Gadget news
Autonomous SmartDesk Pro Standing Desk Review
9:02 pm | May 30, 2023

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets | Comments: Off

The Autonomous SmartDesk Pro is a great option for someone looking to upgrade to one of the best standing desks on the market. While the model we tested doesn’t include many bells and whistles, such as built-in charging ports or other desk accessories, it offers a solid experience for those looking to invest in a no-frills, motorized, and stable standing desk. It comes with a wide range of height adjustability (26 inches - 51.6 inches in our measurements), a user-friendly controller with manual adjustment, and 4 programmable memory positions for saving the right height whether you are standing or sitting. It’s quiet when running, feels solid, is affordable, and offers good value.

Autonomous SmartDesk Pro

Autonomous SmartDesk Pro Unboxing (Image credit: Bryce Hyland // Future)

Unboxing and First Impressions

From the moment our desk arrived, we were impressed with the quality of the materials. It arrived in two boxes, one protecting the desktop and the other the leg supports. Both were well packaged, heavy, and somewhat bulky, so find someone to help you move them around. We found the pieces to be neatly organized inside the packaging, making assembly efficient and straightforward. 

Autonomous SmartDesk Pro

Autonomous SmartDesk Pro assembly (Image credit: Bryce Hyland // Future)

Building the desk was a breeze thanks to the included printed instructions and how the parts were packaged. The pictures and instructions were easy to follow, and the hardware was pre-packaged and easy to identify. We appreciated the pre-drilled holes that made alignment and installation smooth without second-guessing, measuring, or adjusting. Wiring the desk motors to the controller is easy, and with the included adjustable cable straps, we could cleanly organize the motor and controller cables out of sight. It took 45 minutes to assemble the SmartDesk Pro with the provided hand tools (you will need to source a screwdriver).

Once assembled, we did ask a second person to help flip the desk upright and move it into position. If multiple people were building the desk, it could easily be assembled in under 30 minutes. Once in position, we found the power cable for the motor to be shorter than we would prefer. When the table is at its highest setting, the plug does not reach the floor. We had to add an additional extension cord to reach our outlet nearby.

Autonomous SmartDesk Pro

Autonomous SmartDesk Pro Pre-drilled holes (Image credit: Bryce Hyland // Future)

The Autonomous SmartDesk Pro we tested came in a clean, all-white white look that feels modern yet not sterile. In our setup, we found the desktop large enough to hold a laptop and second monitor while still having some margin for extra documents without feeling overly cramped. The desktop features two well-placed cable drop grommet holes along the back on either side, with some rubber inserts in the solid metal covers to hold the cables in place. To run cables through the cable holes, we had to semi-disassemble them by twisting and pulling up the cover, removing the rubber insert, dropping the cables in place, and then reassembling the cover again. The design provides a very secure cable management system, albeit not as easy to drop a few extra cables in easily. At most, you’ll fit two or maybe three cables through the insert before removing the cover completely to run any additional cables as the cable slot in the grommet cover is non-adjustable.

Autonomous SmartDesk Pro

Autonomous SmartDesk Pro in all white (Image credit: Bryce Hyland // Future)

Design and Build Quality

Overall we were impressed with the design and build quality of the Autonomous SmartDesk Pro. Each component feels solid, secure, and made to last. Autonomous also states that the desk will support up to 310 lbs (we did not test) which is more than enough to support most desktop setups.

The SmartDesk Pro offers a wide range of height adjustability that we found suitable for many different work environments, whether you want to sit or stand. You should easily find a comfortable fit regardless if you’re using an office chair, stool or when standing.

In our testing, we found the programmable controller easy to use, with up/down buttons for manual adjustments and 4 programmable memory presets that make storing any combination of sit and stand positions easy. We found this especially helpful when sharing a desk with two people – each could program a sit and stand preset. Additionally, the manual adjustment buttons make micro-adjustments a snap.

We found the matte white tabletop and legs surprisingly able to hide smudges, fingerprints, and dust well, and it is easily cleaned with a damp rag or Magic Eraser. Autonomous recommends cleaning with any non-abrasive cleaning solution/rag or disinfectant wipe when needed. Overall, we were highly impressed with the desk’s solid feel, ease of keeping clean and modern look. Autonomous also offers various desktop and leg styles to custom-match your desk to your office environment.

Autonomous SmartDesk Pro

Autonomous SmartDesk Pro Controller (Image credit: Bryce Hyland // Future)

In Use

We love using the Autonomous SmartDesk Pro. The motor is quiet (<48 dB in our test), smooth, and stable. The desktop is spacious enough for a dual monitor setup or laptop and second monitor and provides ample room to spread out a few pages of documents as well. Depending on your setup, you may consider adding one of our recommended best monitor stands to raise your screens to eye level for better ergonomics. If you need additional space for extra peripherals like a printer or document storage, Autonomous offers the ability to upgrade to a larger desktop. And as we mentioned before, this desk can hold plenty of weight, so you can rest assured your equipment will be safely supported.


*Specs as tested

Dimensions: 53 x 29 in / 134.62 x 73.66 cm

Height Range: 26 - 51.6 in / 66.04 - 131.06 cm

Lifting Capacity: 310 lbs / 140.61 kg

We were also quite impressed with the desk's height range – at its lowest setting, the desktop was 26.0 inches high, and at its highest, 51.6 inches (both slightly different on our controller than what was listed on the spec sheet). At its full extension, we noticed some slight flex and movement when leaning on the table, typing on a keyboard, or starting the motor, nothing gave us any reason for concern.

Autonomous SmartDesk Pro

Autonomous SmartDesk Pro Grommet (Image credit: Bryce Hyland // Future)

We liked the look and feel of the desktop finish and found it held up well against scuff marks, ink stains, and liquids, even after weeks of testing. The SmartDesk Pro is easy to clean should it get dirty and has maintained its sharp look over time. Additionally, Autonomous has prioritized making the desktop comfortable to stand or sit at with smoothly curved edges that won’t bother your wrists after a long work day.

Autonomous SmartDesk Pro

Autonomous SmartDesk Pro Power Controller (Image credit: Bryce Hyland // Future)

Final Verdict

We think the Autonomous SmartDesk Pro is smart for many professionals looking to upgrade their office setup with a standing desk solution. With several desktop sizes and a wide range of styles, you’ll find something sure to elevate your office space environment. We found the SmartDesk Pro sturdy, quiet, durable, and affordable. With a huge range of height adjustments, you’ll find a comfortable and ergonomic position to sit or stand all day long. And when you want to customize your desk space even more, Autonomous also offers reasonably priced accessories to help maximize your workspace and set you up for success.

  • Looking for a chair to pair with your standing desk? Check out our guide to the best office chair

DocuSign review
8:10 pm |

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets | Comments: Off

No surprise given its name, DocuSign is designed to let you add your digital signature to documents. That’s an important feature in a global and increasingly remote workplace - from payment collection to onboarding new employees. But is there more to one of the best eSign software apps on the market than electronic signatures?  

DocuSign: Pricing & plans

  • Numerous plans offering an increasing number of features with a generous free trial 

Like most eSign apps, DocuSign is subscription based, and the more you pay, the more features you can access.

The Personal plan is $15 a month or $120 a year. With it, you get integration with some of the best cloud storage services, including Dropbox, OneDrive, and Google Drive. You can configure an audit trail, set up reminders and notifications, use and create templates. There are also mobile apps, so you can keep track of your documents while on the go. The worst part of this deal is that you're only allowed to send five documents to be signed per month.

That restrictive limit is removed from the Standard plan and up. In addition to the above, you also gain the ability to apply customized branding, add comments, get team reports, and grab in-person eSignatures (which is done via the mobile app, during face to face meetings). This tier is priced at $45 a month or $300 a year. 

Business Pro adds to the existing tiers by including signer attachments, collaborative fields (which allows recipients to propose changes to fields), advanced fields like conditional fields, drawing fields, and formulas. There’s a way to collect payments and SMS authentication - a service you pay extra for on top of your monthly subscription: This plan costs $65 a month or $480 a year. 

Finally, there’s Advanced Solutions. This organization-focused plan has no advertised cost as it’s more of a custom bespoke solution. It offers enterprise-level support, embedded signing, admin/user management, advanced branding, and customisable usage limits.

Should you only need to sign documents yourself, and don’t need any of xtra editing and managing options, there’s also DocuSign Free Edition. You can also try the service out for free for 30 days.

