Category Archives: Computer Hardware Peripherals

Dymo Rhino 4200 Label Printer for Labeling

 Dymo Rhino 4200 Industrial Label Printer for Labeling

The Dymo Rhino 4200 is an industrial quality label printer for professional quality labeling using nylon and polyester labels along with specialty printing on heat shrink tubing.

Dymo Rhino 4200

Ease of Use/Performance: 5/5
Convenience/Storage 5/5
Appearance/Design 5/5

How much I enjoy 4/5

recommendation: 4/5

The Dymo Rhino line of printers is the professional quality labeling printers from a leader in handheld printing that prints on nylon and polyester tapes as well as heat shrink tubing. The Dymo Rhino is your professional quality industrial printer for labeling that uses specialty tapes along with heat shrink tubing for quality labels.

Whats in the Box Dymo Rhino 4200

The Dymo Rhino 4200 has a full QWERTY keyboard along with quite a few specialty keys on the front with a line of keys for labeling circuit breakers, cables, bar codes and varying the printing alignment. The Rhino 4200 prints on 1/4 inch, 3/8 inch, 1/2 inch, and 3/4 inch labels but they need to be the Rhino specialty cartridges or heat shrink cartridges.


The labeling printer has a Favorites and symbols library along with quite a few specialty functions that allow for easy and quick creation of labels for a wide variety of applications. The Rhino 4200 has rubber bumpers for protection and runs on six AA batteries or you can purchase a lithium Ion battery pack as well as an AC power adapter for your Rhino printer.

The various labels in both polyester and nylon allow for permanent printing for a wide variety of applications like labeling circuit breakers or other home building applications. You can print on heat shrink tubing and multi lined tags for easier cable identification in industrial or even home use for networks or telephone lines.

Rhino Cartridge Install

Bar code printing makes for a convenient way to quickly print bar codes for inventory or point of sale use in both Code 39 and Code 128 systems. The printer is quite handy for all kinds of uses and works well for the quick trials I put it through at home but the cartridges are a bit more expensive than paper label cartridges.

The regular nylon and polyester tape costs about $15 to $22 while the heat shrink tubes cost about $27 to $35 not including shipping costs from I received the Dymo Rhino 4200 from Cable Organizer and their prices are the same as I could find anywhere for both the printer and cartridges with low shipping costs at about $2 for the first cartridge and a little more per item to ship.

I really like the Cable Organizer website and shopping cart system that includes a quick shipping calculator on your items pop up cart as well as their shipping rates that are not inflated. only adds a smaller additional fee for each additional item shipped and does not as some sites often do double the price of shipping for each additional item.

Rhino 4200 Battery Compartment

Too often when looking up shipping costs online sites charge an outrageous price for small items and often negate the lower cost of the items you can find online. has a nice online sales system and up front tells you how much shipping is when adding items to your cart for easy purchase decisions.

The Dymo Rhino 4200 industrial thermal printer does work well for both around the home use labeling recipe bottles and network cables, bins for parts and even those toy cubbies for kids. The labels are waterproof and tough with both the polyester and nylon tape being made for industrial applications so they won’t wear quickly like paper labels will.

Dymo Rhino Labeling

The printer is quick and easy to use with its full QWERTY keyboard that also has the full set of number keys and the labeling types are clearly listed on special keys. The Dymo Rhino is a great all around label printer that is handy for both around the home and workshop labeling as well as industrial use.

I have found the Rhino 4200 and some cartridges locally at office supply stores and home improvement stores but for the specialty heat shrink tubing you are probably going to have to order it. The Rhino line is a newer line of label printers and supplies for it will be limited at stores until it has been out for a while so ordering cartridges will probably be necessary.

I highly recommend the Dymo Rhino 4200 as an all around label printer that comes in handy for a wide variety of uses at home and work and is available at

Rhino 4200 @

Rhino 4200 @ Dymo

Razer Orbweaver Elite Mechanical Gaming Keypad

Razer Orbweaver Elite Mechanical Gaming Keypad

The Razer Orbweaver is a fantastic mechanical gaming keypad that gives gamers the edge while gaming with the PC that includes adjustable hand, thumb pad and palm rest.

Ease of Use, Performance:  4/5
Look & Feel:  4/5
Features  4/5
How much I enjoy 4/5

Recommendation:  4/5 Stars

Razer Orbweaver Gaming Keypad

The Razer Orbweaver is a mechanical gaming keypad that is specific to the left hand for gamers to get an edge over keyboard users with the thumb pad that allows an extra movement or modifier for quick input. The Orbweaver has twenty mechanical keys on the top with a thumb pad, button and lever on the side for thumb use while your left hand stays put due to the adjustable rest.

The Orbweaver comes with the mechanical gaming keypad and instructions with the usual Razer certificate of authenticity and a Razer sticker set with drivers available for download from the Razer website. The Orbweaver gaming keypad has the adjustable palm rest that has the thumb pad attached that moves forward and back about a half an inch for a decent amount of adjustment for hand size.Orbweaver Whats in the Box

The thumb pad also moves about 5/8ths of an inch at an angle away or toward the palm rest for the same adjustment for hand size while the palm rest tilts back and forth for hand comfort. The heel of your hand rests on the bottom rubberized plastic with the palm rest contoured and also made from rubberized plastic for comfort and grip while gaming but with some space for a bit of cooling due to the separate parts.

