DESTEK V3 Virtual Reality VR Headset

DESTEK V3 Virtual Reality VR Headset

VR (Virtual Reality) is definitely on the horizon and one of the ‘next big things’ in the world of interactive entertainment and educational technologies. From exploring terrains or areas that learners would not be exposed to or the mountain of risk assessment alone making it impossible can suddenly transport your learners from differing perspectives such as helicopter rides over London to distant lands and the rim of a live volcano and onto an on-stage presence at gig or musical. Coupled with an immersive audio experience is one hell of a ride! but i shudder at this future and fear for the learners that will feel my pain – literally!

So why the negativity? well a fact about me, I get physically sick when playing 3D games! Now this may seem daft, especially teaching (albeit in the recent past) game 3d engines. But I have never been able to get beyond it, this is a huge concern to the likes of the military that whilst saving a fortune by having their personnel train in VR environments there are those that still need the real thing due to suffering debilitating nausea. Something like 1% feels any ill affects withe 0.1% of those having physical reactions -its worthy of research to further make savings. I for one would welcome any solution (even in part). I am rarely able to play more than say 30 minutes before feeling queasy – often physically ill, and recovering for over 6 hrs+. To just be able to play Minecraft with my little boy would makehis day, and not have him feel guilty when I do play and have to stop due to illness. But there are other worse than me, even being set off by waterways and supermarkets (I kid you not – read the art5icle on the BBC – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-south-east-wales-38715719 )

So despite all the ill-feeling I splashed out on a reasonably priced  DESTEK V3 Virtual Reality VR Headset, it fits my iPhone 6 Plus (without case), is well constructed and has the Magnetic switch (a must in my opinion s  for low end, low cost VR goggles). Fantastic device, if a little uncomfortable at the bridge of the nose it has allowed me(and my six year old) to go ‘wow’ at VR. Don’t get me wrong VR is still in early days (we dare not mention the flash in the pan 3D TV) but for sub £30 its a worthy expense. Yes it makes me sick but to have a ‘go’ at VR that is although not matured is not exactly fledgling either and the price tag certainly does not make my blood boil when i suffer from ‘curiosity killed the cat’, here’s hoping that the earlier link bears some useful findings to support those like me.

So linking back to the educational aspect and all I hear about the fact that VR will play a part, well I am already seeing that I will be those in the minority and hope that ‘differentiation’ will be considered when there are not an insignificant amount of learners (and educationalists) that will break out in a cold sweat at the very thought of VR in an educational programme – beneficial or not! (there may be a surge in travel sickness remedies!)

Note: VR should not be something that you expose those under seven for any length of time!

Betron HD1000 Headphones

IMG_0881IMG_0882

I have reviewed Betron headphones in the past, three varieties of earbud, each of them performing really well and living up to a lot of their hype. In fact the Betron B850i’s (http://wp.me/pspi8-tC) are actually my preferred replacement headphones for my Apple earbuds. Recently I received in the post the Betron HD100 Headphones to review and I have to say these are a pretty awesome pair of headphones. According to Betron the following specifications exist:

  • Powerful neodymium magnets for stereo sound with powerful punchy bass
  • Extended frequency response for accurate, reliable sound reproduction
  • Increased sound pressure level (110dB) to handle demanding use
  • Rich, crisp bass response
  • Good attenuation of ambient noise
  • Lightweight & comfortable
  • Powerful sound reproduction
  • Optimised for portable audio including MP3, CD players, iPad, iPod, iPhone and mobile phones (iPad, iPhone and iPod are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries.)

