Nowadays everything is connected and not necessarily through cables. A lot of you are probably accustomed to wireless devices by now and as it happens, so are we. In fact, I’ve been testing a new pair of sweat-proof Bluetooth earphones called Mixcder Basso for the last several days and wanted to share my thoughts with you. In addition, we also have a couple of pairs of Mixcder ShareMe Bluetooth Headphones, so we were able to learn quite a bit about what the brand has to offer in terms of audio devices. Mixcder is not a well-known company just yet, but their products are definitely pretty interesting so make sure you read our review for the Basso Bluetooth earphones as our findings may surprise you.
The Basso review unit we received from Mixcder came tucked neatly inside a nice looking green and black case alongside a user’s manual and some spare earbuds of varying sizes. The earphones themselves also follow the same black and green color scheme and the build quality is surprisingly good coming from such a little-known manufacturer. The plastic doesn’t seem to be of the cheap quality, the rubber is very flexible (maybe too much actually) and the earflaps are made of metal, interestingly enough. When it comes to the actual design, though, these Bluetooth earphones will probably be hit or miss with most people. The Basso are certainly interesting to look at and I was actually looking forward to putting them on, however, after looking in the mirror I found myself taking them off immediately for some unexplainable reason.
To be honest, the Mixcder Basso are not really my style, but it’s also worth pointing out that these earphones were designed to be practical above all else. My main beef with them is that they look a bit too much like hearing aids, though that’s not so much of an issue because Mixcder expects you to be jogging while wearing them. These Bluetooth headphones are very useful during any sort of physical exercise where normal earphones tend to fall out of your ears. You definitely won’t have that problem here, as you can adjust the ear hook and wrap the rubber part around the back of your ear in order to make sure that they always stay into place. That said, you’ll definitely also want to make good use of the small hook next to the USB interface and attach it to your shirt because the cable tends to wiggle a lot. On the bright side, the Mixcder Basso are pretty comfortable and easy to set up, but we’re going to talk more about that in the next part.
Much like most other Bluetooth earphones, the Basso can be paired with pretty much any type of mobile device. You won’t need to download an app or anything fancy like that – just turn on the Bluetooth on your mobile device and wait until it finds the earphones. Naturally, the earphones also need to be turned on and this is achieved by holding the multi-function middle button on the interface for a few seconds until the built-in LED tells you that you’re good to go. There are also audio notifications telling you when the earphones are turning on, off, and when they’re pairing. The aforementioned multi-function button is also used to play or pause a track, while the other two buttons act as volume up/previous and volume down/ next. Maybe it’s just me, but I feel like the other way around would have made more sense. All the buttons work even when listening to music from Youtube or elsewhere on the internet so you don’t necessarily need to have any music on your phone in order to make good of these Bluetooth earphones and they can also be used for hands-free calling if need be.
Audio Quality and Battery Life
With everything said and done, the great audio quality is arguably the main selling point of the Mixcder Basso. The sound is clear across pretty much any music genre and definitely very loud if you want it to be. Needless to say, the earphones are usually connected to your phone so the volume can only go as high as the phone can take it, but if you like it loud you’ll probably not be disappointed. On the other hand, you may be disappointed by the battery life, which can last you about five hours, on a good day. That’s more than enough if all you’re doing is jogging, but I don’t recommend taking them on a long trip. The charge time of two hours also seems a bit much for five hours worth of battery life if you ask me.
Pricing and Final Thoughts
The Mixcder Basso can currently be found on Amazon for about $30, overall a price that’s fair for what they offer since the headphones are pretty sturdy and don’t look like they would easily break under normal circumstances. Mixcder still needs to work a bit on offering better battery life and on their design choices, but they at least nailed the audio quality and functionality parts of their earphones. All in all, this is a good effort coming from a company that seems like it hasn’t been around for long.
Our review for the Mixcder ShareMe will also be up soon so stay tuned for that.
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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