The body of the keypad and thumb pad is made from plastic with the all-important thump pad arm made from a coated metal that seems to be steel for strength of this smaller adjustment point. The adjustments for the Orbweaver gaming keypad are a perfect mix for a variety of hand sizes and keeping things simpler without having to use tools as the small push buttons control the adjustments.

The Orbweaver Gaming Keypad has the twenty mechanical keys for better tactile feel to know your pressing the keys but when gaming you just don’t pay much attention to feel when the keypad works as well as this one does. The main home key for gaming and keypads is the S key so that your hand is centered on the movement keys for gaming and the Orbweaver put an indicator right on the center key for a decent indication of your finger placement.

You can use the Razer Synapse program to set the keys of your keypad to any keyboard key or a set of them using macros that also can include time to key presses for specific gaming functions. The Razer Synapse also has the unlimited number of profiles so you can set up the Orbweaver gaming keypad keys and thumb controls to any keyboard key or a macro and save them in the Cloud for fast and easy programming wherever you’re at over the internet.Orbweaver Gaming Keypad

The Razer Synapse 2.0 program allows you to store profiles at Razer servers for unlimited gaming and program use and you can use the eight different key maps to quickly switch between key assignments within a program of game. In game this may not make sense until you realize that some games have unique and different gameplay in the same game like my current favorite Battlefield 3.

Battlefield 3 has three unique scenarios for gameplay with on foot first person shooting the main aspect but you also can climb into the driver’s seat of a variety of vehicles both on land and in the air. When you jump into a tank or a faster vehicle like an armored personnel carrier the keys no longer can be used for the same things but now jumping seats is a more important factor and not kneeling or jumping.

The various key maps allow you to quickly switch from one set of key maps to another as fast as jumping into a tank is during gameplay so you have all new key assignments in game without having to do more than pressing a button. I set up the Orbweaver to use two key maps with one for first person shooter use on foot and the other for vehicle use so I can quickly and easily switch between the two with a simple press of the up and down on the thumb pad.

Orbweaver Bottom

The main difference between being on foot and in a vehicle is the main movements like kneeling or going prone on foot and switching seats in vehicles and the thumb pad to switch between the two key maps works well. I tried using the thumb-pad for movement but I could not get myself to use the thumb-pad for moving around in the virtual world but it works really well for my own uses like switching weapons and the key map assignments.

The Razer Synapse program allows you to preset keys before gaming and in game you can easily switch those using game options if you want but it is easier and more permanent per game to set the keys of the key pad in the Synapse program. Saving various profiles in game not only means you have keys mapped to specific key pad keys and the thumb controls but you also have eight key mappings per profile for a wider variety of quickly switchable key maps.

Razer Synapse 2.0

The three LEDs on the side of the thumb pad shows which key maps your using while onscreen words tell you which profile your using when you switch and can be switched either using the Synapse program, the Razer Synapse right click menu or using the linked program. Linking a program with a profile means when that program like the game EXE file is run it will automatically switch the Razer Orbweaver Gaming Keypad to that profile so you can start gaming quickly with the correct key map.

I have been gaming for years with first person shooters being my main gaming staple but I only use about half the keyboard when gaming because at least half the keys are unused by the games. The key pad is the solution to not only make gaming easier by having less keys in front of your fingers but also to be able to customize the key assignments and the thumb controls easily.

The Razer Orbweaver is a great key pad and does work better than the previius game pads that I have reviewed mainly due to the better overall design and more keys for gaming. The Orbweaver does work well and I do get a faster response for common key presses but the main difference I have seen is I am keeping my eyes on the screen and not looking down at my fingers.

When gaming I have often had to look at my keyboard to see which key I’m pressing for things like switching weapons or changing fire rates but with the Razer Orbweaver Gaming Keypad I am looking away from the screen and action much less. I highly recommend the Razer Orbweaver as a fantastic gaming peripheral that will give you an edge in gaming because you’re keeping your eyes where they belong and your fingers controlling the action.

Orbweaver Gaming Keypad @ Razer


PodPad Wireless Document Scanner

PodPad Wireless Document Scanner

The PodPad Wireless Document Scanner allows scanning on the go with Bluetooth connection to your smartphone for sending of documents wherever your work takes you.

Ease of Use, Performance:  4/5
Look & Feel:  3/5
Features:  4/5
How much I enjoy 3/5

Recommendation:  3.5/5 Stars


PodPad is a unique scanner that uses a Bluetooth capable smartphone and an app to send documents to email addresses for easy document scanning on the go but only through an Android app. PodPad is a unique scanner and includes the PodPad scanner, a wall power adapter, USB power cable, auto power cable and a CD with instructions and drivers along with a quick instruction brochure.


The PodPad connects to your Android smartphone using Bluetooth and uses an app developed by Genius or your company can develop their own using the available software development kit. The PodPad app on the android smartphone is easy to use with only a few pages including settings to setup and pair the device, choose the email you want to send to and the image quality.

PodPad Whats in the Box

You can send using either 150 dots per inch or 300 DPI and pairing the device is relatively simple but you will need to pair it every time you start the app up. The app simply has a few lines to fill in for every scan with customer information and user name to keep things organized when sending.

The scans are lower resolution so you cannot expect to be using the PodPad to scan and send images but for simple receipts and documents like orders or invoices it should work fine. The scanner app receives the document and converts it into a PDF document then emails it through the smartphone when you send the message from your email program.

