All posts by Alex Viper

How to Pick the Best Window Treatment for Your Property

How to Pick the Best Window Treatment for Your Property

Give a touch of luxury to your property with the perfect window treatments. It is the best way to bring out the beauty of the house with minimal expense and a maximum effect. When you visit window treatment stores like Best Flooring, it could be overwhelming to see the different types of treatment options. Picking the right one that matches the style of the property and complementing the style can create a big difference.

Whether it is about making the house comfortable or beautiful, or to get the best of both, choosing the right window treatment is essential. Make an informed choice the next time you visit the window treatment stores or visit websites like Bestflooring.com. Here is a short guide that gives you the best options available in the market.

  1. Curtains

If you are after a classic look, nothing else can beat the curtains. It gives the perfect blend of style and privacy to your property. With varied choices from tradition to modern, curtains have something for everyone and every budget. The first thing to consider when you pick curtains is the amount of light you want to let through. Sheer curtains are the best choice to allow a soft and gentle light to your home.

If you are picking curtains for your entertainment rooms or bedrooms, a blackout curtain is an excellent choice to give you that extra sleep you would need. Thick fabric can also keep your home warm and improve the acoustics of your home.

Energy.gov (http://energy.gov/energysaver/energy-efficient-window-treatments) states that light colored curtains with white plastic backing can efficiently reduce heat by 33% while most conventional curtains can prevent heat loss up to 10% during winter months.

  1. Blinds

Blinds are the quickest and easiest way to transform your house into a more stylized version. There are a lot of cost-effective options when it comes to blinds that every homeowner would appreciate. With basic adjustments to control the amount of light as well as privacy, blinds give a chic look to your house.

Window blinds might pose as if it comes in just a few types, in reality, it comes in a variety of choices with different variations that give a unique character to your home. From the difference in the slat size and material used every blind imparts an essence to your taste. Choose from earthy tones of wooden blinds to the standard cream palette plastic blinds depending on where you are thinking of placing them on your property. For high moisture areas, an aluminum blind would suit better as it sustains the high levels of dampness. It is also noted that aluminum blinds block more sunlight, but it could bend easily. Vinyl blinds give a good look, but it might not suit longer windows as they tend to sag in the middle over time.

  1. Shades

For a perfect setting in a room with plenty of sunlight, the translucent shades are a great choice. They offer instant privacy when needed and are pretty simple. Although they look sophisticated, they are easy to use. When you use a light filtering material, it offers your home the right light as well as the perfect privacy environment. A well-placed shade has always been a popular choice over the years. To try out a new shade, you could probably pick the bathroom first to test it.

Roman shades are the most common type and they come in a choice of colours and fabrics. They would fold in a folded accordion style when they are drawn to close. Although they look pretty, cleaning it up could be a chore as it has a number of folds.

If you are looking for something better, the honeycomb or cellular shades are a good alternative. They are made from light-weight pleated fabric that forms a pattern of the honeycomb. They offer great insulation and comfort trapping air in the room. Some shades can slide up from the bottom to the top giving you more flexibility. You could also choose cordless options that keep these shades safe for young children and pets at home.

  1. Shutters

Shutters give a unique character to your home. They can effectively block light as well as offer privacy. It also protects your property from any possible weather conditions by forming an additional protective layer to your windows. The impact of the shutter could be more than other window treatments.

Whether you are visiting the window treatment stores or websites like bestflooring.com, picking the window treatment depends on various factors. The main ones being levels of light, privacy, style, easy to use, safe for kids and pets. Check out interesting and stylish window treatment options at Best Flooring to make the right choice for your home.

 

 

Should You Splurge or Save On New Swimwear? 

How much money is too much when shopping for a new swimsuit? This is a very debatable subject and different people have different opinions on it. For some, wearing a cheap swimsuit is the biggest beachwear faux pas, while for others, cheap is the only way to go. You can spend as low as $15 on a bathing suit or as high as $400 if you have the cash. It all depends on your preference. Before you decide on how much money you are willing to part with on your next swimsuit purchase, consider the following pros and cons of pricey swimwear. 

cheap plus size swimwear 
The Plus Side of Expensive Swimwear
 
For many women, wearing a swimsuit in public can make them feel quite vulnerable. It exposes the parts of our bodies that we may consider imperfect or unsightly. Whether it is cellulite, stretch marks, or other blemishes, swimwear puts it all out there. This worry can take away from the joy and fun you should experience while lounging at the poolside or on the beach. For this reason, many women find it better to part with that little extra cash to feel a little less vulnerable. 
 
If you spend more on a swimsuit, you are guaranteed to find a well-tailored piece that will be flattering even on the curviest of bodies. Furthermore, the fabric is likely to be of better quality than that of the cheap plus size swimwear at your local department store. Quality fabric can smooth out areas you are most self-conscious about, making you appear much slimmer. 
 
The higher the quality of the swimsuit, the lower the likelihood that it will move about as you frolic at the beach. For many women, the mere thought of getting a wedgie in public can be quite embarrassing. If your swimwear keeps riding up or getting pulled down and exposing more parts of your body than you would like, you might end up spending every moment frantically tugging on it to keep it in place. Such discomfort can make an otherwise fun day at the beach with family and friends, a nightmare. 
 