  • Pricing & plans: 4/5

DocuSign: Registration

DocuSign eSign software being tested by TechRadar Pro

Your dashboard allows you to see your current commitments  (Image credit: DocuSign)
  • It looks easy, but it’s a cumbersome process, especially its ‘prove you’re a human’ section

Here’s something we really liked about DocuSign - no credit card information is required to set-up. You just type in your email address to get started, which makes the login in process quick and easy. Because if there’s one thing we really didn’t like, it’s the platform’s cumbersome CAPTCHA-like system to prove you’re not a robot. You have to rotate an animal until its orientation matches the direction of the hand in an adjoining image. Doing that once would be tolerable, but you have to do it four or five times (it varies). This feels like overkill.

Another annoyance during the setting up process is having to give DocuSign your phone number. The process also won’t work if you have a VPN switched on. You’re told it’s unable to set up an account for you, and you’ll have to go through the whole long anti-robot verification process again. You have been warned - we tried it, so you don’t have to. Thankfully, this only happens during registration, not each time you log into the service.  

  • Registration: 2.5/5

DocuSign: Signatures

DocuSign eSign software being tested by TechRadar Pro

Creating a signature is very easy and DocuSign offers you three different ways to do it (Image credit: DocuSign)
  • You’re offered the usual options: font-based, drawn, or uploaded 

When you first start, you’ll find yourself in the Dashboard, with a sidebar on the left and some menus at the top of the window. If you haven’t already, you need to set up your signature. The quickest way to access this is by clicking on the blue Show Me button, and selecting Adopt Your Signature from the drop-down menu.

From there, you get to choose your default signature and initials. You’re presented with five font-based options, but if this doesn’t appeal, the Draw section lets create your own unique signature. Trying to do this with a mouse or trackpad is more often than not a challenge. For that reason, we liked seeing the option to upload a photo bearing your signature or your initials, which you would’ve created with a more traditional pen and paper or using a drawing tablet

  • Signatures: 4.5/5 

DocuSign: Signing & editing

DocuSign eSign software being tested by TechRadar Pro

Click on the field you wish to use, then click where you want to add it in the document - it’s pretty straightforward  (Image credit: DocuSign)
  • Editing, customizing, distributing and managing your documents can be done great ease

DocuSign is mostly geared towards collaborative work. You prepare and send documents to others, for recipients to sign, review, or store. As such, if you only need to sign a document yourself, you have to go through the same process of uploading a file, and choosing the recipient (in this case, solely you). A peculiar quirk that feels a little convoluted, but at least the platform doesn’t send you an email with a link to your own document - instead takes you straight to the editing process itself.

If you are forwarding a document to recipients, you get to type in a message to all of them, as well as providing DocuSign with their email addresses.

You’ll find that this service offers you more than just the ability to electronically sign your name. After all, most files have blank fields that need to be filled and there are a series of options to do that in the sidebar to the left.

Many cannot be altered here and provide a quick way to insert your signature, initials, current date, and even information you’ve already given DocuSign such as your name, company name, email address, that sort of thing. You just click on the one you wish to add, then click on the document to add it. After that, a simple matter to drag it around to reposition it if need be. Some, like your signature, can be resized, although most cannot.

There’s also a text field and a checkbox feature you can use to further provide any requested information.

Once you’re done, you’re offered the option to send your completed document to relevant parties, but this can easily be dismissed should you prefer or need to pass on your files in a different way. Back in the Dashboard you’ll find buttons to download to your computer, or send it to your printer.

You’ll find DocuSign very easy to understand and use, and it really comes into its own when part of a workflow for a small, medium or even large company.

  • Signing & editing: 4/5 

DocuSign: Scorecard

Should I buy...?

DocuSign eSign software being tested by TechRadar Pro

If you send documents to the same people regularly, you can create templates to speed up the process (Image credit: DocuSign)

Buy it if...

You’re filling and signing and sharing a lot of documents, and need to monitor the progress every step of the way. 

Don't buy it if...

Your needs are much more basic, and really only need to sign the odd document now and again, in which case DocuSign Free Edition could be a better fit. 

System Shock review: a SHODAN showdown
7:12 pm |

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets | Tags: , | Comments: Off
Review information

Time played: 15 hours
Platform reviewed: PC
Available on: PC 

System Shock feels like a homecoming. You can draw a clear line of inspiration from the 1994 first-person adventure game to immersive sims like 2000’s Deus Ex, 2007’s Bioshock, and 2017’s Prey. But it all started here, a battle of wills between a hacker and a rogue AI.

That’s the history lesson. Remake developers Nightdive Studios have made an entire career out of treating gaming history with reverence, and System Shock is no different. It’s a celebration of everything that made the original so great, blending in some of the parts from 1999’s System Shock 2. However, a few systems feel long in the tooth and might hinder the enjoyment of people coming to the game for the first time. 

The biggest improvement in this remake is System Shock’s aesthetic. First, you’re in an apartment littered with trash-tier future tech, cyberpunk detritus that betrays the dystopian universe of System Shock. This grim future continues on Citadel Station, a space station full of a thousand twinkling lights, of neon flaring through dark corridors filled with the grumble and moan of cyborgs. 

Look at you, hacker

System Shock remake

(Image credit: Prime Matter)

System Shock is working on a budget and occasionally you’ll see this with some low-quality textures, supposedly by design to capture the original’s vibe. Many players might see this as cut corners, but the style and presentation throughout the game is always consistent. Wherever you are on Citadel Station, you’ll feel the same way: the future is here, and it’s awful. While later areas look much fancier, there’s still a layer of grime on everything. 

The story sticks close to the original. Decades of jokes and references have made it nearly impossible to hide the reveal of evil AI SHODAN, but such was the impact of System Shock and evil AI movies like 2001: A Space Odyssey that just hearing the name SHODAN makes you realize what’s up. 

Sadly, characters in System Shock aren’t so genre savvy. The game kicks off by having your character - known as the Hacker - remove SHODAN’s ethical restrictions. Six months later, you get to reap what you’ve sown, rattling around Citadel Station to try and stop SHODAN’s reign of terror.

The game doesn’t do a lot differently. This isn’t a remake like Final Fantasy 7 or Resident Evil 2 where the original game is a jumping-off point for adventures in the same world.

System Shock remake

(Image credit: Prime Matter)

This is a retelling of the same yarn, and not only were several areas of Citadel Station easily recognizable, but several enemies were located in the same spot. Walking up to the first locked door, I entered the now-legendary 451 code (once the door code of original System Shock developers Looking Glass Studios and now an immersive sim staple) and the door slowly opened. 

This is very much a retread of that first game, albeit fleshed out in a lot of places. While the original game was more menu than game, with the huge UI taking up most of the screen while you observe the action astronaut style through a little window - here Nightdive has offered up something that, in play, feels a lot more like the 1999 sequel System Shock 2

Luckily, the story being largely the same shape means you’re spending most of your time going toe to toe with SHODAN, and this buoys the entire game because boy, SHODAN is a hell of a villain. Original voice actor Terri Brosius returns and is often terrifying, with every line delivered with phenomenal contempt. This venom, the fact SHODAN does not like you, makes it feel personal and drives you through the campaign out of sheer bloody-mindedness. 


System Shock remake

(Image credit: Prime Matter)

It’s a long time before you can deliver any real harm or discomfort toward SHODAN but until then you’ll be waging war on the robots, mutants, and security systems of Citadel Station. Combat is a little clunky throughout, however. 

The early wrench provides terrifying fights as you try to dance around your enemies, but there’s a wide assortment of weaponry in the game and all of it feels slightly clumsy while the game rations ammo out so that every missed shot is felt as if you had turned the gun on yourself instead. Compared to more recent shooters, the flow of combat feels off somehow, and while immersive sim fans will likely enjoy it, those coming here hoping for the white-hot adrenaline rush of proper firefights will be left wanting.

...the world design, writing, and sense of style still impress.

The slightly unwieldy nature of the guns and movement helps to sell the survival-horror atmosphere, something System Shock flirts with but never fully adopts. At least that is until you get a game over screen and you’re treated to a short video of you being turned into a cyborg or bolted to another robot to help act out SHODAN’s evil plans. 

Still, death is actually one of the biggest irritations with System Shock. Checkpointing is inconsistent and at one point during my playthrough, I lost an hour of progress because I hadn’t been saving manually and was sent back to the last big story beat.

This error is mostly my fault because I am a big idiot, but it still grated in a world where most games throw autosaves and checkpoints at you to ensure you’re not having to retread areas several times. Even System Shock’s substantial charm diminishes when you have to replay an area after a hulking mech blows your arms off for the third time in a row. 

For digital tourists hoping to spelunk the depths of video game classics after experiencing the many many spiritual successors inspired by the original game, System Shock might feel old hat. However, despite the slightly aged systems - no longer offering the wow factor of the 1994 release - the world design, writing, and sense of style still impress. This is a worthy update and the best way to revisit one of gaming’s very best doomed space stations. 

