Logitech Z906 Review

I had a problem, I previously owned logitech z506 speakers, and for my PC they were awesome, the only problem with them is that they lacked a toslink input, they only had 3.5mm jacks, so for 5.1 PC audio they were great, but for anything else they would be useless. So I also used a samsung HT 5.1 system for audio from my PS4. So I actually had 12 speakers in all – 10 satellites and 2 subwoofers.

Now that really wasn’t a huge issue, the cables were all neatly hidden and it worked. But I also have SkyQ and a Mac Mini, so overall a great Home Theatre setup. The Mac Mini has a toslink, so does the SkyQ, so does the PS4. But the Samsung HT only has 1 toslink input, so a toslink 3 way splitter it would be.

For the most part this worked but it’s all really overly complicated, and when the splitter died I was left with disconnecting devices one at a time as and when I needed too. A bit of a pain really, so I decided to take the plunge and get the Logitech Z906 because it has 2x toslink inputs, one coaxial 5.1 input, 3 x 3.5mm inputs for the PC, and phono for the Mac. So at last I would be rid of half of the overall speakers and not only that… a 1,000watt system instead of 1×100 watt and 1 500watt. Plus I wouldn’t need another toslink splitter, the weakest link in the chain.

 

Logitech z906 subwoofer rear

So now after 24 hours of listening to music, watching a few films, and playing some games (PS4 and PC) I can happily confirm the sound is both crisp and clean, and man that subwoofer. You don’t need a wrecking ball to knock down a house… just turn that up and bang on some Massive Attack.

I was surprised at the sheer size of the sub, it’s enormous! Excuse the mess, I have yet to tidy up the cables.

 

The satellites are only a little bigger than my previous speakers, but they can also deliver quite a punch when you crank up the grammy 🙂 I still have a lot of testing to do, but I’m really surprised and very pleased with the whole package, it’s loud, it’s soft, it packs a punch when it needs too, and it’s well built, but you’d expect nothing less from something that’s THX certified.

 

Save Wizard MAX PS4 Review

EDIT: added more screenshots

 

Save Wizard MAX PS4 Review

After several comments yesterday telling me I had my original review wrong, here I am trying to put right that wrong.

I was initially reviewing savewizard.com (AVOID unless you you only have access to US games on PSN). For me, it promised much and delivered nothing. And yesterday I was issued a refund at last.

Absolutely avoid: https://shop.xploder.net/xploder-ps4-edition nothing good will come of it.

At least I could now buy and try Save Wizard MAX for the PS4, this promised a lot, being able to cheat by hacking save games is no mean feat, once you edit a save game the data changes and there’s something like a fingerprint system that checks to ensure you don’t cheat. Edit the data and this fingerprint changes too, and the game will not load.

Save Wizard MAX is able to over come this limitation, how I’m not sure… maybe it’s voodoo, maybe it’s Gandalf the Gray. Who knows? I heard a rumor years ago that it’s something to do with cross save with the PS Vita, and seeing as the Vita was hacked, so was the signing of save games.

Either way it doesn’t really matter, what matters is that this is just like the old school cheat disks/cartridges that used to popular with the likes of SNES, Megadrive, PS1 and PS2. You can manually edit codes to achieve a cheat (tricky but doable), or you can just browse and download one already made. They currently have 655 games in their database and a total of 46,748 cheats for those games. Not too shabby eh?

Checkout this screenshot from The Last of Us Remastered I took today:

YES I have nearly 10,000 of everything!

Granted it only works from a save game, so there’s a little to and fro copying to a USB drive, use the editor on the PC, copy it back… but if you can’t wait 2-3 minutes for the whole process, then there’s no helping you no matter what.

 

So a big thank you to Kitsune and ss4gogeta069 for putting me right… eventually. SS4gogeta069, had you been polite and informative right off the bat then there wouldn’t be a need to fall out. I’m man enough to know when I am wrong, and even admit to it, calling me a tool got you nowhere. That said, I’m sorry if I came over as a bit of a dick yesterday, I initially thought you were being antagonistic, while in reality you were trying to put me right.