You need to have an email setup on your phone to send the document and you can use email services like Gmail to easily send documents on the road. I was a little concerned about the scanner taking pages in and at times turning the page slightly but this did not seem evident when I looked at the scans from my email program when I received them.PodPad Connections & Controls

To send documents to specific emails you simply load the app and set the email address in settings and then scan an image after filling in the documents name and sender information. You can easily send documents wherever you can get phone reception using your smartphones email which worked well for every email and scan I tried but the scans quality is not the best.

Images are almost unusable and you could not rely on the PodPad if you needed to send them but documents like emails or invoices worked well for my many test scans of emails, invoices and other documents. I was able to read emails and documents from 12 point font down to 8 point easily but smaller fonts can be a bit hard to read.

I did not have any problems that a simple repeat scan did not solve and never had a continuous problem where I could not rescan the document. I am not sure what happens when the app says the scanner was not responding but simply repeating the scan worked every time I had this problem.

PodPad Scanned Word Doc

The PodPad mobile scanner worked well for the quality of images and I did not find any other scanners currently on the market that can do what this does without using a laptop or other computer. I did find a scanner that uses a smartphone to scan but it uses a flash drive or an SD card along with the smartphone and does not email directly through an app.

The PodPad connects to a smartphone directly with Bluetooth and sends your document for the price of about $200 which is pretty reasonable for a document scanner that is not only mobile but wireless. If you’re looking for a scanner that can be used for directly sending documents using a smartphone the PodPad from Genius is worth looking into for a on the go solution for business.

PodPad Website

Tt eSports Level 10 M Gaming Mouse

Thermaltake eSports Level 10 M Gaming Mouse

Thermal Take has created a division concentrating on gaming products called Tt eSports which has released a unique gaming mouse called the Level 10 M with adjustable height and angle along with an open design for cooler hands.

Ease of Use, Performance: 5/5
Look & Feel: 4/5
Features: 4/5
How much I enjoy 5/5

Recommendation: 4.5/5 Stars

Gaming Mouse Tt eSports Level 10 M

Thermal Take has created a division around gaming called Tt eSports that designs and manufactures gaming grade products and sponsors teams in tournaments decked out with their best peripherals and gear. Tt eSports has a unique mouse to go along with their other Level 10 gaming products called the Level 10 M Gaming Mouse that has adjustable polling and adjustable physical characteristics.

The Level 10 M mouse has not only the adjustable height where your palm rests but tilts by about 5 degrees for a more comfortable gaming use but the mouse has more than just an adjustable top section. The Level 10 M Gaming Mouse has the two finger buttons and the top piece coming in Diamond Black, Iron White, Military Green or Blazing Red that are made from rubberized aluminum.

The top of the mouse sports the two large buttons but the right button is smaller than the left by about a quarter inch in width with the left button being an inch wide and two inches tall while the right button is three quarters of an inch wide and two inches tall. The top of the mouse has twelve hexagon holes to allow for cooling toward your hand while gaming but the separate design of the top also helps to keep the aluminum top cool due to air flow under it.

Whats in the Box Level 10 M Gaming Mouse

The gaming grade mouse has a base that includes a front cable mount to help with tension and bending of the cable as it leaves the mouse which is probably the weakest point of mice and where I have had all my mice fail for wired mice. The aluminum base has the two and a half inch by three quarter inch tall sides that bend up and hold the side buttons of the mouse with two on the right and three on the left.

The left buttons are labeled “A”, “B” and “Z” while the right side is labeled “C” and “D” with the front buttons being about half the size of the middle “B” and rear “D” buttons for easy tactile sensing. The front two buttons are your normal back and forward by default but like most gaming mice can be programmed in the software for just about anything while the “Z” button is setup for profiles and polling rate changes.

Right Side of Level 10 M

The “Z” button is not just a single press button but an analog four position switch so you can raise and lower either profiles or the dots per inch setting of the polling to change speed of your cursor across the screen. This is the sole feature that a gaming mouse lives and dies on and the different levels of your cursor speed across the screen means faster turning and more precise aiming for first person shooters.

Having a quickly adjustable DPI speed where you can quickly lower it for more accurate moves like when sniping means you can quickly change from the slower speed and more accurate aiming of a lower DPI to a higher one for fast turning. Having the four levels means you can have a good variety quickly and the side button using your thumb allows for pretty fast changes but you do need to take a pause in gaming to set this.

Left Side of Level 10 M Gaming Mouse

The location is a bit further back so I needed to at least move my hand some to get my thumb on the side of the mouse to adjust the settings of either the profile or the DPI levels. The four level indicators that are on the right finger button does not change colors like the rest f the mouse but remains a steady red for the level it is on with the bars indicating the four levels of DPI you can is set in the program.

The Level 10 M mouse comes with a handy carry bag, the mouse itself, a small Allen wrench, drivers and some manuals but the drivers are also available from the Tt eSports website. The mouse can adjust from side to side for tilt by about five degrees and the back end of the mouse under your palm adjusts up and down by about .19 inches or 5 millimeters.

The tilt goes from the aluminum side on one side to the other so adjusting the tilt of the top section is limited by the two sides of the base and adjusted by the Allen screw on the right side of the mouse. The open top design also allows the interior LED lighting which is adjustable in the software to shine through the holes near your palm as well as the square on the left mouse button and the scroll wheel.