Diablo 4 review – paradise regained
7:00 pm |

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets | Tags: , | Comments: Off
Review Information

Time Played: 24 hours
Reviewed on: PC 
Available on: PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC

I arrive in a remote village, my body beset by numbing cold. To my relief, the villagers welcome me, and, after I help them with a pesky demon problem, we share a few drinks. It’s a relieving, feel-good moment, which would be more than enough in a traditional fantasy story. However, Diablo 4 is its own beast. 

I pass out. It turns out that the village is full of cultists, and I was drugged at the drinks celebrating my heroism. A priest, whom I’d written off as a panic-stricken civilian, comes to my aid, and the two of us fight our way out of the village – make quick work of the duplicitous locals with whom I’d broken bread not moments ago. 

I survive, but there's a grim feeling in the pit of my stomach that I just can’t shake. Threats are everywhere in the world of Diablo 4, and safety is fleeting. This pervasive sense of peril adds a sense of sharpness to the decisions you make – a sense boldly reinforced by the game’s commitment to an eerie and repressive gothic art style.  

Diablo 4 opens up like a flower, a fractal of decision points and satisfying choices that stem from humble origins. At the very beginning, Blizzard’s ambitious and latest attack on the internet's best RPG lists asks you to pick a class. This is everything: instrumental in deciding what tools you’ll have for interacting with the game’s meticulously crafted systems. Even at this early stage, you are given access to a decision tree with meaningfully divergent paths.

Each class is lovingly curated. The Rogue is agile, subtle, and cerebral while the Necromancer is wreathed in blood, bone, and darkness. Crucially, however, the classes in Diablo 4 are not ends in and of themselves but are means to an end. 

Diablo 4 opens up like a flower, a fractal of decision points and satisfying choices that stem from humble origins

Over the first few hours, you’ll go up a handful levels, each one prompting you to commit skill points to your character's tree and abilities. On top of that, you’ll have begun to build a library of items and equipment, which, like skills, necessitate meaningful decisions from you, the player. They start out as small quibbles over stats but quickly snowball into captivating mind traps concerned with powerful game-altering abilities. Though these choices are reversible, they set you down a path and, before long, you’re playing a character that feels bespoke; organically tailored to your own whims and fancies. 

The war in heaven

Concept Art Caravaggio Pastiche

(Image credit: Blizzard)

Diablo 4’s commitment to the gothic is far more than purely superficial. The game’s plot, art style, and mechanics all skillfully converge on a single point: the conflict between dark and light, and the poor humans who get caught up in the cosmic mess. Blizzard’s latest isn’t a power trip. Rather, you step into the role of a character who is, despite their role as protagonist, undeniably limited and mortal. 

The game’s imposing art style bores into your skull with the inexorable regularity of a jackhammer. Diablo 4 kicked down the door to my imagination and now lives there rent-free, complete with the obligatory contingent of skulls and gargoyles. The open world of Sanctuary is richly detailed and foreboding – a fact that the game’s consistent stylistic refrains don’t let you forget.

The game’s imposing art style bores into your skull with the inexorable regularity of a jackhammer

This sense of fearful exploration melds seamlessly with the game’s mechanics, doubling down on this theme of mortal limitations. For every skill you pick, there are, perhaps, a dozen that you have had to pass up. It may feel ruthless, but it also serves to give your choices meaning. Like the other brief mortals of Sanctuary, in Diablo 4 we must play the cards we are dealt as best we can.  

Apocalypse world  

character dressed in elaborate armor in a character creation mode

(Image credit: Blizzard)

Perhaps Diablo 4’s most adventurous quality is the move towards an open world in the 'modern' sense. What could have been a featureless, bland expanse is, instead, a delight. Brimming with intrigue and danger, the open world of Sanctuary fits the Diablo formula like a glove, providing the space in which the game’s macabre aesthetic and bold mechanical design cohere beautifully.

Diablo 4’s environmental design does a lot of heavy lifting, too. Not only is it packed with nuggets of emergent storytelling courtesy of dungeons and events galore, but the locales of Diablo 4 have a palpably organic quality, which goes a long way toward making the world feel tangible and somewhat grounded.  

Diablo 4’s environmental design does a lot of heavy lifting

Environments shift as you move from them. Descend a mountain range, and snow will dissolve into slush, and then mud. Things are rarely pleasant to look at in Diablo 4, but they are always striking and inviting, coaxing you into the gameworld with a gentle yet insistent boldness. 

Dark fantasy horror and occult mystery shine through these environments, creating set pieces and visuals that are, at once, thrilling and disquieting – hallmarks of the Gothic tradition done right.

This, when coupled with the game’s ruthless yet enrapturing layers of character customization and decision points makes for an experience that wholeheartedly captures the promise of Diablo 4. This may be a game about killing monsters and getting loot, but it is also so much more. 

Diablo 4 releases on June 6 for PS4, PS5, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One and PC. We reviewed this on PC with a code provided by the publisher. 

Cooler Master MasterHUB is a modular Stream Deck killer
5:58 pm |

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets | Comments: Off

Cooler Master MasterHUB: Two-minute review

When Cooler Master told me, pre-Computex 2023, that it’s coming after Elgato, it was hard for me not to get excited. The content creation hardware brand has long established its dominance, remaining pretty much unchallenged for a few years for good reason – the products are amazing. So when someone tells me they’re launching a new line of products that will put it to shame, you bet your bottom New Taipei Dollar I’m going to be there to check it out.

The Cooler Master MasterHUB was one of the things I really looked forward to seeing at Computex, and I’m glad I did. This tool is truly impressive and a testament to not just CM’s creatively unbridled way of doing things but also its new found commitment to what it calls the tech lifestyle, whose whole point is to unify and consolidate all your devices in an ecosystem that serves the different purposes you need from it in a fun, bright, and playful way.

Eventually down the line, Cooler Master is going to integrate a smart home aspect as well, so you can also use the device to simplify your home life just like it now aims to simplify your work life. But that’s probably not going to happen until 2024 at the earliest. Besides, the MasterHub is already looking like it’s punching above its weight with its current functionality.

Cooler Master MasterHUB at Computex 2023

(Image credit: Future / Michelle Rae Uy)

Since it’s not in its final production phase (there will be tweaks in the design, color, size of knobs – basically to increase user appeal and match Cooler Master’s overall ecosystem), it’s a little hard to talk about its superficial design, but probably the one thing it doesn’t have over the Corsair Stream Deck in its current iteration is looks. Appearance-wise, the MasterHUB isn’t what I would call pretty or elegant. It reminds me of those Cold War nuclear panels you often see on TV, except its buttons are lit up and its LED dial can display a photo of your beloved cat (and who doesn’t want that) or Pedro Pascal

Not that it’s ugly, but it’s certainly less sleek and modern-looking than the Elgato Stream Deck. Thank goodness this isn’t the final look.

If they were to keep this aesthetic, Cooler Master will certainly make up for that with its modularity. Instead of just a single device, this takes more of a bluebottle approach in that it’s made up of several different things, which means you can mix and match the way it suits your workflow best. 

Image 1 of 2

Cooler Master MasterHUB at Computex 2023

(Image credit: Future / Michelle Rae Uy)
Image 2 of 2

Cooler Master MasterHUB at Computex 2023

(Image credit: Future / Michelle Rae Uy)

The Cooler Master MasterHUB has nine different modules and a 6x4 base that allows you to piece together your own personalized device. This base has a four- or five-module capacity, but CM is already planning on rolling out more (a 5x2 one and a much bigger 10x10 one) so you can have all the controls you want. You know, if you want to follow CM’s example and just go all out.

Yes, unlike the Stream Deck, which is mostly just buttons (in fact, it’s only the new Stream Deck + that has knobs), the MasterHUB does go all out with its knobs, dials, scroll wheels, touch screen displays, and a 13-inch wheel with an IPS display. And they’re all incredibly satisfying, easy, and comfortable to use so you don’t have another reason to worry about repetitive strain injuries.

Cooler Master MasterHUB at Computex 2023

(Image credit: Future / Michelle Rae Uy)

Assembly is easy as well. Attaching and removing the modules from the base is effortless since it’s all magnetic. If you want to change the arrangement, you can do that at any time too since the base is designed to just automatically detect and connect every module. 

Setting it up for the first time is a breeze as well, as it is plug and play. Really, the hardest part of the whole thing is assigning all your individual controls to the apps and in-app functions you want, which is more time consuming than hard since the new MasterControl software, which CM will roll out soon, is just amazingly uncomplicated (no hair-pulling here when you’re customizing your devices).