Even as you splurge on your new swimsuit, you must remain practical. A pricey set will not make your cellulite magically disappear or your butt appear smaller. All that is guaranteed, is a comfortable and flattering fit, and an anxiety-free day at the beach. 

cheap plus size swimwear

Plus Side of Cheap Plus Size Swimwear
 
Many of us spend just a few days a year at the beach. On average, very few people spend more than a handful days a year in swimwear. For this reason, it makes little sense to spend your precious savings on a clothing item that you will rarely get to wear. 
 
Nowadays, getting stylish and affordable swimwear is very easy. You can order nearly any style of bathing suit from target for as low as $15. If you have a curvy body type, you need not worry, as there is a variety of designs available for cheap plus size swimwear. Supposing you went on an impromptu vacation and had very little time to plan for it. With such simple improvised swimwear, you can have a comfortable and enjoyable day at the beach without having to dent your pockets. 
 
Cheap swimsuits can be flattering on women of all shapes and sizes. The biggest advantage is that if it ends up no longer fitting, you can simply toss it away and get another one without much thought. Unlike the pricier alternatives that you need to keep within your sight at all times, misplacing a cheap bathing suit is never a big deal. If you are not pleased with a certain aspect of your bathing suit, you can simply put on a stylish cover up to take some of the attention away from it. Most of the time people wear bathing suits is spent underwater anyways. 
 
Expensive swimwear, in addition, can be very limiting. If you happen to gain a few pounds, the same old gem may not appear as flattering as it once did when you had first bought it. With cheaper swimsuits, you can easily toss out the old piece and get yourself some new fabulous and cheap plus size swimwear, like affordable pieces by G. Sonsie. Another major advantage is that with cheap swimwear, you can easily switch things up as often as you like to keep up with the ever-evolving swimsuit trends. 

Battlefront II disables microtransactions, Total War goes to Britain

It’s been a few weeks since I’ve done a news wrap-up, thanks to a knee-deep pile of review games I’m still slowly churning through. But my Total War sensors went off this week, so it’s time to return.

That’s right, there’s news on an honest-to-goodness historical Total War—the first since Rome 2 spin-off Attila . Also up this week: Pillars of Eternity 2 hits beta, Thermaltake’s new gaming chair cools your butt off, the end of Marvel Heroes, the start for Verdun sequel Tannenberg, and of course all the internet (and real-world) drama surrounding loot boxes.

This is gaming news for November 13 to 17.

Freebies

But first up, our recap of this weekend’s free games. We’ve got two free-to-try titles this weekend, with both available for steep discounts if you wind up enjoying the games. For strategy fans it’s Endless Space 2, launched earlier this year and updated with new diplomatic options this week. It’s free through November 20. PCWorld’s Endless Space 2 review liked the game a lot.

Those looking for something a bit louder can play Rainbow Six Siege, coming up on its second anniversary and still one of the best shooters this generation. Caveat: It requires Uplay, as usual, though you can still snag the game through Steam.

There’s also one actually free game to grab, if you’d like. Killer is Dead: Nightmare Edition is free through the Humble Store for another 24 hours or so. Not even close to one of my favorite games, but hey, free’s free.

Rule Britannia

Okay, onto the Total War news. Creative Assembly finally unveiled the first of the more-concentrated Total War Saga games this week, subtitled Thrones of Britannia. In case you need catching up, the Saga games are meant to resemble Total War but on a smaller scale, focusing on a few years of history and a constrained region. (Think Fall of the Samurai.)

In this case it’s the British Isles around 878 AD, focusing on the immediate aftermath of the Viking invasion, particularly the resistance led by Alfred the Great, King of Wessex.

Louder on the Eastern Front

Before Battlefield 1 there was Verdun, the World War I shooter that won my heart with its unique trench warfare-simulating Frontlines mode and realistic squad setups. That same team is now back with Tannenberg, which focuses on the Eastern Front. It’s in Early Access at the moment, but hopefully can find an audience like the original—multiplayer’s a tough market.

Eternity Squared

Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire reached a new milestone this week, officially entering closed beta to those who backed high enough during the Kickstarter campaign. If that’s you, have fun. If not, well, you can watch the video below to get a look at combat, ships, and…well, mostly combat. Let’s go ahead and throw this on our “Most Anticipated” list for 2018.

The nameless one

Speaking of isometric CRPGs, a rumor started this week that Beamdog was working on a Planescape sequel of sorts. If you can’t guess what happened next: Those rumors were summarily shut down. Maybe one day, though. Sounds like the idea’s at least been floated.

Roller coaster ride

The Surge is one for my 2017 shame pile—I’ve heard decent (if not great) things about it, and sci-fi Dark Souls is an interesting prospect. If you’ve powered through the base game already, know that there’s more to come in the form of the upcoming “A Walk in the Park” DLC.

We can be heroes

Marvel Heroes, the action-RPG MMO that contained basically every Marvel hero ever, got end-of-lifed this week. That comes less than a year after a massive game-overhauling update, so I guess those improvements didn’t stick or at least didn’t bring the audience back. It sounds like the game will be active through the end of the year, so you’ve got a bit more time to revisit it before the plug’s pulled.

A damn shame though—it was basically the best pseudo-successor we’ve had to the excellent X-Men Legends and Marvel: Ultimate Alliance games.

Government oversight

It’d be hard to miss all the loot box drama this week, but just in case: Star Wars Battlefront II came under fire when people realized that on top of the loot boxes and busted progression system, both Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker came locked in multiplayer behind approximately 40 hours of grind per hero. This led to EA receiving the ignominious honor of “Most Downvoted Reddit Comment in History.”

