The Corsair Void is one of three new gaming peripherals announced by the titular company last month during Gamescom, the other two being called Strafe and Scimitar. The brand new gear consisting of a mouse, a keyboard, and a headset were designed to work as a unit, but you can definitely also make great use of each product individually. While testing out the Corsair Void for the past week or so I learned that this headset can easily go head-to-head with any other similar products, but is it worth buying? That’s always a difficult question and the answer requires that we take an in-depth look at the Void, which is exactly what we’re going to do up next. Short disclaimer: this particular review is for the Yellowjacket special edition sent to us by Corsair, but don’t worry because I’ll make sure to tell you all about the differences between this variant and all the others a bit later on.
So let’s begin by talking about what you can expect to get when you buy a pair of new Corsair Void Yellow Jacket headsets. Naturally, you get the headsets themselves, but what else? Well, the first thing you’ll probably notice about the Yellowjacket is that it’s wireless, so expect to find a USB dongle, as well as a base station when you open up the box. You’ll also get a charging cable, a warranty and some leaflets that will help you with the setup process. It’s worth mentioning that the base station is exclusive to the Corsair Void Yellowjacket edition and features the same yellow and black color scheme found on the headsets, as do the USB adapter and the charging cable. As for the box itself, I’d say it looks pretty nice so you can definitely have it on display somewhere, if you’re into that sort of thing.
The setup process sounds pretty straightforward on paper, but I’m sorry to say that I experienced some difficulties while trying to get everything to work. First off, it is highly advisable that you fully charge the Corsair Void before its first use and you can tell the status of the battery life by checking the color of the Corsair logo found on each earcup, where red means almost empty, amber is low and green means good battery. The lights also pulse when the battery is low to give you an extra hint that you should reach for the charger. The problem I had with the whole thing was related to the fact that my Corsair Void Yellowjacket review unit did not seem to be charging at all even though I connected the cable and left it alone for several hours. Apparently, this is not an uncommon issue as I checked the forums and other people (granted, a small minority) were reporting the same thing. On the bright side, though, once the headsets did begin to charge it only took a couple of hours before the battery was full and I didn’t have any more problems ever since. The battery itself should easily last you an entire day regardless of how many hours you keep them on, which is definitely nice. If you disable the RGB lights, however, expect the battery to easily last several days or even a week.
The second part of the setup involves going to Corsair’s website and downloading the Corsair Utility Engine (CUE) for the Void. The CUE is a nifty piece of software that will allow you customize the headsets in a number of ways, but more on that later. Since I already mentioned the battery, know that you can also use the CUE to check the battery level and see if the Corsair Void is actually charging, and you can also check for new firmware updates while you’re there. As a side note, I did have CUE installed while I was trying to charge the headsets and the program was telling me that it was charged while the earcup lights were saying that it was not. Pretty strange. My guess, though, is that these issues can be fixed with a software update so I’m personally not too concerned about them. As for the wireless part, things couldn’t be simpler – plug the base station into a free USB port, stick in the dongle, turn on the Corsair Void and just enjoy. Syncing between the adapter and the headsets should occur automatically if everything is turned on and you can check the LED lights on the dongle to see when the two devices have finished pairing.
Design and Utility
If you’re looking to stand out from the crowd at a LAN party just wear a pair of Corsair Void headsets and you can be sure that all eyes will be on you, especially if you’re wearing the Yellowjacket edition. In order to come up with the iconic design for the Void, Corsair collaborated with the folks over at BMW Designworks and I’d say they did a pretty good job because the headsets look really great and they’re very comfortable as well. Unlike most headsets, the Corsair Void features “true form” ear cups instead of traditional round ones, which have been designed to completely surround your ears instead of just resting on them. Combine that with the memory foam and the fact that you can adjust them to fit any head size, and you can be sure that you will be able to wear this pair of headsets for hours on end without feeling any sort of discomfort. I can see how the huge size might be a problem for some people (especially if you have a small head), but all in all, the Corsair Void is perfect if you want a comfortable pair of headsets.
In addition to comfort, the Void also offers a bit of welcome utility thanks to a few well-placed buttons located on the left ear cup. Specifically, you’ve got your power button for turning the headsets on and off, your mute button for muting the microphone and your CUE control button for managing audio settings on the fly. This includes not only turning the volume up and down, but also switching between different equalizer presets and even toggling Dolby surround on or off. Basically, if you wear a pair of Corsair Void headsets you won’t have to alt+tab from the game just to mess with the audio settings because you can just use the built-in buttons. An extra button for switching between headsets and speakers would have been very useful as well, but I guess we’ll just have to take what we can get. Also, it seems like you can’t charge the Void with the use of the base station, so you’ll need at least two free USB port at all times – one for the base station and one for the charger. I’m not saying this is a major hassle (unless you don’t have two free USB ports), but it would have been much easier if one could also use the base station to charge the headsets.