Cooler Master MasterHUB at Computex 2023

(Image credit: Future / Michelle Rae Uy)

There is a stand on hand to prop up your device higher, but that’s something you have to purchase separately. Only a magnetic foot is included in the box, and like the modules, it easily snaps onto the base for convenience.

It’s too early to really dig into the Cooler Master MasterHUB’s performance. After all, I only sparingly used it in a showroom, and not all the controls were assigned to apps and functions. What I can say, however, is that it looks to respond quickly to your presses and turns, and it takes a fraction of a second to register a newly-assigned setting via MasterControl, which means you can change a control’s assigned function on-the-fly.

For optimal performance, it does use APIs to the most commonly used software and apps. At the time of writing, there are currently three: Photoshop, Premier, and OBS Studio. However, CM is planning on rolling out about 10 on its release. And Bryant Nguyen, CM’s General Manager of Core Tech Center, assured me that you can pretty much assign any controls to most applications even without an API. And I’ll make sure to test that as soon as I get my hands on a unit for proper testing.

Cooler Master MasterHUB at Computex 2023

(Image credit: Future / Michelle Rae Uy)

CoolerMaster MasterHUB: Price and availability

  • How much does it cost? TBA
  • When is it available? 3rd week of November
  • Where can you get it? Worldwide

At this time, Cooler Master cannot share the MSRP on the system, as well as the individual modules and accessories. What I can tell you is that the MasterHUB will be available, at least initially, in three kits: the Streamer Kit, Photo Editor Kit, and the Video Editor Kit, and each one will be a different configuration.

It is slated for launch in the third week of November, however, and will be available worldwide.

CoolerMaster MasterHUB: Early verdict

From what I’ve seen so far, however, the Cooler Master MasterHUB looks to be quite an impressive piece of kit. Its modular nature makes it extremely versatile and allows it to have so many use cases – not to mention, so much fun to use, but CM has made it so that it’s also incredibly easy and uncomplicated to use.

There’s also diversity here. Whereas the Stream Deck has four knobs, one LED display, and mostly buttons, the MasterHUB has sliders, knobs, scroll wheels, touch displays, and a display wheel. And Bryant Nguyen assures me that the whole system will be available at a much more accessible price point.

But will it be a nail in Corsair’s Stream Deck coffin? Well, seeing as Corsair also has something exciting in store at Computex 2023 (I’ll report on that soon), time will tell.

Saucony Guide 16 review: One of the best running shoes for overpronators
5:45 pm |

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets | Tags: , , | Comments: Off

Saucony Guide 16: One minute review

As a runner, stability in a trainer is very important, especially if you tend to overpronate, or roll your foot too far inward when it lands. This is what the Saucony Guides have always been known for, helping to "steer your stride" with a guidance frame. If it works, it's certainly going to be one of the best running shoes for overpronators. 

I’ve never tried any of its previous versions, but the Guide 16 trainers provide stability for not just those who overpronate, such as me, but any runner who wants to feel secure as they complete their miles.

It's also very rare that running trainers are comfortable from the get-go, usually needing a few miles to "break in" so to speak, but I can authoritatively say that the Saucony Guide 16 are just that. As soon as I laced up the trainers they felt like slippers, molding into my feet as soon as I took my first steps. 

This design benefits from upgraded PWRRUN+ technology, a gilley design around the laces that helps then wrap into the shoe further around the upper, and lightweight support on the heel and ankle. Performance is exceptional as its PWRRUN+ insoles and midsoles cradled my feet and helped with comfort and stabilization as I ran. 

The trainers aren't waterproof or as bouncy as some of the other trainers on the market, so aren't going to be suited for trail fans or speed junkies, but their comfort is second to none, and they are now a firm favorite for short runs. 

Saucony Guide 16: Specifications

Saucony Ride 16

(Image credit: Future)

Saucony Guide 16: Price and availability

  • $160 in the US
  • £130 in the UK
  • AU$219.99 in Australia

Launched in February this year, the Saucony Guide 16 are priced at $160 / £130 / AU$219.99. The shoes are available direct from the Saucony website and from other third-party sites such as Wiggle, Decathlon and Amazon. 

This is about the right sort of price point, at the same mark or slightly cheaper than other running shoes designed for stability and to course-correct your stride, such as the ASICS Gel-Kayano 29. We're satisfied this price is about what you'd expect, and not out of line with the rest of its competitors.

Value score: 4/5

Saucony Guide 16: Design

Saucony Ride 16

(Image credit: Future)
  • PWRRUN+ insole contours the foot
  • The unique gilley system gives a secure fit
  • Upper mesh is breathable but could be more waterproof

Well-designed with high-tech foam to help with stability it’s a good-looking shoe, as well as designed with comfort in mind. Available in a variety of different colors from the "soot/sprig" red-and-green number to our more somber black testing pair, the sneakers' performance upper mesh gives them some edge, design-wise, and has a thicker material than its predecessor. 

However, the mesh still allows for enough breathability when running. There's next to no waterproofing, which is a shame and precludes them from any trails other than light, hard park paths, but a lack of waterproofing isn't uncommon in these sorts of road shoes. 

The design really benefits from Saucony's unique gilley system, a criss-cross lace-organization design on the midfoot that loops the laces further back on the upper than normal, and gives your foot more support. However, we sometimes found this design slightly too tight. 

With a heel-to-toe drop of 8mm, the trainer's lightweight heel and ankle padding meant no rubbing as I ran, and its deeper footbed added to the comfort of the trainers and gave them a very personalized feel. A little like memory foam.

Its XT-900 outsole, made from carbon rubber, gives the shoe durability, as I took them through a series of short and longer runs, while its upgraded PWRRUN+ insole adds to the comfort, contouring my feet well.

Design score: 4.5/5

Saucony Guide 16: Performance

Saucony Guide 16

(Image credit: Saucony)
  • PWRRUN+ technology helped cradle and cushion my feet
  • Great for runners with overpronation 
  • Lightweight but not as bouncy as some other running trainers 

Comfortable from the moment I laced up, I was impressed with just how easily my feet molded into these trainers. I wore the shoes on multiple training runs for an upcoming 10k run - which involved 5-8k runs and some interval training runs. New trainers normally rub on the sides of my feet and sometimes give me blisters as I wear them in, but not these trainers, which could be down to their new PWRRUN+ insoles, which seemed to cradle my feet and keep them stable as I ran.

Unlike other trainers, like New Balances’ latest SC Elite v3 and Brook’s Adrenaline range I didn’t get as much energy return as I ran. The trainers also benefit from PWRRUN+ technology in their midsoles which gave me a firm and cushioned stride, but not as bouncy as I would have preferred. However, they still felt supportive, as my foot rolled from heel to toe, which is probably down to the shoe's HALLOW TECH support frame. 

This frame support also provides more stability for anyone that overpronates when they run, like me. Overpronation is when the arch of your foot collapses inwards as you run, meaning this part of your sole will have more wear and tear. Although I still overpronated in these trainers they felt far more supportive - hugging my feet as I ran. 

Lightweight, they didn’t add a considerable amount of weight to my feet, however, their upper mesh material didn't keep my feet dry. I wore the trainers in multiple weather conditions and although they didn’t keep my feet dry in wet weather, their XT-900 outsole did provide great grip. 

Performance score: 5/5

Saucony Guide 16: Should I buy?

Buy it if...

You overpronate when you run 

They feel incredibly supportive for any runner who overpronates due to their insoles and updated foam technology. 

You run mid distances

This is an everyday show for 5k and 10k runners - allowing for comfort and stability.

If comfort is key to you

Lets be honest, most trainers take a few runs to break in - but these were comfortable from the moment I stepped into them. 

Don't buy it if...

You need waterproof trainers 

Running in all weather conditions? My feet were soaked through when I went out on a particularly rainy run

You want a bigger energy return

Although stable and comfortable, these running shoes aren't as bouncy as some of the other models on the market

You prefer more movement in the midfoot

Although their unique gilley system looks great they made our midfoot feel suffocated at times.

Saucony Guide 16: Also consider

First reviewed: May 2023

HyperX Cloud III review: best mic on a gaming headset
1:15 pm |

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets | Comments: Off

HyperX Cloud III: Two-minute review

I am honestly loving this trend of gaming headset manufacturers competing against themselves rather than against each other. Brands like SteelSeries, Razer, Logitech, and now HyperX seem to be making it less about how they can beat the competition and more about how they can top their already impressive and well-beloved products.

SteelSeries literally overhauled its amazing Arctis line with the Arctis Nova, cementing its status as the best premium gaming headset brand. Razer made up for the great but flaw-riddled Razer BlackShark V2 Pro by fixing its issues and giving its ‘predecessor’ the same name, just to make it clear that our grievances didn’t go unnoticed. And Logitech took its best wireless gaming headset and made it even more superior by creating a whole new driver.