Everything’s spiraled since then, with EA cutting the price of heroes by 75 percent, doing a disastrous Q&A session on Reddit, then disabling Battlefront II’s real-money currency temporarily—and this is all before the game is even officially released.

The kicker: The blast of anger now has both Belgium and the Netherlands investigating whether loot boxes qualify as gambling. Eurogamer has a pretty good summary of the situation, courtesy of reports from NU.nl and VTM.

Spoiler: Star Wars: Battlefront II isn’t very good.

Hot seat

This is less “Gaming” and more “Games Adjacent,” but Thermaltake unveiled its new desk chair this week, the X Comfort Air. The gimmick: It has four fans embedded in the seat which are supposed to cool off your butt. Wonder what happens when you fart into it.

Thermaltake X Comfort Air Thermaltake

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Acer Chromebook 14 review: You can brag a little about this laptop's luxury details

Chromebooks can be a crap shoot. It’s easy to get sucked in by a low price, only to find yourself with a disappointingly low-quality device on your hands. But you don’t have to step up into the higher-priced territory of the Dell Chromebook 13 or HP Chromebook 13 to find satisfaction. For a midrange price ($286 on Amazon), the Acer Chromebook 14 gives you an all-aluminum chassis and a very nice display, even if its performance and other attributes are less remarkable. 

The Chromebook 14’s best features

acer chromebook 14 lid Melissa Riofrio

The Chromebook 14 is Acer’s first all-aluminum model, with a brushed finish. 

Acer touts the all-aluminum chassis on the Chromebook 14, and for good reason. Amid a pile of plastic competitors, the brushed-metal shell looks refined and feels great. Of course, the material is also durable and light, making the Chromebook 14 a comfortable 3.42 pounds by Acer’s specification. The AC adapter (the typical black brick) and cables weigh an additional 0.55 pounds. The laptop’s dimensions are a trim 13.3 x 9.31 x 0.67 inches. 

Encased within the lid’s slender bezel is an impressive 14-inch, 1920×1080 LED-backlit IPS display. Chromebooks have a reputation for mediocre screens, with limited brightness and viewing angles. Most have a resolution of just 1366×768, which suffices on an 11-inch display but starts to look ridiculous when stretched over a 14-inch display. The Acer Chromebook 14’s screen looks crisp and has a good maximum brightness (236 nits by our measurement). The 170-degree viewing angle means it’s readable from all sides, and the anti-glare coating is another big plus.

acer chromebook 14 top Melissa Riofrio

The Chromebook 14 has a 1920×1080 IPS display with 170-degree viewing angles. 

A higher-resolution display does use more battery. We logged 8.82 hours of life from the Chromebook 14’s 3-cell, 3950mAh pack, using Cr-XPRT 2015’s benchmark. That’s a good amount of time, though not as long as Acer’s promise of up to 12 hours.

I never expect to like a laptop’s speakers, which is why the Acer Chromebook 14’s deserve mention for being surprisingly good. The dual set, nestled underneath the left and right sides, provide good bass and stereo effects. You might still plug in external headphones, but at least your laptop won’t sound like a cyber-chipmunk if you have to use its speakers for a presentation.

acer chromebook 14 bottom foot speaker Melissa Riofrio

The Acer Chromebook 14 has dual speakers on either side of the bottom panel, with surprisingly good sound. 

You also can’t argue with the Chromebook 14’s connectivity. It has Bluetooth 4.2 for the latest in close-range performance and privacy. Wi-Fi covers every available flavor with dual-band 2×2 MIMO 802.11ac/a/b/g/n.

The more typical features

I don’t mean to seem ungrateful for the Chromebook 14’s good things, but Acer appears to have bet everything on those features, meaning the rest of the Chromebook is less remarkable. Anyone whose expectations were raised by the high-end look may be at least a little disappointed. 

acer chromebook 14 keyboard clickpad Melissa Riofrio

The chiclet-style keyboard on the Acer Chromebook 14 has hard plastic and a harsh travel. There’s also a large clickpad. 

I was particularly unhappy with the keyboard, which has the hard-plastic keys and harsh, abrupt travel typical of entry-level Chromebooks—not what the Chromebook 14 is supposed to be. The large clickpad worked well.

Asus ZenBook Flip (UX360CA-DBM2T) review: A sleek, affordable 2-in-1 for everyday tasks

Not everyone needs a beefy laptop, which usually comes with a beefy price. For many folks, a capable, portable, flexible device like the Asus ZenBook Flip is just the ticket. At just $749, the 2-in-1 Flip doesn’t try to be the most powerful or most advanced option. Instead, it offers a slim and portable design that’s affordable and easy to use.

Really, this laptop reminds us a little of the netbooks that existed about 10 years ago. However, unlike those painfully underpowered systems, the Flip’s Core m processor can actually get work done. Storage is plentiful, too: Asus offers two versions of this 2-in-1, and they’re essentially the same aside from the SSD. The base model comes with a 256GB SSD for $699, and the second model comes with a 512GB SSD for $50 more. Our review unit sported the 512GB drive, but our critique applies to both models.

Design

The ZenBook Flip’s most notable feature is its incredible slenderness. At 0.54 inches thick and 2.8 pounds, this convertible is thinner and lighter than rival 2-in-1 machines, and it’s effortless to carry around. The reason for its slim form is that Core m CPU, which sips just 4.5W of juice and thus doesn’t require a fan. Competitors like Lenovo’s Yoga 710 and 910 pack 15W processors.