Are we all friends again? Hope so – Fist Bump… Don’t leave me hanging 🙂

So yes, this one works with every region except Japan, and it works very well too. I’d highly recommend this if you need a little help like I did. TLOU is bloody hard and this made it much easier to get the Survivor+ trophies.

AND DON'T DO LIKE I DID and get domains confused. You need https://savewizard.net

Dead Nation – Apocalypse Edition Cheats

Table Top Racing Cheats

Table Top Racing Cheats

 
So as you can see from the screenshots, cheating and hacking can be done on the PS4, though these only apply to single player games.

Save Wizard for PS4 Review

Not to be confused with Save Wizard MAX (<— This one actually works.) for the PS4

Caveat Emptor.

I recently purchased the PS4 Save Wizard, I just wanted a little help with The Last of Us getting the platinum trophy. So I downloaded, installed, and purchased the Save Wizard in good faith that it’ll work.

It wont, it only works with US games and refuses to do anything with any other region.

So I tried to contact them via their website contact form several times, every time you submit a form it just refreshes the page, so I filed a dispute with Paypal, and left it for 72 hours… no response, I escalated the dispute and found my key for the save wizard was cancelled and they still failed to respond to paypal. However in 1 week I will be issued an automatic refund.

It’s still pisses me off that I now have no refund and software that doesn’t work as advertised.

Caveat Emptor – Buyer beware.

It’s a shame too, the PS3 version has a work around that the PS4 version doesn’t have.

So my advice is to stay clear of it. https://www.savewizard.com/ if you have anything other than a US PSN account and games, and https://shop.xploder.net/xploder-ps4-edition avoid too. The Xploder uses user generated save games.

https://www.savewizard.net  makes use of actual cheats. These work on all regions EXCEPT Japan.

 

ACER ET430 Monitor Review

I had to wait a while for this to come back into stock at Currys.co.uk, I’d had my eye on it for a while, it’s just a little outside my budget of £500, but the delay gave me an extra few weeks to save the extra £50.00

Now I’ve finally got it, I have to say I’m impressed, its 4K and supports 10bit HDR, 43 inches corner to diagonal corner, it supports HDMI 2.0 and Display Port normal and mini.

Initially I could not get my PS4 Pro to display in anything other than 1080P, after some time messing around with safe mode and nothing working, I started to unplug the PSVR and Elgato HD 60, and there lay the problem, the ELGATO HD 60 will only pass-through 1080P, so I stripped out the HD 60 and left the PSVR connected and boom! Everything worked fine, 2160P full RGB and HDR 🙂

I fired up The Last Of Us remaster and it’s utterly stunning, the resolution upscale and the HDR inclusion just made it look stunning. But I also noticed another thing, if you play TLOU for any amount of time, your team GLOW when they walk out of sight, this means you can see where your team is. On my previous monitor, an LG ultrawide monitor, there was some ghosting from the glow, not on this bad boy though. I will miss the ultrawide, they’re awesome for PC gaming and movies. Movies don’t have the black bars and the extra width give you an edge in almost any game that supports 2560 x 1080, which is most modern games.

Did I have to get a 4K panel? Not really, it doesn’t complete me, but having a 4K capable Mac, PC and PS4 Pro and not having a 4K screen… it’s a waste, it’s like employing a cleaner to do the dirty work, but in another life they were a world renowned network admin. But that’s what this panel does, it restores the balance, and seeing what 4K HDR looks like… it’s like going from VHS to 1080P.

Specs:

Response 5ms

2 x HDMI 2.0

2 x display port

1 x mini display port

43 Inches

4K and 10bit HDR

Contrast: 100,000,000:1

Brightness: 350 cd/m²

Screen type: IPS

There is a minor downside though, who ever thought that having the ports underneath the back of the screen is a numpty. Getting access to them has meant taking the panel down, connecting/disconnecting and putting it back. It’s all a bit of a farce. Still, once you’ve finished you should be good for quite some time.