And now, we’ve got HyperX, tugging on our economizing heartstrings with an overhaul of the crowd-favorite HyperX Cloud II Wireless and even made it cheaper for good measure. With the release of the HyperX Cloud III, the Cloud is finally the best gaming headset it could be and really earning all that loyal fandom behind it.

HyperX Cloud III on a white table

(Image credit: Future / Michelle Rae Uy)

If you don’t know already, the HyperX Cloud III’s predecessor had gathered quite a following due to its affordable price tag and good sound quality. So much so that if you look up what the best gaming headset is on Reddit, a number of people are likely to mention it alongside pricier options. 

My thing about that headset though is that I honestly didn’t get the hype. To me, it was a decent option at best, one that’s only good if you were on a tight budget. But then, you could also say that about a couple of offerings from Corsair and Turtle Beach. 

With the HyperX Cloud III, however, it’s clear that HyperX has upped its game since. It’s superior to its predecessor in every way with its better audio, more robust build quality, improved comfort, more connectivity options, a more modern look, and an elevated mic. 

I mention the mic last here specifically because it’s also the headset’s best feature. It’s one of the best mic on a gaming headset I’ve ever used, and the fact that it’s on a sub-$100/£100 one is even more astounding.

HyperX Cloud III on a white table

(Image credit: Future / Michelle Rae Uy)

First, let’s have a chat about the improved design. HyperX has updated the look so that the HyperX Cloud III keeps up with the trends. Not that I do not love the look of the last one – I did appreciate the stitched edges of the headband, but this design is sleeker, more elegant, and has beautiful curves, even on the yokes. It’s what the gaming headset would look like if it miraculously melded together with a pair of Sony headphones.

HyperX Cloud III on a white table

(Image credit: Future / Michelle Rae Uy)

The headband boasts a slightly plushier foam and a softer-to-the-touch leatherette finish, and it’s extremely bendable as well, making it more pliable that adds to its comfort. Adding to that comfort are the thicker ear cups, which are also very plush. 

HyperX Cloud III on a white table

(Image credit: Future / Michelle Rae Uy)

Thick memory foam in ear pads and headband certainly make for a very cushy experience. This is billed as “signature comfort” for good reason. The leatherette feels premium, even if it doesn’t feel like the most breathable material. If you tend to run hot, especially when gaming, you might want to give this a try first before committing.

HyperX Cloud III on a white table

(Image credit: Future / Michelle Rae Uy)

HyperX says that the headset is more robust as well. And besides the 3.5mm and USB connectivity, you’re also getting USB-C, which makes it all the more versatile in terms of the platforms it’s compatible with. 

One of the best things about this gaming headset is that it’s incredibly lightweight, which really does add to your gaming experience. It might not be something you’ll notice in the beginning, but it’ll definitely help if you’re playing for hours at a time.

As with HyperX’s gaming peripherals, this has app support via the Ngenuity App, which is straightforward and easy to use, if not incredibly feature-rich. You can set volume, mic volume, mic monitoring, toggle surround sound, and use EQ, but that’s about it really. You do have access to multiple profiles and create more though. You can either choose a preset or create a new one yourself, and all of them are customizable via the 10-band EQ.

Image 1 of 2

HyperX Cloud III on a white table

(Image credit: Future / Michelle Rae Uy)
Image 2 of 2

HyperX Cloud III on a white table

(Image credit: Future / Michelle Rae Uy)

If you’re an EQ newbie, don’t worry about it. The HyperX Cloud III is a brighter-sounding headphone, but not painfully so. Besides, there’s a lot of people that prefer that. I personally do not mind it myself. It does have that “smile” frequency curve, which means it’s giving boosted lows and highs but less mids.

That means that the high end is crisp and detailed, and the low end has a lot of oomph – just what people look for in their gaming headset. In Kena: Bridge of Spirits, I could clearly hear all the twinkling sounds in the game, especially when I’m sending out a pulse while the low end gives the soundgrack gravitas.

Hip-hop music like Kedrick Lamar’s Humble also sounds pretty good on these headphones. However, the mids are somewhat recessed so rock music sounds anemic.

The soundstage is good but not anything special – about on par with most decent gaming headsets - but the sound imaging is more than adequate to clearly hear where everything is, including far-off enemies in games likes CS:GO. There is DTS:X Spatial Sound, but you can only turn it on and off without further adjustments. It makes everything a little wider and a little more immersive, but it is subtle compared to other surround sound tech.

Finally, let’s chat about that mic. The detachable microphone on this headset delivers improved clarity, and it sounds incredibly good – much better, in fact, than the mics on pricier headsets. It is clear and seems to reject background noise like keyboard presses though it does pick up voices from across the room. It’s somewhat susceptible to plosives but not too bad, and it does a great job minimizing sibilance.

HyperX Cloud III: Price & availability

  • How much does it cost? $99.99 (about £99.99, AU$150)
  • When is it available? Available now
  • Where can you get it? Available in the US, UK, and Australia

Another great thing that HyperX is doing for fans of its products is drop the price. Apparently, giving one of its most popular products a massive overhaul and making it better in every aspect isn't enough. It made it affordable as well, which I'm sure is much appreciated in this economy.

The HyperX Cloud III is just $99.99 (about £99.99, AU$150), making it $50 cheaper than its predecessor. If the other one couldn't count as a budget gaming headset before, this one certainly is.

It's also a fantastic value for a wireless option. Newer wireless gaming headsets like the Razer BlackShark V2 Pro (2023) and the Logitech Pro X 2 Wireless Lightspeed are pricier propositions, and there are things the Cloud III does better.

  • Value: 5 / 5

HyperX Cloud III: Specs

HyperX Cloud III on a white table

(Image credit: Future / Michelle Rae Uy)

Should you buy the HyperX Cloud III?

Buy it if...

You don't want to spend a lot on a wireless option
Despite this being a fantastic wireless gaming headset, it's also surprisingly affordable. It's a great option for budget-minded gamers.

You need a really great mic
The detachable mic on this sounds fantastic and better than the mic on pricier rivals. If mic pickup is a priority, this is the one to get.

You want a lightweight pair of cans
I think one of the most underrated features of this line is their lightweight nature. This is extremely comfortable to wear for hours.

Don't buy it if...

You want audiophile sound
Its sound quality lends itself well to gaming, but the mids are somewhat recessed so you're not really getting a more balanced audio experience.

You want a much more immersive soundstage
It delivers good soundstage and great sound imaging, as well as good spatial audio. However, it's not as immersive as I would have liked.

HyperX Cloud III: Also consider

How I tested the HyperX Cloud III

  • Tested the headset for a week
  • Used it for gaming, listening to music, and streaming shows
  • Used it with games like Cyberpunk 2077 and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive

I used the HyperX Cloud III as my main wireless headset for gaming, listening to music, and watching my favorite shows for about a week. I used it to play titles like CS: GO, Cyberpunk 2077 and Kena: Bridge of Spirits, paying close attention to not just its audio quality but its mic performance as well. 

As I always do, I also used to to jump on video calls with colleagues, listen to music, and streaming some of my favorite shows like Wednesday.

I’ve been testing, reviewing, and using gaming headsets for years as a freelance tech journalist and now as one of the Computing editors at TechRadar. My years of experience along with my discerning audio tastes make me more than qualified to test and vet these devices for you.

Read more about how we test

First reviewed May 2023

Street Fighter 6 review: perfect round
10:00 am |

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets | Comments: Off
Review information

Time played: 35 hours
Platform reviewed: PS5
Available on: PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X|S, PC

Street Fighter 6 is finally here after what felt like an eternity. But it brings me nothing but joy to report that the wait for the latest installment in Capcom’s legendary fighting game series has been worth it. Almost every facet of Street Fighter 6 is appealing to the broad audience it targets, and you’ll have heaps of content to delve into when it launches on June 2.

Developed in Capcom’s RE Engine, Street Fighter 6 dazzles with exceptional visuals and style. Expressive, highly-detailed character models mesh gorgeously with graffiti-like flourishes and particle effects that splash across the screen whenever special moves fly. Street Fighter 6’s style lends so much vibrancy to its fights, a far cry from the relatively muted Street Fighter 5.

The actual fighting in Street Fighter 6 wows even more than its remarkable visuals. Its 6-button setup is Street Fighter through and through, but the newly added Drive Gauge sets each and every fight apart with its array of supplementary mechanics. From the Drive Impact that can break through an opponent’s aggression to a Drive Parry that, when timed perfectly, can give you an instant frame advantage, the gauge ensures every character has access to a veritable Swiss army knife of defensive options if managed effectively. 

