Creative SB Inferno Gaming Headset Review

Creative Logo

Earlier in the month on GNC, I reviewed Creative’s E1 Portable Amplifier, which improved the listening experience for headphone wearers. To go with the E1, I have the Creative SB Inferno Gaming Headset, aimed squarely at gamers with a detachable flex mic and in-line controls. Priced at a penny under GB£40, the Inferno sits at the lower end of Creative’s range so expectations need to be set appropriately. With all this in mind, let’s take a look.

The Inferno headset comes inside a mainly black and red box with a transparent window on one side, showing off the goods inside, all held neatly in place with a lightweight plastic moulding.

Creative Inferno Box

Inside the box, there’s the red-infused SB Inferno headset. From the outer shells to the inner driver covers and the audio lead, it’s all red. It’s a good strong red which may not come across in the photos.

Creative SB Inferno in Red

The Inferno has a TRRS 3.5 mm jack (that’s the one with three black bands) and works out of the box with smartphones and tablets. For more old school devices with separate sockets for headphones and microphone, then there’s a splitter in the box too. Sadly, this doesn’t carry the red colouring and is boring black but on the plus side, the Inferno works with Sony’s PS4, connecting into the controllers.

Interrupting the red cable is the in-line control for adjusting the volume and turning the microphone on and off. With no controls for pause / play or FWD / RWD, it reminds us that the Inferno is primarily a headset for gaming rather than music listening.

Inferno Inline Remote

The flexible boom mic plugs into a socket on the left had ear cup and there’s a little shim to ensure correct insertion. It’s easily detached when not required – just pull.

Inferno Flexible Mic

But enough of the features….what is the Creative SB Inferno HyperX like to use? To start with, the headphones are very comfortable to wear. The headband is a little bit too plastic for my taste but it does make the Inferno lightweight and doesn’t exert too much sideways pressure on the head. The cloth padding on the band and the ear cups is good and I wore the Inferno for several extended sessions without ear soreness. The Inferno has what I would describe as “snug” closed cups, meaning that the cups fit neatly over the ears and there’s not much movement inside the cup. I like this but it obviously depends on the relative size of your ears.

Sonically, I used the headphones for gaming, music and IP telephony. Overall, I thought that the Inferno provided even, balanced sound to the extent of being unexciting but the Creative headset is a clear step up from the average junk out there. With music listening, much of the sound came through but it certainly could have been a bit richer – it simply didn’t have the “wow” factor and was too flat for real appreciation. A little bit more bass and more depth across the board would be a big improvement.

As I’ve said in reviews before, these headsets are great in office. One minute you are listening to music, the next minute you are taking a phone call with no need to fumble around taking the headset off while picking up the phone. Voices were clear and callers could hear me well.

For games playing, the headset was good with the action coming across clearly from bullets to bombs. Machinery clanked away and steel screeched against concrete. Again a bit more oomph in the bass department would have been an improvement but there’s enough clarity to hear noises off. For the gamer, this can mean the difference between fragging or being fragged.

Overall, the Creative SB Inferno is right on the money. At an RRP of £39.99, the Inferno delivers nicely to the price point giving a decent gaming headset. It’s not for audiophiles but it doesn’t set out to be sonically superior, so I think the Inferno would have a good claim to be the best entry-level gaming headset.

Thanks to Creative for providing the review headset.

GNC #1021 Piles of Gear

Serious case of Jet lag folks. If you listen close tonight you will catch me saying something that even I cannot believe I said. I did not edit it out.. I came home to a pile of gear that needs reviewed over the next week so keep an eye on the website.

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Slack had a Security Incident

Slack LogoSlack has confirmed on it’s blog that there was unauthorized access to a Slack database that was storing user profile information. If Slack didn’t contact you about this situation, it means they do not believe your account was among the ones that were impacted by the security incident.

The unauthorized access took place during 4 days in February. No financial or payment information was accessed. Slack says there is no indication that the hackers were able to decrypt stored passwords. Slack is using a one-way encryption technique on passwords (called hashing).

As a result of this security incident, Slack has released two new features. Two factor authentication (2FA) is now available for all users and teams. They strongly recommend that everyone use 2FA “both on Slack and everywhere else it is available”.

Team owners will now be able to use a “Password Kill Switch”. It does two things. It allows for instantaneous team-wide resetting of passwords. It also causes forced termination of all user sessions for all team members. This means that everyone is signed out of the team owner’s Slack team on all apps and devices.