Overall I’m seriously impressed, it’s a beautiful screen, 4K looks amazing, HDR also looks nothing short of stunning, and considering there’s no TV tuner, no catch-up TV or anything like that, you can see why this monitor is probably a better purchase than a TV of the same price. You’ll get more bang and less stuff you don’t need.

AWESOME Screen, if you’re in the market for a monitor. It even sounds OK too. Not as good as dedicated speakers… but seriously, not too bad either.

Nice one Acer.

DOOM on the PC running a 6600K (watercooled) and a GTX 1070

Destiny 2 on the PC running a 6600K (watercooled) and a GTX 1070

Dino Frontier PSVR Review

Welcome to Dino Frontier, it’s a tabletop management similator with cowboys and dinosaurs… What’s not to like? Nothing, it’s utterly brilliant at what it does, and it does everything marvellously.

It’s a shame that it needs to be in VR, it could work without it, and thus open up even more of the market, but VR does enhance the whole experience to another level completely.

So gameplay. You are the mayor of a small western town and it’s you’re job to look after the settlers, make them chop down trees for lumber, which helps you build new building, they also need to scavange for food, to keep their little bellies full. At the start you’ll be micro-managing everyone, but as you progress you’ll train dinosaurs to help out. Along the way you’ll also play a little tower defence game while you’r settlers will be digging for stone and gold. All these resources you’ll need as you get deeper into the game, upgrading is part of the process and you’ll be doing a lot of it.

The controls I found to be a little fiddly at first, but that was my problem and not an issue with the game, once I had my headset and wands in frame of the camera I could and did play for hours with barely a single problem.

There is a lot of detail here, and if you don’t zoom in you’ll likely miss most of it, to me this is where the richness of the game lies, it’s just watching you’re little peeps going about their daily business, as they chop down trees, scavange food, attack and are attacked by dinosaurs, turn trees into usable planks, and train at fighting, strategy and weights, all to get to the final mission.

In the tower defence game you’re settlers are attacked by The Bandit King! while your peeps are mining for gold and stone, at the start you’ll need to rush and get as much stone as you can to upgrade the defences and place settlers in them to defend the outpost, this can be a bit slow and frustrating at first, but once you get the hang of it and get the defences ready it’ll get a lot easier. You will need to upgrade the Wagon station to take more settlers, more settlers make for easier defending which makes for more stone and gold, which means more upgrades and so on.

Once you’ve hit a peak and can have no more dino’s and settlers, then it’s time to take on the Bandit King in his own lair. This is the end game and while you will win if you’ve trained everyone and all the dino’s to the max, you can continue going back and forth between the gold mine and your town. Once you’ve done that, you’ll probably want to finish and collect all the trophies, and to be honest it’s an easy game to 100%.

A couple of weeks later I came back to the game and started from scratch, finished everything, and came back again for this review, to make a video I played for what felt like 30 minutes, but what was in fact 3½ hours! Not bad for a game where I’m on my third play through.

From start to finish the campaign is a little short, roughly 3-4 hours, but it’s so enjoyable I’ve played it through 2 more times and I’m still loving it. This is the only thing that lets it down, it could have been a little longer, but it’s so damned enjoyable I really didn’t mind.

 

Dino Frontier is pure gold from start to finish.

10/10

 

http://www.uberent.com/dinofrontier/

Western Digital EX4100 Cloud Server Review

I recently sold my desktop PC, but before I did I needed a place to store my 2x4TB HDD’s and 2x2TB HDD’s. I had a huge amount of data on them and I did NOT want to lose it all.

So I purchased this cloud server with the intention of

  1. having a network share available anywhere in the world
  2. having somewhere to put my drives

I’d looked at various cloud servers for a couple of years and even considered building a PC with the intention of just being a file server, but to be honest at £330 it was a good price, considering I’d seen much more expensive systems, ranging from £400-£900, they were overkill, and this just fit my budget and needs perfectly.

 

First up, when you get the device you need to install the drives, but before you do BE WARNED… all the data is lost as this uses Linux file systems and cannot read and write NTFS, so the drives are formatted before it can use them. So backup first. I started messing with the web interface.

