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The 7 Best Gaming Keyboards of 2020 That Are Worth Your Money

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Best Gaming Keyboards 2020

Do you want to improve your gaming experience? If that is so, then read this article to find out the best gaming keyboards in 2020.

Aside from a robust keyboard, you may also want to consider getting yourself a good mouse and a good gaming monitor while you’re at it.

Why You Need Gaming Keyboards

My gaming career started when I was in 6th grade. My first-ever machine was still running a dual-core processor and while I can game using a typical mouse and keyboard, it may not have given me the best user experience.

Then, I was introduced to ‘gaming’ keyboards by a friend of mine and the rest was history. Why do I love gaming keyboards so much, you ask?

Well, that is because they come with a lot of features; more than you think you need. Most gaming keyboards nowadays come with amazing mechanical switches that not only improve your response times but also give you the best possible experience when you are playing your favorite titles.

While most people can play even without such a peripheral, I am telling you that getting one is definitely something that you’d want to consider.

Also, gaming keyboards also last longer because the mechanical switches are rated to last at least 50 million keystrokes.

Different Types

When you are going out on the market to find a gaming keyboard, you will find that there are actually two major types: A full-sized keyboard and a ‘tenkeyless’ version.

A full-sized keyboard is one that is complete with all of the bells and whistles. Basically, you not only get a numpad on the side but you might also get a bevy of additional keys on the left side of the keyboard as well.

A tenkeyless keyboard, as the name implies, is one that has a more compact form factor than the former. It is called as such because it doesn’t come with a numpad, thus allowing you to save some space.

When you ask a lot of professional gamers, they would actually go for the tenkeyless version as opposed to a full-sized one. That is because its more compact form factor would allow them to easily access the keys that they need much faster than a regular-sized keyboard.

Of course, the choice is still entirely up to you. I love using full-sized keyboards because I also work using one that is intended for gaming, but to each their own.

Different Switches

Mechanical Key Switches

One of the biggest selling points of gaming keyboards nowadays is their use of mechanical switches.

The said switches are different than what your regular, run-of-the-mill keyboard comes with. Instead of a rubber dome underneath the keycap, it actually comes with a switch that is more complicated than that.

For a bit of a rundown, here are the parts of a mechanical keyboard switch;

  1. Switch Housing- This is an entire block of the key that holds everything together
  2. Keycap- The keycap is the topmost portion of the key where you will find the number or letter
  3. Stem- This is the mounting mechanism of every key. Different switches have different stems
  4. Metal Contacts- Once you press down on a key, the metal contact will be the one that registers the said keystroke
  5. Slider- The slider is responsible for pushing the keys down. This is also responsible for interrupting the connection between the side of the switch, as well as the metal contacts
  6. Spring- Located at the base of the slider, the spring is responsible for the retraction of the key; priming it for another input or keystroke.

Now, when choosing a gaming keyboard, it is also important that you consider the feel of the keys itself. There are three things that you need to learn here: Linear, Tactile, and Clicky.

Linear key switches are what you need if you want a consistent keystroke. It has a smooth feel when you press the key down and because there is nothing that hinders the trajectory, this is ideal for professional gamers who need a faster switch.

For tactile and clicky switches, both of them are somewhat the same in the sense that there is a noticeable tactile bump whenever you press a key. However, the difference is that in clicky switches, there is also a ‘click’ sound whenever you go past the actuation point (hence, the name of the switch).

The actuation point is the point of your keypress that registers the input on the screen. A clicky switch has a clicky mechanism inside, allowing you to know that you’ve passed the actuation point and can continue on with what you are doing since the input has already been registered.

Tactile switches do not have that clicky sound but it still has that noticeable bump once you’ve reached the actuation point. This is ideal for heavy typists since every keystroke doesn’t have that annoying clicking noise.

Now, there are many different types of switches out there, but I would give you a rundown on some of the best that you can find on the market today.

  1. Cherry MX Red- A favorite of many back when faster key switches weren’t made yet, the Cherry MX Red is a linear switch that has a light actuation force of 45 grams and an actuation point of just 2mm. Its fast and linear travel makes it ideal for fast-paced games.
  2. Cherry MX Brown- Considered as the middle-ground when it comes to usage, Cherry MX Brown switches are tactile switches that have the same actuation point and force required to that of MX Reds, albeit that it has that tactile bump that I mentioned earlier. Perfect for people who want to type on a better keyboard.
  3. Cherry MX Speed- Perfect for professional gamers, the Cherry MX Speed beats the Red version by a lot. It still requires the same actuation force of 45 grams but its actuation point is only 1.2mm which means that you can make lightning-fast inputs without worrying about anything. Typists are prone to make more errors using this type of switch though.
  4. Cherry MX Blue- Although most gaming keyboards on the market do not come with Cherry MX Blue switches anymore, it is still worth noting. Because of its 2mm actuation point and 60 grams of actuation force required, Cherry MX Blues are only great for typists. Still, there are some gamers that would still want to buy this one just because of its signature ‘clicky’ sound.
  5. Razer Opto-Mechanical- Newer Razer keyboards come with this switch and it is pretty good. For people that want the ‘clicky’ sound of the Cherry MX Blues but with the performance of the speed switches, this is the one to get. It is only available on Razer’s premium gaming keyboards though.
  6. Razer Green- This is a clicky switch that requires a slightly lower actuation force (55 grams) than the Cherry MX Blue switch. It also has a slightly lower actuation point at 1.9mm. Used primarily for gaming but may also be good for typing, Razer greens are what you want to get to enjoy the best of both worlds.
  7. Razer Orange- Razer’s orange switches are the same as the green ones except that they are ‘silent’ tactile switches as opposed to the clicky version that is the Razer greens. It is still great for both typing and gaming and is the one to get if you want a more silent gaming keyboard.

Features that You Need

What makes gaming keyboards quite appealing to a lot of people is that it is not a boring piece of plastic or metal that sends inputs to your computer; it is a ‘loud’ one in the sense that you get a whole lot of features to improve your gaming experience.

Here are some that you might need:

  1. Layout- Choose if you want a more compact keyboard in a tenkeyless version or if you want the full-sized, more robust gaming keyboard
  2. Switch- Of course, this is the main reason why you’d want a gaming keyboard anyway. What switch you want to get is entirely up to you
  3. Macro Keys- These are extra keys that are added to the keyboard. These are perfect whenever you want to assign different keys/tasks and you want an easier way to do those things just by pressing a key
  4. USB Passthrough- This is considered optional but it is still a nice thing to have, especially if you have a lot of other peripherals
  5. Anti-Ghosting- Also known as ‘N-key rollover’, this feature ensures that even if you press a lot of different keys at the same time, all of those inputs are registered as they are
  6. On-Board Memory- If you want to tweak macro keys and whatnot, you want some on-board memory so that you can store your profiles on the keyboard itself (thus eliminating the need to have proprietary programs installed on your computer after adjusting some settings)
  7. RGB- I mean, who wouldn’t want flashy lights on their keyboards?