Bottom of Level 10 M Gaming Mouse

The included software is easy to install and allows you to set profiles, lighting, polling or dots per inch rate and every button on the mouse as well as macros which is a common gaming feature for massive multiplayer games. You can set five profiles with various button settings, polling rates and macros but one thing you cannot do is auto switch profiles when a specific program opens.

Many gaming mice programs allow users to automatically switch profiles when a specific program starts but the Level 10 M Gaming Mouse does not do this which was a surprise for me as this is a common function in gaming mice. The other settings in the Tt eSports program works well and gives the mouse the needed settings and functionality you could want but the omission of program launched profile switching is odd.

I found the DPI settings worked extremely well and having the four levels available from the analog side button worked extremely well for switching quickly between the levels and the indicator on the mouse is handy for knowing which level you’re on. Changing profiles using the four position switch is also easy but the switch position is not easy to use without at least pausing a second or two while in game to adjust.

Level 10 M Program

The two side buttons for back and forward work well and the actual contour of the mouse is good but it does take a bit more getting used to than most other contoured mice, especially over the mice that are ergonomically shaped. The Level 10 M Gaming Mouse does take a bit of getting used to but it does work extremely well for gaming and even in real time simulations or RPG games.

The Level 10 M Gaming Mouse works extremely well for first person shooters and makes a fantastic mouse for gamers that works very well for regular computer use things like image editing and working on my websites. The Level 10 M mouse costs about $100 and with the fully featured mouse only missing one feature I would still highly recommend this as a gaming grade mouse which does have a bit more in customization to make up for the lack of program switching.

Level 10 M Gaming Mouse @ ThermalTake

Mionix NAOS 5000 Gaming Mouse

Mionix NAOS 5000 Gaming Mouse

In conjunction with my review of the Mionix SARGAS and ENSIS mouse pads I also received the NAOS 5000 gaming mouse that is definitely a gaming grade peripheral with a special little surprise under the hood.

Ease of Use, Performance: 5 /5
Look & Feel:  4/5
Features  5/5
How much I enjoy 4/5

Total:  4.5/5 Stars

Gaming Mouse Mionix NAOS 5000

Have you ever wondered what difference all those various gaming mouse pads and variety of materials really make when it comes to mouse performance and actual use? How about all those claims that a certain weave, microfiber or silicone rubber will enhance your gaming performance or maybe you just want to compare your favorite desk top or countertop to the current mouse pad you use.

The Mionix Naos is an exceptional gaming mouse with adjustable dpi laser, ergonomic design and fully customizable buttons with macros but has a surprise under that rubberized plastic shell. The Mionix Naos 5000 also has a Surface Quality Analyzer Tool built in so you can check the surface you use for mousing and compare it with others and with common surfaces like your desk, coffee table or countertop.

I did a little comparison and was very surprised at the results, my current table I use for my work area scored better than several mouse pads I have received but some of the gaming grade mouse pads did not fair so well. I will include a chart with this review of my results and there is also one attached to the review of the two Mionix mouse pads I reviewed along with the Mionix Naos 5000 gaming mouse.

Whats in the Box Mionix NAOS 5000


The Mionix Naos gaming mouse is not just a toy to check the surface roughness of materials though, it is a gaming grade mouse that includes all the features any gamer wants and needs to take their gaming as far as they can personally. The Naos 5000 has a 5040 dots per inch gaming grade laser sensor but you can easily adjust the dots per inch setting from the two arrow buttons on the top of the mouse in gaming.

Being able to adjust this setting on the fly in a game means in a first person shooter you have it set higher for faster turning and movement but when it comes down to precise control for sniper shots you can quickly adjust it down. The Mionix Naos 5000 also has the fully customizable button settings and macros so you can change any button to the keyboard or mouse assignment as well as assign macros for multi button commands in games.

The downloadable software from the Mionix website also has up to five profiles that are stored on the mouse itself for easy use on other computers or at LAN gaming sessions without worrying about the software. One thing I am surprised about is no use of game executables where the mouse automatically switches over to the appropriate profile when a program or game is launched.

NAOS 5000 Buttons


This may become available in future updates as the mouse does have the ability to upgrade the firmware on board the mouse itself as well as new updates in the software. The Mionix Naos 5000 has color preferences for the logo, side dpi step indicators and top buttons for changing the dpi along with the scroll wheel but this is just icing on the cake of a pretty tasty gaming peripheral.

The Mionix Naos 5000 is a comfortable gaming mouse with a contoured grip that fits snuggly into my hand when gaming or for general use and the buttons all fit naturally into the top fingers and thumb. The Naos 500o has two bottom openings for weights with eight 5 gram weights for a good assortment that you can set according to your mousing preferences or not use the weights at all.

I found the small doors a bit difficult to open and close but you should not have a problem and only need to use them a few times to change the weight of the mouse. The Naos 5000 has three large and one medium sized Teflon mouse pads on the bottom so you never have to worry about those small dots falling off your mouse in the hottest gaming sessions.

Bottom of NAOS 5000

I have been using the Mionix Naos 5000 for a month and am very impressed with this gaming peripheral and can truly say Mionix has created a gaming grade mouse that is easily the same quality as other peripheral companies catering to the gamer. The SQAT surface quality analyzer is just icing on the cake so you can truly see the difference the surface you’re using makes and this is not a silly last minute feature tossed in.