As for the built-in microphone, there are really no complaints as far as I’m concerned. The mike is not flexible, but you can move it up and down, which essentially lets you put it away when you’re not using it. It’s worth mentioning that you can’t mute the microphone by moving it all the way up (would have been nice) so you’ll still have to use the mute button for that and you can make sure that you’re muted by simply taking a quick look at the LED indicators. This feature on the Corsair Void goes by the name of InfoMic and it can also give you useful information in regards to battery life, Dolby status, and equalizer settings.
The sound quality offered by the Corsair Void is quite exceptional and can definitely give you an advantage while gaming. The Dolby 7.1 surround sound does a great job at accurately letting you know exactly where the enemies are so that you can charge at or avoid them, depending on the situation. Obviously, that doesn’t mean no one will be able to sneak up on you anymore, but overall it should help you become more aware of your surroundings as even the faintest noise can be heard clearly while wearing the headsets. However, the volume button can be cranked all the way up for eardrum-shattering sound so make sure to start at a lower volume and work your way up from there if necessary. Even at maximum volume, though, the size and shape of the earcups prevents most of the sound from escaping, which means that you won’t have to worry about other people hearing what you’re listening to for the most part.
Similar to the input, the sound output is equally impressive. No more yelling or holding the mike close to your mouth while speaking on Skype because the Corsair Void allows you to speak in a normal voice without having to worry that others might not be able to hear you clearly. If you still get the traditional “are you speaking from a tunnel?” comments just play around a bit with the settings in the Corsair Utility Engine until you can be heard clear again. I’ve noticed a number of complaints on the forums when it comes to the microphone, but I didn’t have any problems whatsoever with it so I guess any possible issues occur randomly.
Having said all that, this is still a gaming headset at the end of the day so I wouldn’t it them if you’re interested exclusively in listening to music and such. Don’t get me wrong, you can definitely enjoy music with these headsets, but there are cheaper alternatives with better customization for audiophiles.
The Corsair Void is part of the new RGB family of peripherals and comes equipped with LEDs on each earcup that you can customize to your heart’s content. You’ve got no less than 16.8 million color options to choose from, as well as several patterns. Pretty much everything related to the RGB lights can be customized, including the brightness, the InfoMic, and the battery notifications. You’ll need to use the Corsair Utility Engine in order to make the adjustments and while you’re there, you can also change the language, check for updates, contact online support, create your own profiles, and more. As mentioned, you can customize the equalizer as well, although the options there are a bit limited if you ask me. While the RGB lights are definitely cool to look at and fun to customize, there’s little practical purpose to them as you won’t be able to see how they look once you put the headphones on, unless you’re standing in front of a mirror of course. Personally, I like leaving the lights on at all times for some unexplainable reason, but I can see why some people would prefer to turn them off in order to conserve battery life.
Price and Variants
As mentioned at the beginning of this review, the Corsair Void comes in multiple variants, the most expensive of which is the Best Buy exclusive Yellowjacket edition priced at $150. If you like the wireless factor but don’t care much for the black and yellow color scheme or the lack of a base station, you can check out the black variant priced at $130, which is otherwise completely identical. Aside from those two models, there are also two regular USB models (black and white) priced at $100 and a black stereo analog version that costs $70. You can learn more about how each model differs from its siblings by checking out Corsair’s press release right here.
The Corsair Void is by no means perfect, but the pros most definitely outweigh the cons across the board. Some of the problems related to the setup process, charging and microphone seem to occur randomly, with some users reporting no problems at all while others are complaining about several of them. As far as I can tell, the main issue here is the software rather than the hardware, so if Corsair can provide better drivers in the future I’m positive that this excellent pair of headsets can become even better and more appealing to the masses. That said, I happen to think that the Corsair Void is a great addition to the arsenal of any gamer, especially if you’re into team-based competitive eSports such as Dota 2, League of Legends, Heroes of the Storm, CS: GO or Call of Duty.
New Discovery Advances Rechargeable Lithium-Ion Battery Technology
Researchers have made an important discovery to advance rechargeable lithium-ion battery technology. The breakthrough is the in the consistency of a solid electrolyte. The discovery has the potential to increase battery safety and exponentially improve battery life and overall storage capacity.
In general, batteries have three chemical components called reactants. There are two electrodes, the anode and the cathode, and the electrolyte. Electrodes are typically composed of solid chemicals that we commonly call metals. The electrolyte is a liquid chemical that sits between the electrodes. Electrolyte is the medium through which energy flows between the electrodes.