GNC #1020 Chicken Skin

Well hearing about that Co-Pilot who crashed the Airbus has left me with Chicken Skin. I will share a story tonight on my show from my 20 years of flying in the Navy. Plus I will cover all the latest tech news.

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Robot Underpants: 03.25.15 (194) “Vin Diesel is a Moron”

Baron Mat “Langley” Luschek, “Starman” Michael Gaines and “Karaoke” Bob bring you this week’s nerdtastic topics including: Vin Diesel is a moron news, CG’d Paul Walker, Star Wars news, Independence Day 2 news, Mallrats 2 news, X-Files news, and more!

 

* Vin Diesel is a Moron
* Fast and Furious CG’s Paul Walker
* TIE Fighter Short Film
* Star Wars Set is Way Station for ISIS
* Vivica A Fox Returns to ID4:2
* Mallrats 2 News
* X-Files Coming Back
* Van Halen Reunion Tour
* Super Troopers 2
* Trigger Warning: Clapping Hands
* Chrononauts
* Taco Bell Commercial

Facebook’s Messenger Platform Adds New Ways to Connect With Friends & Businesses

facebook f8One of the main announcements from Facebook’s F8 Conference yesterday was the launch of Facebook’s new Messenger Platform, which will open the Messenger SDK to third-party apps and services, as well as a new customer service initiative that allows customers connect with businesses directly over Facebook Messenger.

Users will be able to access third-party Messenger content apps via a button next to the options for adding photos or stickers. Using these apps, users can create custom GIFs, videos, and other personalized content and send their creations to friends and family through Messenger. The recipient will receive a link to download or open the third-party app to view and respond to the message with their own content. Facebook’s David Marcus emphasized that the content apps will not be included within Facebook Messenger, but will remain standalone apps that link to Messenger:

“If we added a 10th of the capabilities [directly to Messenger] that we’ve added with partners today, it would make it really slow… If you don’t want to use those things, you’re not forced to… because those experiences don’t live inside of Messenger. It’s not like the overall experience of the app is getting very bloated.”

The Messenger platform will launch with support for a wide range of popular apps, including ESPN, Bitmoji, JibJab, Legend, Ultratest, Ditty, Giphy, FlipLip, ClipDis, Memes, PicCollage, Kanvas, Action Mobile FX, Boostr, Camoji, Cleo Video Texting, Clips, Dubsmash, Effectify, EmotionAR, EMU, Fotor, Gif Keyboard, GifJam, Hook’d, Imgur, Imoji, Keek, Magisto, Meme Generator, Noah Camera, Pic Stitch, PingTank, Score on Friends, Selfied, Shout, StayFilm, Facebook Stickered, Strobe, Tackl, Talking Tom, Tempo, The Weather Channel, to.be Camera, and Wordeo. More apps will undoubtedly follow as developers have a chance to experiment with the SDK.

Facebook also hopes to improve interaction between customers and businesses by bringing the intuitive Messenger experience to the marketplace. Facebook has partnered with businesses like Zulily and Everlane to allow customers to cancel, modify, and track orders directly within Messenger. Integration with ZenDesk and other customer service platforms will let businesses to respond to customer inquiries through Messenger as well. In addition, businesses will be able to send push notifications to consumers’ devices, even if the business itself does not have its own app.

Although no monetization strategy has been announced for Messenger’s new business features, it’s likely that the information Facebook gleans from these customer-to-business interactions, such as where users shop and what products they buy, will allow for improved ad targeting, perhaps leading to more profits from Facebook’s ad platform down the line.

All in all, the improvements to Messenger seem to confirm that Facebook is continuing its efforts to differentiate from the competition and protect its substantial market share. The emphasis they’re placing on keeping third-party functionality separate from the core Messenger app also coincides with Facebook’s gradual transition from an all-in-one app to multiple apps for specific functionalities.

What do you think of Facebook’s F8 announcements? Which of Messenger’s new features are you excited to try out?

My First iPhone

Jen's new iPhone resizedAfter years of resistance, I have finally become the owner of an iPhone. It is my very first iPhone (and I presume I’ll have to upgrade to a newer one someday). No, I haven’t switched over to Apple’s popular phone from Android. Before this, I was actually using a flip-phone. That flip-phone was the very first cell phone I ever owned, and I purchased it in 2010.

My new iPhone 6 is, obviously, much more versatile than the phone I used before. There is a bit of a “learning curve” happening as I try to figure out what the iPhone can do. I’ll get the hang of things eventually.

