GetGeeked is a technology and lifestyle products showcase that rolls through several key cities in the United States. The event serves as a matchmaking event for high-tech gadget ‘n’ gear companies and the media and consumers who crave their wares.
San Francisco happened to be the most recent stop for the GetGeeked road show. Over twenty brands were represented at the showcase, among them several gamer-friendly products and services. We’re going to take a quick look at several of thee companies and what they were presenting that gamers might take an interest in for the holidays and beyond.
A gaming technology and accessories stalwart with deep roots in the Bay area, Creative Labs is has a history going back thirty-six years and counting. The company began in earnest with the Sound Blaster line of sound cards and have grown and diversified their hardware a lot since then. But this glance at their products is all about their “Sound Blaster X” products.
The Sound BlasterX Katana is one of those gadgets for which it seems named for how it looks. The Katana is a 75 watt RMS thumper of a soundbar for PCs with widescreen and multi-screen monitor set-ups, featuring Dolby 5:1 and 24-bit Digital Audio Conversion (DAC), and a user-controlled tri-color set-up. The speaker system in its narrow but long profile comes packed with 2 up-firing midbass drivers and 2 tweeters. For bass-lovers, an external subwoofer is path of the package too. USB (for Sony PlayStation 4 too), headphone and Bluetooth is part of the connectivity options. The Katana lists at $299.99.
No self-respecting PC gaming accessories manufacturer comes to the table without a mouse and a keyboard. Creative Labs is no exception. The Sound BlasterX-branded Siege MX04 and Vanguard K08, respectively, cover those essential offerings for PC gamers.
Featured at the event, the Siege MX04 is Creative Labs’ first mouse — a “gaming grade” mouse at that. I didn’t spend a lot of time with the mouse, but it is solid, large enough to fit my palm comfortably and is oriented for right-handers. That works for me, but of course a left-hander might prefer an ambidextrous mouse. The main buttons are large and accessible and also programmable. To top it off, the mouse offered a fully customizable LED lighting system, like the other products shown from the Sound BlasterX line. The MX04 mouse MSRPs for $64.99.
The Vanguard K08 keyboard shares the sporty lighting system and “gaming grade” designation from the Sound BlasterX line. 109 mechanical keys with a matte finish, A USB 2.0 pass-through connection allows users to wire in, say, a mouse or USB peripheral. The keyboard offers durable OMRON switches (nope, not MX switches this time), which on paper, should be good for 70 million keystrokes. That feature should keep gamers able to play years of PUBG and write a novel with plenty of durability to spare. The Vanguard K08 keyboard retails for $139.99.
Lastly, while you don’t hear as much about their sound cards in the PC gaming community, Creative Labs is still very much in that business. Specifically, the hardware OEM showed the Sound Blaster X AE-5, which serves as a nerve center for discrete headphone amplification, a 32-bit PCIe DAC with 5.1 discrete surround sound, and the signature LED body lighting too. Whereas the older Sound Blaster cards helped render music through their synthesizer chipsets, this card is designed to clarify and amplify the music and sound originating from different media, including games. The AE-5 is priced at $149.99
To be a master of lights, in this case the Creative Labs LED lights, it takes the Sound Blaster Connect application, through which, apparently, the lights can be modded to perform ambient-matching and functional life bar tricks.
“Cobra?” you might ask. “Why them?” How does a company known for automotive radar detection products and the like score a spot in a gaming product round-up?
The answers is cobra’s WASPcam 9941 camera. The WASPCam fits neatly in the middle of their action camera product line, but still features 4K video at 30 FPS and 16 MB pictures. Because the 9941 also features WiFi streaming, this camera could be a useful tool for influencers, journalists and possibly tech-savvy, budget-conscious livestreamers. The WASPcam clocks in at $129.99.
I’ve been following MikMe, an Indiegogo-funded startup building a high-quality mobile microphone solution, for a couple years. Their product is reaching a state where it’s almost ready for the fast-growing livestreaming and eSports markets.
The MikMe weighs in at $499 MSRP and about 1/3 of a pound, this device is designed to store compressed MP4 or uncompressed WAV digital audio at long duration (360 hours) or at high quality (up to 96 kHz). With the aid of a 1″ gold-plated cardioid condenser capsule in the basic and solid enclosure, quality or quantity in audio recording should be doable. Also inside the MikMe, you’d find a rechargeable 3.5 hour battery, which for many will define the limit of the audio they’d record. On the outside, a 1/8″ audio output jack for a headphones and the option to mount MikMe on a stand or a DSLR tripod is part of the feature set.
Audio is distributed via Bluetooth wirelessly, with the help of an iOS app. The app enables users to record, mix, & share the audio they’ve captured. The MikMe can also work through a USB cable with Mac/Win PCs, but wireless capability is right now only for iOS devices. When wireless ability is extended to Android devices, MikMe will have its major mobile platform boxes ticked.
It seems to me that it will be only a matter of time before MikMe mics are seen on Twitch streamers desks and at eSports events.