Sunday, 14 December 2014

Sitex 2014: Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard

I do a lot of typing on the keyboard, in the course of my work. Because of that, I would get repetitive stress injury (RSI) regularly. According to wikipedia, RSI is 'injury to the musculoskeletal and nervous systems that may be caused by repetitive tasks, forceful exertions, vibrations, mechanical compression, or sustained or awkward positions.'

In my case, the RSI I would get is in the shoulder area and it is quite painful. It has even affected my nighttime sleep. That is the reason I bought the Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard. It is selling at $135 at Sitex 2014. Actual price is $159. And it comes with a nice freebie, a Nakamichi My Mini Plus which costs $49 at Sitex.

Here are the unboxing photos:

Box Front

Ergonomist Approved? Good enough for me.

The keyboard comes in 3 parts: the main keyboard, the number
keypad and mouse.

Box Back: Its features.

Additional features.

All three items uses 2 x AA batteries each. Batteries provided.

The keyboard looks quite cool in black.

With the separate number keyboard and mouse.

The riser that goes under the keyboard. It raises the keyboard
for a straight natural wrist position.

Comparing the MS Keyboard with my old one.

There is a nice leatherette wrist rest at the bottom of the keyboard.

View from under the keyboard

On my office table. The keyboard has a nice curve along it.
The mouse is slightly heavy compared to other mice that I have used.
The reason is because, you are not suppose to lift it up but rather,
glide it along.

Lethal combo.

The front of the keyboard.

I have used the Microsoft Natural Keyboard Pro in the late nineties (pictured below). The keys were a bit noisy but gave a solid feel. In terms of ergonomic design, it has not progressed much from then. Even new black Sculpt keyboard still retains its basic design.

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Sitex 2014: Creative Sound Blaster Recon 3D Omega Wireless

During my earlier gaming days, I used a gaming headphone from raptor gaming. Its unique selling point was that the headphone can be dismantled and carried from one LAN party to another. It has a retractable microphone which was very useful. Unfortunately, because of structure of the headphone, it did not last long. The plastic material disintegrated slowly and the company is no longer around as well.

From raptor-gaming.

The hinge has broken from both sides.

There used to be a leather material that has
disintegrated as well.

Top view of the headphone.

The headphone dismantled. You can see the broken hinge.

Another view.
At the recent Sitex 2014, I bought the Creative SoundBlaster Recon 3D Omega Wireless Headphone. Quite a mouthful. It was selling at SGD199 from the usual SGD259. It was either this or the Sound Blaster EVO ZxR. There are several reasons I choose the former. One of it is its THX sound. The other is it has a detachable microphone boom. For the EVO, it uses concealed microphone located behind the ear cups. I was not sure if this would produce an effective voice sound, especially when one is playing and using Teamspeak or Vent.

The item comprises of 2 products. The headphone, which is the Omega Wireless Headset and the external soundcard, which is the SoundBlaster Recon 3D. The Recon 3D has a slot at the back for its wireless card and at the moment, it works only with the Omega Wireless Headset. But it can also be connected via wired headset from the headphone jack at the front of the Recon 3D device.

Audio Processor: Sound Core3D
Audio Drivers: 50mm FullSpectrum
Headset Frequency Response: 20Hz ~ 20kHz
Headset Battery Life: Up To 8 Hours
Audio Technologies: SBX Pro Studio, CrystalVoice, Scout Mode
Interface: Wireless

Audio Enhancement: THX® TruStudio Pro, Surround™, Crystalizer™. Speaker. SVM™, Dialog Plus™, CrystalVoice™, Noise Reduction, Smart Volume, Acoustic Echo Cancellation, FX, Focus
Dolby Digital Live: Decoding only
Upmixing of Stereo to Multi-Channels: THX Surround
Scout Mode™: Yes
Max.No. of 3D Voices: 128

The box:

Front box. Its key features: THX Certified and multi-platform.

Side box: Additional features.

Side box: Additional features.

Back Box.

In detail. This inline control is for the XBOX.

The Recon 3D device, the interface and its Scout mode.

It is a wireless headphone, so it uses Li-Ion battery within the

Additional features.

The unboxing:

The headset. There is a nice blue glow around the headset
when it is turned on.

The Recon 3D with the wireless card.

The Recon 3D device, with the wireless card inserted. The
microphone boom on the right. 2 sets of micro-USB cable and
an inline cable for the Xbox.

So with the card inserted, what am I suppose to do with the
flap cover (top of the picture).

Another view of the Recon 3D.

Connected to the PC, via USB and Optical Link.
The words 'Connect" is lighted up to show that
it is connected to the headphone.

The headphones, top view.

The headphone, bottom view. The generous cushion around the
ear cups is very comfortable. No ear fatigue at all.

Power switch and volume control.

Microphone boom jack on the left.

And the micro USB jack to charge the headphones.

Even when the headphones is being charged via the micro-USB jack, it can still be used, as long as it is connected to wirelessly to the Recon 3D.

It would be better if there is an option to connect to the PC or notebooks with a wired two jack cable for sound and microphone. And also, a battery indicator to show how much charge left. Otherwise, I am quite happy with my purchase.