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Hardware Review

Plantronics RIG | Hardware Review

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When one thinks of gaming headsets, companies like Astro or Turtle Beach spring to mind as the best choices to provide for you. For those of us who are multitaksers, however, Plantronic’s RIG may be a headset worth checking out.

Bear in mind that I haven’t tried a whole lot of headsets lately – the last pair of gaming headphones I bought was Turtle Beach x11s – as I normally use my surround sound speaker setup for all my gaming needs, but now that I’m a college student, I can’t blast my game audio like I used to and not get death threats from the students studying below my dorms. Alas, I have been forced to look into purchasing a gaming headset to keep the peace.

Technical Specifications

Over-the-ear design
Along with foam ear cushions ensures comfort during extended listening sessions, such as when gaming or watching a movie. Ear pods lie flat for off-ear listening.
40mm, neodymium, 32 ohms impedance drivers
Deliver deep bass and immersive stereo audio.
One-touch control
Lets you move quickly from game to mobile phone. Master volume and mute controls make it easy to manage the mix of your game, music and calls.
Boom microphone
Passively reduces background noise to enable clear conversations. Swappable in-line-microphone cable facilitates music and gaming when you’re on the go.
3 EQ settings
Suit a variety of types of audio.
3.5mm connector
Along with USB and 3.5mm-to-mobile-phone plugs, Xbox LIVE chat cable and 3.5mm (female)-to-RCA adapter enables use with a variety of devices, including select desktops, mobile phones, video game consoles and tablets.
Skype compatible
For easy voice chatting using your PC, Mac or compatible tablet.
20Hz – 20kHz frequency response
For faithful sound reproduction.
109dB/mW sensitivity
Ensures powerful sound.

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The Plantronics RIG headset is easily among the most comfortable sets of headphones I’ve worn to date. Compared to the Turtle Beach x11s, which I could only wear for about 30 minutes before my ears or the top of my head started to feel uncomfortable, I can wear the RIG for hours. The earmuffs are soft and cancel out all of the surrounding noise. My roommate constantly has to wave me off to get me to notice that he’s talking to me. The headband is also soft and easily flexes to the shape of your head and can be adjusted for height as well.

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The sound of the headset is great, and while I’d prefer a little bit more bass, the quality is crystal clear and I have yet to have the headphones cut out or stutter. The Mixer Control unit offers an EQ button that changes the audio balance, but I didn’t really notice that much of a difference between the three different settings.

The main draw of these headphones however is not the headphones themselves, but the Mixer Control unit that’s included with the headset. The Mixer attempts to solve the problem of multitasking between a gaming device and a social device – mainly a cell phone but I’ve used it for other things as well, such as Skype. The Mixer allows you to simply flip a switch between your gaming device and mobile phone so you can swap between what is in the foreground and background.  RIG is compatible with PC, Xbox 360, PS3, most tablets and phones, so if you’re looking for a multiple use device RIG would be a great choice.

RIG Mixer

For example, if I’m playing Call of Duty and using the microphone to talk with people in game and I get a phone call mid-game, I simply click the button with the phone and it answers the call. From there you flip the switch to the phone side of the mixer and the audio from your phone becomes the main audio and the game audio becomes secondary. It takes a little bit of fidgeting to get the audio balance to an appropriate level, but for the amount of convenience it offers, this is not a huge issue.

The way the mixer is designed is simple enough, but it still took me a bit to figure out where each cord goes. It might have helped if the manufactures put a label on the cords for getting the Mixer set up for first time users. And, while it’s not really a complaint – more of something to note – the headset sounds much MUCH better when used with the audio mixer. If it’s just plugged in via the audio input cable connected to the headset, you won’t get the high quality audio mentioned above.

Using the headset while playing a video game works just as expected. The game audio sounds great, microphone clarity good and since it works with any gaming device it once again hits the mark for convenience. Another cool way you could use the microphone if you want to cross game chat on a PS3 etc is by plugging it into a mobile phone, computer, or tablet that has Skype.

