E3 2013: Not Without Controversy

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Well another E3 has come and gone and we have all been listening to a steady stream of information about various news from the “Big 3” – Sony, Nintendo, and Microsoft.  Here at Legit Reviews, we have been taking a slightly different look at the madness coming in from Los Angeles and wanted to share our thoughts on what we considered “Big News” from E3.

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With that said, we have to take a moment to mention what has affected us directly here at Legit Reviews.  Our last E3 article featured the various vendor models (aka “Booth Babes”) that grace every tech convention in the world. These are the models that help promote the product and help grab the attention of the convention-goer and reader.

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Legit Reviews was contacted by a number of concerned industry veterans that by taking the model’s pictures and publishing it in a article called “The Best Booth Babes of E3 2013”, Legit Reviews was living in the dark ages and being sexist.  We offered those that e-mailed us with concerns a chance to be in an editorial or sit down for a video interview with us to talk about sexism in gaming, so stay tuned. A number of companies appear to be changing the way they use sex in marketing and nearly 50% of the gaming market is women, so could major change be coming?

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Over the next several pages, you can read our account from some of the major hardware vendors at E3, as well as some of the streams of consciousness our writers had during the week.

 

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E3 2013: NVIDIA Shows Off New Tech

 NIVIDIA @ E3 2013

Legit Reviews was able to sit down with Justin Walker, Senior Product Manager at NVIDIA, at E3 2013 to talk about the new NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 video card. Justin also talks about how GeForce Drivers supporting games the day they come out and touches on GeForce Experience software.

NIVIDIA @ E3 2013

One new GeForce Experience feature that is discussed is not released yet, which is ShadowPlay. ShadowPlay uses a built-in H.264 encoder on the GPU to continuously record up to the last 20 minutes of any gaming session. You then end up with a nice compressed file that allows you to save and share your greatest gaming moments. NVIDIA expects ShadowPlay to be out later this summer. Check out the video clip below!

NIVIDIA @ E3 2013

NVIDIA has debuted a new open platform gaming system called the NVIDIA SHIELD. Shield is an Android-based, open platform designed so that you can play when, where, and how you want. The NVIDIA Shield runs on the NVIDIA Tegra 4 processor loaded with android Jelly Bean operating system from Google which powers a 5-inch 720p multi-touch display.

NIVIDIA @ E3 2013

The display is attached to a console-type game controller that has custom bass reflex integrated speakers built into the controller. The NVIDIA Shield has 802.11n Wi-Fi connectivity and Bluetooth 3.0. Shield will also ship with Google Play, Tegrazone, Sonic 4 Episode II THD, Expendable: Rearmed, Hulu plus, and Twitch TV installed. After getting to handle SHIELD at E3 2013, we like the way it feels comfortable and lightweight in your hands. We will certainly be ordering one soon! NVIDIA SHIELD will be release June 30 for $349.00.

NIVIDIA @ E3 2013

NVIDIA showed off their Cloud gaming technology called "Grid" to the Legit Reviews team at E3 this week. Grid will soon allow users to stream video games from the cloud or some other centralized server with ease. With Grid gamers will get the smoothest most realistic gaming experience by working with leading supercomputers including the world record holding Titan supercomputer.

Grid is usable on multiable devices including any PC, MAC, Tablet, Smartphone, or TV giving these devices high quality and low latency. Gamers will get access to a library or gaming titles and saved games from any device anywhere with no complicated setup, no game discs, no downloads, no game installations.

Legit Bottom Line:

The NVIDIA Shield looked to be an impressive piece of hardware tech, but we wonder at the $350, how big the market will be for this device.  You are only $50 off of owning a PlayStation4!  The possible integration with your existing PC rig is very intriguing and should help tip the scales for potential buyers.

 

E3 2013: Razer Gaming's New Laptops

Razer @ E3 2013

Razor gave us an up-close-and personal tour of one of its most powerful gaming laptops, the Razer Blade Pro.

The Blade Pro is a 17-inch gaming laptop that is powered by a 4th-Generation Intel Core processor (Haswell) along with the latest NVIDIA GeForce GTX 765M graphics card with solid-state storage.

Razer @ E3 2013

This is a really good looking laptop that weighs only 6.5 pounds and is less than an inch-thick.  One of the most prominent features of the Blade Pro is its Switchblade User Interface (SBUI).  While it looks like a lit-up trackpad, it has 10 fully customizable keys that can change when your application you are working with changes.  This goes great for programs like Maya and Photoshop, but will work great for your favorite video game.

Razer @ E3 2013

As good as the Razer Blade Pro (17") is, we actually think the Razer Blade 14" tops it! You will find the same CPU/GPU/RAM/SSD combo that is found in the larger Blade Pro except in a lightweight and compact body. The new Intel Haswell chip and NVIDIA 700-series performs incredibly well making this a true gaming machine - not one that's just pretending.