The analyzer is actually measuring data loss from the laser sensor over the surface it is on so the tool is handy to see how different surfaces compare when using the same mouse on.  The Mionix Naos 5000 has more going for it than the surface analyzer and in games like first person shooters and real time strategy the mouse performs fantastically with its smooth precision.

Cursor and crosshair movement is great and very smooth and the Naos 5000 easily is a gaming grade peripheral at the top end of the gaming peripheral spectrum competing for the gamer dollars. The Naos 5000 does however come at about the same price for gaming grade mice from other more well-known companies such as Razer and Steel Series but with the addition of a handy tool it does set itself apart a bit.

Mouse Pad Data Loss

I highly recommend the Mionix Naos 5000 as a great gaming peripheral that definitely makes itself known as a professional gaming mouse with a bit of an edge over the competition.

Naos 5000 Gaming Mouse @ Mionix

Mionix SARGAS 320 & ENSIS 320 Mouse Pads

Mionix SARGAS 320 & ENSIS 320 Mouse Pads

Mionix is a relative newcomer to the gaming scene and has started taking off here in the United States with gaming mice, keyboards and mouse pads including the newest SARGAS and ENSIS 320 mouse pads.

Ease of Use, Performance:  4/5
Look & Feel:  4/5
Features  4/5
How much I enjoy 4/5

Total:  4/5 Stars

Mionix SARGAS 320 & ENSIS 320 Mouse Pads

Mionix is a gaming peripheral company based in Sweden and started by Peter Nygren with the goal to design and develop high-end computer peripherals made for gamers using high quality, cool design and a touch of innovation as company standards. Mionix has a good assortment of mouse pads available and the Mionix SARGAS 320 and ENSIS 320 are both excellent products to start my look at these company’s products.

The SARGAS 320 and ENSIS 320 are both 320 mm wide by 260 mm tall and 2 mm in thickness but are made from different materials for great gaming mouse pads depending on your preferences. I am not much of a hard mousepad fan but this mousepad has changed my attitude toward them and especially with the use of another Mionix product.

The ENSIS 320 is an aluminum and foam rubber mouse pad with a super smooth surface for your mouse and the grip foam rubber pad to keep the mouse pad in place. The ENSIS 320 has a nice black surface which can be measured with a technology that Mionix uses to rate their smooth mouse pads using a tool called the SQAT or Surface Quality Analyzer Tool.

Mouse Pad Data Loss

The Analyzer tool is part of their Mionix NAOS 5000 mouse that I will also be reviewing and shows how well or poorly your mouse and mouse pad works together. Using the mouse that measures data loss you can test mouse pads and using the numerous ones I have accumulated I can say that not all mouse pads are created equal.

The SARGAS mouse pad rated a 7 on the mouse test while the ENSIS rated a 9 which was the highest score I received out of 12 mouse pads I tested and three other surfaces. I checked a plain piece of paper and received a low score of 4 while my bare tabletop I use as a desk had a score of eight, I did recently clean my desk after all.

The two Mionix mouse pads received decent scores but not the 10 and 8 that is specified on their site but this could be due to natural conditions after using them for a month. The SQAT testing using the mouse may not a very scientifically accurate one and I have seen surface smoothness testing done in a lab setting so I can understand the need for a smooth surface for laser technology and sensing.

Mouse Pad Mionix Ensis

The two mouse pads both work well and have a very smooth surface that handles the optical laser well for gaming mice and for both regular computer use and gaming the mouse pads work extremely well. If you’re wanting the more precise control that a metal mouse pad will give you due to the smoother surface the ENSIS 320 gives the best performance you could get from a mouse pad.

It took me a few weeks to get used to a hard mouse surface but the aluminum pad and very smooth surface makes mouse movement very precise and controlled. The mouse I was using at the time slides easily across the surface and keeps the cursor moving freely across my monitor without any noticeable problems.

If you’re not as worried about the control and just like the feel of give that a cloth mouse pad has the SARGAS is also an excellent performing mouse pad and will give plenty of control in the most demanding games. I have been testing both mouse pads in numerous games such as Battlefield 3, Sniper Elite V2 and Sniper: Ghost Warrior to check out the precision and handling of both the Mionix mouse and mouse pads.

Mouse Pad Mionix Sargas

The Mionix mouse pads do make a difference and especially the metal ENSIS 320 with its incredibly smooth and fast response for mousing. Not only does the Mionix NAOS 5000 mouse but other gaming and general mice slide smoothly across its surface for fast response on screen.

The Mionix ENSIS 320 makes the best gaming mouse pad for fast response while the SARGAS 320 is a bit more comfortable for those long gaming sessions and general computer use. The Mionix ENSIS and SARGAS cost from $15 to $40 depending on size with the ENSIS 320 coming in at the more expensive $40 and the cloth SARGAS starting at $15 and going up to $30.

The SARGAS comes in three different sizes while the ENSIS only comes in the one size but has a brushed aluminum surface for the Luna edition and the smooth black surface on the regular version. I highly recommend the Mionix SARGAS for a top of the line microfiber cloth mouse pad for added comfort while the gaming top of the line ENSIS gives the best response you can get from a mouse pad.

Ensis & Sargas DetailUSB connection shown for size comparison

Check out the variety of mouse pads and other mouse and gaming peripherals at Mionix.