And if that all sounds a bit much, fear not; Street Fighter 6’s excellent World Tour mode does a great job of getting new players up to speed, presenting opportunities to learn the game’s systems and each character's move set.

Street Fighter 6’s biggest strength is that it is incredibly welcoming. The fighting genre is a daunting one, but Street Fighter 6 embraces new players brilliantly. Whether that’s through World Tour or forgiving online ranking systems, the game makes sure newcomers feel just as much at home as the pros do. 

Around the world

Street Fighter 6 World Tour character with Li-Fen

(Image credit: Capcom)

The first item on the docket for many Street Fighter 6 players will be the ambitious World Tour mode. This sprawling single player adventure first has you creating your own custom character – a first for the series. Capcom hasn’t been shy with the sliders here, allowing you to create something convincingly cool, or something that wouldn’t look out of place in Resident Evil’s Spencer Mansion.

World Tour is a fully 3D, third-person adventure, the majority of which’ll have you roaming the busy streets of Metro City. Think New York, but with people running around with cardboard boxes on their heads. While there is a critical path to follow that’ll introduce you to Street Fighter’s iconic world warriors, you’ll likely be much more tempted to trek off the beaten path. Metro City is impressively dense with side quests, treasures and all manner of Easter eggs tucked down its narrow streets, dark alleyways and open parks. 

Most of the city’s residents will also be up for a fight, and challenging them will near-seamlessly switch to the usual two-dimensional plane. In fights you’ll make use of move sets and specials you’ve learned from your Masters (the game’s roster of fighters that you’ll find either as part of the story or from side quests and yes, you can give them gifts and improve bonds with them), earning experience, items and clothing to boost your stats.

Street Fighter 6 World Tour mode gameplay

(Image credit: Capcom)

Fights are typically very quick, but you won’t always be the one to instigate them. NPCs marked with a red name will charge at you on-sight, a la the Yakuza series. If you’re quick on the draw, you can hit them first for an advantage in battle, which does help to alleviate the frustration of how these fights can play out. Depending on where you are on the map, a veritable clown car of goons can line up to fight you. It occasionally led to me being stuck in the same spot for about five minutes while every gang nut in the vicinity charged in for a scrap.

The World Tour mode does have some flaws. Aside from the occasional goon parade, fights later in the game can drag on. That’s often thanks to bloated stats and health bars. It’ll mean you’ll need to chug healing items mid-fight a lot, which hardly feels fair. There's some visual oddities, too. Distant NPCs and objects update at a lower framerate, which is common to see in other RE Engine games like Monster Hunter Rise. It's unfortunate to see it here, but it by no means a deal breaker for the mode at large.

Still, even with its problems, World Tour is loads of fun, and certainly feels like a Matryoshka-esque game within a game. It very much reminded me of a quirky PS2-era brawler, like The Warriors or Mortal Kombat Deception’s awesome Konquest mode. It’s absolutely packed with charm, and I really can’t get enough of it. 

Full control

Street Fighter 6 versus screen showing Cammy against Zangief

(Image credit: Capcom)

Street Fighter 6’s fundamentals aren’t too dissimilar from series’ tradition, but new mechanics (some reworked from older entries) and robust alternate control schemes will help players from all walks of life gain a decent foothold.

One of Street Fighter 6’s standout features is its various control schemes. Classic is the game how it’s always been; 6-button setup and full manual inputs for special moves, throws, Drive Gauge abilities and the like. This mode’ll give you full control over your fighter, but that naturally entails a higher skill ceiling. The Classic control scheme can be a bit finicky on a gamepad, but is well-suited for the best fight sticks.

Modern controls provide a more streamlined experience, and is the setup recommended for newer players. Perfect for controllers, Modern allows players to string together combos and inputs special moves far easier thanks to preset macros for each of the game’s eighteen fighters. Think a certain fighter looks cool, but find them hard to play? Try switching to Modern controls to get a better feel for them, and potentially use them more effectively.

Capcom has included a swathe of accessibility settings to assist players where needed

Lastly is the Dynamic control scheme, which is a strictly casual setting and is only available offline. Dynamic will automatically input attacks and specials based on the distance between you and your opponent. It’s great for more laid back play sessions, but if you’re serious about learning the ins and outs of Street Fighter 6, then I’d say stick to either Classic or Modern.

I’d be remiss to not mention Street Fighter 6’s incredible accessibility suite. Clearly dedicated to helping as many people enjoy the game as possible, Capcom has included a swathe of accessibility settings to assist players where needed. Most notably, the publisher has partnered with accessibility firm ePARA to develop options for blind or low-vision players. These include audio prompts to let players know the distance between them and the opponent, and one that distinguishes between high, mid and low hits with distinctive cues.

This is unprecedented within the genre, but I know Capcom can go further. There unfortunately doesn’t appear to be any support for colorblind players at launch, which seems like a huge oversight. Hopefully this is something the developer can patch in soon after launch, as the existing commitment to accessibility is very admirable.

Rank up

Player profile from the Battle Hub

(Image credit: Capcom)

Lastly, let’s delve into Fighting Ground and Battle Hub, the other two marquee modes in Street Fighter 6. Fighting Ground is pretty straightforward; a large collection of modes and training suites that are perfect for local play and improving your skills. It’s here where you’ll find a robust Arcade mode, options for local versus matches, and the fervent Extreme Battle mode. There’s also a marvelous tutorial that’ll introduce the fundamentals of the game, as well as guides and combo trials for every fighter.

Once you’ve gotten a good feel for your fave in Fighting Ground, there’s a good chance you’ll want to take the fight online. That’s where the Battle Hub comes in. Battle Hub is an open space populated by player-created characters that’s dotted with arcade machines. 

Sitting at one of these machines will effectively queue you up for a match; all it takes is for another player to sit right opposite you. However, I found the more reliable option to be to enable constant match queuing in the options menu.

During the betas and the online sessions that took place over the review period, I was never hurting for matches. Lobbies were well-populated and functional for the most part. Capcom has employed the use of rollback netcode, meaning that most matches ran smoothly with minimal lag. Of course, mileage will still vary here based on the quality of connection, so I recommend hooking your console or PC up with an ethernet cable for the most consistent connection quality.

Battle Hub successfully sells a feeling of community, and whether you’re a beginner or a veteran, hanging out here long enough is likely to land you some like-minded friends. It also helps that rematches are instantaneous, which is fantastic for fostering spirited rivalries and intense back-and-forth play sessions.

Real World Warriors

Street Fighter 6 Kimberly in her alternate costume

(Image credit: Capcom)

Street Fighter 6 is a landmark release in its genre, and with it, Capcom has reclaimed its throne among the best fighting games out there. Its fighting is more polished than ever, and the addition of the Drive Gauge lends a ton of strategy and split-second decision making to every single fight.

Whether you’re just here to check out the globetrotting World Tour mode, or staying for online fun in the Battle Hub, there’s no part of Street Fighter 6’s package that feels particularly lacking. Offline and on, there’s so much to sink your teeth into between its three standalone sectors. Street Fighter 6, above all else, is a fighting game that’s for everyone. 

Cooler Master MM712 review: almost esports-ready
12:00 am |

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets | Tags: , , | Comments: Off

Cooler Master MM712: Two-minute review

Whenever a product gets overhauled, it better be worth it. And, that’s certainly the case with the Cooler Master MM712. This update of the MM711 eschews the honeycomb design meant to minimize its weight for a more conventional, and frankly better, looking mouse. Add to that an upgraded sensor and multiple forms of connectivity, and there’s little reason to go back to this model’s predecessor (except if you find it on a deep sale).

However, we have a lot of choices beyond just what Cooler Master happens to offer, so you still have to consider how the MM712 compares to the competition. Depending on your needs, you might consider this the best gaming mouse for you. There are plenty of people that won’t, chief among them competitive gamers. 

As we’ll talk about, the MM712 has some limitations that will hinder certain types of gaming where having quick access to DPI changes is a necessity. However, if you don’t need something like a Sniper button, and mostly play games like Death Stranding or Red Dead Redemption 2 like I do, then you’ll find little to fault. In fact, for my personal needs, I would rank it up there with the best wireless mice to use for both work and pleasure.

Cooler Master MM712

(Image credit: Future / James Holland)

On the surface, the Cooler Master MM712 is somewhat basic and almost nondescript. Available in matte black and matte white, it has a symmetrical, ambidextrous design that may not stand out from the crowd but does make it perfectly usable for any lefties out there. The only bit of color, besides some gray accents on the white version, is an RGB outline on the palm rest in the shape of the Cooler Master logo.

