From budget accessories to stylish PCs, there’s a world of fascinating products at your fingertips.
1. Cyborg F.R.E.Q. 5
The Cyborg R.A.T. line of gaming mice has cemented the brand’s reputation as a formidable presence in gaming peripherals. Although the hard edges, angular look and exposed wires won’t be to everyone’s tastes, they are in keeping with the aesthetics of the rest of the Cyborg line. The short cable comes with two long attachments – one that you can plug into a USB port, and another that plugs into a standard 3.5mm jack- so you can use it with an MP3 player as well. The headset is quite a tight fit, but feels comfortable, even after you’ve been wearing it for quite a while. Sound quality is good, though a slight lack of detail gives the overall sound a warm feeling. Volume can be controlled via a roller on the right ear cup. It’s quite precise, so you’ll need to roll it quite a bit to make any particularly noticeable changes to the volume, which can prove annoying. A noise-cancelling microphone is also included, and works really well. This is a great stereo headset for gamers, but music fans might want something with better clarity.
2. iStorage diskashur DT
£219 for 1TB (www.istorage-uk.com)
While many USB sticks and external hard drives come with their own encryption software to help you protect your data, very few go to the lengths of iStorage. Not only does this drive come with ‘military grade’ 256-bit AES hardware encryption – making it all but impossible for people to see and access your data without a password – but it also features a built-in physical PIN pad. Before someone can even access the folder, they have to type in a six to 16 digit PIN. Admin features are included that let you set one admin PIN code and 10 user PIN codes.
The drive itself is encased in a sturdy shell, with a hole for a Kensington lock to be attached. The USB 3.0 interface is welcome, as the extra speed this gives makes transferring large files quick and painless. It’s certainly more expensive than other external drives, but the extra security features and excellent build quality make this a worthwhile investment if you’re concerned about the safety of your data.
3. Verbatim Store ‘n’ Go V3 USB Drive 16GB
Unlike other USB 3.0 drives we’ve seen, the Store ‘n’ Go V3 doesn’t come in a flashy casing that screams ‘look how high tech and fast I am!’ Instead it has an understated plastic shell that won’t win any design awards, but does a good job of sliding over the USB 3.0 connector to keep it protected. Of course it’s the data transfer speeds that we’re interested in, and the Store ‘n’ Go V3 managed a fast but unremarkable 87.2MB/S average read speed, and a write speed of 20.8MB/S. Although these are a lot faster than USB 2.0, they’re not the fastest USB 3.0 speeds we’ve seen. We also noticed that it took a short while to reach peak speeds, whereas other USB 3.0 drives begin transferring data at the fastest speeds possible almost instantly.
4. Gyration Air Mouse Mobile
Gyration licensed out the motion technology inside Nintendo’s Wii Remotes, so it’s not too surprising that previous versions of its Air Mouse have felt a bit like using the console. While broad and exaggerated movements are all well and good when playing games, if you’re using a mouse to control your PC then you’re going to want a little more control.
The latest version comes with improved precision, both in the air and on the desk, with a new laser lens. The MotionTools software (available as a download) lets you assign gestures to common tasks, and each program can have its own set. The improvements in sensitivity and the reductionin price are very welcome, and it’s a great gadget for presentations, demonstrations and yes, even games. _
5. Fanny Wang 3000 Series
The latest premium headphone designer to come out of California is making a play for the Beats crown with the premium Series 3000 range. These over-ear monsters have active noise cancellation (ANC) that works extremely well; we were able to enjoy music in a busy office, even at low volumes. You also get normal listening and bass boost, although for ANC and bass boost you’ll need to equip the Series 3000 with two AAA batteries.