Razer @ E3 2013
Razer @ E3 2013

We also had another quick look at the Razor Edge Pro and Gamepad Controller for the Razer Edge Pro as well. Both of these Razer products are available now starting at $1300.

Razer @ E3 2013

Legit Bottom Line:

We are still lukewarm on the Razer Edge Pro, but fell in love with the 14-inch Blade Gaming Laptop. We think that this is one of the hits of E3 as it has power and a sleek design to attract all sorts of gamers and power users.  Starting at $1799, the Blade is not exactly inexpensive, but those looking for one of the best small laptops on the market should take a serious look.

E3 2013: Alienware's New Design

Alienware @ E3 2013

Legit Reviews is in Los Angeles covering this year's Electronic Entertainment Expo, better known as E3. We visited the Alienware booth for a tour and one of the first things we showed us was the brand new Alienware 14 gaming laptop designed for enthusiasts and hard-core gamers.

Alienware @ E3 2013

Alienware teased us earlier in the week, but during our visit we were lucky enough to be one of the first to actually get our hands on it and feel the difference between earlier generations. Alienware has changed their industrial design first time in many, many years, so a consumer still gets the same Alienware engineering but the look and aesthetics are newer, sleeker, and more durable.

Alienware @ E3 2013

There are lights integrated throughout the notebook -- not just in the keys, but in the touchpad, and along the edges of the unit. Of course, Alienware has loaded the latest technology in the package and will find the latest Intel Haswell core processor along with a NVIDIA 700 series GPU. We will have more on the Alienware 14 as well as the other goodies we found at the Alienware booth soon!

The Alienware 17 is a significant upgrade over its 14-inch little brother. Even though the styling and design are similar, this 17-inch gaming laptop tries to max out every mobile specification as possible. An Intel Core i7 (Haswell) processor, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780M graphics card, up to 32 GB of RAM, and three SSD drives! Starting at $1499, there seems to be a lot of bang for the buck here.

Alienware @ E3 2013

 One of the things that people often overlook is the array of quality laptop bags and cases. After you grab your $2,000 laptop or notebook, the last thing you should do is throw it under a towel in a grocery bag!  What would happen if you could show off your gear without having to take it out of the bag?  Enter Alienware’s new line of Vindicator bags and gear.

Alienware @ E3 2013

The Vindicator bags were designed to be an extension of the Alienware system using the same design and influences that the Alienware engineering team took when they developed the new generation of laptops. We were able to see the Vindicator backpack, messenger bag, slim carrying case, briefcase, and neoprene sleeve. Each one of these models comes in a size to correspond with the laptop size.  The Vindicator cases start at $39.99 and go up from there.

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Legit Bottom Line:

Alienware really brought their “A” game when it came to presentation and sheer number of hardware on the floor at E3 2013. We love the new look of the new Alienware 14 and 17 model and while traditionally, Alienware technology has been on the expensive side, the starting price of the 17-inch Alienware 17 is a pretty aggressive $1499.  This is a good sweet spot for those looking for a desktop replacement.  We were most impressed with the Vindicator line of carrying cases. 

 

E3 2013: SteelSeries Quality Gaming Headsets

 

SteelSeries @ E3 2013

 

We stopped by to see SteelSeries' new 'tournament-grade' headsets during E3 2013. The H-Series all feature custom-engineered soundscapes and the newest generation of SteelSeries audio drivers designed specifically to enhance audio performance and sound details. The engineers at SteelSeries want the H-Series to be recognized by its design and construction. We tried them on and have to admit, this are some of our favorite headsets of E3. Yeah, they are that good.

At this year’s E3 SteelSeries showed us there new line up of gaming headsets called the H-Series. This lineup features a custom engineered soundscapes and the newest generation of SteelSeries audio drivers designed to enhance audio performance and sound details. The new 5Hv3 and the 3Hv2 are designed for tournament grade audio with portability and give the gamer complete comfort any and everywhere. The SteelSeries 9H features Dolby technology with up to 7.1 surround sound as while as new sound isolating double enclosure earcup technology.

SteelSeries @ E3 2013

The 9H has a durable industrial design and yes we did get to twist and mangle to test its durability and it past our test.  The 9H series is equipped with an advance USB soundcard which will gamers incredible and the smoothest surround sound experience.

SteelSeries @ E3 2013

The headset also comes with SteelSeries innovative swappable cable system with in line audio controls which can be used with the PC, MAC, Tablets, Phones, and gaming systems. The SteelSeries 9H Headset with Dolby Technology is priced at $159.99.

SteelSeries @ E3 2013

The 5Hv3 is an upgraded version to the popular tournament circuit SteelSeries 5Hv2. The upgrades to this headset are the high end microphone that gives gamers a crystal clear communication. The microphone can retract back into the headset when not in use.  The 5Hv3 also comes with a double braided nylon cable with in line audio controls for use with PC, Mac, tablets, phones, and gaming systems. Let’s not forget about the new sound isolating double enclosure earcup technology with comfortable extra padding leather ear cushions. The SteelSeries 5Hv3 is priced at $79.99.