Best Gaming Keyboards of 2020

1.Corsair K95 RGB Platinum

Corsair K95 RGB Platinum

Price: $199 (Usually goes on sale for less than $170)

The Corsair K95 RGB Platinum is considered by many as the best gaming keyboard of 2020. That is because it has plenty to offer and is definitely worth your money.

For starters, you get to choose between two different switches: Cherry MX Speed or Cherry MX Brown. The former is ideal for fast-paced games and the latter is great not only for gaming but also for typing as well.

It is a full-sized keyboard that comes with a column of macro keys on the left side of the keyboard itself. Using Corsair’s proprietary software, you can assign different inputs or macro commands on those keys which is ideal for a lot of gamers

On the top-right side, you will find the media controls that will allow you to control the volume, as well as, your media accordingly.

The gaming keyboard also comes with a lot of extras as well. For instance, you also get some textured keycaps for the WASD keys, so for FPS gamers, this is a really good addition.

You also get a detachable wrist rest so you will have the option to have it attached (perfect for long gaming sessions) or detached if you want a simpler layout.

The USB passthrough is also a welcome addition since you can plug other USB-powered peripherals as well (Especially useful if you are using a wireless mouse and a USB dongle).

It has per-key RGB lighting that you can tweak to your heart’s content using the company’s software which is pretty good and it allows you to customize your keyboard the way you want it.

Really, the only downside to this keyboard is its high price tag but if you have $199 to spend on a gaming keyboard, the Corsair K95 RGB Platinum is definitely worth every dollar.

2.Razer Huntsman Elite

Razer Huntsman Elite

Price: $199

Razer has really done it again with the Razer Huntsman Elite. This is the company’s most premium gaming keyboard to date and it definitely deserves its high price tag.

For starters, it makes use of the company’s own Razer opto-mechanical switches. They come in two variants now: one that has a more linear feel and the other with the original clicky switches. Both are very responsive so they are perfect for all gamers.

Aside from that, I especially love the included wrist rest because it uses a faux leather material that is soft to the touch. Of course, you can also choose to detach it if that is what you want.

It has a bevy of media control buttons on the top-right corner and has RGB lighting for amazing aesthetics too.

While I really like this gaming keyboard, it doesn’t come without its shortcomings. For one, it doesn’t have a USB passthrough like the Corsair gaming keyboard above.

Second, it doesn’t come with additional keycaps and it also doesn’t have macro keys as well. If this is a deal breaker for you, you may want to consider our other recommendations in this article instead.

However, if you want to try out the new Razer opto-mechanical switches, then the Razer Huntsman Elite is still a solid recommendation.

3.HyperX Alloy Elite RGB

HyperX Alloy Elite RGB

Price: $169

A full-sized keyboard without compromises, the HyperX Alloy Elite is another solid choice for gamers out there.

You can choose between three switch types: Cherry MX Red, Cherry MX Brown, or Cherry MX Blue. Aside from that, you also get an extra set of keycaps for your WASD and QWER keys as well.

The keyboard comes with a USB passthrough which is always a welcome addition to any keyboard.

Its full RGB backlighting can support up to 16.9 million colors so you can tweak the said peripheral the way you want it.

You’ve got a bevy of media controls on the top right corner and you also have some buttons to turn off the lighting and toggle some other things on the left.

While this keyboard doesn’t come with dedicated macro keys, you can use the software to tweak the other unused keys on the keyboard for your games if you need it.

Its detachable wrist rest is okay, albeit the feel of it could slightly be improved to be more comfortable.

Aside from that, the company’s software could definitely use some improvement, though I love the fact that it is not buggy or anything like that.

For a sub-170 dollar keyboard, the HyperX Alloy Elite RGB is a no-compromises keyboard that performs really well.

4.SteelSeries Apex Pro

SteelSeries Apex Pro

Price: $209 (But usually goes on sale)

Every premium gaming keyboard comes with its own unique twist and the SteelSeries Apex Pro takes it up a notch.

It is a full-sized keyboard that has an OLED display situated at the top right corner of the product itself.

This OLED display can be used to tweak a number of different things: From the lighting to the actuation point and so many others. The company said that it is going to add more features down the line so keep an eye out for any updates to its firmware.

Aside from the OLED display, the SteelSeries Apex Pro is also unique because it uses a different switch in the form of the company’s ‘Magnetic’ switches.

What makes them unique is that you can tweak its actuation point in the software (or on the OLED display) to your liking. This is ideal for whenever you just want to type a document or play intense games.

Of course, with just about any product on the market, it also has its downsides. For one, this keyboard takes up a lot of space on your desk thanks to its humongous wrist rest.

Second, it doesn’t come with dedicated macro keys, though you can tweak the other keys present on the board.

Still, its build quality, adjustable actuation point, and its amazing RGB lighting performance, the SteelSeries Apex Pro is still a worthy keyboard to get.

5.Asus ROG Strix Scope

Asus ROG Strix Scope

Price: $119.99

First-person shooters require you to smack keys that are reachable by your left hand. And, if you play a lot of FPS games, I suggest that you get the Asus ROG Strix Scope.

This gaming keyboard is actually dedicated to FPS gamers and its solid aluminum build quality ensures that this keyboard is built to last.

It is a full-sized keyboard without dedicated macro keys but what is really appealing here is the inclusion of additional keycaps, as well as a wider control button on the left side of the keyboard.

That is right. Since most FPS gamers need to press either the shift or control buttons, the said keys are bigger in this keyboard and that is pretty unique in its own right.

Its solid build quality coupled with FPS gaming features make the Asus ROG Strix Scope easy to recommend.

6.Logitech G Pro

Logitech G Pro

Price: $129

All of the keyboards thus far on this list are full-sized ones, but there are people that would want to get a more compact, tenkeyless form factor instead. That is where the Logitech G Pro comes in.

The Logitech G Pro is a gaming keyboard that is built specifically for gamers. Aside from its robust build quality, the keyboard is packed with Logitech’s own GX Blue clicky switches that not only have a pretty good actuation point and the force required for that split-second responses, but they are also great to the touch as well.

Despite the switches being advertised as ‘clicky’ switches, they aren’t as loud as the other switch types on the market.

The keyboard’s small form factor allows you to bring it with you on LAN tournaments and overnight gaming sessions and thanks to its three-pronged braided cable, you will not have to worry about the keyboard’s digital inputs at all.

People will also love the inclusion of RGB lighting in the form of the company’s LIGHTSYNC functionality and it has on-board memory so that you can store your profiles without ever having the need to install the company’s own software ever again.

The only negative thing that I will talk about this gaming keyboard is that while you can bring it with you with ease, it doesn’t come with its own carrying bag.

Still, the Logitech G Pro mechanical gaming keyboard is beloved by many- pro and casual gamers alike.

7.HyperX Alloy FPS Pro

HyperX Alloy FPS Pro

Price: $64.99

Who said that you have to spend a lot of money on a gaming keyboard? For people that want a tenkeyless keyboard that is less than $100, look no further than the HyperX Alloy FPS Pro.

The said keyboard was made for FPS gamers because of its small form factor, as well as the included Cherry MX Red switches. However, it is also great for other types of games as well.