Claiming to have a wider range of sound and enhanced clarity as well as lightweight and durable and comfortable whilst speaker build material dissipates heat and minimises sound leakage these headphones with a RRP of £79 that are currently selling on Amazon for £29 have a lot to live up to. (Current details from http://www.betronstore.co.uk)

Firstly I have to say that the packaging is excellent, in the first instance a minimal black box with ‘Betron’ and the model number ‘HD1000’ on the top I’m white lettering with a few specs that are outlined below on the side:

  • Driver Unit:  40mm
  • Impedance: 32ohms +- 15%
  • Sensitivity: 108 =-3dB
  • Frequency Response: 20-20Khz
  • Max. Input Power: 100mW
  • Cable Length: 1.7M (I actually found the cable to be 1.8M)

Inside the outer box is a ‘D’ shaped carry case in black nylon with carry handle and double zip that when opened up reveals the headphones sitting in a velvet-like interior that is shaped to hold the headphones snug.  Betron was off to a good start, especially as I only ever got a thin drawstring nylon bag with my SkullCandy Hesh headphones that I will be comparing these to!

At first sight the headphones look gorgeous and have a classy retro look to them in a  rich brown wood and gold effect styling. Getting to grips with the headphones themselves and the feel of the headphones is one that reveals some highs and lows. On the plus side the 3.5mm gold plug is one where the cable exists from the side of the plug at 45 degrees, with a high quality feel braided cable and gold splitter, offering tangle free cabling. The L/R indicators for each side are discreetly labelled inside the headphones above each earpiece, with a subtle branding on the outside. On the downside is the feeling of materials cheaper than they appear, especially around the area of the headband joining to the earpieces – but let me be clear that this does not mean they are not well build. Betron claim that there are no visible screws which there are none, however there are visible rivets.

As stated earlier Betron claim that the headphones are comfortable, cool and a clarity of sound with a deep rich bass. Upon the first point I can wholeheartedly agree, my current headphones of choice have been Skullcandy Hesh over-the-ear headphones and I have found them heavy and too hot after a prolonged use of anything over thirty minutes and I don’t like the feel of on the ear headphones such as the Skullcandy Lowriders as they are uncomfortable and unlike the Hesh model let in too much surrounding noise ( plus they slip off if you are doing anything beyond sitting still). The HD1000’s are a joy to wear, comfortable, lightweight, they don’t get hot ( and that has been in the recent 30 degree weather) and they reduce ambient noise far more than other on-the-ear headphones.

So onto the all important bit, the audio, and do these headphones live up to the manufacturers claims? Well I listen to a diverse range of audio – including podcasts, audiobooks, radio plays, music and a variety of video and films. I even listen to text to speech conversions when I need to listen to reports and I am travelling between locations (these are not the easiest to listen to) and always willing to allow for others opinions I even asked my wife to try them out, as a fitness professional and having to listen to a wide range of music that requires choreography I though her opinion would be valid ( The wife’s choice of headphone is the Skullcandy Lowriders that I am not a fan of – even less now I have used the HD1000’s). Overall I can report that the quality of the audio is superb with a rich definition to the audio that is not affected by the  increased bass.

The wife definitely stated that the audio was excellent and that the headphones were extremely comfortable in comparison to the Lowriders and I feel that the audio is actually compatible to the Hesh headphones.At the RRP the quality up close lets the headphones down but if you are looking for well priced, comfortable and good quality audio these are great headphones. At £29 they are an absolute steal!

Betron has provided me with this product for purposes of providing a personal review and I have received no payment for this unbiased review.

Omaker – 3.5mm Male to Male Stereo Audio Cable (3.3ft x 2, 6.6ft x 1)

Omaker Audio Cables

Needing replacement audio cable for my car stereo and my headphones I decided to give the Omaker 3 cable bundle a go and have to admit to being pleasantly surprised. Super slim connectors with a real high quality feel to the overall propuct. I cannot see where you vcould get such a quality cable for less than £8 especially for a 3 pack! I found them on Amazon here http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B018VVTMGW

Yodo Phone Armband Case

Yodo Mobile Pouch

Having started down the Gym after a long break i needed to update my phone arm pouch, now having the iPhone 6+ I thought this was going to be a nightmare. Thankfully the Yodo Case is perfect and with an added bonus of  an additional pouch for headphones/keys/money. At under £10 I cannot reccomend enough for the larger smartphone. Find on amazon at http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00UMTIAEM