Almost equally attention-grabbing is a 13.3-inch IPS panel with touch support. It looks semi-glossy to our eyes (even though Asus labels it as “anti-glare”), offers wide viewing angles, and has a sharp picture with great colors. Overall, it’s higher-quality than we expected from a laptop at this price.

Asus ZenBook Flip Primary 1 Alaina Yee
At the top of the bezel is a 1.2MP webcam.

The Asus ZenBook Flip has a brushed-aluminum lid, but plastic everywhere else. That said, its 360-degree hinge is sturdy, showing no signs of flex when opening and closing the device.

By contrast, the island-style keyboard does flex quite a bit. Typing on it feels like banging on a cheap piece of plastic, though we love the fact that the keyboard offers full-sized Shift, Enter, and Backspace keys as well as separated arrow keys. Aside from the keyboard’s flex, and the floaty sensation of the trackpad, the notebook feels well-made and more expensive than it actually is.

Ports and speakers

The ZenBook Flip has a terrific selection of ports, particularly given its diminutive size. You get two USB 3.0 Type-A ports (one of which allows charging even when the notebook is asleep), one USB-C 5Gbps port, a mini-HDMI port, an SD card reader, and a headphone jack. Asus also placed a rocker switch on the Flip’s left side for volume control, which is handy but can sometimes be awkward since it sits right next to the power button.

Asus ZenBook Flip Port shot Alaina Yee
Shown is the right side of the machine, which features a micro-HDMI, USB-C Gen 1, and USB 3.0 Type-A port. On the left side are a second USB 3.0 Type-A port, SD card reader, volume rocker switch, and power button.

Two speakers underneath the Flip provide surprisingly good sound that’s just loud enough without going overboard. They’re sufficient for 99 percent of tasks, but folks who want a really loud notebook may still be disappointed when they need intense volume.

The guts

As mentioned above, inside you’ll find a Core m processor: a 6th-generation Core m3-6Y30 that runs on a very conservative 4.5W diet. Its lack of fans allows the Flip to run silently at all times, but that design does constrain performance.

The CPU comes paired with 8GB of LPDDR3/1866 RAM, a sufficient amount for the web browsing and office work this notebook was designed to handle. Storage comes in the form of either a 256GB or 512GB M.2 SATA 6Gbps drive, while an Intel dual-band chip provides 802.11ac and Bluetooth 4.1 support.

Performance

Nobody expects a notebook with a Core m processor to tear up the benchmark charts, but we were still quite curious to see how the Flip compared to its more expensive rivals. Let’s see how its ultra-low voltage CPU did when put to the test.

PCMark 8

Most people use a laptop to do light office work, surf the web, and stream videos. To test how the Flip would survive in a cubicle farm, we fired up PCMark 8’s Work Conventional test. It simulates a typical workload for a desk jockey: spreadsheet editing, document creation, video chatting, and web browsing.

asus zenbook flip pcm8 results PCWorld

Unsurprisingly, the Flip’s 4.5W Core m CPU gets bested by the more powerful 15W chips in rival laptops, but it still turns in respectable performance. Anything that scores above 2,000 in this particular benchmark should handle daily office work without issue, and the Flip’s result of 2,485 sails over that bar.

Cinebench R15

For our next benchmark, we turned to Cinebench R15. It stresses a processor by feeding off of CPU cores and clock speeds while rendering a 3D scene. Most ultraportable laptops will finish the task within a few minutes, making the results a good gauge of a processor’s performance for short but heavy CPU loads.

asus zenbook flip cinebench results PCWorld

Surprisingly, the Flip wasn’t at the bottom of the list. Among its Core m peers, its Core m3-6Y30 actually outperformed the Core m7-6Y75 in the HP Spectre x2, as well as the newer Kaby Lake Core i5-7Y54 in the Acer Swift 7. Our best guess for this outcome has to do with cooling and how much the Spectre x2 and Swift 7 throttle performance once their processors heat up.

Standing virtually side-by-side with the Flip is its non-touch, traditional-laptop sibling, the Asus ZenBook UX305. That’s not too surprising, since the two machines’ specs are nearly identical, but it’s nice to know you don’t lose anything if you want a convertible instead of a standard laptop.

Handbrake Encoding

The one thing these CPU performance charts don’t show is just how quiet and cool the Flip runs. Not directly, at least.

But that design does show its effect in our Handbrake benchmark. This real-world test involves converting a 30GB MKV file into a smaller MP4 using Handbrake’s Android Tablet preset, and it hammers hard on a CPU. For space-constrained notebooks, running Handbrake is a torture test, and shows which manufacturers are willing to turn up the fans and preserve performance and which prefer to throttle down the power in favor of running cool and quiet.

asus zenbook flip handbrake results PCWorld

But, as we noted earlier, the Flip doesn’t have any fans. So while this convertible scooted out ahead of the faster-clocked processors in the Spectre x2 and Swift 7 during our Cinebench benchmark, it fell behind the pack when tasked with converting a 30GB MKV file to a smaller MP4 using Handbrake’s Android Tablet preset. Way behind.

The fastest laptop of the bunch, the Yoga 910, finished its task in about an hour and 44 minutes, while the Flip quietly grazed on the file for about three hours and 13 minutes (once again, roughly the same amount of time as the ZenBook UX305). The Spectre x2 and Swift 7, for their part, completed the benchmark in about two hours and 45 minutes.

