May 21, 2015

Razer Introduces The Firefly Hard Gaming Mouse Mat with Customizable Lighting Effects


Razer™, a leader in connected devices and software for gamers, today announced the release of the Razer Firefly, the first hard gaming mouse mat with Razer’s Chroma lighting feature. The Chroma feature adds 16.8 million color options and numerous customizable lighting effects to the mouse mat, including reactive, wave and spectrum cycling.

Razer Firefly has lighting along its left, right and bottom borders and can sync up with other Chroma enabled Razer devices for virtually limitless color combinations.

Engineered with all the trusted Razer gaming-grade performance features, the Razer Firefly has a micro-textured finish for the balance between control and speed. The optimized reflective surface ensures mouse movements translate to precise cursor movements and rapid in-game responsiveness.

“The Razer Firefly opens up a new category for the Chroma family,” says Min-Liang Tan, Razer co-founder and CEO. “We’ve designed the Razer Firefly with the best components for a gaming mouse mat, along with the new, fully-customizable Chroma lighting. No one said you can’t win with style.”

The Razer Firefly joins other Chroma-enabled Razer devices, including the award-winning Razer DeathAdder Chroma and Razer Naga Epic Chroma gaming mice, the Razer BlackWidow Chroma gaming keyboard and Razer Kraken 7.1 Chroma headset. All Chroma products feature the option of 16.8 million customizable colors and a range of effects enabled through Razer’s Synapse software. Synapse allows the devices to sync lighting colors and patterns between Chroma devices with the click of a button.

Razer Firefly will also be included in the Chroma SDK, with which game developers can integrate advanced lighting effects into their games for a more immersive experience.

Product Features:
Micro-textured finish for balanced gameplay
Optimized surface coating for highly responsive tracking
Chroma customizable lighting
Non-slip rubber base
Razer Synapse enabled (for Chroma customizable lighting)
Gold-plated, USB connector (to power the Chroma customizable lighting)
Seven-foot, lightweight, braided fiber cable
Approximate size: 355 mm / 13.98-in. (Length) x 255 mm / 10.04-in. (Width) x 4 mm / 0.16-in. (Height)
Approximate weight: 380 g / 0.84 lbs

System Requirements:
PC or Mac with a free USB port
Windows® 8 / Windows® 7 / Windows Vista® / Windows® XP (32-bit) / Mac OS X (v10.8-10.10)
Internet connection
100MB of hard disk space
Razer Synapse registration (requiring a valid e-mail), software download, license acceptance, and internet connection needed to activate full features of product and for software updates. After activation, full features are available in optional offline mode.

Price: US: $59.99/EUR: 74.99€

Availability:
Razer Store – Pre-Order
Worldwide – June 2015
For more information visit http://www.razerzone.com/chroma

May 20, 2015

Tstand – The Ergonomic Tablet Stand is Now Live on Kickstarter


Surface ID, a Montreal-based product design startup, has launched a Kickstarter campaign for Tstand, an ergonomic tablet holder that will change the way tablets are used. Tstand provides a sleek, one-size-fits-all solution to the ergonomic impacts associated with tablet computing. The goal is to raise $70,000 by June 19 in order to help fund the production tooling and material
costs. 


As a tablet user with a passion for innovation and industrial design, Sean Kieley, Tstand’s founder, designed the Tstand with one thing in mind: to maketablets safer and more enjoyable to use. While tablets are useful for completing quick tasks, they are not ergonomically ideal for prolonged use. Research has shown that they are are harmful to the spine, neck, and back due to the posture adopted while using them. Tstand solves this problem by elevating one’s tablet to a relaxed, ergonomic position.

Given that millions of tablets are used on a daily basis for a variety of professional and leisurely purposes, creating a universal device that could accommodate these needs was critical to Tstand’s designers. That was the idea behind Tstand’s patented reversible base that allows it to be used in bed, on the couch, as desktop monitor, and even as a wearable device. Tstand’s adjustable neck lets its user choose their optimal viewing angle. It easily expands to fit all tablets from 7 to 13 inches in size.