I like the GUI, it’s clean and simple, everything is tabulated and well laid out, home shows the above screen, users will let you add/remove/modify users and their access to various drives and folders, shares lets you control what is available and to whom, apps will let you install remote cloud service providers such as Amazon S3, Elephant drive, Dropbox and what files and folders get synced to these providers, cloud access is for setting up phones and tablets and what they can have access too, backups will let you create backup profiles for remote servers (FTP to this site and download the files) backup files internally to a drive, or backup to a USB drive (USB 3). Storage is where you setup a drive for the first time and settings is where you configure things like time and date, server name energy saving and time machine backups (OS X).

I’ve had this box of tricks now for a couple of weeks and I’m impressed, I have access to my Mac Mini, another desktop PC, my iPhone and iPad all without any fuss or pain… it just worked straight away with no problems.

I’m pleasantly surprised with the number of apps available for installation too, there’s WordPress, PHPbb, anti-virus, DVBlink for capturing TV to the cloud server, Joomla, Plex media server and more. While things like WordPress could be cool for personal use, for a small company or team it’s a great way to read up and projects and development. Same with PHPbb, only PHPbb is a little more interactive. You also have e-mule (does anyone actually use it anymore?) and even a torrent client for downloading straight to an internal drive.

Media streaming. While it does have the option to add Plex media server, it’s not something you’ll want to use, the internal CPU is very underpowered for transcoding video, it’ll try to do it, but more often than not it’ll fail. But if you just want to use plex for music or audiobooks, then it’ll play that all day long.

Around the back you have 2 x 1 Gbit ethernet ports that will link to create a 2 gbit port or allow synchronous read write from different sources at the same time, in other words, it shouldn’t choke with data traffic across a network, though if you have a large team all accessing at the same time, then it’ll be the drives slowing down and not the network. But to be honest, it’s absolutely fine for personal use, it’ll never be an issue. You also have the option of adding 2 x USB drives for either backup purposes or just increasing space, the front USB will also do the same.

 

Overall my impressions of the hardware is excellent, it’s well put together, it’s clean and simple, it’s low noise, it’s constantly self monitoring and goes into power saving mode when not in use. I just like it, for me to be able to stash 4 hard drives and then share the data to any user and device I allow and do it seamlessly is just incredible.

DJI Phantom 3 Standard – A NEW TOY!

I recently and finally bought a Phantom 3 standard, now that the price had dropped, originally these cost over £1000 and were well outside my budget.

I got mine from Curry’s UK at a bargain price of £420 (I price matched Jessops for a £30+ discount). Being the standard, it’s basic, but complete and ready to fly, and it can record up to 2.7K at 25FPS. Not only that, as you can see the picture quality IS truly remarkable. The only thing letting it down… the noobie operator.

I did a couple of test flights at home and in Keighley and I kept away from people and buildings. No major incidents and when it’s on basic flight mode, it’s actually easy to fly. It’s limited to just a few feet distance, 30 feet I think, and no more than 120 feet high, turn basic off and you’re left with a mental machine that CAN fly up to 8KM away (with a modded antenna), or with a normal antenna up to ½ a mile, still not too shabby at all. But that’s in perfect conditions, line-of-sight, no interference from radio or cell towers, no wifi and no bluetooth to screw things up. Throw these into the mix and distance is reduced, though I spoke to a guy today who said he’s had his P3 pro at 6,000 feet high!

There are LEGAL limitations though, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) will not let you fly within 50 feet of people, no higher than 400ft and no closer than 150ft to buildings. You can learn to pilot a drone at a CAA school and get a pilots commercial licence, and fly within these limits, but only with permission and a flight plan, then you need liability insurance too. The cost of these is prohibitive, the CAA licence is up to £1500 and the insurance is £500+ too. So drop £2000 if you want to earn a living from flying a drone, and that’s before you actually buy the thing, accessories and safety equipment.

That said, I’m only in this for the sheer enjoyment, so enjoy the video… excuse the noobiness and remember I’ve only had it a few days.