3D Sky Diver

Nobody will buy the Flip to smash skulls in the trenches of Battlefield 1, but you might want to play light games on this laptop from time to time. To see just what we could get out of the CPU’s integrated graphics, we fired up 3DMark’s Sky Diver benchmark, a synthetic test that simulates gaming at 1080p at roughly Medium settings.

asus zenbook flip sky diver results PCWorld

Why Sky Diver, and not Cloud Gate, which tests at 720p? Well, mostly to show you just how much more the 15W parts can stretch their legs, even when also running integrated graphics. HP’s current Spectre X360, a convertible laptop sporting Intel’s latest dual-core i7 chip, manages to eke out a decent score. The rest of the notebooks in the chart are better off sticking to 720p and low-resolution graphics—and in lightweight games at that.

Battery life

In theory, with its low TDP processor, the Flip should outlast the rest of its competition—but instead, it fell in the middle of the pack during our video rundown test. After queuing up a 4K-resolution movie in Windows 10’s native Movies & TV application and letting it run with the screen set between 250 and 260 nits and volume at 50 percent, the Flip lasted for 433 minutes.

asus zenbook flip battery life results PCWorld

Seven hours and 13 minutes of playback isn’t shabby, but both HP Spectre X360 models, which have roughly the same size batteries but more power-hungry CPUs, lasted even longer. The 2015 model got almost 9.5 hours of battery life, while the 2016 version lasted almost 11 hours. However, you do pay more for the Spectre X360. The ZenBook Flip also managed to last an extra half-hour over its traditional-laptop counterpart, the ZenBook UX305.

Conclusion

Despite falling in the middle or bottom of our benchmark comparisons, using the Flip is a really pleasant experience overall. It still feels snappy and can multitask well: When we had over a dozen tabs open in Chrome, including videos running on YouTube, we could still copy files to the SSD with no slowdowns.

Yes, it has shortcomings, but the’re very tolerable. The Flip feels cheaper in places and more plastic-y (because it is), but it’s also lightweight and thin, and boasts both a decent variety of ports as well as a cavernous amount of storage, plus a damned fine screen. For $749, it might not be quite as elegant and powerful as rivals like the Yoga 910 or HP Spectre X360, but it costs a heck of a lot less while still doing 99 percent of what the more expensive laptops can.

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Microsoft's Surface Book 2 has a power problem

Microsoft’s Surface Book 2 has a power problem. When operating at peak performance, it may draw more power than its stock charger or Surface Dock can handle. What we’ve discovered after talking to Microsoft is that it’s not a bug—it’s a feature.

You can understand our confusion, given how Microsoft initially positioned the Surface Book 2. “This is a desktop,” Microsoft’s corporate vice president of devices, Panos Panay, went so far as to call it. “For many, this is likely the most performant desktop they’ve ever seen.” Most models come with a discrete Nvidia GTX 1060 GPU (the lowest-end model has a GTX 1050). At the launch event, Microsoft showed off Cuphead and Gears of War 4 playing at high frame rates on the Surface Book 2, implying that it was capable of playing PC games.

However, our review of the 15-inch Surface Book 2 revealed two surprises: Under heavy load, our unit drew so much power that it tapped into the battery even while charging on the Surface Dock. Thanks in part to The Verge’s Tom Warren and his own Surface Book 2 review, we also know that the Surface Book 2 may pull too much power when connected to the stock charger. When pushed too far, we observed that the Surface Book 2 throttled its performance to stay back from the brink.

What this means for you: Anyone who spends more than $3,000 for a laptop understandably would expect to receive all of the performance they’ve paid for. What seems to be happening with the Surface Book 2 is a disconnect between what the laptop could do and what Microsoft allows it to do. Some early Surface Book users could wind up being pretty frustrated.

 When “Best performance” isn’t the best choice

Microsoft Surface Book 2 IDG / Mark Hachman

Microsoft’s Surface Book 2.

The excessive power draws occur only under a specific condition: when Windows 10’s Power Mode Slider (a feature you’ll see more of in the Fall Creators Update) is dialed up to “Best performance.” This slider, accessible via the taskbar, provides three increments of battery/performance: “Best battery life,” “Best performance,” and a midrange setting. Though we’ve never tested the slider’s specific effects, anecdotally I’ve found that Windows typically auto-adjusts it for battery or AC power, tweaking the performance accordingly.

Microsoft confirmed the purpose of the slider. “The Surface Book 2 Power Mode Slider is provided as a means to give the user control over the range of performance and battery life,” a spokesperson explained.

The “Best performance” setting triggers differences in the GPU clock, and a notable increase in fan speed and audio volume. It’s a setting that’s not usually enabled, but with the Surface Book 2’s discrete GTX 1060 GPU, it’s likely some users will enable it for gaming to unlock the laptop’s full performance—and that’s exactly what we did in testing the Surface Book 2.

Testing the Surface Book 2’s power problem

It’s important to note that the Surface Book 2’s “normal” state, even when plugged in, pegs the Power Mode Slider in the lowest-power, lowest-performance state. Yes, the GPU turns on, the fan runs quietly, and the performance and battery life are high enough to generate rave reviews—but it’s not all the performance that the GPU can deliver.

Supsoo G820 Gaming Headset Review!

