Gaming Mouse: SteelSeries Sensei [RAW] Glossy Surface Gaming Mouse review

User Rating:  / 0

SteelSeries-Sensei-RAWIntroduction:

Mice come in a number of price ranges varying from as low as £5 up in to the £100s, as well as in a number of designs to suit activities from general desktop use through to more specialised gaming mice. The latter spread across the price range from around £25 for a basic high sensitivity gaming mouse with basic customisation up in to the £100s for mice that offer the greatest customisation with multiple onboard profiles and the absolute best in component manufacturing. The latest gaming mouse we have to review is an entry level SteelSeries mouse, the Sensei [RAW] edition, essentially a slightly cut down version of the original SteelSeries Sensei.

Specifications:

  • Frames per second - 12,000
  • Counts Per Inch (CPI) - 90-5670
  • Inches Per Second - 150
  • Acceleration - 30G
  • Lift Distance - ~2 mm
  • Buttons - 8
  • Cable - 2m (Braided)

Review: 

As with its predecessor, the SteelSeries Sensei [RAW] is built with an all-grip design to suit both lefties and righties, though this time the finish is a high gloss which looks great (but does mean it shows fingerprints a lot!) with matt black grips. The [RAW] version also comes with a transparent base which is a cool touch that allows you to see the guts of the mouse! The mouse has 8 buttons (with high quality switches designed to resist the hardcore usage imposed by gamers!), with seven being programmable using the dedicated SteelSeries Engine software, and the possibility of saving one profile on the mouse. Illumination is slightly less flamboyant with a simple white scheme that can be either simply on (with various levels of intensity), pulsating or off if you don't fancy it! Sensitivity of the mouse can be tailored between 90 and 5670 CPI (less than the original), however all but the most dedicated gamers probably won't find this a hindrance. As with the original, the attention to detail is great, and the mouse comes with a fully braided cable to prevent kinks or damage to the cable whilst in use.

SteelSeries Engine PC

In use, once you've set your profile and any macros you want to use (which is simpler due to the cut down options), the mouse is just as good as the original providing fast and accurate responses, but without the bells and whistles that are probably more appropriate for professional gamers anyway. For the average home gamer the SteelSeries Sensei [RAW] is pretty much spot on, especially given the reduced price point of the mouse.

Price:

~£50 at the time of writing (available from Amazon)

Verdict:

4.5/5 - At the this lower price, the SteelSeries Sensei [RAW] offers a excellent proposition to the average gamer: exhibiting all of the essential features of the original Sensei, the RAW version has just as much going for it as the original.

Slideshow Tools: MAGIX PhotoStory On DVD MX Deluxe Review

User Rating:  / 0

Magix-Photostroy-on-DVD-mx-deluxe-boxIntroduction:

If you are a keen photographer you will undoubtedly have thousands of photos sitting around on your hard drive and an itch to do something useful with them. One avenue for a creative masterpiece with this mass of digital diaries is a photo slide show. Photo slide shows can be a great way of showing off your photos as well as great gifts for family and friends and the latest version of MAGIX PhotoStory on DVD MX Deluxe is a great platform to create some masterpieces.

Specifications:

  • Creative Options - 15 movie trailers, 900 templates and effects including zooming and camera panning.
  • HD Quality - Supports Blu-Ray Discs and HD Video export.
  • 3D - Supports 3D cameras.
  • Travel route animation - Improved to include online maps of the world.
  • Video Clips - built in image stabiliser and slow motion/time lapse control.
  • Audio dubbing - Includes over 500 songs and also rhythmic image editing.
  • MX (Media-X-Change) version - allows simple transfer of media projects between other MAGIX MX software and a free online album website.
  • Bonus software - Xara Photo Designer 7 (Photo editing), MAGIX Music Editor 3 (Sound editing) and mufin player (music management tool and player).

Review:

MAGIX PhotoStory On DVD MX Deluxe is the update to PhotoStory 10, and as such includes a number of new over the previous version, not least of which is the MX functionality which gives you some online space to store media as well allowing greater functionality with other MAGIX MX designated software. As with previous versions MAGIX Photostory 11 provides a very simple interface for creating enticing photo slide shows, either using a wizard style interface that can take control of everything from importing photos from your digital camera (2D or 3D) to actually designing the show itself, audio dubbing and output. If you want to have a little more control however the interface allows you to easily switch between your media library and the included library of transitions and effects and to directly take control of the audio dubbing.  As well as transitions and effects, the software allows for the simple addition of animated titles and text, and the new facial recognition software ensures that whatever the effect (including zooming and panning) you don't lose your subjects in the creative moment! You're not just limited to photos either, with Photostory supporting video as part of the slideshow and even basic editing tools. The slideshow can be output in any number of popular formats (although codecs for use of MPEG-4, AVCHD and AC3 have to be purchased separately) as either straight video or more complicated menu driven outputs.