So far, I’ve only messed around with “the basics”. My husband, Shawn (who also writes for Geek News Central), helped me to pick out a ring tone and assign another sound that would tell me if I got an iMessage from someone. I used his iPhone 6 Plus to take a photo of my iPhone 6 for this blog.

The first photo that I took with my new iPhone was of the microphone I was using while doing a podcast. (That photo became part of the show notes for said podcast). The first phone call I made was to the local government to find out more about something that was happening downtown. I haven’t taken a “selfie” yet, but I figure it is only a matter of time before I do.

The most useful thing I’ve done with my new iPhone involves an app called Paprika. Shawn and I are both using it via iTunes Family Sharing. In short, the app helps people put recipe ingredients directly into a grocery list.

GNC #1019 Gene Mutation as a Weapon

Leave it up to the scientist to come up with some crazy gene mutation schemes to change our DNA and turn us all into Zombies. Think it can’t happen read the first article in the show notes. As a reminder road shows this week only Audio, no vide for next two shows.

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Dell XPS Transition

xpsOver the past 5 weeks I have been using a Dell XPS exclusively. This in part was a challenge by the Dell team. For years I have always purchased laptops with large foot-prints. I was beyond upset when Apple cacnceled the 17 inch MacBook Pro and for the past 2-3 years have used 17 inch Windows based latop.

So I was highly skeptical when I received the 13 inch Dell XPS that the transition would go well. Not only has the transition to this laptop went well for daily use but the way I travel. Here is the list game changers with this laptop.

  • QHD Display Screen Resolution 3200 x 1800
  • Footprint
  • Keyboard & Trackpad
  • Power Supply
  • Battery Life 11+ Hours

Lets talk about each of the items on my list. The 13.3 Quad HD+ display has 5.7 million pixels (that’s over 4.4 million more than the MBA 13 with HD+)  The 13.3 inch screen border from the lid edge is incredibly narrow, and is how Dell was able to put a 13 inch screen within a 11 inch laptop footprint. The 3200 x 1800 screen resolution is simply mind blowing.

The keyboard and mouse have great response and is one of the biggest selling features for me. I am quite picky about my keyboards and I have found the XPS keyboard and trackpad a delight to use.

The power supply for the XPS is simply no bigger than most cell phone chagers its tiny and unlike most laptops that require a brick. This power supply is tiny in comparisson to most laptop power supplies.

The battery life of the XPS is simply incredible. I have been using the XPS on a regular basis for 8-9 hours daily off the power supply and still have plenty of battery charge to spare. Dell says you can get 11 hrs on QHD+ with up to 7 additional hours with the Dell Power Companion

I am not sure how they do it to be honest with you. You have this beautiful bright screen and great performance with the 5th Generation Intel Core Processor and yet the battery life is unparalled with any laptop I have ever used.

I have used the XPS continously over the past five week and it has exceded all my expectations. At this point I feel my transition to a smaller footprint laptop complete, and I look forward to using this laptop for the forceable future. I highly recommend the Dell XPS 13 to anyone considering a new laptop.

Resource Links: Dell XPS Story, Dell Store, Dell XPS Product Page

Note: Dell Provided the Dell XPS 13 for my review. Like any product reviewed at Geek News Central the product has been used as noted in the review.

Archos Creates World’s First 256GB Android Tablet with “Fusion Storage”

Archos LogoWhile tablets are overall a relatively new technology, they’ve evolved a lot since the first iPad was released in 2010. And now Archos is continuing that evolution with its new Magnus tablets, including the company’s innovative “Fusion Storage” technology.

Fusion Storage optimizes data storage by fusing internal memory with external micro SD card memory. Once activated, Fusion Storage automatically migrates data from the micro SD card and optimizes memory balance, resulting in an increase in install space for apps and games, as well as more storage for media and large files. Fusion Storage will be available on all new ARCHOS tablets and smartphones, including the new Magnus tablets, and through Over-The-Air updates on select models.

Along with this new storage technology, the Archos 101 Magnus Plus and 94 Magnus feature  powerful Cortex A17 quad-core processors capable of running apps and games smoothly while remaining energy efficient and maintaining longer battery life.

These new Archos tablets will hit the market next month. The 101 Magnus Plus 128 GB and the 94 Magnus 256 GB are expected to retail at $349.00. Archos will also be launching the 101 Magnus, the first tablet with 64 GB of internal storage for $179.