As you can expect with a tenkeyless keyboard, it doesn’t come with a numpad but instead has only the most essential things that a typical gamer would need.

Its solid steel frame and its detachable cable allow you to have peace of mind whenever you bring this keyboard with you on LAN events. And oh, you also get a carrying pouch with it as well.

The only thing that is what I would consider a negative (but not really for most people) is that it only has red, per-key backlighting and it is not RGB.

But, for the price and what you get in the package, the HyperX Alloy FPS Pro is a tenkeyless keyboard to get.

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Amazon Luna- Everything You Need to Know About Amazon’s Cloud Gaming Service

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Amazon Luna

It seems that cloud gaming is the future as a lot of companies are pooling their resources just to make things happen.

Amazon Luna is Amazon’s foray into cloud gaming and it is going to be available soon. Read further to find out more information about this new experience.

Channel-based Platform

Amazon Luna Platform

Google has paved the way for cloud gaming to come to the fore with the release of the Stadia not too long ago. Although it was mired with a lot of different issues, it seems that the company has found a way to make things work.

Amazon also wants in on the action and although there are some similarities with Luna and Stadia, there are also some stark differences as well.

Before I begin, I just want to explain the concept of cloud gaming. Basically, instead of downloading games to your gaming PC or whatever platform you choose to install them, you will just stream those games using data centers that are scattered all over the world.

It should go without saying that you need to have a fast internet connection to make this happen and so that you will not experience high latency (which was a huge problem when Stadia launched).

That being said, the premise of Google Stadia is that you need to either purchase an individual game so that you can play it at any time (forever) or you could subscribe to the monthly plan and play the games that are on offer every month (and continue to play them so long as you’re subscribed).

With Amazon Luna, you will be presented with different channels that you can subscribe to. Each of these channels has different games on offer which makes this quite appealing for game developers to show their mettle.

Right now, the platform is still in beta and there are only two channels available at the moment- Amazon’s own Luna Plus and the Ubisoft Channel. The latter will have 50 games that you can play right away and more Ubisoft games will be added in the future.

Keep in mind that this channel-based system makes it so that developers can price their services accordingly. It remains to be seen how much Ubisoft will charge individual users, so stay tuned for that.

1080p and 4K Gaming

Just like Google Stadia, Amazon Luna will support both 1080p and 4K resolutions. Of course, the latter would be more taxing and you will need a fast internet connection to be able to enjoy high-fidelity gaming. I suggest that you get a WiFi 6 router and a compatible device to make the most out of your experience.

Cross-Platform Support

Amazon Luna Cross-Platform

Unlike Stadia, Amazon Luna is more flexible in that it supports a lot of different devices. Not only can you play on your PC, but you can also choose to play it using your iOS devices, Android phones, and you can even utilize the company’s own FireTV devices as well.

Now, there has been this entire debacle about Apple’s 30% cut on every app in its App store but the good news is that Amazon can circumvent that.

You see, when you are going to play on your iOS devices, the application will actually be a PWA or a Progressive Web App. Basically, the game that you want to play will run in a contained web browser instead of it being an actual application that you install in your device. This bypasses the whole 30% cut issue which is a good thing.

NVIDIA Hardware Use

According to a recent Steam survey, the vast majority of PC users are all using NVIDIA graphics cards. This is a good thing for Amazon Luna because it means that it can support a lot more people.

That is because the company’s cloud gaming service will use NVIDIA GPUs instead of AMD cards (which Stadia uses for graphics processing).

Supposing that Amazon Luna will be more popular than any other cloud gaming service out there, NVIDIA will enjoy huge profits as a result.

Can Be Streamed to Popular Sites

Amazon Luna Controller

Twitch is arguably the most popular streaming platform today and Amazon is looking to forge a partnership with the said service to allow you to stream your games to the popular website.

The said platform is widely used as a means of generating revenue- something that is quite popular today due to the recent pandemic.

This move also makes it appealing as well as more and more content creators can use Amazon Luna to reach a broader audience.

New Controller with Alexa Support

Amazon Luna Controller 2

Just like Google Stadia, Amazon Luna also requires you to get a special controller. The good thing is that the control will have a microphone so that you can use Alexa for specific voice commands.

What’s interesting about the Luna’s controller is that it is completely connected to the Cloud, which means that you do not have to pair it with the specific device you are going to use to play games online.

According to Amazon’s website, it should have a grippy texture and will feature low-friction thumbsticks that provide maximum performance across the board. By using the controller’s microphone, you can actually tell Alexa to fire up the specific game that you want to play, so long as it is inside the channel that you’ve subscribed to.

Conclusion

Amazon Luna is quite enticing, at least, on paper. It is shaping up to be a better cloud gaming service compared to its competitors but the service is still in beta, so there are more things that need ironing out before its official release.

Right now, there are only two channels that are available and Ubisoft hasn’t imposed its pricing yet. The Amazon Luna channel is priced at $6.99

If you are interested in getting in on the action, you can be an early beta tester by subscribing to the service.

Amazon Luna will be out sometime in October.

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Acer Nitro XV340CK Review- A Greatly Competitive Ultrawide Gaming Monitor Under $500

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Acer Nitro XV340CK Review

Ultrawide monitors used to be a niche display in that the only people who work on productivity tasks and creative workloads usually buy them.

Fortunately, the display technology has evolved and gamers, too, can enjoy a much wider screen.

Today, I am going to review the Acer Nitro XV340CK which is a 34-inch ultrawide gaming monitor that is priced competitively. 

Design

Even though this is marketed as a gaming monitor, the Acer Nitro XV340CK actually doesn’t look like it. It looks simple and I love the aesthetics, especially if you want to place this in your office.

The only thing that might make you think that this is a gaming display is that red accent that you can find on the base of the monitor but that’s about it.

Anyway, let’s start with the stand. Aside from the aforementioned red accent, the stand provides good ergonomics.

It gives you the ability to swivel the monitor a complete 360 degrees, you can tilt it to 35 degrees back and you can adjust the height up to 5.9 inches. Because this is an ultrawide monitor, you cannot put this thing in portrait mode.

I love the fact that this monitor has slim bezels. At only 0.4 inches, you can place another monitor right beside it and it wouldn’t really take a lot of screen real estate at all.

The overall build quality is good. Despite the fact that it doesn’t feel premium, at least when compared to the best gaming monitors out there, it still feels sturdy nevertheless.

For the ports, you get two Displayport 1.4 ports, two HDMI 2.0 ports, and two USB 3.0 ports. Due to the wealth of ports on offer, you can use this for your PC or your game console.

The only thing that might be cumbersome for some users is that the OSD controls are situated at the back of the monitor- particularly on the bottom right side. The buttons are also a bit smaller than usual, so you may have a hard time pressing the right ones.

Display

Acer Nitro XV340CK Review 2020

The Acer Nitro XV340CK has a 34-inch IPS display with a resolution of 3440 x 1440 and an aspect ratio of 21:9. It is the same as other ultrawide gaming monitors that you can find on the market so there is no problem with that.

You do have the option to enable the picture-in-picture mode so that you can divide the display in two if you wish to fire up two different programs at the same time. This is why it is not only a handy gaming monitor, but it can also be used for office work as well.