“We think Kickstarter is a great way to get feedback from potential users and to help spread awareness of the Tstand and the wealth of ergonomic benefits it provides tablet users,” says Kieley. “Most importantly, Kickstarter will help us move our innovation past the development stage and into the hands of consumers.”

Backers can choose from several rewards, including a Tstand for the super early bird price of $45. The deadline for pledges is June 19, 2015, so interested supporters are encouraged to make their pledges today. Shipment of the first production run is expected by August 2015. To learn more about Tstand, visit www.tstand.com.

May 19, 2015

REVIEW: Razer Nabu X


The name Razer is normally associated with gaming peripherals, but they jumped aboard the wearable wagon with their introduction of the Nabu Smartband. The Nabu X is Razer's entry level fitness tracker wearable which has odd tie-ins with gaming. It's priced cheaply at only $50 which compared to the other trackers on the market, costs nothing. Is the Nabu X well worth the $50 or does it just do a good enough job?

Packaging


The Nabu X comes in a small clear plastic box with specs listed on the back. Inside you find the Nabu X itself, an extremely short charging cable, instructions, and a Razer sticker.

Design



Razer likes to take risks which result in great looking products and packaging, the Nabu X is nothing like that and looks like your typical fitness tracker band. Discreetness is not a bad thing for a fitness tracker though. The Nabu X has a flexible silicon hypoallergenic band which is comfortable on the wrist but attracts dust and lint like there is no tomorrow. On one end of the band is a solid metal clasp which is easy to use and snaps into place with little effort. People with smaller wrists will have extra lengths of band which will occasionally get caught on your shirt or pants while walking. The center of the band houses the little plastic sensor module which can be removed and placed in different colour bands.

Gone is the OLED display and instead are three LEDs which light up to let you know what type of notification you have. Red for alarms, blue for calls, and green for everything else.


Charging is done through a proprietary port on the bottom of the band. While I hate proprietary connectors, the one with the Nabu X feels secure and is easy to plug in. Unfortunately charging has to be done though the pathetic 30 cm cable which means the Nabu X dangles off the wall or sits on the floor while charging. Luckily the Nabu X lasts a week between charges so it's not something you have to charge every night.

Comfort


The Nabu X is one of the more comfortable fitness trackers I have worn. It is soft and light so it isn't irritating and it barely noticeable on your wrist. Aside from the bit of band that sticks out occasionally, it wont get caught while trying to put on a jacket. The one size strap fit well on my wrist without ever being too lose or too tight. The silicon band grips my wrist well and doesn't slide around.

Usability


The Nabu X is compatible with the iPhone 5 or newer and any Android device running Android 4.3 or newer. You will need two apps to actually start using the Nabu X. First is the Nabu X utility which lets you connect to your Nabu X and gives you battery level information. The second is the Nabu Fitness app which deals with all the fitness tracking. The utility app allows you to customize the LEDs and notifications that the Nabu X will alert you about, turn on social settings, and enable sleep mode.


The Nabu Fitness app tracks your steps, distance walked or ran, calories burnt, and time slept. The metrics can be separated into different time intervals from year, month, three months, week or a specific day.


Daily goals can be set through the app and you can double tap on the band to check you progress in 33% intervals through the three LEDs. The tracking abilities are fairly accurate as they matched up well with my Moto 360. Unlike certain fitness trackers, it didn't track my cereal eating as going for a run.

Sleep tracking is done though an automatic mode which starts tracking you between the set time frame or a manual mode which requires you to start and stop it when you sleep and wake up. I dont really find a use for sleep trackers but it's there for people who do. It works as expected and doesn't have anything that makes it special from all the others.

For some reason Razer decided to implement a social feature which Razer calls "Pulse" that allows users who wear the Nabu X to exchange information through handshakes. You enter relevant social information that you want to be shared into the Nabu X utility app and enable the feature to use it. I have yet to find someone else who has the tracker so I couldn't test out the feature.