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If you’re willing to shell out the $150 for a pair of high quality headphones, Plantronics’ RIG would be a great choice simply because of how comfortable they are, but when you add The Mixer into the package the amount of convenience provided more than makes up for the price.

Review sample provided by Plantronics. Thank you.

ONLY SINGLE PLAYER SCORE

Build Quality – 8/10

Design – 8.5/10

Useability – 8.5/10

Performance – 9/10

Price – 7/10

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Overall – 8/10

(Not an average)

Manufacturer: Plantronics

Price:
RIG Headset: $130

OnlySP founder and former site owner.

Hardware Review

Bionik Quickshot Product Review | Almost Elite

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The video game industry is ripe with various consoles and titles both AAA and indie, and the majority of attention is given to the games, as well as the developers and publishers responsible for producing them. However, accessories are an important part of a gamer’s experience, as comfortability and practicality can often affect  performance. People who have difficulty hearing may need better speakers or a headset, those with naturally soft voices may need microphones with voice detection, and gamers who find themselves battling sweaty palms might crave some solid grips for their controller. Like the games themselves, accessories can cover a range of qualities, from products that break at the slightest drop or stop working sooner rather than later to high-end pieces that can last users for years.

The Quickshot’s purpose is to provide gamers with something closer to a premium experience without having to actually purchase the expensive Elite Controller. Moreover, the device is meant to give users a better grip and allow them to adjust the sensitivity of their triggers (LT and RT).

The Quickshot arrives in a well-crafted package, contained in a black and dark orange box complete with areas of gray, featuring lettering of different hues to best fit the contrast to the color of the background. Opening the front of the box like a book, consumers will notice the inside is clear, allowing a glimpse of the dark gray plastic grips and orange trigger locks within. Fine as the box may be, the real subject matter is the equipment itself.

To make the process of equipping an Xbox One controller with the Quickshot simple, Bionik provides an orange, plastic, flat wedge to slide between the controller’s regular grips to pop them off. While seemingly a useful tool, the wedge does not make the process of removing the factory handles easier, as it strained easily and broke from light pressure. However, any flat implement can be used to worm between the creases on the back of the controller’s handles and remove those grips. Once the standard grips have been taken off, users can snap the Quickshot grips into place. With the trigger locks built into each piece, putting the grips on is the final step of installation. From there, consumers can begin familiarizing themselves with their new toy.

The Quickshot’s handles are dark gray while the trigger locks are orange, which does not mix well with the standard white Xbox One S controller or the original black Xbox One controller. However, the color may look better on a custom controller. The grips sport tiny grooves all up and down, feeling like rubber beads in the gamer’s hands. During those times when a player’s hands get sweaty, these grooves do well to keep the controller in the player’s hands, rather than slipping during crucial moments.

As a means to make aiming and firing in first-person shooters more precise, the Quickshot’s trigger locks adjust the sensitivity of the controller’s LT and RT buttons. When the orange switch that activates the locks is flipped, a little orange bar slides beneath the triggers, affecting the amount of depth the button can be pushed inward. These locks allow players to adjust the triggers to fit their comfort level. Furthermore, the locks do not have to be in place simultaneously. Rather, one lock can be engaged while the other is not, diversifying the feel of the two buttons based on the user’s needs or desires. However, having the locks engaged is not conducive to driving a vehicle in most games, such as Ghost Recon: Wildlands or Grand Theft Auto V, as compression of the trigger buttons directly affects the speed of the player’s vehicle. With the lock engaged, gamers will be unable to reach higher speeds with their characters’ vehicles.

Overall, Bionik’s Quickshot is a decent product that transforms Xbox One controllers into something a little more versatile at a lower price than that of the Xbox One Elite controller. With comfortable grips and trigger locks that are best used in first-person shooters, the Quickshot will change players’ performance in various titles after adjusting to the new equipment. While the locks are not suitable for every game, they can be easily disengaged, and the grips provide a constant grounding for players who lose focus easily with the added benefit of preventing gamers from dropping their controller due to wet palms.

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