is a drawback, especially when it comes to music files.

The ADATA i-Memory Flash Drive is undoubtedly a very handy device and allowing the user to safely copy content from their phone to free up some space is definitely where it shines. I can also see its usefulness as a media drive, somewhere to store videos that you can access on your phone without eating up all its memory. It is not without some design issues, but the biggest let down by far is the app. I can’t help but feel that what could have been an excellent little device has been hamstrung by its software.