Conclusion


There are a fair share of terrible fitness trackers as well as good ones, the Nabu X sits somewhere int he middle. Nothing makes the Nabu X stand out and make me want to buy it, aside from the low price point. The Nabu X has a clean design which isn't flashy or scream "HEY LOOK AT ME". The week long battery life is also great and doesn't run out of juice half way through sleep tracking.

The downsides of the Nabu X are that the LEDs make it really hard to distinguish if you're getting a text or if a game is bugging you to play it because you haven't been on for 15 minutes. The social features of the Nabu X seem more like a gimmick and nothing you would actually use in real life. I also wish that they would have one app that does the job of both apps that are currently required to used the Nabu X.

It offers a few more features than other similarly priced trackers and is fairly comfortable. It cost less than the Fitbit Zip which does less than the Nabu X. While it doesn't stand out, it is a great tracker for someone who's been wanting one but doesn't want to spend $150.

Apple Introduces 15-inch MacBook Pro with Force Touch Trackpad & New $1,999 iMac


Apple today updated the 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display with the new Force Touch trackpad, faster flash storage, longer battery life and faster discrete graphics, delivering even more performance and capabilities to the MacBook Pro line. Apple also today introduced a new $1,999 configuration of the 27-inch iMac with Retina 5K display featuring a breathtaking 14.7 million pixel display, quad-core processors and AMD graphics, and lowered the price of the top-end iMac with Retina 5K display to $2,299.


"The response to the new MacBook and updated 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display has been amazing, and today we are thrilled to bring the new Force Touch trackpad, faster flash storage and longer battery life to the 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display," said Philip Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. "Customers love the groundbreaking iMac with Retina 5K display, and now with a new lower starting price, even more people can experience the best desktop we've ever made."

The updated 15-inch MacBook Pro features the amazing Force Touch trackpad that brings a new dimension of interactivity to the Mac. With built-in force sensors and a Taptic Engine that delivers haptic feedback, the Force Touch trackpad allows you to click anywhere with a uniform feel and customize the amount of pressure needed to register each click. The new trackpad supports a range of new gestures, including the new Force click, and APIs are available for third-party developers to incorporate Force Touch capabilities into their apps. The updated 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display also features up to 2.5 times faster flash storage than the previous generation, with throughput up to 2GBps, and offers an additional hour of battery life, with up to 9 hours of wireless web browsing and up to 9 hours of iTunes movie playback. In addition, MacBook Pro with Retina display discrete graphics deliver up to 80 percent faster performance using new AMD Radeon R9 M370X graphics for editing video in Final Cut Pro X, rendering 3D images in pro graphics apps or playing high-resolution games.

With a resolution of 5120 x 2880, the new $1,999 iMac with Retina 5K display has 67 percent more pixels than a 4K display, and features a 3.3 GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 processor with Turbo Boost Speeds up to 3.7 GHz and AMD Radeon R9 M290 graphics. The new iMac also includes 8GB of memory and 1TB of storage, as well as four USB 3.0 ports and two Thunderbolt 2 ports that deliver up to 20Gbps each, twice the bandwidth of the previous generation. The top-end iMac with Retina 5K display now starts at $2,299 and features a 3.50 GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 processor with Turbo Boost speeds up to 3.90 GHz, AMD Radeon R9 M290X graphics and a 1TB Fusion Drive.

Every new Mac comes with OS X Yosemite, the world's most advanced desktop operating system, redesigned and refined with a fresh, modern look, powerful new apps, and Continuity features that make working across your Mac and iOS devices more fluid than ever.

Photos, iMovie and GarageBand, and iWork come free with every new Mac. Photos for OS X keeps your growing photo and video collection automatically organized, easy to navigate and accessible across all of your compatible Apple devices using iCloud Photo Library. iMovie lets you easily create beautiful movies, and you can use GarageBand to make new music or learn to play piano or guitar. The iWork suite of Pages, Numbers and Keynote makes it easy to create, edit and share stunning documents, spreadsheets and presentations. Pages, Numbers and Keynote for iCloud let you create a document on iPhone or iPad, edit it on your Mac and collaborate with friends, even if they are on a PC.