Its contrast and brightness leave much to be desired. With a native contrast ratio of 1048:1 and peak SDR brightness of only 247 nits, it is not the best display when it comes to these things.

However, its redeeming quality is that its colors are accurate. After calibration, I got 95% sRGB, 82% AdobeRGB, and 81% DCI-P3. It is relatively color accurate and it would have been nice for creative workloads, but its peak brightness just falls short of making it an ideal display for such use-cases.

It is also worth noting that if you are in a well-lit room that the brightness could be a huge issue. The good thing is that the display’s matte finish can help reduce glare significantly, though you will still find that it is not bright enough in some situations.

I am surprised by the fact that there is literally no color bleed on the Acer Nitro XV340CK. This is unheard of, especially since ultrawide monitors are notorious for this.

Performance

Sure, its peak brightness and contrast could have improved, but gamers are not especially focused on those things. If anything, it is the performance of the display that usually takes the cake and I am happy to report that you won’t be disappointed with the Nitro XV340CK.

Normally, with IPS panels, they tend to not have a good response time, but that is actually not the case here. At just 5.3ms, it is definitely one of the best out there even when compared to other, more premium models.

How about input lag? This is a speed monitor and as expected, input lag is minimal. At just 4.2ms, I am really blown away by the performance of this thing. Every keypress on your gaming keyboard will register almost immediately and that is really great from a competitive standpoint.

It is also worth noting that its 144Hz refresh rate is ideal, especially since most gamers are clamoring for high refresh rate displays anyway.

This is a FreeSync gaming monitor and you can enable this variable refresh rate feature in both AMD and Nvidia graphics cards.

To get a hold of the said features, it is important for you to know that you should use the DisplayPort cable that is included in the box. There is also an included HDMI cable if you want to use this display for your Xbox or Playstation consoles.

Acer Nitro XV340CK

Verdict

With all of those things being said, if I were to ask you how much this thing costs, what will be your guess? If you’ve guessed around $700, you’re wrong.

The Acer Nitro XV340CK is priced at just $450! At that price, you are getting a relatively color-accurate monitor, a really fast display with minimal input lag, and a vast number of ports that you can use for your PC or game consoles.

Sure, its contrast and peak brightness could have been improved, but if you are talking about raw gaming performance, the Acer Nitro XV340CK blows other ultrawide gaming monitors out of the way.

Just make sure that you have a nice gaming PC for this thing to work nicely. Other than that, I highly recommend the Acer Nitro XV340CK for its price and performance.

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HyperX Cloud Stinger S- A Comfortable 7.1 Surround Sound Gaming Headset

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HyperX Cloud Stinger S Review

As an audiophile, I’ve always loved HyperX’s gaming audio solution. They are inexpensive and for the price, you are actually getting sound quality that you normally would only hear from expensive products.

In today’s article, I am going to review the HyperX Cloud Stinger S. This is a budget offering that aims to improve upon the original Cloud Stinger with the inclusion of a 7.1 surround sound option.

Do I recommend this headset? Find out later on in the article.

Design

The HyperX Cloud Stinger S is actually quite similar to the original version. It has the same pleather ear cups that envelope your ears quite nicely and the clamping force of the headset itself is actually quite okay.

I’ve been receiving reports that there are some people that have problems with the tightness or, shall I say, how loose this thing can be. But that will probably be a result of the size of your head and not the actual product itself. For me, the fit was okay, but your mileage may vary.

Although this thing is predominantly made in plastic, the overall build quality is good, though I would advise you not to throw this headset when you lose a round in a MOBA game or first-person shooter.

There is a microphone on this headset and just like the original, it is not removable. It would have been nice if you could remove it when you are not using it because even if you fold the microphone (which also acts as a way of muting it), you will still see it which can be annoying at times.

This thing is quite simple and all you have for the controls is the volume slider that is located on the right ear cup. 

While other HyperX gaming headsets come with a carrying pouch, I am sad to say that the HyperX Cloud Stinger S doesn’t have one.

All you get in the box aside from the headset is a USB dongle that is attached to a relatively long cable and some documentation. And, since you use this thing completely wired, it can also be used in your Playstation or other game consoles as well.

The 3.5mm analog cable should be inserted in the USB dongle if you wish to use its 7.1 surround sound implementation, but if you are just going to watch movies or play non-competitive games, I suggest that you do not use it.

Audio Quality

HyperX Cloud Stinger S Review 2020

There are two modes that you can utilize if you are going to use the HyperX Cloud Stinger S. You can use its 3.5mm headphone jack and enjoy stereo sound or you could insert that into the included USB dongle and use the 7.1 surround sound feature.

Keep in mind that if you are going to use the 7.1 output that it is only supported on the PC since you will need the NGENUITY software to enable it.

That being said, the HyperX Cloud Stinger S’ sound signature leans more toward being bright and with a little emphasis on the bass. This seems to be the preference of the majority of gamers since lower frequencies can make those in-game sounds pop-out more.

I also love the mid frequencies as it is quite balanced as well. I’ve had no problems listening to in-game dialog and when I am using the microphone, it just works really well.

Although the high frequencies are okay, I would say that it is the weakest of the bunch, though not so much as to diminish the overall sound quality. You will still hear the sibilance of the cymbals and lead guitars, but it is not as pronounced as the lower and mid frequencies.

As for the 7.1 surround sound, you should enable it in the companion software and it is only available when you are on the PC.

Anyway, its surround sound is okay but I say this because it is a budget gaming headset. If you compare it to the more premium ones, this is subpar at best. Still, you could enable it in your favorite games but I will advise against it if you are just listening to music or watching movies.

Despite a relatively good clamping force, the HyperX Cloud Stinger S doesn’t do so well in terms of sound isolation. People around me can still hear what I was listening to, so this might not be ideal if you are playing at night and there are people sleeping.

Microphone Quality

HyperX Cloud Stinger S

There is usually this notion that budget headsets have horrible microphones but not the HyperX Cloud Stinger S. In fact, I would go on to say that it has one of the better ones on the market.

Instead of sounding tinny, the microphone quality of the Cloud Stinger S is full-bodied and my teammates can hear every word I said without any problems.

The volume of the microphone is also quite good as well. Normally, with budget offerings, you tend to sound a bit ‘too far’ but that is not the case here.

Overall, I am quite pleased with the microphone. The only thing that I do not like is that the flippable microphone may impede your vision sometimes, but I think that you can adjust to this.

Verdict

For a budget headset, the HyperX Cloud Stinger S is definitely one of the better sounding ones. I also love the fact that the microphone’s quality is top-notch and it can even go head-to-head against its more premium counterparts.

I am just a bit disappointed that you do not get a carrying pouch with this one because other HyperX gaming headsets have them. But, this is a minor inconvenience.

I did not feel the need to talk about the NGENUITY software mainly because it is pretty barebones and all you can do with it is to enable the 7.1 surround sound, adjust the volume and microphone, and that’s about it. There is no equalizer present which is quite odd.

Still, for what it is giving you, the HyperX Cloud Stinger S is highly recommended. This thing costs $60.