PhotoStory-On-DVD-MX Deluxe-Screenshot

Included with the main Photostory software you also get a copy of Xara Photo Designer 7 which offers a great way of tweaking and touching up images to be included in the show, along with MAGIX Music Editor that allows for the same with any digital audio that you might want to add to the show. MAGIX Photostory on DVD (Version 11) really does cover every aspect of creating a fully fledged and professional looking presentation of photos with enough transitions and effects to suit any taste.

Price:

£58.06 (at the time of writing) from Amazon: Magix Photostory on DVD MX Deluxe (PC)

Verdict:

 4.5/5 - As it stands, MAGIX PhotoStory on DVD MX Deluxe has to be one of the best slide show creation tools available for the PC, covering every aspect of the design process with a simple to use interface, whilst providing the level of customisation required to produce a professional looking end product.

Powerline Adaptors: TP-Link TL-PA211KIT 200Mbps Mini Powerline Ethernet Adapter - Twin Pack Review

User Rating:  / 0

TP-Link-TL-PA211-Powerline-twin-packIntroduction:

Although wireless technologies have revolutionised the way in which we transfer data, there are still times when a wired connection can come in handy, providing a more stable and often faster connection. Obviously rewiring a whole house so that you can have a fully wired network is out of the question for most people and this where Powerline adaptors come in. Powerline adaptors use your existing electrical wiring at a different frequency to allow data to run alongside the "electricity supply". This reduces the rewiring of the house to simply plugging two devices into plug sockets (one next to your router and the other where you want an Internet or network connection). Currently the cheapest (cost-wise) on the UK market are the TP-Link TL-PA211 Powerline twin pack (catchy name huh!) and we had to get our hands on them to see how they shape up.

Specifications (taken from TP-Link):

HARDWARE FEATURES
Standards and Protocols HomePlug AV, IEEE802.3, IEEE802.3u
Interface 10/100Mbps Ethernet Port
Plug Type EU, US, UK, AU
Button Pair Button
Weight 103 Grams
LED Indicator PWR, PLC, ETH
Dimensions ( W x D x H ) 3.6 x 2.2 x 1.2 in.(93×56×30 mm)
Power Consumption < 3 W
Range 300m in house
SOFTWARE FEATURES
Modulation Technology OFDM
Advanced Functions Build-In QoS Feature,
Intelligent Channel Adaptation
Encryption 128-bit AES Encryption
OTHERS
Certification CE, FCC, RoHS
Package Contents Powerline Ethernet Adapter x 2,
Ethernet cable (RJ45) x 2,
Resource CD,
Quick Installation Guide
System Requirements Windows 2000/XP/2003/Vista, Windows 7, Mac, Linux
Environment Operating Temperature: 0℃~40℃ (32℉~104℉)
Storage Temperature: -40℃~70℃ (-40℉~158℉)
Operating Humidity: 10%~90% non-condensing
Storage Humidity: 5%~90% non-condensing

Review:

The TP-Link TL-PA211KIT comes in a small box with each Powerline adaptor about twice the size of a normal UK plug, two RJ45 cables, a quick setup guide and a mini CD (support software). Each adaptor has an ethernet port and a small button to allow pairing of the devices. Setup is really simple (once you get your head around it - it helps to read the setup guide first!), simply requiring an adaptor to be plugged in next to and connected to your router via one of the supplied RJ45 cables. The next step is to plugin the other Powerline adaptor where you want it (or simply next to the other one when you are setting up) and essentially pushing the buttons consecutively on each adaptor so that they recognise and pair to each other. Once this is done, you're all set the adaptors remember the settings and can transfer data between them. We also tested them in conjunction with another brand of similar specification Powerline adaptors and they happily connected to these as well, showing them to be cross compatible with other brands. We even tried them plugged in to extension leads (non-surge protected) and they worked just as efficiently.

In testing the TP-Link TL-PA211KIT adaptors performed well and although they don't offer quite the same performance as a true hard wired network, the performance was certainly good enough for HD video streaming over the home network, and certainly good enough for gaming and general internet browsing. The build quality is fine (strong plastic casing) and the adaptor has the usual LED indicators to display connection status and usage. The only slight downside to them is the lack of a passthrough function meaning they do take up a plug socket, although this shouldn't be a problem if you have enough plug sockets free.

Price:

£29.99 (at the time of writing) from Amazon.

Verdict:

4.5/5 - The TP-Link TL-PA211 Powerline twin pack really does provide a simple, cheap and efficient way of "wiring" your home network and at the current price it is unmissable if you need to extend your network!