While it’s not going to excite anyone the way something like the Razer Basilisk V3 Pro will, the MM712 is still a well-designed mouse. Most notably, Cooler Master has managed to make it just 58g (0.13 lbs) without using that love-it-or-hate-it honeycomb shell that most lightweight mice like the MM711 use. Additionally, some very effective PTFE feet for frictionless gliding means using it requires very little effort.

Cooler Master MM712

(Image credit: Future / James Holland)

Possibly my favorite part of what the MM712 has to offer is its multiple forms of connectivity as it has wired, 2.4GHz wireless, and Bluetooth 5.1 connections available, making it easy to use with multiple sources. Additionally, if you need to use it in wired mode, the ultraweave cable is made so that you won’t feel it pull as you move your mouse around.

Where the mouse falls flat a little is in its button layout. The Cooler Master MM712 comes with the typical six buttons that you’ll find on the majority of standard gaming mice. However, the DPI button is not right behind the middle wheel as is normal. Instead, it’s underneath where you’ll find the dongle garage and power button. That means that you have to either remap one of your side buttons, losing them for other potential uses, or literally pick up the mouse every time you want to change the DPI.

Cooler Master MM712

(Image credit: Future / James Holland)

But, at least it’s fast. While I can’t imagine anyone actually needing 19,000 DPI, the Cooler Master MM712 can reach those lofty heights thanks to its optical sensor. Yes, there are mice with even higher DPI on hand, but I found its DPI range far more than adequate, whether I was trying to take out counter-terrorists in CS:GO or secure a base in Battlefield 2042. 

To keep with the speedy performance, the MM712 also uses optical switches for near-instantaneous responses. Though the company doesn’t mention its actuation or debounce specs, even a light pressure will result in a press, so you should have no issue spamming enemies in your favorite games.

With a polling rate of 1,000Hz, performance is not only fast but smooth. Though it’s true that you’ll find some mice with even higher polling rates, this is just like the DPI where that extra bit of performance is, in my opinion, beyond what we can perceive so won’t make much difference to any but the most perceptive gamer.

Cooler Master MM712

(Image credit: Future / James Holland)

However, there is one specific issue that registers all that fantastic performance moot for any gamer that needs a Sniper button. While the mouse can be customized in quite a few ways through the Master Plus app – you can remap every button including the DPI button underneath to all sorts of mouse, keyboard, and macro functions – you can’t create a Sniper button. It’s just not available in the software. So, if you need that, you’ll have to create a workaround by creating a Macro or giving up the two side buttons so that you can switch between two DPI settings. Considering this mouse is marketed towards gamers, this is quite the omission and one that should be easily fixed through a firmware update. But as it currently stands, you’ll have to live without the Sniper function ability or look for a different mouse to use when playing competitive games.

At least, the battery life is good. In 2.4GHz Wireless mode, the MM712 can reach up to 80 hours before needing to recharge, while Bluetooth mode will give 180 hours. If you keep the RGB on, that will bring those numbers down a bit. That said, in a week of constant use, switching between both wireless modes, I had to only charge once.

Having that solid battery life is especially nice for my needs as I have a multi-computer setup where I constantly switch between a MacBook Pro and a gaming computer. And, I can do all that with just this one mouse. I don’t need to worry about the battery or the performance. I only really need to adjust when it comes to messing with the DPI or playing without a Sniper button. It also helps that this mouse is fairly cheap.

Cooler Master MM712: Price & availability

  • How much does it cost?  $69.99 / £59.99 / AU$99 
  • When is it available? Available now
  • Where can you get it? Available in the US, UK, and Australia

At $69.99 / £59.99 / AU$99, the Cooler Master MM712 is not quite budget-level. However, that’s still a pretty reasonable price for an incredibly lightweight mouse with superb gaming performance. When you take into account the multiple forms of connectivity, this model’s value far outweighs its cost.

For comparison, the Razer Basilisk V3 Pro, which does come with some additional features and more impressive performance stats, goes for over double the price at $159 / £159 / AU$289. Why am I comparing a mid-range mouse with a flagship one? Because I was using the Basilisk V3 Pro before switching to the MM712, and the MM712 has mostly kept up.

Even looking at more mid-range options, the Cooler Master MM712 looks like quite the deal. The Roccat Kain 202 Aimo is a pretty solid wireless mouse with some great performance but doesn’t have Bluetooth and comes in at a higher $99.99 / £89.99 / AU$218. 

  •  Price: 5 / 5 

Cooler Master MM712: Specs

Should you buy the Cooler Master MM712?

Buy it if...

You want speedy gaming performance
While there are some issues that will affect esports games, the Cooler Master MM712 really does have the goods to keep up in almost any gaming situation. If you don’t need a Sniper button, you’ll find this speedster easy to use no matter the genre of your favorite titles.

You need wireless connectivity
Without trying to push my own bias as I have multiple computers to switch between, the connectivity on here will let you easily switch between computers. Or, it will at least give you gamer-level performance without being tethered.

Don't buy it if...

You need a Sniper button
It’s beyond me why there’s no way to create a Sniper button. If you play competitive games like CS:GO, you should probably consider different options to get the most out of your gaming sessions. 

You need a flagship mouse
While I’m pretty satisfied with the MM712, this isn’t the most premium option out there as evidenced not only by its price but minimal aesthetic. So, if you’re looking for something to show off or have all the features ever created for gaming mice, then you’ll want something like the aforementioned Razer Basilisk V3 Pro.

Cooler Master MM712: Also consider

How I tested the Cooler Master MM712

  • Tested over a week
  • Tested with different and different kinds of games
  • All included features were explored

To test the Cooler Master MM712, I spent a week with it, playing all sorts of games from fast-paced titles like Battefield 2042 and CS:GO to adventure and open-world titles like Control and Far Cry 6.

While testing, I spent plenty of time checking the feel and responsiveness of the mouse, specifically the buttons and sensor. I used all the different forms of connectivity and played around with the app to see everything it could do.

Having spent the last few years reviewing tech gear for gaming and otherwise, I’ve gotten a feel for what to look for and how to put a piece of kit through its paces to see whether it’s worth the recommendation. And, I’ve spent even longer playing computer games so I have an understanding of what gamers look for to get the most out of their titles.

Read more about how we test

First reviewed May 2023

Dell XPS Desktop (8960) review: a formidable gaming PC disguised as a lowly work computer
6:00 pm | May 29, 2023

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets | Tags: , , , | Comments: Off

Dell XPS Desktop (8960): Two-minute review

Once upon a time, the Dell XPS Desktop line had something to offer everyone, from the budget-minded to those who have the money to splurge. Not to be melodramatic or anything, but those days, just like the Dell XPS 2-in-1 we once knew and loved, are gone. 

That’s what it looks like, at least.

It looks like Dell is making some massive changes to its lineups. The Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 has undergone a massive overhaul last year, abandoning its gorgeous chassis for a flappy keyboard folio. And now, it looks like it’s abandoned the mid-range models of one of the best desktop PCs in existence in favor of the premium and therefore more powerful configurations. 

As I’m writing this review, I’m looking at a hefty $2,809.99 (about £2,230, AU$4,220) starting configuration, which is A LOT for a base model. And, Dell hasn’t mentioned anything about cheaper models to follow later.

I’m not actually sure what Dell’s next move is. It’s possible that it is getting ready to roll out a budget desktop PC line – our Components Editor got excited at the prospect of a desktop version of the purple-and-teal Dell G15. And it’s entirely possible that Dell is simply done making cheap desktop computers. We’ll just have to wait and see, I guess.

Whatever Dell’s intentions are, it’s hard to deny its consistency when it comes to releasing impressive builds. The Dell XPS Desktop (8960) is a powerful piece of kit, one that isn’t just for work but lends itself well to gaming. And not just gaming either but gaming on Ultra with DLSS and ray tracing turned on, making it one of the best gaming PCs in 2023.

It’s an absolute powerhouse. The question though is it worth the splurge especially when the chassis itself looks design was more of an afterthought rather than an important consideration. That’s what I’m here to find out.

Dell XPS Desktop (8960): Price & availability

  • How much does it cost? From $2,809.99 (about £2,230, AU$4,220)
  • When is it available? Available now
  • Where can you get it? Available in the US (UK and Australia have different configurations and prices)

I would love nothing more than to give the Dell XPS Desktop (8960) a five-star rating, but holy guacamole! That price tag will make your eyes water and your bank account implode into nothing. The base configuration alone will set you back a hefty $2,809.99 (about £2,230, AU$4,220), which is a hard and massive pill to swallow for most people, even business.