ENSIS 320 @ Mionix

SARGAS 320 @ Mionix

Roxio Game Capture HD Pro Video Game Capture Device

Roxio Game Capture HD Pro Video Game Capture Device

The Roxio Game Capture HD Pro allows gamers to capture their console game play on their Windows PC for video proof of your gaming prowess with editing software to put those finishing touches to video or capture and stream live on the internet.

Ease of Use, Performance: 3/5
Look & Feel:  4/5
Features  4/5
How much I enjoy 4/5
Total:  4/5 Stars

Roxio Game Capture HD Pro

Roxio creates a variety of video and photo editing software for both home and business use and also manufactures a creative console video capture device that allows gamers to save video directly from their favorite games onto their computer. The Roxio Game Capture HD Pro connects between your gaming console and your television or monitor to capture video and audio from your game to save to your computer over a USB connection.

The Game Capture device is a component or HDMI connected device that allows simultaneous capture and continued gameplay while gaming on your favorite console and video game. The device is easy to set up with simple connections using two inputs of HDMI or Component cables and the same output to your monitor or television and the USB output to your computer.

The Roxio Game Capture HD Pro comes with the capture device, a USB cable, drivers and software CD and quick start installation guide but you will need either HDMI cables or component cables depending on your console. An Xbox 360 or Wii connects with either the HDMI or component cables and the PlayStation 3 only connects using the component cable to the console but you can connect the Game Capture to a TV or monitor using an HDMI cable.

The computer powers the Game Capture HD Pro as well as captures video while you game  and later uses the video editing software or you can stream directly to Justin.TV which was much easier than I thought it would be. Over the weekend I worked a bit at Live Streaming with an account at Justin.TV which was a bit confusing when researching the streaming site until I found out that Twitch.TV is the gaming section on Justin.TV.

Whats in the Box

The Roxio Game Capture Pro easily set up and captured a live stream and sent it directly to the live streaming site where I was able to view it later as well as edit the name and description after it saved on the site. You can also just as easily set up the Roxio program to save the video and audio to your computer’s hard drive and edit the video using the Roxio Videowave editing program.

You can splice, edit and add voice narration as well as titles and transitions but the video editing program is a basic one and not a very feature filled editing program which mainly lacks a cut tool for clips. I found working with clips and editing them down to the useful parts was a bit repetitive because you can only cut the beginning and end of clips off when editing in the timeline view.

This means when you add a full clip of recorded video to the timeline you will need to start the clip in the editor and set the beginning of the clip and the end then let it process that clip. If you want to add a different section of video from the same clip you need to add the clip to the timeline and reposition the start and end points of the same clip but to the different times of the clip to get a different section.

This reading the same clip when I want four different sections only means a little extra time and effort of which I am more than willing to deal with when it comes to the price of the video capture solution and how easy it is to use. I had the Roxio Game Capture up and running in minutes after buying the requisite composite cable for the PlayStation 3 and found I did not have many problems that retrying did not solve.

Roxio Game Capture Start Up Page

I did have the live stream cut out for some reason but I am sure it was my internet connection and not the game capture itself so the problems I did have with live streaming was negligible. I have had online video gaming also loose the connection from time to time so this is not something I would be concerned with and the live streaming does make a great way to share your gaming prowess with the world.

I could not get the UpLoadTo Facebook to work but I am not sure if this is even a worthwhile feature as I would much rather save the video and upload directly to the site or to my own site and just share a link to it on Facebook. Roxio is getting back to me on the problems I am having but I’m not going to hold my breath as this is not a major feature I see people using all that often.

The Roxio Game Capture HD Pro does work well with the PlayStation 3 but only over the component connections due to HDCP protection that the console system uses to protect copyrighted material. The HDMI worked well for my Wii console as well and I streamed a section of gameplay to Justin.TV of Skylanders Giants that worked out well but I did not have the ave forever button clicked so it is gone.

That video can be viewed here though.

The Roxio also captures PC Gaming as well for a simple solution to capture, edit and share the gaming you do over the computer but this is not a main function of the system as there are better solutions for that like Fraps. This does make a great all in one solution as it does have the editor that easily cuts down the boring parts of a video and can let you show off the meat of your gaming easily and simply.

Roxio Videowave Editor

The Roxio Game Capture HD Pro does cost about $120 and is readily available on the internet and in stores like Best Buy; the Roxio is about the lowest cost device that captures console gameplay I could find. I highly recommend the Roxio Game Capture HD Pro for a great console video gaming capture device that allows you to stream and edit video of your best gaming moments to savor and share.

Game Capture HD Pro at Roxio

Game Capture Video at

Roxio Game Capture ProHD Video

Roxio Game Capture ProHD Video of Air Assualt on the PS3

The Roxio Game Capture HD Pro allows gamers to capture their console game play on their Windows PC for video proof of your gaming prowess with editing software to put those finishing touches to video or capture and stream live on the internet.

Roxio Game Capture HD Pro Video Game Capture Device

The Roxio Game Capture ProHD does a great job of capturing and working with video from both console systems and from regular computers with the additional feature of being able to record directly form HDMI. The system allows you to record video of any type of video including directly from a DVD or Blu-ray player which ups the features a bit when you consider the options for recording live no matter the source.

Additional features include a good video editing suite that is easy and works well but is not exactly the best video editing software that could have been included but it does work well. The software does allow you to add voice commentary toy our video which really makes this an all in one solution for performing video reviews of gameplay no matter the console system as long as you have component or HDMI video output.