A week or so back I was lucky enough to get offered a new gaming headset to test out. This was from our friends over at Supsoo. They sent me their G820 gaming headset. This set has 50mm driver speakers and a built in rotary microphone. In the package, you’ll receive a user manual and a 3.5 to dual 3.5 mm head phone jack splitter. You also get the headset itself. Let me show you the box. This will give you your first glimpse of the headset.

Check Out My Unboxing Here!

The headset is green and black in color. It a very nice looking color pattern. You have one each side of the headset a green S.  This is on the inside of the headset also.

The Supsoo G820 Headset headband is nice and thick. It has a nice amount of padding that makes it comfortable to wear for a long periods of time. The band is reinforced to help with breaking if you stretch the headset to far.  The earmuffs are padded as well with the same material as the band. Let me show you a close-up of these.

If you’re like me you want things to be very comfy to wear and not bother you in that long period of gaming with gun battles you have going on during Battlefield game play.

Supsoo G820 Microphone quality

First, let talk about the microphone. This microphone folds up and hides in the headset base next to the left ear muff. The microphone is a straight piece. The microphone itself works good and is noise canceling as the brand claims. Let me show you the microphone close up.

It is a solid piece of plastic so I don’t suggest sitting on it since it will break off. Now I tested the microphone out many times. To my amazement, it works very well. I won’t say it blocks all background sound out but it does a very good job from my testing.

Listen To My Microphone Test Here of the Supsoo G820

From the video above you can clearly hear me and very little background noise. I’m sure if it was little noisier the mic would pick it up. In short, you hear me and my words clearly come out through the microphone. You can clear up any noise issue with the microphone with your recording software if you do have any background sound anyway. I did no adjusting or audio edits in that video so you can hear the raw recording.

The Supsoo G820 headset itself can be used to record just with the one 3.5mm jack on most consoles or phones. If you want to use it on your computer just use the included 3.5 mm splitter unless you have a single port headset jack.

On the Supsoo G820’s you also have the option to mute the microphone on the cord. You can also adjust the speaker volume. I will get more into the speakers in a minute. Let me show you the volume and mute controls.

Supsoo G820 Speaker and Sound Quality

The sound quality on the Supsoo G820 is very decent. With the low price you actually get a great range of sound from them. If listening to music you get a nice range of bass and treble. You can clearly hear you favorite singer/rapper.  I tested music ranging from rap, heavy metal, to classic rock. Each sounds great and when gaming you get a good range also. You can hear the foot steps of the enemy walking up on you. I won’t say they are the best headphones for gaming and that because they are not surround sound headphones but they work well for the price your paying.

If you’re doing some in-game chat you can clearly hear your friend ask you to heal them. Now I won’t tell you to heal them if you’re tired of carrying the team all the time but at least you can hear them ask.

Final Thoughts on the Supsoo G820

For $23.99 I don’t think you can go wrong if you want a cheap pair that sounds decent and will get you through a long gaming session.  The head band on the Supsoo G820’s are well made and seem very sturdy but I have only had a few weeks to review it so durability tests are not fully complete. The speakers in the Supsoo G820 let you hear what you need to hear and sound well thanks to the 50mm drivers. The microphone is just perfect for a game chat or voice overs on your streams, though I wish the mic was more adjustable instead of on a fixed plastic stick. I don’t think you can go wrong with this gaming headset for the price however.

Pros

Cheap Price
Works Well
Great colors
Comes with splitters
Light Weight

Supsoo G820 Gaming Headset Review!

$23.99

RatingRated 4 stars

Gamefly Streaming on Amazon Fire TV Box Product Showcase

Gamefly Streaming on Amazon Fire TV Box Product Showcase

The Amazon Fire TV Box offers some incredible ways to provide its users with thousands of hours of entertainment whether it be in the form of streaming movies and even the ability to stream music. One feature that I would like to talk about here is the ability to stream video games on your Fire TV Box. You will be able to stream some of your favorite games on your device by way of the Gamefly Streaming app. Let me guide you through the features of this Gamefly app as well as talk about why you should take advantage of this incredible gaming service.

As you should already know, Gamefly has become the #1 gaming site to deliver to your door games that you can rent. Gamefly has been around for a very long time and is a name that gamers can trust when it comes to delivering a very quality service. It thrills me to say that they have now taken their in the mail service to a more digital form by way of providing a streaming service. For only $9.99 a month you can stream hundreds of video games including hits such as Witcher 3 Game of the Year Edition, Deus Ex Human Revolution and Tomb Raider Game of the Year Edition. The service works wonderfully on your Amazon Fire TV Box and supports the ability to stream on both 2.4GHz and 5GHz Wi-Fi connections.

For a more optimal experience, Gamefly recommends a wired Ethernet connection, as per usual and a steady broadband connection of at least 5mbps or higher. The service does allow you the ability to try out any games you want for free without paying for the monthly fee however you are only limited to a 10 minute free trial where, let’s face it, isn’t really enough time to gauge how much you will enjoy a game or not. However, I believe that for only $9.99 a month that the price point is a steal for any gamer that is wanting to have access to hundreds of hit titles. You also have the ability to rent out single games as well for only $3 per day but at that price you might as well pay the $9.99 to have access to even more titles.

The menus of the app itself are presented in a very Netflix fashion and are broken up into what Gamefly calls “packs” such as a Family Pack for more family friendly content or a Gamer Pack for more featured games. Games are each given a very nice description with various photos and even tells you the gameplay controls and how many players can play the game so it does a great job of providing descriptions for each game that you might be interested in.