Anker PowerLine 6ft Lightning Cable

Anker Lightning Cable

At last I seem to have found a relatively cheap and decent lightning cable, most of the cables I have purchased have lasted a reasonable amount of time but lately the cable are coming away from the plugs themselves (previously Amazon Basics were my go-to cable). So I hunted for a better overall build with Anker again having a product of superior quality, even the feel of the materials stands out once it is out of the box. Purchased for less than £8 at amazon http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B013JNAUMW

iPad case Dux by STM

I have tried a number of cases for our iPads and finally settled on the STM dux, black for my Air2 and red for the wife’s mini. There is nothing really for me to say that is not covered in the following video other than the fact that I found the covers over the buttons a little stiff. I found mine on eBay new for less than £30.

 

Lightning to USB 3 Camera Adapter (for podcasting)

Lightning to USB 3 Camera Adapter

Although Apple have had a Camera Connection Kit in the past they have not had one included pass-though power that allows for more power hungry devices to work. In the past devices have either not worked or have required all equipment to be all but plugged together with the final connection being the lightning connector to the iPad, often still displaying a warning message.

The USB speed is only supported on the bigger brother iPad Pro and the adapter does not allow pass-through syncing but not only can you use connected cameras to import photos and videos but you can use it with the iPhone 6 as well, allowing you to plug in…

  • USB microphones, such as the Blue Yeti and the Samson Go Mic
  • Midi Interface
  • USB Ethernet adapter
  • Memory Sticks

For me this adapter is great, I can now throw my Samson Go Mic, stand and pop filter in a bag along with a powerpack (Anker are my choice) and I can pretty much record anywhere with my iPhone 6 Plus!

 

Mini Pop Filter

mini pop filter

 

However good the Samson Go Mic is it still picks up ‘aspirated plosives’ such as the ‘P’ when you say ‘pop’. However due to the microphones size it does not need a large pop filter, such as a standard 13.5cm internal diameter pop filter, instead a smaller 8.cm internal diameter pop filter can be used. I elected to purchase a fixed stem rather than a flexible goose neck which again minimises the overall size of the filter. My only frustration is that the first silver piece connected to the black clamp is via a countersunk threaded bolt that has a cross-head rather than a knurled or wing nut, this reduced the flexibility of adjusting the filter on-the-go but is fine if you are only ever clamping it to the same base or point.

Note: Pop filters are not to be confused with windshields that reduce hiss from being captured and that are mainly for when you are outdoors.

 

Andoer MS-12 Mini Foldable Mic Desk Stand

Andoer MS-12 Mini Foldable Mic Desk Stand

Having bought the Samson Go Mic I realised that I had nowhere to position in on my desk, especially with the monitors being wider than the in-built clamp, soolution found was rthe Andoer MS-12 Mini Foldable Mic Desk Stand. There is not a lot to say about it other than it does what it is supposed to do, comes in at under £6 with Amazon ( http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B013U48ZZ4 ) although you can find it a little cheaper elsewhere (and I got mine with a Mic Clip as well still for less) and if nothing else makes a great fixing for a pop filter!

  • Foldable design for ease of carrying and storing.
  • Tripod design to give it exceptional strength.
  • Non-slip rubber feet to protect your desk from scratches.
  • Equipped with a 5/8″ male to 3/8″ female metal threaded screw, fits for most standard mic clip.(Mic clip is not included.)
  • With a clutch to help you lock the stand, more stable.
  • Made of high quality iron, durable and sturdy. Suitable for meetings, lectures, speaking and ect.

 

Windows Holographic

I am not a major fan of “look what’s coming” videos, they often promise lots but rarely deliver, and I have avoided getting caught up in the HoloLens promos of Microsoft. However the keynote at the Microsoft Build Developer Conference [April 29 – May 1] 2015 certainly looks impressive (as well as the demo’s of Windows 10, Cortana and Edge – Microsoft’s OS, Virtual assistant and new browser respectively)

https://youtu.be/7tRbYU2yBrE [From 4:06:00 to 4:27:00]

Andy