You can stream your gameplay live to TwitchTV along with a few other easy to use options for uploading means no messing with video for easy and simple ways to share your final products after editing. The main feature of recording gameplay footage works well and is easy to use but the other features like no power adapter required and ease of setup really makes the Roxio Game Capture ProHD a great purchase for recording gameplay of video games.

Game Capture HD Pro at Roxio


Razer Naga 2012 Expert MMO Gaming Mouse

Razer Naga 2012 Expert MMO Gaming Mouse

The Razer Naga 2012 Expert MMO Gaming Mouse brings the new Synapse 2.0 software that Razer has recently released to the massive multiplayer online expert gaming mouse with cloud based settings and automatic updates.

Ease of Use, Performance:  5/5
Look & Feel:  4/5
Features  5/5
How much I enjoy 4/5

Total:  4.5/5 Stars

Razer Naga Expert MMO Gaming Mouse 2012 Edition

Razer has updated the software that runs their peripherals and using cloud based setting storage for players they now offer a way for gamers to automatically save and download any game or player specific settings. Connect to the internet, download the Razer Synapse program and install and your saved settings are available at your fingertips for any Razer peripheral that uses Synapse 2.0.

Razer Synapse 2.0 is not just a cloud based place for gamers to save settings but also updates drivers and firmware so gamers are constantly at the top of their game as far as hardware is concerned; the rest is up to you. Razer has gone above and beyond with keeping their peripherals current and they have also listened to gamers with what they want for gaming hardware when it comes to gaming performance.

Razer Synapse 2.0 also does something for gamers when they just have to do that other stuff like image editing and simple web browsing by storing settings specific to programs like Photoshop or Dreamweaver. You can use various configurations and store them in the cloud while also being able to automatically switch settings per program when you open them.

Whats in the Box

The Naga 2012 Edition has the usual slick Teflon pads on the bottom with one on each of the side panels and four on the main part of the mouse. The bottom also sports the number or keypad switch so the ten number buttons on the side will either emulate the numbers above the letter keys or the number pad keys.

The Razer Naga 2012 Edition does use the MMO specific side buttons to create a panel of 12 inputs using your thumb while the other side of the mouse has the three interchangeable side panels for optimized fit. You can use the side panel that best fits your hand and style of mouse usage from the very ergonomic style of gaming mouse with its general shape that fits comfortably in my hand.

The Naga 2012 Edition like previous editions has three interchangeable side pieces for the comfort of the user depending on how you like your mouse. You can use the smaller unobtrusive side for a more ergonomic fit, the ring finger support side or the ring and small finger support side for the most comfortable side you like.

Razer Naga Side Panels

The side panels fit onto the side of the mouse using four screws and magnets to hold the side on and even active gaming will not budge the pieces off the mouse. The various side panels make for the most comfortable mouse for any given user and makes the Naga 2012 Edition very customizable in both shape and programing.

The Naga 2012 Edition does not come with any drivers on a disc as you simply download them from the Razer support website but once you connect and have them installed you can customize any of the 17 mouse buttons. The four buttons of the mouse finger buttons, two buttons behind the scroll wheel and the scroll wheel itself mean a good versatile mouse but the addition of twelve side buttons give you lots of configuration options.

The Razer Naga 2012 Edition is mainly meant for Massive Multiplayer Games like Dungeons and Dragons Online or World of Warcraft and makes a handy way to access multiple spells or items. The included rubber indicators that Razer calls Grid Trainers allow you to get the thumb button positions down but you can keep them on for the life of the mouse to help with button locations.

Bottom of Naga 2012

The temporary adhesive on the buttons does mean that they will come off fairly easily but you can use something stronger to glue the indicators in place on any of the buttons you want. The Naga 2012 Edition comes with two sets of indicators with one set being rectangular and slanted to coincide with the buttons shape and the other set is round and you can put a single indicator or several on the side buttons.

The Razer Naga 2012 Edition has the usual profiles where you can save specific settings per game so when the game starts it will automatically switch to that profile. The newer Synapse program and cloud based setting saves allows for a user to save both settings and profiles in the cloud so that you always have them available over the internet.

The Razer Naga 2012 mouse now includes just about everything a gamer could want and the mouse also works very well for other tasks like image editing and web browsing. I have set up the mouse to work with common tasks like opening menu popups for image size and crop that makes my work on product shots that much easier.

The Razer Naga may be for gamers but it also works exceptionally well for other tasks and can be quite handy for many different programs and uses. The Razer Naga 2012 edition does make an excellent mouse for other programs but it excels at massive multiplayer online games.

Razer Synapse 2.0

The Razer Naga Expert MMO Gaming Mouse costs about $80 and can be found online at Razer and at other sites and local stores that sell high quality computer peripherals.

Naga 2012 Edition at Razer 

Razer Tiamat 7.1 Surround Sound Gaming Headset

Razer Tiamat 7.1 Surround Sound Gaming Headset

The Razer Tiamat is the first true 7.1 gaming headset for analog connection to your computer to deliver full surround sound audio from ten discrete drivers in the ear cups for a true positional advantage.