All-in-all Gamefly Streaming is a great way to get the most out of your Amazon Fire TV Box and provides a lot more content that the entire family can enjoy. So what are you waiting for? Go and download the app now, which is free and enjoy a ton of gaming content that will keep you entertained for hours.

 

Brian Alford

I have been a Journalist/Product reviewer for Dragon Blogger for over four years. I have been a writer for over ten. I mostly cover video games and anything tech related. I love writing product reviews or article involving the gaming industry.

Brian Alford

Brian Alford
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Is the Magg TV Media Player the Wave of the Future?

Magg TV Premier Media Player
  • Editor Rating
  • Rated 5 stars

$449.00



Is the Magg TV Media Player the Wave of the Future? Well to answer that, I would say Yes these devices are becoming the wave of the future. With the dual band Wi-Fi and the on-board Gbit Ethernet that makes surfing the web or watching movies seamless with no lag. The Amlogic 64bit quad-core CPU and Arm Mali-450 GPU make the device able to play some games. Don’t get me wrong you won’t be playing high-end games on high-end settings but for what it does it works well.

With everyone cutting cords/ties from their cable companies more and more companies are making media players. One of these companies is Magg TV. They sent me their premiere TV media player to test and review.  But is the Magg TV Media player more than just a media player? I will answer that further in this review for you.

First, let’s talk about the package and what comes in it. The Magg TV media player package has the picture of the item on the front and some specs on the back. In the package, you get the device itself, an HDMI cord, power cord, antenna, instruction manual and remote control.

Technical Specs of the Magg TV Media Player!

The Magg TV media player comes packed with some decent specs. First is the 5.1 Android Lollipop operation system. You also have an Amlogic S905 quad-core 64 bit Arm Cortex A53 2.0GHZ computer processor. For the graphics processor, you have a Penta-core Arm mail-450. Internal storage comes with 8GB of EMMC. The memory is 2GB of DDR3. For the Ethernet connection, you have the standard RJ45 Gigabit Ethernet support. You also have 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz dual-band Wi-Fi.  The Magg TV Media Box also comes with 3 USB 2.0 ports. These ports can support USB flash drives and USB HDD’s. The HDMI 2.0 portal also supports up to 4k. It also comes with an SD card reader. You also have standard RCA connections for audio and visual. You also have an optical output. Let me show you the device and the ports.

The Magg TV Media Player!

Magg TV Media Player Left Side Ports!

Magg TV Media Player Right Side Ports!

Magg TV Media Player Back of the Device!

Check Out My Unboxing of the Magg TV Media Player Here!

Hooking up the Magg TV Media Player!

Hooking up the Magg TV premiere device is very simple and easy. You have two options for this. First, is using HDMI port. Your other option is using an RCA cord. Now you will also need the power cord, and either an Ethernet cord or Wi-Fi. When hooking up the Magg TV Media Player with HDMI all you do is just plug in the HDMI cord to your device and then the TV. It is basically the same with RCA but you will need to follow the color code on the RCA ports. Then you plug in the power and follow the on-screen instructions for the first boot up.  These instructions will allow you to set the language, Internet connection, and time zone.  If you go wireless on the Internet remember to connect the antenna. You can see the antenna connected in the next photo. You can watch my how-to video on this below also.

Watch my First Boot Up and OS Walk-through of the Magg TV Media Player Here!

Using The Magg TV Media Player!

After hooking up the MAGG TV media player you may have a few options on how to use the device. You can use it to surf the web and this is done with its built-in web browser. You can do your daily web surfing like Facebook or any other web page you want to check. You can also use the Google Play store and download apps or games. That’s right, you can play almost all mobile games like Asphalt 8 or even your Facebook games with the Magg TV Player.  I tested this out by playing a few of my wife’s Facebook games like Cafe Land. The games played easily with no issue at all. I’m sure there are limits to the games played based on the GPU/CPU it looks like it would cover most older games and not 3D intensive ones just fine.  We would love to hear what games you have played on this device if you have used it.

On the Magg TV media player, you can also use the media player and watch movies. You have several options for movie watching and one way is your favorite app. These apps can range from Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, or HBO GO. I tested this out with Netflix and Hulu and there were no issues using these apps or watching shows.  As long as your Wi-Fi signal is strong and you have a decent broadband Internet connection you should have no problem bingeing on your favorite show(s).

Another way is watching a movie from your flash drive or media file. This can be done by using your stored media on a flash drive and installing the flash drive into your USB port. The going to your media player app that is in the apps or your file browser. Clicking on the file and you’re good to go. You can see this in the following video.

 How To Watch Movies on the Magg TV Media Player From File Or USB Drive!

The last way is through their Magg TV app. This is simple to install as you just follow the on-screen instructions to install the app. A few clicks of OK or NOT OK and it is installed. You can watch the how to install the Magg TV Media Player app in the video below. Now, this app gives you the option to add 3rd party links and which are not associated with Magg TV itself.  Pretty much a Kodi like app if you know what Kodi is.

Watch How to Install The Magg Tv App!

The Remote and Bluetooth Remote Option!