Electrical Energy and Chemical Reactions
A battery does not store electricity, which currently is impossible. Rather, a battery stores electrical energy in the form of chemical energy. When in use, chemical reactions transform the chemical energy into electricity. The electricity flows into a device and the energy powers functionality. An operating battery depletes the reactants as the chemical reactions occur. Functionality persists only as long reactants are available. Eventually, use of the battery depletes the reactants so the chemical reactions are no longer possible and the battery ‘dies.’ But, if it is a rechargeable battery, it is possible to apply electrical energy back into the chemical system. This restores the ability to once again store and discharge electrical energy.
Causes of Malfunction
There are two other causes of battery malfunction. First, liquid electrolyte is flammable and poses a safety risk. The most recent well-known example of burning electrolyte is the Samsung Note 7. Second, during the chemical reactions that create electrical energy, bits of metal accumulate on the electrodes. The accumulated metal bits, dendrites, project outward from the electrodes. If a dendrite ends up touching the opposite electrode, a short circuit occurs and the battery is useless.
However, if the electrolyte is solid instead of liquid, then there is no longer a risk of fire. Also, if it is a particular consistency of solidity, then dendrites cannot form. The pursuit of a solid electrolyte has occurred for almost fifty years. The new research is the result of a fundamental reevaluation about the consistency of the solid electrolyte (wow, look at that, the scientific method in action!).
The previous line of research kept looking at stiffer consistencies to protect against dendrite formation. However, the new research shows that the consistency needs to have more elasticity. This is because stiffer materials can suffer from micro-nicks and –scratches that provide a foothold for dendrite formation. However, a more elastic surface provides degrees of flexibility. Therefore, the surface is pliant at pressure points and does suffer from nicks and scratches. A solid electrolyte would also allow the use of pure lithium electrodes thus further increasing the capacity of the battery. In the end, we have smaller, safer, and longer-lasting rechargeable batteries.
Batteries in the Zombie Apocalypse?
A battery is a spectacular device. They are so common and disposable that the majority of us never give them a second thought. Take a moment and try to identify everything around you at this moment that requires a battery to operate. Computer? Watch? Cell phone? That UPS on your computer system? E-cigarette? Fitbit? Gaming console? Cordless power tools? Car? Lunar explorer? The Mars rover Curiosity or the Juno spacecraft? During the zombie apocalypse, I’m definitely looking for guns, but it’s easy to create weapons out of almost anything. However, I’ll be hoarding batteries like the 90-year old cat-lady hoarding hard candies
Will Mad Catz’ Bankruptcy Make Razer and Corsair The Uncontested Rulers in Game Peripherals?
This week was bittersweet in the gaming peripheral industry. On the one hand, I have bad memories of using crappy Mad Catz controllers as a child so I wasn’t too sad to see Mad Catz go out of business. On the other hand, Mad Catz has been producing affordable 3rd party accessories for gamers for almost 30 years so it’s sad to see such a major player unable to keep up with the times. The bankruptcy of Mad Catz brings up an interesting question: Can anyone compete with Razer and Corsair when it comes to Game peripherals?
The downfall of Mad Catz knocked out what was previously a major player in the peripheral industry, and the situation is not great for the consumer. While Mad Catz hasn’t always had quality products, they’ve produced some legitimately cool peripherals in the last few years. Unfortunately that wasn’t enough to compete with the behemoths Razer and Corsair who have a chokehold on the peripheral market – even more so now that Mad Catz is gone. This leads to increased market share for the two companies, but less choices overall for the gamer.
With Razer estimated to be worth over $1 billion back in 2015, there’s no doubt that their valuation has increased since then. To me, Razer is the Apple of gaming peripherals. The company relies heavily on branding and they produce some decent quality and seriously expensive products. There are definitely better options out there for a lower price, but Razer has branded themselves as the gamer company. With flashy lights and an aesthetic that appeals to most gamers, they’ve managed to market products that, while definitely decent in quality, are honestly not worth as much as they cost.
Apple has done extremely well with this business model, but you can’t draw a direct comparison between Apple and Razer. Apple still innovates despite their reliance on branding and offers a unique ecosystem to their consumers, while Razer mainly produces peripherals that light up and look nice. This model may end up paying off despite their lack of innovation, however, as there’s one less company to contest Razer’s rule.
Corsair, on the other hand, I’m more of a fan of. Their designs are largely more muted than Razer, which appeals more to my aesthetic. From my experience they also have a slightly higher build quality than Razer, though that’s probably up for debate. While not as much as a household name as Razer, Corsair produces some seriously high-end mechanical keyboards that feel awesome to game on. While the keys still light up it feels like Corsair isn’t trying as hard as Razer to build up this aura or aesthetic of being a “Razer Gamer” or “Corsair Gamer”. This less aggressive marketing style combined with quality products appeals to me, and it must appeal to others too as Corsair is obviously the second biggest name in peripherals right now.