Ease of Use, Performance: 23/25
Look & Feel: 20/25
Features 24/25
How much I enjoy 24/25
Total: 91/100

Razer Tiamat 7.1 Surround Sound Gaming Headset

Razer has released the first true 7.1 surround sound headset that includes ten discrete drivers in the two ear cups for a true surround sound experience. The Razer Tiamat 7.1 is a true surround sound headset with five discrete drivers in each ear piece and connects to your computer using the five analog audio connections and a USB for power.

The Razer Tiamat comes with the headset with inline controller, mini USB adapter, extra ear piece covers, certificate of authenticity and user’s manual all in a really nice box. The Razer Tiamat 7.1 has the inline controller with a large dial for volume control and a smaller dial switch for volume control of the individual speaker channels.

The controller also has the mute button, external speaker button and 7.1 button for switching between 2.0 and 7.1 audio as well as a connection for an adapter that connects a speaker set to the controller. The addition of a connection on the controller to add external speakers means no disconnecting your analog audio connections to switch between the headset and speakers.

The headset ear pieces have a smoked but clear plastic over the drivers so you can see the five speakers inside each ear piece but you can also use the additional covers to hide them. These side covers use four magnets to attach to the sides but I find the looks just fine without the black covers.

Whats in the Box

The sides of the Razer Tiamat also have the green glowing Razer logo, it had to be somewhere, on each ear piece for good looks while most of the rest of the headset is black. The headband has some green stitching but the main band that connects the headset is made from a dark gray plastic while the controller and cable is black.

The Razer Tiamat uses one of the five analog connections for a microphone which works very well for gaming and chat communication. The Tiamat microphone is a unidirectional boom microphone that retracts into the left head piece for convenient storage when not in use.

I had no problem’s hearing myself talking over chat and Skype as well as over a game using a couple of computers for in game chat and voice as a test. The microphone gives clear voice over the computer for general voice using onboard sound but is much better when using a dedicated sound card.

Like many things with computers the addition of a dedicated sound card adds a lot of quality to your sound experience and makes the headset a better one. I had no problems other than one I will mention shortly with USB power using both onboard sound and an Auzen X-Forte sound card with the Razer Tiamat.

Cables, Controllers & Contoller

The headset has a stretch cord band that rests on top of your head as well as a larger plastic band that helps to keep the headset snug on your head. This two band system works well and helps to keep the headset comfortable while also keeping the ear pieces snug.

The ear cushions are replaceable but due to the newer release they may not be up on the site as yet, the headsets themselves are even backordered as of this writing. It seems that the Razer Tiamat is a highly wanted item and I can see why just reading other reviews but the real test is using it yourself.

The Razer Tiamat connects to your computer using the four analog connections that are your center, side, front and rear speakers with another analog connection for microphone and the USB for power. I will say this and try to emphasize this in my review that the headset quality depends mostly on this USB power connection.

I connected the headset to one motherboard surround sound and had a problem right off the bat with noise when no audio was playing and this continued to the next motherboard that I tried. I had purchased a new motherboard and after some setup during the trial period with the Razer Tiamat I swapped the motherboard out on my main work computer.


I tried the new Tiamat on this motherboard, an Asus Sabertooth 990FX, thinking it would have both a better onboard audio and better USB but I still had noticeable noise. After some checking with another computer and other things like a tablet and Google Chrome book I figured out that it was the USB powered part of the headset that was introducing the noise.

I cleared this up by connecting the USB power to an adapter instead of my computer and got rid of all noise over the headset, they work great once you get rid of the noise. I found a few other reviews that also have this same issue and corrected it simply by using an external USB power adapter and this issue is addressed on the Razer Tiamat website.

You can use the Tiamat with a stereo output from devices like an iPhone or MP3 player using the single stereo front speaker connection but you do need a USB power source. I found it easy enough to use the speakers on a Google laptop with the single stereo output and the single USB connection that the Chrome book has for the power source.

The Tiamat uses the five discrete or separate drivers in each headset so you have the surround sound with full 7.1 surround which means some great positional gaming. I had a true positional sound while gaming and had no problems telling where to point my weapons while playing games like Battlefield 3.

5 Discrete Drivers Per Ear

The Gaming was fantastic and truly 7.1 surround sound which really adds to the gaming experience, movies are also great but the Tiamat really excels at gaming. The discrete drivers give you real 7.1 surround sound but you will usually not tell the specific speakers playing at any one time during gameplay or movies.

I tried the Razer Tiamat with several games including Battlefield 3, Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3 and Crysis 2 along with movies like Transformer 3 and Black Hawk Down. All the movies and gaming I threw at the Razer Tiamat turned out really well and I thoroughly enjoyed all the experiences with the 7.1 headset.

The Razer Tiamat really works well during gaming and gives you not only a much better gaming experience but can really help in gaming for first person shooters. Playing on Battlefield 3 I could tell much better where the enemies were and could use the positional sound to help in getting more kills and even defend myself better.

Even though the Razer Tiamat does have a problem with noise from a poorly grounded USB connection it does work extremely well for a full 7.1 surround sound headset. I have used other expensive and really good headsets that also have this problem of noise form poor USB grounds and this is an easy one to fix for the Razer Tiamat by simply using an external USB power adapter.

The Razer Tiamat costs about $180 but for the full 7.1 surround sound using discrete drivers and is really worth the cost as an excellent gaming and entertainment headset. I highly recommend the Razer Tiamat for a top of the line full 7.1 surround sound headset that sounds excellent and is very comfortable for long gaming sessions.