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The 7 Best Gaming Keyboards of 2020 That Are Worth Your Money

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Best Gaming Keyboards 2020

Do you want to improve your gaming experience? If that is so, then read this article to find out the best gaming keyboards in 2020.

Aside from a robust keyboard, you may also want to consider getting yourself a good mouse and a good gaming monitor while you’re at it.

Why You Need Gaming Keyboards

My gaming career started when I was in 6th grade. My first-ever machine was still running a dual-core processor and while I can game using a typical mouse and keyboard, it may not have given me the best user experience.

Then, I was introduced to ‘gaming’ keyboards by a friend of mine and the rest was history. Why do I love gaming keyboards so much, you ask?

Well, that is because they come with a lot of features; more than you think you need. Most gaming keyboards nowadays come with amazing mechanical switches that not only improve your response times but also give you the best possible experience when you are playing your favorite titles.

While most people can play even without such a peripheral, I am telling you that getting one is definitely something that you’d want to consider.

Also, gaming keyboards also last longer because the mechanical switches are rated to last at least 50 million keystrokes.

Different Types

When you are going out on the market to find a gaming keyboard, you will find that there are actually two major types: A full-sized keyboard and a ‘tenkeyless’ version.

A full-sized keyboard is one that is complete with all of the bells and whistles. Basically, you not only get a numpad on the side but you might also get a bevy of additional keys on the left side of the keyboard as well.

A tenkeyless keyboard, as the name implies, is one that has a more compact form factor than the former. It is called as such because it doesn’t come with a numpad, thus allowing you to save some space.

When you ask a lot of professional gamers, they would actually go for the tenkeyless version as opposed to a full-sized one. That is because its more compact form factor would allow them to easily access the keys that they need much faster than a regular-sized keyboard.

Of course, the choice is still entirely up to you. I love using full-sized keyboards because I also work using one that is intended for gaming, but to each their own.

Different Switches

Mechanical Key Switches

One of the biggest selling points of gaming keyboards nowadays is their use of mechanical switches.

The said switches are different than what your regular, run-of-the-mill keyboard comes with. Instead of a rubber dome underneath the keycap, it actually comes with a switch that is more complicated than that.

For a bit of a rundown, here are the parts of a mechanical keyboard switch;

  1. Switch Housing- This is an entire block of the key that holds everything together
  2. Keycap- The keycap is the topmost portion of the key where you will find the number or letter
  3. Stem- This is the mounting mechanism of every key. Different switches have different stems
  4. Metal Contacts- Once you press down on a key, the metal contact will be the one that registers the said keystroke
  5. Slider- The slider is responsible for pushing the keys down. This is also responsible for interrupting the connection between the side of the switch, as well as the metal contacts
  6. Spring- Located at the base of the slider, the spring is responsible for the retraction of the key; priming it for another input or keystroke.

Now, when choosing a gaming keyboard, it is also important that you consider the feel of the keys itself. There are three things that you need to learn here: Linear, Tactile, and Clicky.

Linear key switches are what you need if you want a consistent keystroke. It has a smooth feel when you press the key down and because there is nothing that hinders the trajectory, this is ideal for professional gamers who need a faster switch.

For tactile and clicky switches, both of them are somewhat the same in the sense that there is a noticeable tactile bump whenever you press a key. However, the difference is that in clicky switches, there is also a ‘click’ sound whenever you go past the actuation point (hence, the name of the switch).

The actuation point is the point of your keypress that registers the input on the screen. A clicky switch has a clicky mechanism inside, allowing you to know that you’ve passed the actuation point and can continue on with what you are doing since the input has already been registered.

Tactile switches do not have that clicky sound but it still has that noticeable bump once you’ve reached the actuation point. This is ideal for heavy typists since every keystroke doesn’t have that annoying clicking noise.

Now, there are many different types of switches out there, but I would give you a rundown on some of the best that you can find on the market today.

  1. Cherry MX Red- A favorite of many back when faster key switches weren’t made yet, the Cherry MX Red is a linear switch that has a light actuation force of 45 grams and an actuation point of just 2mm. Its fast and linear travel makes it ideal for fast-paced games.
  2. Cherry MX Brown- Considered as the middle-ground when it comes to usage, Cherry MX Brown switches are tactile switches that have the same actuation point and force required to that of MX Reds, albeit that it has that tactile bump that I mentioned earlier. Perfect for people who want to type on a better keyboard.
  3. Cherry MX Speed- Perfect for professional gamers, the Cherry MX Speed beats the Red version by a lot. It still requires the same actuation force of 45 grams but its actuation point is only 1.2mm which means that you can make lightning-fast inputs without worrying about anything. Typists are prone to make more errors using this type of switch though.
  4. Cherry MX Blue- Although most gaming keyboards on the market do not come with Cherry MX Blue switches anymore, it is still worth noting. Because of its 2mm actuation point and 60 grams of actuation force required, Cherry MX Blues are only great for typists. Still, there are some gamers that would still want to buy this one just because of its signature ‘clicky’ sound.
  5. Razer Opto-Mechanical- Newer Razer keyboards come with this switch and it is pretty good. For people that want the ‘clicky’ sound of the Cherry MX Blues but with the performance of the speed switches, this is the one to get. It is only available on Razer’s premium gaming keyboards though.
  6. Razer Green- This is a clicky switch that requires a slightly lower actuation force (55 grams) than the Cherry MX Blue switch. It also has a slightly lower actuation point at 1.9mm. Used primarily for gaming but may also be good for typing, Razer greens are what you want to get to enjoy the best of both worlds.
  7. Razer Orange- Razer’s orange switches are the same as the green ones except that they are ‘silent’ tactile switches as opposed to the clicky version that is the Razer greens. It is still great for both typing and gaming and is the one to get if you want a more silent gaming keyboard.

Features that You Need

What makes gaming keyboards quite appealing to a lot of people is that it is not a boring piece of plastic or metal that sends inputs to your computer; it is a ‘loud’ one in the sense that you get a whole lot of features to improve your gaming experience.

Here are some that you might need:

  1. Layout- Choose if you want a more compact keyboard in a tenkeyless version or if you want the full-sized, more robust gaming keyboard
  2. Switch- Of course, this is the main reason why you’d want a gaming keyboard anyway. What switch you want to get is entirely up to you
  3. Macro Keys- These are extra keys that are added to the keyboard. These are perfect whenever you want to assign different keys/tasks and you want an easier way to do those things just by pressing a key
  4. USB Passthrough- This is considered optional but it is still a nice thing to have, especially if you have a lot of other peripherals
  5. Anti-Ghosting- Also known as ‘N-key rollover’, this feature ensures that even if you press a lot of different keys at the same time, all of those inputs are registered as they are
  6. On-Board Memory- If you want to tweak macro keys and whatnot, you want some on-board memory so that you can store your profiles on the keyboard itself (thus eliminating the need to have proprietary programs installed on your computer after adjusting some settings)
  7. RGB- I mean, who wouldn’t want flashy lights on their keyboards?

