Thanks to the one and only Major Nelson, I got a new headset at PAX West 2017. The Ghost Recon Wildlands Y-350x Headset for Xbox One and PC. Over all it has been a nice upgrade from my Microsoft Stereo headset. Thanks to their deep base from the 60mm over ear drivers and 7.1 virtual surround sound. Though so far the best part is the memory foam padding keeping my ears from hurting during those long play times. While all this sounds great, there are some drawbacks.
First up, to keep these headphones from draining the controller’s battery too quickly, Thrustmaster attached an inline power pack that you can charge separately.
The problem is now you always have this floppy thing attached to your controller, and it is always pulling your headset down. I am not sure why they couldn’t have just made the control pad for the headset bigger, and hid the battery in that, since you can’t detach the two from each other anyway. Speaking of the control pad, here is a look at it:
It is pretty easy to control once you get used to it, and the back lights are nice, but the problem is the back light doesn’t stay on for very long, so sometimes you have to push something real quick to turn on the back light before you can find the right setting.
The last annoyance is probably the biggest. When you first turn on the Thrustmaster Y-350x’s there is audible hum/buzzing. It is supper irritating. Though once you give the headphones a slight workout the buzzing stops. It is like they need to get a range of sound pushed through them to calibrate themselves. Then they sound great.
All in all I like the sound and the bass these headphones are able to provided, but they are not perfect. However, for the money they probably perform much better than other $150 headsets, and you can get them for as little as $100 if you look around. With The Ghost Recon Wildlands Y-350x Headset you just got to learn to live with their little flaws. Which is a shame because with a few design tweaks they could have been truly great, but since I got mine for free, who am I to complain?
Since Comcast has continued to raise rates and give me nothing extra for my money, the wife and I have decided to give Hulu with Live TV a try, and it has been working pretty well, with some caveats.
First off what the service gets right. You get a good selection live channels as well as Hulu’s already excellent selection of on demand shows. You also get a feature called ‘Cloud DVR’ which allows you to record shows, but obviously as its name suggests it stores them on the internet. Then the big seller for us, Hulu with Live TV has most of the local Seattle stations included as well. Most of the other streaming cable services do not. We have to be able to watch those Seahawks! Then you get to take this all with you. Visiting a friends house for the weekend and your show is on, but they don’t have cable TV? Just take your Roku Stick with you, and you and your friends can watch it (provided your friend has internet), or you can find a corner and watch it on your phone.
All this is not without its flaws. The new Hulu interface is not intuitive. Little icons on the top row indicate were you are, and then massive pictures and bold print tell you the names of shows it wants you to watch, but it is hard to find something other than what they are promoting. You get used to it, but there is a steep learning curve. Also, it seems that right now the service is having a slight issue keeping up with demand. While for the most part everything looks great, it isn’t uncommon for the picture to get a little blurry while the stream catches up. This doesn’t appear to be due to my internet, since Netflix and Amazon don’t also have this issue. Lastly, and maybe most importantly for a lot of people, Hulu with Live TV isn’t that much cheaper than cable. Though you do save some extra green because there are no random fees or cable boxes.
If you are like me, and you just got sick of all the standard cable options and want to give something else a try, Hulu with Live TV is a good choice. They need to work on their interface, and maybe add a few more live channels to the mix to justify their price, but I gain the flexibility of taking my TV anywhere I want, and more importantly, on whatever internet provider I want. With the added bonus of sticking it to Comcast. So far it has been worth it. Who knows, I may go back to Comcast, but at least then I will be a ‘new’ subscriber again and get all the good rates.
I was able to pre-order my Xbox One X: Scorpio Edition, and I can’t wait. I love new consoles, but here is the kicker, I don’t have a 4K TV, so the feature I want from this super powerful console is an Ultra 1080P/60 FPS mode. I know some games are going to have it, but I hope it is a common occurrence.
I want the high res textures with super-sampling. I want to run games without screen tearing or frame hitches. Devs are saying the Xbox One X is like a fast PC with an NVidia GTX 1070 in it, and the 1070, while it can do some games in 4K, really shines at running games with max settings in both 1080p and 1440p, so while there are not a lot of 1440p resolution TVs out there, if you render the games at 1440p and then downscale to 1080p it should look amazing! (Yes I know that is what super-sampling is, which I mentioned earlier!)
While I hope the 4K is great with the Xbox One X, and that people with 4K TVs love it, I just want a true full featured 1080p experience which neither the PS4 or the Xbox One were ever really able to provide, but the Xbox One X should be more than up to the task!
I know I was bemoaning all the apps we need to download so we can play computer games in an earlier post, but if Twitch/Amazon wants to be successful in the PC video game business, they needed to update their very bare bones app. Thankfully their new desktop app is a like fifty steps in the right direction.
You can watch streams, have video chats, manage and add to your game library, and of course stream your games all from the same Twitch app. Instead of some random launcher for just games, this app does it all. It is still missing a few features, with cloud save syncing being chief among them, but they have assured me they are listening to their consumers, and that they want to make the Twitch Desktop App as feature rich as possible. Apparently they already have save syncing working internally, so it shouldn’t be long until we see it out in the wild. I mean it isn’t like Amazon doesn’t have the server space.
If you are a fan of Twitch, or just want Steam to have an actual competitor to keep it honest, it is nice to see Amazon making their service and the tools for that service better. Now all Twitch needs is for a few major AAA games to launch on its store and we could have an actual competitive digital PC sales marketplace. I am all for that!
Yesterday AMD FINALLY announced their Vega lineup of cards. Their top end card will be the Radeon RX Vega 64, starting at $499 US, and their slightly lower end card is called the Radeon RX Vega 56, starting at $399 US. As an AMD fanboy I was excited to see their new cards, and even more excited that they should be hitting stores soon, August 14th, but the sad news was that they were merely going to go toe to toe with the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 and the GeFore GTX 1070 respectively.
Coming out a year later and not being faster than those cards is a real bummer. Don’t get me wrong, Nvidia needs the competition, but considering Nvidia already has their ultra fast GTX 1080ti out, and it easily bests the Vega 64, that means Nvidia’s next round of cards that are coming out soon will be even faster than Vega without even trying very hard.
Granted AMD will be able to compete on price like they always have, and they are promising to keep the supply chains stocked to keep crypto-miners from driving the price up, but it just would have been fun to see a fight for the high end graphics market again. If Vega would have come out even six months ago maybe would we be talking about some sort of Super-Vega to compete with the 1080ti, but that didn’t happen, and now if you want super high-end graphics Nvidia is still the company you should turn to.