Wallpaper Engine Review

What is a wallpaper Engine any way? Since the days of Windows 7 we’ve had the ability to slide-show wallpapers every minute to every day and everything in between.
Wallpaper engine does this, but it also MOVES!

If you’ve owned a Playstation 3 or a Playstation 4, you’ll be aware of the dynamic themes you get get for free or for a couple of quid, same with this, it’s a wallpaper that’s dynamic, it features everything from video backgrounds to webGL. The backgrounds vary in intensity from sublime to nauseating. From games like Fez and FTL to The Witcher, and I’ve yet to be charged for a single background.

Not only are the backgrounds free, but with a little time and patience, you can make your own too with the built in studio. I’ve yet to try it, but it must work well enough as there are around 80,000 backgrounds to choose from.

Oh and not forgetting VISUALISERS

So how much is this Wallpaper Engine? It’s an astonishing £2.79, barely the price of a single coffee or pint of your favourite IPA.
Grab it while it’s hot
http://store.steampowered.com/app/431960/?snr=1_5_9__205

Lezyne Super Drive XL Bike Light Review

I’ve had this bike light for a couple of years now and I paid £120 for it, though it’s dropped in price in that time, it’s still packs an impressive wallop.

It has 4 modes, Full power, normal power, half power and half power flashing, during the day I’d use half power flashing if the conditions warrant it, but it’s night time when this you need it the most… Beast Mode activated!

At normal power it’s amazing, but at full it’s even better, I bombed around my local reservoir for  this review, and it’s like daylight. I can see everything and people can see me coming, always a good thing.

It was very expensive to be honest, I probably over paid too, but you can now pick up one of these for around £70 on google

I’m not sure if you get the spare battery like I did, but it’s an 18650 and they’re easy to get hold of, just be wary of ebay sellers selling cheap Chinese and fake 10,000 mah, best stick to the 2,500mah batteries you can buy at retail.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eSSi2K-Wwh4

Lezyne Super Drive XL bike light instructions

Carrera Crossfire-E 12 month re-review

Further reading:

 

Video re-review at the bottom of the page.

It’s been 12 months and 1,000 miles since my last review and to be honest the bike is still going strong and with little or no degradation of battery pack either. I’ve had only 2 issues with the bike, the obligatory cut out and the power button on the LCD broke.

The power cut out is for the most part just a minor inconvenience, the fix is easy enough. Get off the bike and on the back rear left there’s a neoprene patch, take it off, expose the connector, disconnect and reconnect, re-attach the neoprene and you should be good for another 100 miles or so. All in all this takes about 30 seconds. Suntour and Halfords are constantly improving and this should be fixed with this years model. I’d be very surprised if it isn’t.

The plastic switch on the LCD broke on mine leaving me unable to turn on the bike, I did manage for a few weeks to stick a pin into the socket and hit the micro switch. The problem came when I told Halfords and sadly Halfords didn’t have a supplier setup to replace the part. I waited 4 weeks before getting more serious with my complaint and a few days later Halfords ordered a new bike and used the new part to replace mine. They swapped the entire LCD assembly and cables. Job sorted.

Other than these two issues I’ve had nothing but joy with the bike, though I’ve read on the comments section on youtube that some people have had to return and replace their bikes because of the power cut problem. Personally I’m happy with it, it’s a bike built to a tight budget, and while there are more expensive bikes around that don’t have budgetary constraints like this one, I know a couple of people with theses more expensive bikes and even these bikes have minor issues too. So throwing money at the problem isn’t the solution. I say minor, some people have reported constant cut outs, I don’t, so to me it’s very minor.

As far as I’m aware I’m the only person to have a problem with the power switch falling out.

So what’s it like to ride?

This is a question I get asked a lot especially when I’m cycling in busy urban areas at pedestrian speeds. I have to say it’s utterly brilliant and heartily recommended for anyone who’s unfit or carrying an injury. I’m both, I’m overweight, a 30 year smoker, I had torn cartilage in both knees and had my right knee surgically repaired, and riding is now a breeze.