Best Gaming Keyboards of 2020

1.Corsair K95 RGB Platinum

Corsair K95 RGB Platinum

Price: $199 (Usually goes on sale for less than $170)

The Corsair K95 RGB Platinum is considered by many as the best gaming keyboard of 2020. That is because it has plenty to offer and is definitely worth your money.

For starters, you get to choose between two different switches: Cherry MX Speed or Cherry MX Brown. The former is ideal for fast-paced games and the latter is great not only for gaming but also for typing as well.

It is a full-sized keyboard that comes with a column of macro keys on the left side of the keyboard itself. Using Corsair’s proprietary software, you can assign different inputs or macro commands on those keys which is ideal for a lot of gamers

On the top-right side, you will find the media controls that will allow you to control the volume, as well as, your media accordingly.

The gaming keyboard also comes with a lot of extras as well. For instance, you also get some textured keycaps for the WASD keys, so for FPS gamers, this is a really good addition.

You also get a detachable wrist rest so you will have the option to have it attached (perfect for long gaming sessions) or detached if you want a simpler layout.

The USB passthrough is also a welcome addition since you can plug other USB-powered peripherals as well (Especially useful if you are using a wireless mouse and a USB dongle).

It has per-key RGB lighting that you can tweak to your heart’s content using the company’s software which is pretty good and it allows you to customize your keyboard the way you want it.

Really, the only downside to this keyboard is its high price tag but if you have $199 to spend on a gaming keyboard, the Corsair K95 RGB Platinum is definitely worth every dollar.

2.Razer Huntsman Elite

Razer Huntsman Elite

Price: $199

Razer has really done it again with the Razer Huntsman Elite. This is the company’s most premium gaming keyboard to date and it definitely deserves its high price tag.

For starters, it makes use of the company’s own Razer opto-mechanical switches. They come in two variants now: one that has a more linear feel and the other with the original clicky switches. Both are very responsive so they are perfect for all gamers.

Aside from that, I especially love the included wrist rest because it uses a faux leather material that is soft to the touch. Of course, you can also choose to detach it if that is what you want.

It has a bevy of media control buttons on the top-right corner and has RGB lighting for amazing aesthetics too.

While I really like this gaming keyboard, it doesn’t come without its shortcomings. For one, it doesn’t have a USB passthrough like the Corsair gaming keyboard above.

Second, it doesn’t come with additional keycaps and it also doesn’t have macro keys as well. If this is a deal breaker for you, you may want to consider our other recommendations in this article instead.

However, if you want to try out the new Razer opto-mechanical switches, then the Razer Huntsman Elite is still a solid recommendation.

3.HyperX Alloy Elite RGB

HyperX Alloy Elite RGB

Price: $169

A full-sized keyboard without compromises, the HyperX Alloy Elite is another solid choice for gamers out there.

You can choose between three switch types: Cherry MX Red, Cherry MX Brown, or Cherry MX Blue. Aside from that, you also get an extra set of keycaps for your WASD and QWER keys as well.

The keyboard comes with a USB passthrough which is always a welcome addition to any keyboard.

Its full RGB backlighting can support up to 16.9 million colors so you can tweak the said peripheral the way you want it.

You’ve got a bevy of media controls on the top right corner and you also have some buttons to turn off the lighting and toggle some other things on the left.

While this keyboard doesn’t come with dedicated macro keys, you can use the software to tweak the other unused keys on the keyboard for your games if you need it.

Its detachable wrist rest is okay, albeit the feel of it could slightly be improved to be more comfortable.

Aside from that, the company’s software could definitely use some improvement, though I love the fact that it is not buggy or anything like that.

For a sub-170 dollar keyboard, the HyperX Alloy Elite RGB is a no-compromises keyboard that performs really well.

4.SteelSeries Apex Pro

SteelSeries Apex Pro

Price: $209 (But usually goes on sale)

Every premium gaming keyboard comes with its own unique twist and the SteelSeries Apex Pro takes it up a notch.

It is a full-sized keyboard that has an OLED display situated at the top right corner of the product itself.

This OLED display can be used to tweak a number of different things: From the lighting to the actuation point and so many others. The company said that it is going to add more features down the line so keep an eye out for any updates to its firmware.

Aside from the OLED display, the SteelSeries Apex Pro is also unique because it uses a different switch in the form of the company’s ‘Magnetic’ switches.

What makes them unique is that you can tweak its actuation point in the software (or on the OLED display) to your liking. This is ideal for whenever you just want to type a document or play intense games.

Of course, with just about any product on the market, it also has its downsides. For one, this keyboard takes up a lot of space on your desk thanks to its humongous wrist rest.

Second, it doesn’t come with dedicated macro keys, though you can tweak the other keys present on the board.

Still, its build quality, adjustable actuation point, and its amazing RGB lighting performance, the SteelSeries Apex Pro is still a worthy keyboard to get.

5.Asus ROG Strix Scope

Asus ROG Strix Scope

Price: $119.99

First-person shooters require you to smack keys that are reachable by your left hand. And, if you play a lot of FPS games, I suggest that you get the Asus ROG Strix Scope.

This gaming keyboard is actually dedicated to FPS gamers and its solid aluminum build quality ensures that this keyboard is built to last.

It is a full-sized keyboard without dedicated macro keys but what is really appealing here is the inclusion of additional keycaps, as well as a wider control button on the left side of the keyboard.

That is right. Since most FPS gamers need to press either the shift or control buttons, the said keys are bigger in this keyboard and that is pretty unique in its own right.

Its solid build quality coupled with FPS gaming features make the Asus ROG Strix Scope easy to recommend.

6.Logitech G Pro

Logitech G Pro

Price: $129

All of the keyboards thus far on this list are full-sized ones, but there are people that would want to get a more compact, tenkeyless form factor instead. That is where the Logitech G Pro comes in.

The Logitech G Pro is a gaming keyboard that is built specifically for gamers. Aside from its robust build quality, the keyboard is packed with Logitech’s own GX Blue clicky switches that not only have a pretty good actuation point and the force required for that split-second responses, but they are also great to the touch as well.

Despite the switches being advertised as ‘clicky’ switches, they aren’t as loud as the other switch types on the market.

The keyboard’s small form factor allows you to bring it with you on LAN tournaments and overnight gaming sessions and thanks to its three-pronged braided cable, you will not have to worry about the keyboard’s digital inputs at all.

People will also love the inclusion of RGB lighting in the form of the company’s LIGHTSYNC functionality and it has on-board memory so that you can store your profiles without ever having the need to install the company’s own software ever again.

The only negative thing that I will talk about this gaming keyboard is that while you can bring it with you with ease, it doesn’t come with its own carrying bag.

Still, the Logitech G Pro mechanical gaming keyboard is beloved by many- pro and casual gamers alike.

7.HyperX Alloy FPS Pro

HyperX Alloy FPS Pro

Price: $64.99

Who said that you have to spend a lot of money on a gaming keyboard? For people that want a tenkeyless keyboard that is less than $100, look no further than the HyperX Alloy FPS Pro.

The said keyboard was made for FPS gamers because of its small form factor, as well as the included Cherry MX Red switches. However, it is also great for other types of games as well.

