Razer is on-the-go with the Nabu Smartband and Junglecat
Razer, who makes PC gaming mice, keyboards and headsets, is always open to experimentation. Every year we get to see the newest branded headsets, or the latest gaming rig, tablet or laptop that they have. At E3 2014, I was able to learn about and try out three different devices from Razer -- the Razer Junglecat, the Nabu Smartband, and the NZXT H440 Case -- and I was impressed with all three.
Here's what I learned...
If you play a lot of games on your iPhone, this is the bad boy you wanna pay attention to. The Razer Junglecat provides gaming on the go. It's a sliding gamepad case for that fits the iPhone 5 and iPhone 5S. While you hold the phone sideways and slide upwards, the case reveals a D-pad, a home button, A X B Y buttons, and two shoulder buttons. You never have to take it out of the case to charge it, and it actually doesn't drain your phone much faster. It's 20mm thin, so it doesn't feel that much bulkier than a normal protective case.
While it's an all-in-one case/gamepad for your iPhone, a big draw of it is also the companion app that lets you remap all of the buttons for any supported game, as well as adjusting the button pressure sensitivity levels. You can store profiles and have certain games launch with certain settings. There's also a game store in the app that will show you all games in the iOS app store that support the Razer Junglecat/any gamepad, and clicking on a game will take you to that game's page in the app store.
I played a little bit of Bastion on the Junglecat, and the controls responded nicely. People with bigger fingers -- or what the old lady at the jewelry section in the Macy's near me refers to as moose knuckles -- might struggle with the shoulder buttons, but I'm quite impressed with the overall package Razer has put together. No longer will I have to carry a separate gamepad to play on my iPhone.
The Razer Junglecat is available now for $99.99.
Smartbands and Smartwatches are all the rage right now. While companies like Pebble, Sony, LG and Samsung are going for the more traditional watch look, Razer is going with a band. Enter the Nabu, a smartband that learns about you from being with you.
Comfort-wise, the Nabu is non-invasive. It's made of multiple materials, it's fully certified hypoallergenic, and it's not abrasive against the skin. I was worried about getting the Nabu on my wrist because I didn't want to break it. The Razer representative took the Nabu from me, twisted it, assured me that it wouldn't snap, and showed me how to put it on -- just disconnect that latch with the Razer insignia on it and move it to the side. I told him a continued fear of mine would be that the rubber material where the Nabu bends would get ruined as time goes by, and he said that they are looking into other materials in addition to what they're using.
What I love is how you wear the Nabu; the touchscreen sits on the inside of your wrist, and it makes me feel like Jack Bauer when I go to look at it. The band vibrates when you get a text or notification or call, and works from both iOS and Android devices. The screen is 128 x 32 pixels, features a single button that can dismiss notifications -- or you can do so by shaking your arm. It's sweat and splash-proof, has a built in accelerometer and can count calories burned, steps taken, floors climbed, distance traveled and other goals that you want to track. I was told the battery can last six to eight days in-between charges, and something that helps the bettery life is that the private message screen automatically turns off when your wrist is down.
While the Nabu will be a decent option to check notifications from your phone, the real benefit of it will come from the potential of the future. Since it's open platform, Razer is working with a ton of different developers for apps. Things like exchanging contacts and information with band-to-band contact, or even in a hospital setting having the Nabu store your medical records/allergies/diseases -- all that is possible.
And for $99 when it launches later this holiday season, the potential is worth it.
NZXT H440 Case
Do you build your own gaming PCs? Here's another option for a mid-tower case. The Razer NZXT H440 is Razer's take at what gamers need in a PC case. It's quite, durable, sleek, and takes some really important factors into consideration.
The case is a sleek black matte finish with hexagonal mesh, and it features a side window. There's the Razer green LED lighting for the power button, as well as green underglow on the bottom of the case. Also, it's made of steel. Take that, cheaply made Thermaltake case I have! Simply put, it looks nice, but what's it got on the inside?
There's plenty of room for multiple GPUs, as the H440 has seven expansion slots, an internal cooling system, an integrated power supply unit shroud, and has all of your cooling needs -- compatible with 140mm and 120mm fans, the top and front panels support radiators up to 360mm and supports liquid cooling... which is something I've always been too nervous to install myself. Oh, and cable management is effortless. Razer looks at problem areas with other cases and gave their solution. There's so much air flow it's nuts. Three 120mm fans in the front and a 140mm in the back.
The one thing that I'm not a huge fan of is that the front of the case has no optical drive slots. There's no door on the front, so you're stuck with using a USB-powered Blu-ray/optical drive. That's my only gripe. I'm a huge fan of everything else.
The Razer NZXT H440 will be available in July for the price of $149.99... more than I've ever spent on a case, but I might just have to consider this for my next battlestation.