Go for our review configuration, which is available in both the US and the UK, and babe, you might as well sell your house. That $3,209.99 / £2,859 (about AU$4,925) will make you want to declare bankruptcy.

Bear in mind that the UK and Australia have their own configurations, with the UK offering a much cheaper if less powerful base model and Australia not having any of the RTX 4000-powered options on hand, which means they’re slightly more affordable.

  • Price score: 2.5 / 5

Dell XPS Desktop (8960): Specs

The Dell XPS Desktop (8960) comes in four configurations, our review model being the mid-range option with its Intel Core i7-13700K chip, RTX 4080 GPU, 32GB RAM, and 1TB SSD storage capacity. This configuration is available in the US and the UK.

The strange thing about the Dell XPS Desktop (8960) is Dell seemed to have forgotten to synchronize its configurations across regions and just went with it. So what we’re dealing with is a hodge-podge of models that aren’t available in all regions.

We’ve listed the US configurations below, but if you’re in the UK and Australia, know that you likely have a different base model and top configuration available to you.

In the UK, all of the specs of the base model are the same with the US base model except for graphics: it comes with an Intel UHD Graphics 770, which does make it less powerful but has the advantage of being much more affordable. 

Sadly for Australian customers, the RTX 4000 series cards are not available in any of the Dell XPS Desktop (8960) at the time of writing. And you also only have the budget and mid-range RTX 3000 on hand.

  • Specs score: 3.5 / 5

Dell XPS Desktop (8960) on a table

(Image credit: Future / Michelle Rae Uy)

Dell XPS Desktop (8960): Design

  • Plain chassis
  • Lots of ports on hand
  • Great ventilation

The Dell XPS Desktop (8960) is neither small nor overly large, and it fits nicely just about anywhere – on top of your desk, under it. Use your leg power when lifting it, however, as it is pretty heavy, what with that massive GPU inside. 

Image 1 of 2

Dell XPS Desktop (8960) on a table

(Image credit: Future / Michelle Rae Uy)
Image 2 of 2

Dell XPS Desktop (8960) on a table

(Image credit: Future / Michelle Rae Uy)

To ensure that those powerful internals are staying cool under pressure, by the way, Dell put vents in front, on one of the side panels, and in the back. And I’m pretty sure they help with heat dissipation, which is why not only is this PC cool and quiet even when handling intensive tasks, but it also delivers top-notch untethered performance.

Dell XPS Desktop (8960) on a table

(Image credit: Future / Michelle Rae Uy)

It has inherited that minimalist Dell XPS Desktop design from its predecessors, but I honestly question the design choice here. That design worked in the past few years, especially in the white colorway. But not only is that color option gone, but the look itself is becoming a little dated. 

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: we’re in our maximalist era, and we want fun design and funky colors. And not updating this look – not to mention, making it available in lifeless platinum and murky graphite – was a huge oversight. Hopefully, Dell makes up for it on future models.

Image 1 of 2

Dell XPS Desktop (8960) on a table

(Image credit: Future / Michelle Rae Uy)
Image 2 of 2

Dell XPS Desktop (8960) on a table

(Image credit: Future / Michelle Rae Uy)

Luckily, there are a whole lot of ports to keep you (and your peripherals) connected. There are two USB ports, one USB-C, and one 3.5mm jack that are easily accessible in the front, of course. But a nice bonus is the SD card reader right above all of them. Since this desktop PC is ideal for content creation, that reader will definitely come in handy. Meanwhile, the back has a whole lot more: four USBs, one USB-C, an Ethernet, three DisplayPorts, a set of six audio inputs, and an HDMI port. If you’re a multiple display kind of gamer or creator, you won’t run out of ports to connect those monitors.

  • Design score: 4 / 5

Dell XPS Desktop (8960) on a table

(Image credit: Future / Michelle Rae Uy)

Dell XPS Desktop (8960): Performance

  • Breathtaking gaming performance
  • Excellent for content creation
  • Keeps it chill and quiet under pressure
Dell XPS Desktop (8960): Benchmarks

Here's how the Dell XPS Desktop (8960) performed in our suite of benchmark tests:
3DMark: Fire Strike: 48,208; Time Spy: 25,285; Fire Strike Ultra: 17,261
GeekBench 6: 2,676 (single-core); 16,957 (multi-core)
Metro Exodus Enhanced Edition (1080p, Ultra):
147 fps; (1080p, High): 153 fps
Red Dead Redemption 2 (1080p, Ultra): 77 fps; (1080p, Medium): 162 fps
Dirt 5 (1080p): 245.3 fps; (4K): 129.8 fps
25GB File Copy: 2,047 MBps
Handbrake 1.6: 2m 58s
CrossMark: Overall: 2,124 Productivity: 1,942 Creativity: 2,480 Responsiveness: 1,747  

Historically, the higher configurations of the Dell XPS Desktop have always made for great gaming PCs, but the Dell XPS Desktop (8960) is something else entirely. This kept up with the likes of the Lenovo Legion Tower 7i and the Alienware Aurora R15, both of which are made specifically for gaming.

Running it through our suite of benchmarks, it has managed to produce results in DiRT 5, Grand Theft Auto V, and Metro Exodus at 1080p that’s comparable to the more powerful RTX 4090-powered Alienware Aurora R15. Although it is worth noting that the R15 leaves it in the dust in 4K gaming performance. Meanwhile, it comes neck and neck with the Lenovo Legion Tower 7i in both 1080p and 4K gaming.

Dell XPS Desktop (8960) on a table

(Image credit: Future / Michelle Rae Uy)

In the real world, it handles the most demanding games without breaking a sweat. During my testing, it ran Hogwarts Legacy at 4K 60fps on high settings and with ray tracing and DLSS on like butter, without signs of stuttering. Same with Cyberpunk 2077 on ultra also with ray tracing and DLSS on even during heavy combat. What’s even more astounding here is that not once did it get loud or hot.

Editing and batch exporting high-res images in Lightroom on this computer is a breeze. As is opening 20 or more Google Chrome tabs at the same time, a few of which are running streaming services. There were no signs of slowdowns, with each succeeding tab opening a page quickly. What’s more, it even zipped past both gaming PCs in our drive speed test, scoring a whopping 2,047MBps next to the Tower 7i’s 1,152MBps and the R15’s 1,340MBps.

If you are looking for brute strength and sheer power for both gaming and creative work, this one has proven itself to be an absolute ace.

  • Performance score: 5 / 5

Should you buy the Dell XPS Desktop (8960)?

Dell XPS Desktop (8960) on a table

(Image credit: Future / Michelle Rae Uy)

Buy it if...

You need an extra strength PC
If you want brute strength, you’re definitely getting a herculean PC here that can handle demanding games like Hogwarts Legacy and Cyberpunk 2077 on Ultra settings and the heaviest content creation workloads.

You’re not economizing like the rest of us
With sheer power comes an empty bank account, but hey, if you want to blow some of your savings – they’re just sitting there anyway – or you have more money than you can spend, go get it then.

You like that nondescript aesthetic
That somber Dell XPS Desktop look may look great on a white finish, but Dells now only have a platinum and a graphite finish. If you like that though because you’re not into showy devices, this is perfect for you.

Don't buy it if...

You don’t really need all that power
If you don’t need a premium discrete GPU – heck, I’ve been gaming and editing my photos on a 3060 PC, and I’m getting on just fine – then there are a lot of better value options out there. Shop around first before you decide to commit to this.

Dell XPS Desktop (8960): Also consider

If the Dell XPS Desktop (8960) has you considering other options, here are two more gaming PCs to consider...

How I tested the Dell XPS Desktop (8960)

  • Tested for five days, using it as my work and gaming PC
  • Besides putting it through real-world applications, our benchmarks team also ran it through our suite of benchmarks
  • Used games like Cyberpunk 2077, Hogwarts Legacy, Google Chrome, Lightroom and Photoshop on top of our usual benchmark apps

Whenever I’m testing a PC or a laptop, I typically use it for several days to a few weeks and utilizing it as my main work and gaming computer during that time. That’s exactly what I did with the Dell XPS Desktop (8960), though I only used it for five days this time around.

Besides stress-testing it by putting it through real-world scenarios like playing Cyberpunk 2077 and Hogwarts Legacy on Ultra with DLSS and ray tracing on, I also used it for batch editing high-res images in Lightroom and Photoshop. Of course, our benchmarks team also ran it through our suite of benchmarks.

With years of extensive experience testing and reviewing computers, and as one of the Computing editors at TechRadar, I have all the right tools to determine whether or not a PC like this one is worth your time and money. You can trust me to put them through their paces and make the right recommendations.

Read more about how we test

First reviewed May 2023

Next Page »