Dec 27, 2016
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As we move further into the age of wireless audio with the iPhone 7 abandoning the ever-so-present headphone jack, a new category of "truly wireless" earbuds has been popping up. So you may be asking, what does "truly wireless" even mean? Well, as you may have seen, many earbuds that have claimed to be "wireless" actually have a wire in between the buds that generally goes around your neck. So, a few companies, such as Bragi, decided to do away with any and all wires, leaving us with Bragi's first product, the Dash. The Dash started as a Kickstarter project back in February of 2014, with an enormous amount of support, raising just under $3.4 million with the promise of earbuds completely free of wires and with loads of other features. These features included activity tracking, touch controls, on-board storage, water-resistance, and more. The campaign had initially intended to ship out the Dash units in October of 2014, but due to many setbacks, they started shipping out units in early- to mid-2016. With initial reports of problems with the microphone and Bluetooth connectivity, it seemed, at first, like the Dash could be just another Kickstarter flop. Instead, however, the company dedicated a lot of time into creating new updates to the firmware that drastically improved, if not completely solved these issues. The Sound DSC01138An earbud can't be good without sounding good, of course. So, how does the Dash stack up to the competition? After all, the price for these is not cheap, coming in at around $300. Well, they're actually pretty good! I wasn't expecting amazing sound from a device so small, yet packed full of components. What I found was that the Dash produces a good, clear sound, though certainly preferring the mids over the lows and highs. That said, I am quite a bass-lover myself and I'm coming from using a V-Moda Crossfade M-100, so I've been spoiled, and for earbuds, the Dash does a good job producing the bass it does. If I had to compare it to some other earbuds, I'd compare the sound to something like the "wireless" (but not completely wireless) Jaybird Bluebuds, which are quite good themselves. Bluetooth Connectivity Now, a common issue with truly wireless earbuds is their often lacking performance in their ability to hold a strong Bluetooth connection. In the beginning, there were lots of complaints from users experiencing poor connection even if the phone was placed only as far as the user's pockets. Obviously, that's a huge issue, but also one Bragi appears to have fixed through their updates. I can confidently say that I have had virtually no issues whatsoever with the connectivity of these earbuds, other than maybe one or two micro drops in connection. I tested the Dash by walking around a room and was able to go as far as 10 to 15 feet away from the source without experiencing any connectivity issues. Additionally, just the process of using and connecting the earbuds is really simple. All you do is take them out of the case and put them in your ears. The buds sense when they're in and automatically turn on, connect to each other, and connect to your phone or other device. Comfort and Design DSC01125Another historically common problem with this category of audio products is the ridiculous look of the product or their inability to stay in ears due to the sheer weight they carry. Luckily, this is not an issue with the Dash. While you may get some head turns while using this product, people often just don't care, and the Dash really doesn't look bad at all. Additionally, these earbuds were surprisingly comfortable to wear. They come with multiple sleeves to fit your ears (XS, S, M, and L), and once you find the right fit, the earbuds fit snuggly and quite comfortably. I haven't had too many issues with the buds falling out, which has always been a problem for me, whether or not the earbuds I was using were wireless. Yet another check mark for the Dash. Gestures/Controls A neat feature of the Dash is the way you control them. There are multiple ways that you control the Dash, including through the app, touch sensors on the outside of each bud, and head gestures. For instance, if you receive a call while using the earbuds, just nod or shake your head to answer or deny the call. Playing and pausing is easy, with just a tap on the right earbud, or start tracking activities with a tap on the left. One of the issues I noticed is that the touch sensors aren't only sensitive to your fingers, so putting on a winter hat caused the earbuds to do some unwanted actions. After looking around a bit, though, it looks like Bragi addressed this issue by including a touch lock that can be implemented by holding down on both the right and left touch sensors, which worked well and solved my problem. Other Features DSC01143The other features included with the Dash are a microphone, onboard storage, a heart-rate sensor, and a case that charges the buds 5 times on-the-go. To start off, the microphone had quite a few complaints in the early days, with users claiming it was unusable and that the person speaking sounded robotic over the phone. This is yet another area where Bragi has used its firmware updates to address an issue. When I was using the microphone for phone calls, some people said there were no problems at all, while others said it sounded a bit muddled, but they could still hear me and know what I was saying. As for the onboard storage, there's not much to be said about it. Songs can be added through a computer and using it works as described. Next up is the heart-rate sensor, which seemed to be relatively accurate, though I didn't have another device to compare it to at the time. This is a really nice feature for athletes looking to listen to music without an annoying wire and no need for a smartwatch. And lastly, the charging case. The case is built quite well, with an aluminum sleeve and a strong metal or plastic where the earbuds actually rest. The earbuds flash when they've been connected properly, and a magnet holds them in place. My only complaint is that I feel like I will drop the earbuds when trying to get them out of the case because you have to take the sleeve off, hold that, hold the battery part, and then fiddle with getting the buds out. That said, overall, the battery case is a nice feature, as the battery life on the buds isn't spectacular at about 3 hours. Conclusion So, what are my overall thoughts of the Dash? Well, I like them. I don't know if I, personally, would quite want to spend the $300 for them, but I could understand why some would. The features work well and the sound quality is pretty good, considering everything that's built into them. I think Bragi's next product, the Headphone, could also allow a lot more people to purchase their products, with reportedly better sound quality and a much lower price of $149. However, that new product does strip the Dash of many of its capabilities, including the water-resistance, touch controls, onboard storage, and heart rate sensor. So it really comes down to what you want. If you want the smart capabilities, there really is no other product out there that offers all of the Dash's capabilities, but if that does interest you, the Headphone is probably the way to go.