Pricing & Availability
The updated 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display is available today through the Apple Online Store (www.apple.com), Apple's retail stores and select Apple Authorized Resellers with a 2.2 GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 processor with Turbo Boost speeds up to 3.4 GHz, 16GB of memory, 256GB of flash storage and Intel Iris Pro graphics starting at $1,999 (US); and with a 2.5 GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 processor with Turbo Boost speeds up to 3.7 GHz, 16GB of memory, 512GB of flash storage and AMD Radeon R9 M370X graphics starting at $2,499 (US). Configure-to-order options include faster quad-core Intel Core i7 processors up to 2.8 GHz with Turbo Boost speeds up to 4.0 GHz and flash storage up to 1TB. Additional technical specifications, configure-to-order options and accessories are available online at www.apple.com/macbook-pro.

The new 27-inch iMac with Retina 5K display is available today through the Apple Online Store (www.apple.com), Apple's retail stores and select Apple Authorized Resellers with a 3.3 GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 processor with Turbo Boost Speeds up to 3.7 GHz, AMD Radeon R9 M290 graphics and 1TB of storage starting at $1,999 (US). The top-end iMac now starts at $2,299 (US) and features a 3.5 GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 processor with Turbo Boost speeds up to 3.9 GHz, AMD Radeon R9 M290X graphics and a 1TB Fusion Drive. Configure-to-order options include faster quad-core Intel Core i7 processors up to 4.0 GHz with Turbo Boost speeds up to 4.4 GHz and flash storage up to 1TB.

May 18, 2015

Noctua presents two asymmetrical 140mm CPU coolers



Noctua today announced two new additions to its portfolio of premium-quality, quiet CPU coolers with 140mm fans. Whereas the NH-D15S is a high-compatibility single fan version of the elite-class dual tower model NH-D15, the NH-C14S replaces the proven top-flow cooler NH-C14. Both the NH-D15S and NH-C14S feature an asymmetrical layout in order to avoid blocking the top PCIe slot.

"140mm coolers have become the default choice for enthusiasts who seek superior cooling performance for overclocking or near-silent operation, but these tend to block the top PCIe slot on many current motherboards" says Mag. Roland Mossig (Noctua CEO)."With the NH-D15S and NH-C14S, we've updated our successful 140mm dual tower and top-flow coolers with asymmetrical layouts that ensure the best PCIe compatibility."

Tailored to provide superior RAM and PCIe compatibility, the NH-D15S is an asymmetrical single fan version of Noctua’s award-winning flagship model, the NH-D15. Thanks to its asymmetrical design, the NH-D15S clears the top PCIe slot on most µATX and ATX motherboards. At the same time, the single NF-A15 PWM fan setup and recessed lower fins guarantee 100% RAM compatibility with memory modules of up to 65mm height. Users who have sufficient room can also upgrade the cooler with either a 120mm or round 140mm fan on the front fin stack for further improved performance in dual fan mode.

Successor to the award-winning NH-C14, the NH-C14S is an elite-class top-flow CPU cooler that is extremely efficient, highly compatible and remarkably adjustable. Thanks to its deeper fin stack and the renowned NF-A14 PWM fan, the single fan NH-C14S provides similar quiet cooling performance to its dual fan predecessor while being even more versatile: With the fan installed on top of the fins, the cooler is compatible with RAM modules of up to 70mm height. With the fan installed underneath the fins, the total height of the cooler is only 115mm, making it suitable for use in many HTPC cases. At the same time, the new offset layout allows it to clear the top PCIe slot on most µATX and ATX motherboards.

Both the NH-D15S and the NH-C14S come with Noctua’s trusted, pro-grade SecuFirm2™ multi-socket mounting system, the company’s proven NT-H1 thermal compound, Low-Noise Adaptors and full 6 years’ manufacturer’s warranty.

Prices and availability
The NH-C14S is currently shipping and will be available shortly. The NH-D15S will ship in June. The manufacturer’s suggested retail prices are as follows:
NH-C14S: EUR 74.90 / USD 74.90
NH-D15S: EUR 79.90 / USD 79.90