When I started riding again last year I did struggle with some hills, and around here in Yorkshire they’re not to be sniffed at, some climbs just go on for miles and some are tough for cars in anything but second gear. But even these, while challenging at first, do get easier the more you ride. I’d say my biggest issue is breathing, and that’s entirely my own fault being a smoker, and if it was easy I’d have given it up years ago… but it isn’t easy to give up, that’s why I’m still a smoker 🙁 this is my biggest hurdle to overcome, in time even my lungs started to open up much better and easier making these climbs less of a challenge.

But this is where an e-bike really flatters you and makes the job so much easier, it gives you up to 400watts of extra power to climb these monsters, and if you’re in any doubt about that validity, try a big hill without an e-bike and then with an e-bike if at all possible. But that’s only part of the job of the bike, mostly it’s even terrain and while it’s fun going up and then going down, it’s probably more satisfying riding at a fair pace even if the motor isn’t helping you (the motor is governed by the EU and must stop assisting you at 15mph). I find the motor really helps get you up to speed and then your cadence and gears get you up to 30mph, especially on the flat. Momentum is key, once you have it it’s easier to keep going and gain more. This to me is the most enjoyable part of riding, eating up the miles.

How far can you go on a single charge?

Another common question and the answer is very difficult to quantify.

I’ve had 35 miles of riding on a single charge and there was still 12% charge left in the battery, so I could probably manage 40 miles in total. Yes I know the Halfords website says up to 60 miles, but this is Yorkshire, I’m unfit, and a smoker as I’ve already stated, so I’m happy that 40 miles is the bikes maximum range for me. Ride around London or some other flat(ish) landscape and I’ll bet 60 miles is easily doable. The fitter you are, the flatter the landscape, the further you’ll go.

How much does it cost to charge up?

To be honest I’ve never calculated it, but even a rough estimate puts it in the range of pennies per charge. 36V 12Ahrs x cost per watt. The charger is 42v @ 2amps. This gives a total of 84 watts. P = 2A × 42V = 84W

840Watts is ten hours of charging (it takes 5-6 hours from flat) and I’m paying 16pence per kilo watt hour (1000watts), so less than 10p per charge.

Courtesy of RapidTables

 

How much power does it deliver?

The maximum watts is 400w with 250w average, torque is 50 newton metres. This is all gibberish to me too, lets just say it gets me up a 2 mile climb faster than a regular road bike, and by a large margin too.

The selector has 4 settings, 25% – 50% – 75% – 100% though even at 100% you’re still getting a workout, look at the 100% as though it’s max power, it’s 100% of the power the motor can give out, not 100% and all you do is sit and ride. Again EU legislation comes in and all EU e-bikes have to be pedal-assist and are not allowed to have a throttle, so at all times the rider needs to input some power too. While you can buy conversion kits that do have this throttle control, they’re actually classed as mopeds (motorcycles) and require said licence most likely. All retail bikes must be pedal-assist only, so at least you’re always getting some sort of workout.

If you have any question you’d like to ask me, then please do so in the comment section below. I’ll always try to answer as best I can.

I do use the bike a lot more than I would a non-pedal-assisted bike, I use it to go to town or go to my local supermarket where I’d normally use the car. I carry my fairly large and dayglow yellow rucksack to store my shopping. Obviously a full weeks shopping is out of the question, but for most things you only need one carrier bag for, then it’s perfectly fine. So aside from utility it’s also damn good fun just just hop on and ride.

The accessories I have are front and rear cameras, knog rear LED flashing and pulsing light and Lezyne front light. I also have some simple but effective mudguards front and rear. Lastly I have a gel seat cover. This at least means I’m visible, I have cameras for security and safety and the gel seat for comfort, though I’d love a proper seat post suspension setup, maybe a thudbuster will be coming soon.

Last year I dreaded the start of the cycling season (yes I’m a fair weather bike I know! I know!), this year I’m really looking forward to it, and that’s what an e-bike is doing for me. It’s giving me something to look forward to, some new challenges that I’ve set myself is riding 10 miles every day, but mostly the pure joy of just getting out and about, it not costing the earth and me getting fit again into the bargain. For a near 50 year old who still smokes that’s a rare thing indeed.