How To: Download The Battlefield 1 Open Beta for Xbox One Right Now

Lots of people are having trouble locating the Battlefield 1 Open Beta in the Xbox One Store. This seems due to the fact that Microsoft hasn’t updated the store to feature nor show the beta in the search results. Thankfully, the is a very simple way to download it!

  1. Go to the community tab
  2. Click on “Trending on Xbox”
  3. Find someone who played the BF1 Beta
  4. Click “Options”
  5. Click “Go to Battlefield 1 Open Beta game hub”
  6. Click “Launch game”
  7. You can now download it from there, enjoy!

 

New Experiences for Xbox One and Windows 10 Gamers Unveiled

Today, Phil Spencer unveiled that the Xbox experience is coming to Windows 10. Microsoft is adding lots of features to the Xbox App on Windows 10. PC and Xbox One gamers will be able to game and chat together seamlessly as long as the game developer supports it. Gamers will also be able to stream their Xbox One games to computers and tablets running Windows 10, there will also be a Game DVR feature that will let gamers record, edit, and share their gameplay.

Xbox One on Windows

The Windows 10 Tech Preview will be available in the coming weeks and will include an early version of the Xbox App for people to test out. Later this year Microsoft will be updating the Xbox One to Windows 10 to enable seamless interaction with PC gamers and to give developers and easier way to extend their apps to the television. 

 
xbox games on pc
  • The Xbox App. Whether you only game on the PC, the console or both, the Xbox app brings together the most important aspects of your gaming life: Games, Friends, Messages, Activity Feed, your gaming legacy with Achievements, and much more.
  • Xbox Live and multiplayer across devices. Xbox Live is social, interactive, and seamlessly integrated directly into Windows 10, bringing gamers the experiences they love across devices, like multiplayer gaming on Windows 10 against players on an Xbox One, and messaging and chat with friends. And developers will get full access to the Xbox Live API, making it easier to create more powerful gaming scenarios across devices.
  • Game Streaming. Thanks to the deep integration of Xbox on Windows 10, games on Xbox One can be streamed through your home network to your Windows 10 PC or tablet, anywhere in your house. Xbox One gamers will now be able to play many of their favorite console games on their PC. And many Xbox One accessories will work interchangeably on the console and PC (with more on the way), so you can customize your experience in whatever way you see fit.
  • DirectX 12. We’ve enhanced our graphics technology to squeeze every ounce of performance out of your supported hardware and open up a new wave of innovation for high-end graphics. Delivering greater complexity and detail on your current PC, games authored or updated for DirectX 12 are able to run faster and have richer visuals. And this technology is already in the hands of developers today. The engines used to power hundreds of games are implementing DirectX 12, including Unreal Engine 4 from Epic and, as we announced today, Unity.
  • Game DVR. On Xbox One, one of the most popular features used by gamers is Game DVR, which gives simple access to recording, editing, and sharing out your most epic gaming moments. It’s not easy or consistent to do that for PC games today. We’re bringing this beloved feature to Windows 10, now accessible by simply pressing Windows+G. With the games you love playing – whether on Xbox Live, Steam, or other services – you can record, edit, and share game clips with all your social networks.
  • Fable Legends. Today we announced that we are bringing Fable Legends to Windows 10 PCs, day-and-date with the Xbox One version in 2015.  This means Fablefans running Windows 10 will be able to play against their fellow gamers on Xbox One. It’s the same game, in the same world, on the same map. Fable Legends is just the first of the major game franchises from Microsoft Studios coming to Windows 10 and we will have more to share in the coming months.