It’s prudent to raise the question of whether Mad Catz was really a direct competitor, however. Razer and Corsair focus mainly on PC peripherals, and a lot of people think of Mad Catz as a controller company despite their efforts to expand into the PC market. Razer offers a controller, but it may be hard to draw a direct connection between the demise of Mad Catz and the near-monopoly that Razer and Corsair hold on peripherals.
What exactly led to the downfall of Mad Catz? Was it Razer and Corsair edging them out or were there other reasons the company couldn’t keep up? From some preliminary research, it seems like Mad Catz was their own worst enemy. A string of bad business decisions, including investing heavily into instrument accessories for games like Rock Band and gaming pads for more niche markets like fighting games resulted in a bunch of money invested with no profit.
Whether or not Razer or Corsair killed Mad Catz is kind of irrelevant. The end result is the same: one less option when it comes time to buy peripherals. Are Razer and Corsair the “uncontested rulers”? They definitely have the majority of the market cornered, but for the time being there are definitely other options for the informed gamer. Logitech produces some quality peripherals for gaming, including some console options too. Turtle Beach is another option, though I’ve had some questionable experiences with their products.
The fact of the matter is that Razer and Corsair are not uncontested, but the bankruptcy of Mad Catz is a loss for the consumer. Razer and Corsair will squeeze the market just a little bit tighter, and while Logitech isn’t likely to go anywhere anytime soon, we may unfortunately be looking at a future with fewer options and more expenses.
Top 5 most expensive PC peripherals you don’t actually need
A PC is not complete until you add its peripherals, at least, a mouse or a keyboard. As PC’s are part of our daily lives a lot of manufacturers started building PC components and peripherals, some show incredible performance at a huge price, some are cheaper don’t reach the level of performance you acquire and some are equally priced based on their capacities. As PC users have become more and more obsessed with peripherals developers have adapted to their needs and started building unique devices.
That is why we can find on the market today some of the most expensive peripherals which you don’t actually need, but they make your PC cooler.
5. Telegraph mouse
The Telegraph mouse is unique in its design as it was built to replicate an 1837 electrical telegraph used to send morse codes. The vintage computer mouse brings back the feeling of clicking a telegraph key and besides the unique design it is built from brass and oak component. The $550 mouse is the perfect choice for any vintage collector who wants a unique old-school design for his PC. Otherwise, the mouse has no special feature and the price is based on the materials it was built from and the classic design.
4. Optimus Popularis Keyboard
Although I have to admit the Optimus Popularis keyboard’s customizable feature is attractive there are other keyboards on the market that have a customizable LCD screen at a more suited price. What makes the Optimus Popularis keyboard stand out it’s the way you can change the looks of any key with whatever you want that can completely transform your keyboard’s look. As impressive at it looks it’s not a peripheral anyone can afford because it’s basic price is $1500.
3. Les Clés USB
Again, if you are a collector who wants to make his whole home look like an 18th-century french residency besides the telegraph mouse you might also consider the Les Clés USB. The drive has a classic hand-carved design and it is covered with gold. The product made by Chirita Paris is fully hand-made manufactured and has a very luxurious and royal vibe. This tiny little device with the starting storage capacity of 34GB can cost you more than $1.200 which seems pretty much useless considering that all it has to offer is a gold-made case.
2. Happy Hacking Keyboard HG Japan
This keyboard is not available for sale anymore as it was in limited edition created on the 10th anniversary of PFU limited, a Japanese company that develops unique computer keyboards. Except for the typical design a classic Happy Hacking Keyboard has of keys without anything printed on them the limited edition that had a $4.400 price was also coated in Wajima Lacquer which consist of panda essence and it was also dusted with gold. Who knows? there might be people who did not find a use for this keyboard and are now selling them for even higher prices as it is a limited edition collectible.
1.The World’s Most Expensive Computer Mouse
Don’t expect me to reveal the actual name of a mouse because The World’s Most Expensive Computer Mouse is the name of our Top 1 most expensive peripheral. It appears that its manufacturers didn’t really want to build a practical mouse but an actual very expensive one. The 1.200 DPI Wireless mouse is built from an 18-Carat white gold casing with almost all inside components made out of pure gold. To add some more to its expense, its manufacturer added a flower design created from 59 diamonds that can also be arranged in other designs. The World’s Most Expensive Computer Mouse is not just the name of the peripheral is an actual truth because its price is $26.050 but who is crazy enough to pay that much money for a technically useless mouse with an, in my opinion, ugly design.
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