The Magg Tv Media Player comes with a Remote which is a fantastic thing and makes life easier. On this remote, you have many buttons and options to program your own stuff to it. The remote has most normal buttons like number pad, volume, setup/tools, info, and mute. Some of the buttons that are not common on most remote are Web, Android, File, App, and Refresh buttons. You can program this remote to work your TV or other remote controlled devices. On the back of the remote is the process to do that. I won’t go too far in depth with that but pretty much you press the power button in the TV section and aim both remote controls together until a light flashes. Then you click the button you want to activate. Let me show you the remote up close. The remote will require two triple-A batteries that are not included.

Now if you would rather use a Bluetooth keyboard remote you can do that also and honestly a keyboard will be better if you are surfing the web with it. You go into Bluetooth setting on the Magg TV device and power on the device you want to use. You then activate the devices Bluetooth and set to discover mode. Then find the Bluetooth device on your Magg TV Media Player screen and click connect. You can do this for wireless keyboards and mice also. Watch how to do that on the following video.

Watch How to connect Bluetooth Device To Your Magg Tv Media Player Here!

Final Thoughts!

Is the Magg TV Media Player the Wave of the Future? Well to answer that, I would say Yes these devices are becoming the wave of the future. With the dual band Wi-Fi and the on-board Gbit Ethernet that makes surfing the web or watching movies seamless with no lag. The Amlogic 64bit quad-core CPU and Arm Mali-450 GPU make the device able to play some games. Don’t get me wrong you won’t be playing high-end games on high-end settings but for what it does it works well.

With the option to have a keyboard and mouse it makes it a mini PC albeit on Android. Could you build your self a mini-PC to do this stuff? Yes, you could do that but this would not give you the option of the Magg TV app. Which is automatically updated by itself.  Cutting your cord and saving money, in the long run, is what this device is about. Yes, you will spend some money up front but should save you some in the end and the long term. You can also use this device to add many of the other apps from Netflix to Hulu. Plus with the option to watch everything in 4K this makes it that much better than going the cheap route with a device that won’t do what this will do.

I will keep testing this item for a while and will update this review as it goes. To let you know how the device still works.

Disclaimer! Magg Tv sent me their Premiere media player to test and review! All opinions are mine and mine alone!

Pros

4K Resolution.
Stream Movies.
Play some games.
Many Apps.
Can Surf The Web.
Watch Most Movies.
Automatically Updates Self.

Magg TV Premier Media Player

Summary: Is the Magg TV Media Player the Wave of the Future? Well to answer that, I would say Yes these devices are becoming the wave of the future. With the dual band Wi-Fi and the on-board Gbit Ethernet that makes surfing the web or watching movies seamless with no lag. The Amlogic 64bit quad-core CPU and Arm Mali-450 GPU make the device able to play some games. Don’t get me wrong you won’t be playing high-end games on high-end settings but for what it does it works well.

$449.00

RatingRated 5 stars

League Of Legends All-Star Event Starts 7th Dec – Competitive Theme

Riot is all set for the League Of Legends 2017 All-Star Event, but this year’s event is not like the one you have seen before.

This year’s League of Legends All-star event will kick off on December 7th and continue for 3 days till it’s closing on 10th December. The event will take place at NA LCS Studio in Los Angeles, California. Instead of 6 teams, 8 teams will be competing in the tournament and Riot is also removing the Wild Card slot.

League of Legends
This year, Riot is ditching the Fire and Ice elemental theme, instead this year, fans will be voting for 8 regional teams to go against each other in the tournament. Along with the Fire and Ice theme, Riot is also ditching the fun theme of the previous year’s event which means no more Tandem or Poro King mode. Instead, Riot is focusing more towards a competitive tournament this year as not to cloud the player’s mindset regarding the competitive scene.

In previous years, the focus of All-Star was primarily on entertainment over competition. This year, our 2017 All-Stars will be playing to win. We feel that pulling them out of their competitive mindset to play one-off, fun game modes will inherently divert their focus and take away from the competitiveness of the main event.

Unlike last year where you could vote for anyone, this year, you will only be able to vote for a roaster from your own region only. To see your dream team on the event, fans will need to vote for one ADC, Jungler, Mid, Top and Support from the players who took part in their respective region competitively this year.


Once the team has been assembled via votes, all the pros from the region will decide on a coach who can see them through the finals. Whereas the team members will not be able to vote for their own coaches. And Also, Riot is cutting down on the 1v1 event as well this year to give the team more time to practice. Instead of every player participating in the 1v1 tournament, coaches from each team will select 2 representatives to battle in the 16 player 1v1 tournament.

Match Formats:

The format of the 1v1 tournament will be, BO1 for firth to quarter-finals while semi-finals and finals will be BO3. 2 players from each team, selected by the coaches.

As for the format for the team plays, the team will be sorted into two groups for BO1. Top two teams from each group advance to BO3 semifinals. And the semifinal winners will battle each other in a stressful yet exciting BO5 match.


8 Regions:

The regions for the League of Legends All-Star event includes Europe (EU LCS), Korea (LCK), LMS (LMS), North America (NA LCS), Southeast Asia (GPL), Turkey (TCL), Brazil (CBLOL) and, China (LPL).

Along with the Fire and Ice theme, Riot is also ditching the fun theme of the previous year’s event which means no more Tandem or Poro King mode. Instead, Riot is focusing more towards a competitive tournament this year.

As for the tickets to the event, no confirmed date has been given yet, however they will be available sometime in November after the conclusion of Worlds 2017.

If you haven’t started playing LoL yet which you would be in the minority if you are a gamer, you can always pick up lol accounts in game store and you can get them for different regions as well if you want to jump a head start.

Source: Lolesports.com