As you can expect with a tenkeyless keyboard, it doesn’t come with a numpad but instead has only the most essential things that a typical gamer would need.

Its solid steel frame and its detachable cable allow you to have peace of mind whenever you bring this keyboard with you on LAN events. And oh, you also get a carrying pouch with it as well.

The only thing that is what I would consider a negative (but not really for most people) is that it only has red, per-key backlighting and it is not RGB.

But, for the price and what you get in the package, the HyperX Alloy FPS Pro is a tenkeyless keyboard to get.

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Amazon Luna- Everything You Need to Know About Amazon’s Cloud Gaming Service

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Amazon Luna

It seems that cloud gaming is the future as a lot of companies are pooling their resources just to make things happen.

Amazon Luna is Amazon’s foray into cloud gaming and it is going to be available soon. Read further to find out more information about this new experience.

Channel-based Platform

Amazon Luna Platform

Google has paved the way for cloud gaming to come to the fore with the release of the Stadia not too long ago. Although it was mired with a lot of different issues, it seems that the company has found a way to make things work.

Amazon also wants in on the action and although there are some similarities with Luna and Stadia, there are also some stark differences as well.

Before I begin, I just want to explain the concept of cloud gaming. Basically, instead of downloading games to your gaming PC or whatever platform you choose to install them, you will just stream those games using data centers that are scattered all over the world.

It should go without saying that you need to have a fast internet connection to make this happen and so that you will not experience high latency (which was a huge problem when Stadia launched).

That being said, the premise of Google Stadia is that you need to either purchase an individual game so that you can play it at any time (forever) or you could subscribe to the monthly plan and play the games that are on offer every month (and continue to play them so long as you’re subscribed).

With Amazon Luna, you will be presented with different channels that you can subscribe to. Each of these channels has different games on offer which makes this quite appealing for game developers to show their mettle.

Right now, the platform is still in beta and there are only two channels available at the moment- Amazon’s own Luna Plus and the Ubisoft Channel. The latter will have 50 games that you can play right away and more Ubisoft games will be added in the future.

Keep in mind that this channel-based system makes it so that developers can price their services accordingly. It remains to be seen how much Ubisoft will charge individual users, so stay tuned for that.

1080p and 4K Gaming

Just like Google Stadia, Amazon Luna will support both 1080p and 4K resolutions. Of course, the latter would be more taxing and you will need a fast internet connection to be able to enjoy high-fidelity gaming. I suggest that you get a WiFi 6 router and a compatible device to make the most out of your experience.

Cross-Platform Support

Amazon Luna Cross-Platform

Unlike Stadia, Amazon Luna is more flexible in that it supports a lot of different devices. Not only can you play on your PC, but you can also choose to play it using your iOS devices, Android phones, and you can even utilize the company’s own FireTV devices as well.

Now, there has been this entire debacle about Apple’s 30% cut on every app in its App store but the good news is that Amazon can circumvent that.

You see, when you are going to play on your iOS devices, the application will actually be a PWA or a Progressive Web App. Basically, the game that you want to play will run in a contained web browser instead of it being an actual application that you install in your device. This bypasses the whole 30% cut issue which is a good thing.

NVIDIA Hardware Use

According to a recent Steam survey, the vast majority of PC users are all using NVIDIA graphics cards. This is a good thing for Amazon Luna because it means that it can support a lot more people.

That is because the company’s cloud gaming service will use NVIDIA GPUs instead of AMD cards (which Stadia uses for graphics processing).

Supposing that Amazon Luna will be more popular than any other cloud gaming service out there, NVIDIA will enjoy huge profits as a result.

Can Be Streamed to Popular Sites

Amazon Luna Controller

Twitch is arguably the most popular streaming platform today and Amazon is looking to forge a partnership with the said service to allow you to stream your games to the popular website.

The said platform is widely used as a means of generating revenue- something that is quite popular today due to the recent pandemic.

This move also makes it appealing as well as more and more content creators can use Amazon Luna to reach a broader audience.

New Controller with Alexa Support

Amazon Luna Controller 2

Just like Google Stadia, Amazon Luna also requires you to get a special controller. The good thing is that the control will have a microphone so that you can use Alexa for specific voice commands.

What’s interesting about the Luna’s controller is that it is completely connected to the Cloud, which means that you do not have to pair it with the specific device you are going to use to play games online.

According to Amazon’s website, it should have a grippy texture and will feature low-friction thumbsticks that provide maximum performance across the board. By using the controller’s microphone, you can actually tell Alexa to fire up the specific game that you want to play, so long as it is inside the channel that you’ve subscribed to.

Conclusion

Amazon Luna is quite enticing, at least, on paper. It is shaping up to be a better cloud gaming service compared to its competitors but the service is still in beta, so there are more things that need ironing out before its official release.

Right now, there are only two channels that are available and Ubisoft hasn’t imposed its pricing yet. The Amazon Luna channel is priced at $6.99

If you are interested in getting in on the action, you can be an early beta tester by subscribing to the service.

Amazon Luna will be out sometime in October.

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Acer Nitro XV340CK Review- A Greatly Competitive Ultrawide Gaming Monitor Under $500

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Acer Nitro XV340CK Review

Ultrawide monitors used to be a niche display in that the only people who work on productivity tasks and creative workloads usually buy them.

Fortunately, the display technology has evolved and gamers, too, can enjoy a much wider screen.

Today, I am going to review the Acer Nitro XV340CK which is a 34-inch ultrawide gaming monitor that is priced competitively. 

Design

Even though this is marketed as a gaming monitor, the Acer Nitro XV340CK actually doesn’t look like it. It looks simple and I love the aesthetics, especially if you want to place this in your office.

The only thing that might make you think that this is a gaming display is that red accent that you can find on the base of the monitor but that’s about it.

Anyway, let’s start with the stand. Aside from the aforementioned red accent, the stand provides good ergonomics.

It gives you the ability to swivel the monitor a complete 360 degrees, you can tilt it to 35 degrees back and you can adjust the height up to 5.9 inches. Because this is an ultrawide monitor, you cannot put this thing in portrait mode.

I love the fact that this monitor has slim bezels. At only 0.4 inches, you can place another monitor right beside it and it wouldn’t really take a lot of screen real estate at all.

The overall build quality is good. Despite the fact that it doesn’t feel premium, at least when compared to the best gaming monitors out there, it still feels sturdy nevertheless.

For the ports, you get two Displayport 1.4 ports, two HDMI 2.0 ports, and two USB 3.0 ports. Due to the wealth of ports on offer, you can use this for your PC or your game console.

The only thing that might be cumbersome for some users is that the OSD controls are situated at the back of the monitor- particularly on the bottom right side. The buttons are also a bit smaller than usual, so you may have a hard time pressing the right ones.

Display

Acer Nitro XV340CK Review 2020

The Acer Nitro XV340CK has a 34-inch IPS display with a resolution of 3440 x 1440 and an aspect ratio of 21:9. It is the same as other ultrawide gaming monitors that you can find on the market so there is no problem with that.

You do have the option to enable the picture-in-picture mode so that you can divide the display in two if you wish to fire up two different programs at the same time. This is why it is not only a handy gaming monitor, but it can also be used for office work as well.