Source: Xbox Wire

When is GTA V Coming to PC, Xbox One, and PS4?

A few months ago, Rockstar Games took the stage and announced that Grand Theft Auto V was coming for PlayStaion 4, Xbox One, and PC this fall. The announcement wasn’t surprising since the game made $800 million in just 24 hours after launching on the Xbox 360 and PS3.

gta-v-map

There is currently no specific date set for the release of GTA V for the next-gen consoles and PC but the game has popped up on numerous game retail sites with November release dates. The Canadian game retailer GameSeek has a release date of November 7th while other retailers listed the release date as November 14th. Here in the US, Amazon has a release date of December 31st so it’s safe to say that it will be released towards the end of this year as long as it doesn’t get delayed!

gta 5 pc xbox one ps4

There is the possibility that the PC version will come out at a date later than that of the console versions but we are hoping that it will arrive during the same time as the console versions. Rockstar Games has also yet to announce the release date of the, much awaited, online heists and other DLC so they might be trying coordinate everything to be released at once. The game will have improved visual, graphics, textures, and will look like a brand new game once it hits next-gen so it’s not just being ported over. Whether it’s released sooner or later, I recommend you start saving up for the game now so you are ready when the time comes!

Grand Theft Auto V (Amazon)

Watch This: The Story of No Man’s Sky

Hello Games is an indie game development studio that is known for the Joe Danger game series. At this past E3 the studio announced No Man’s Sky, a science-ficition game about exploration and survival that is a procedurally generated like Minecraft. What’s awesome is that each player will spawn in a world that is unlike any other due to the algorithms that Hello Games has created. The game will be a PS4 exclusive at launch but will eventually come out for the Xbox One and PC. Above is the story of No Man’s Sky and below is the game trailer.

Watch Dogs Multiplayer Walkthrough Gameplay [Video]

Colin Graham , the animation director for Watch Dogs, has made a walkthrough video showing some multiplayer gameplay of Watch Dogs. The game scheduled to release on May 27th for every major platform and will retail for $59.99. Check out the video above.

About Watch Dogs:

  • DYNAMIC NAVIGATION: Watch_Dogs gives you the ability to not only use the city’s ctOS to your advantage, but the streets as well. In real-world Chicago, cut through one of the buildings or climb to the rooftops to catch your target.
  • HACK THE CITY: Control the city’s infrastructure, in real time, with Aiden’s cell phone. Trap your enemy in a 30-car pileup by manipulating the traffic lights. Stop a train, and then board it to evade the authorities. Narrowly escape capture by quickly raising a drawbridge. Anything connected to the city’s CTOS can become your weapon.
  • HIGH OCTANE DRIVING: Get behind the wheel of more than 65 vehicles bursting with horsepower to explore the massive city while completing missions. Ubisoft Montreal partnered with Ubisoft Reflections, the acclaimed studio behind the award-winning Driver series to develop each vehicle with state-of-art physics and handling.
  • SEAMLESS MULTIPLAYER EXPERIENCE: Discover a new level of interaction, cooperation and confrontation between players thanks to a brand new multiplayer game system that links the single and multiplayer modes into one seamless experience. That means no menus, no loading screens, just instant open world multiplayer action.
  • STAY CONNECTED WITH A NEW WAY TO PLAY: Go beyond the console with a ground-breaking, real-time, companion game. This innovative mobile platform allows players to connect and compete with friends, even when away from the home console. The Watch_Dogs companion game delivers dual-screen gameplay that enables you to play from anywhere, at any time.

First Xbox One Unboxing Hits The Web

Xbox’s Major Nelson has unboxed the Xbox One for the first time and shows us what comes with the console. One thing that Xbox decided to add to the bundle is a wired mic which is much better for voice chat than Kinect when playing multiplayer games, check out the video below to see everything that comes in the box.

Next Event – SXSW 2017

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