Its contrast and brightness leave much to be desired. With a native contrast ratio of 1048:1 and peak SDR brightness of only 247 nits, it is not the best display when it comes to these things.

However, its redeeming quality is that its colors are accurate. After calibration, I got 95% sRGB, 82% AdobeRGB, and 81% DCI-P3. It is relatively color accurate and it would have been nice for creative workloads, but its peak brightness just falls short of making it an ideal display for such use-cases.

It is also worth noting that if you are in a well-lit room that the brightness could be a huge issue. The good thing is that the display’s matte finish can help reduce glare significantly, though you will still find that it is not bright enough in some situations.

I am surprised by the fact that there is literally no color bleed on the Acer Nitro XV340CK. This is unheard of, especially since ultrawide monitors are notorious for this.

Performance

Sure, its peak brightness and contrast could have improved, but gamers are not especially focused on those things. If anything, it is the performance of the display that usually takes the cake and I am happy to report that you won’t be disappointed with the Nitro XV340CK.

Normally, with IPS panels, they tend to not have a good response time, but that is actually not the case here. At just 5.3ms, it is definitely one of the best out there even when compared to other, more premium models.

How about input lag? This is a speed monitor and as expected, input lag is minimal. At just 4.2ms, I am really blown away by the performance of this thing. Every keypress on your gaming keyboard will register almost immediately and that is really great from a competitive standpoint.

It is also worth noting that its 144Hz refresh rate is ideal, especially since most gamers are clamoring for high refresh rate displays anyway.

This is a FreeSync gaming monitor and you can enable this variable refresh rate feature in both AMD and Nvidia graphics cards.

To get a hold of the said features, it is important for you to know that you should use the DisplayPort cable that is included in the box. There is also an included HDMI cable if you want to use this display for your Xbox or Playstation consoles.

Acer Nitro XV340CK

Verdict

With all of those things being said, if I were to ask you how much this thing costs, what will be your guess? If you’ve guessed around $700, you’re wrong.

The Acer Nitro XV340CK is priced at just $450! At that price, you are getting a relatively color-accurate monitor, a really fast display with minimal input lag, and a vast number of ports that you can use for your PC or game consoles.

Sure, its contrast and peak brightness could have been improved, but if you are talking about raw gaming performance, the Acer Nitro XV340CK blows other ultrawide gaming monitors out of the way.

Just make sure that you have a nice gaming PC for this thing to work nicely. Other than that, I highly recommend the Acer Nitro XV340CK for its price and performance.

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HyperX Cloud Stinger S- A Comfortable 7.1 Surround Sound Gaming Headset

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HyperX Cloud Stinger S Review

As an audiophile, I’ve always loved HyperX’s gaming audio solution. They are inexpensive and for the price, you are actually getting sound quality that you normally would only hear from expensive products.

In today’s article, I am going to review the HyperX Cloud Stinger S. This is a budget offering that aims to improve upon the original Cloud Stinger with the inclusion of a 7.1 surround sound option.

Do I recommend this headset? Find out later on in the article.

Design

The HyperX Cloud Stinger S is actually quite similar to the original version. It has the same pleather ear cups that envelope your ears quite nicely and the clamping force of the headset itself is actually quite okay.

I’ve been receiving reports that there are some people that have problems with the tightness or, shall I say, how loose this thing can be. But that will probably be a result of the size of your head and not the actual product itself. For me, the fit was okay, but your mileage may vary.

Although this thing is predominantly made in plastic, the overall build quality is good, though I would advise you not to throw this headset when you lose a round in a MOBA game or first-person shooter.

There is a microphone on this headset and just like the original, it is not removable. It would have been nice if you could remove it when you are not using it because even if you fold the microphone (which also acts as a way of muting it), you will still see it which can be annoying at times.

This thing is quite simple and all you have for the controls is the volume slider that is located on the right ear cup. 

While other HyperX gaming headsets come with a carrying pouch, I am sad to say that the HyperX Cloud Stinger S doesn’t have one.

All you get in the box aside from the headset is a USB dongle that is attached to a relatively long cable and some documentation. And, since you use this thing completely wired, it can also be used in your Playstation or other game consoles as well.

The 3.5mm analog cable should be inserted in the USB dongle if you wish to use its 7.1 surround sound implementation, but if you are just going to watch movies or play non-competitive games, I suggest that you do not use it.

Audio Quality

HyperX Cloud Stinger S Review 2020

There are two modes that you can utilize if you are going to use the HyperX Cloud Stinger S. You can use its 3.5mm headphone jack and enjoy stereo sound or you could insert that into the included USB dongle and use the 7.1 surround sound feature.

Keep in mind that if you are going to use the 7.1 output that it is only supported on the PC since you will need the NGENUITY software to enable it.

That being said, the HyperX Cloud Stinger S’ sound signature leans more toward being bright and with a little emphasis on the bass. This seems to be the preference of the majority of gamers since lower frequencies can make those in-game sounds pop-out more.

I also love the mid frequencies as it is quite balanced as well. I’ve had no problems listening to in-game dialog and when I am using the microphone, it just works really well.

Although the high frequencies are okay, I would say that it is the weakest of the bunch, though not so much as to diminish the overall sound quality. You will still hear the sibilance of the cymbals and lead guitars, but it is not as pronounced as the lower and mid frequencies.

As for the 7.1 surround sound, you should enable it in the companion software and it is only available when you are on the PC.

Anyway, its surround sound is okay but I say this because it is a budget gaming headset. If you compare it to the more premium ones, this is subpar at best. Still, you could enable it in your favorite games but I will advise against it if you are just listening to music or watching movies.

Despite a relatively good clamping force, the HyperX Cloud Stinger S doesn’t do so well in terms of sound isolation. People around me can still hear what I was listening to, so this might not be ideal if you are playing at night and there are people sleeping.

Microphone Quality

HyperX Cloud Stinger S

There is usually this notion that budget headsets have horrible microphones but not the HyperX Cloud Stinger S. In fact, I would go on to say that it has one of the better ones on the market.

Instead of sounding tinny, the microphone quality of the Cloud Stinger S is full-bodied and my teammates can hear every word I said without any problems.

The volume of the microphone is also quite good as well. Normally, with budget offerings, you tend to sound a bit ‘too far’ but that is not the case here.

Overall, I am quite pleased with the microphone. The only thing that I do not like is that the flippable microphone may impede your vision sometimes, but I think that you can adjust to this.

Verdict

For a budget headset, the HyperX Cloud Stinger S is definitely one of the better sounding ones. I also love the fact that the microphone’s quality is top-notch and it can even go head-to-head against its more premium counterparts.

I am just a bit disappointed that you do not get a carrying pouch with this one because other HyperX gaming headsets have them. But, this is a minor inconvenience.

I did not feel the need to talk about the NGENUITY software mainly because it is pretty barebones and all you can do with it is to enable the 7.1 surround sound, adjust the volume and microphone, and that’s about it. There is no equalizer present which is quite odd.

Still, for what it is giving you, the HyperX Cloud Stinger S is highly recommended. This thing costs $60.

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