SteelSeries @ E3 2013

The SteelSeries 3Hv2 was made for the gamers that are looking to experience SteelSeries audio for the first time or just to get a nice headset without breaking the bank wide open. The 3hV2 will give these gamers the four components that set SteelSeries audio above the rest which is performance, durability, comfort, and convenience. This headset is compact and foldable which makes it easy for storage or travel and will include an adapter for use with PC, Mac, tablets, phones, and gaming systems. The SteelSeries 3Hv2 is priced at $39.99.

The SteelSeries H-Series will be available this summer starting off with the 5Hv3 and the 3Hv2 follow by the 9H with Dolby Technology coming this Fall so keep a look out for these headsets.

 

Legit Bottom Line:

Even though SteelSeries wasn't exactly in the main hall of E3 this year, they brought a number of quality headsets to the party. We were pretty amazed at the build and construction of these headphones.  When trying out the SteelSeries 9H, we found the double ear enclosure to be pretty amazing.  Honestly, for $159.99, the 9H are the headsets that we are waiting to use in 2013!

 

E3 2013: Astro / Skullcandy Gaming Headsets

Astro Gaming Headsets @ E3 2013

ASTRO Gaming and Skullcandy made another E3 appearance this year. The two gaming audio studios revealed a few new gaming headset partnerships and and provided a sneak peek at what gamers can expect from ASTRO Gaming later this year.

We really haven’t experimented too much with the Flagship $250 Astro A40 so stopping to chat with the Astro & Skullcandy guys was a real treat. Made pro gamers worldwide the legendary Astro A40’s are made to work with PCs and your favorite game console. 

New to the game are the wireless Astro A50 that feature Dolby Digital 7.1 sound through the Astro MixAmp. The A50 headsets work over a 5.8GHz frequency band which shouldn’t interfere with any of your common wireless household devices (including your router, console remote control, phone, etc.)

Here is an up close look at the Astro A40 Sound Controller:

Astro Gaming Headsets @ E3 2013

Over on the Skullcandy side of things, the biggest announcement was their new partnerships with gaming producers Ubisoft (and others).  This will result in more brand marketing on the headphones themselves for a sort of custom-meets-fanboy look that many of the peripheral companies seemed to gravitate towards.  This was evidenced in the Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag fitted Skullcandy SLYR Gaming headsets

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Legit Bottom Line:

While we only got to try on the Astro and Skullcandy headsets for fit, they seemed very comfortable. We couldn’t help but think about all the gear we could buy for the cost of the Astro A50 ($250) though.  With the Skullcandy line starting at $79.99 for the “normal” SLYR, there is a definitely a headset for you no matter what your budget might be.

 

E3 2013: Turtle Beach's Massive Inventory on Display

Turtle Beach @ E3 2013

We stopped by the Turtle Beach booth during the 2013 E3 Expo and had the pleasure of speaking with Maura White, PR Manager. She gave us a personal tour around Turtle Beach's massive booth where we were allowed to see the new iSeries i60 Wireless Digital Media Headset and Transmitter Base built specifically for Apple users. We also saw their new Call of Duty: Ghost gaming headsets. The market for headsets have certainly taken off over the past few years and Turtle Beach seems to be leading a very crowded field with loads of new products and accessories. Take a look at the video where you will see:

Besides all that was said in the video regarding the XP-Series headphones for Xbox console, PX-series for PlayStation consoles, Z-Series for PC, N-Series for Nintendo, M-Series for mobile users, and the Call of Duty: Black Ops kit, Turtle Beach had a BRAND NEW line of headphones that they were showing for the first time – the iSeries designed especially for Apple products.

Turtle Beach @ E3 2013

The iSeries was designed for the Apple user who wants to game, listen to music, watch movies, chat, and make telephone calls.  The flagship i60 is equipped with digial surround sound, a voice morph feature to let you disguise your voice, variable bass boost, noise isolation, and a customizable DSP.  You can pair up the i60 with your iPad, iPhone, Mac computer and it will still take calls or stream your music in stereo.  There is a rechargeable battery that should give you up to 15 hours in play time. 

Turtle Beach @ E3 2013

Our Turtle Beach friends wouldn’t give us an official price, but you might want to check the video to hear what we overheard in the booth!  :

The iSeries was designed for the Apple user who wants to game, listen to music, watch movies, chat, and make telephone calls.  The flagship i60 is equipped with digial surround sound, a voice morph feature to let you disguise your voice, variable bass boost, noise isolation, and a customizable DSP.  You can pair up the i60 with your iPad, iPhone, Mac computer and it will still take calls or stream your music in stereo.  There is a rechargeable battery that should give you up to 15 hours in play time. 

Turtle Beach @ E3 2013

 

Legit Bottom Line:

By far the largest selection of different hardware was on display at the Turtle Beach booth.  It could be their new partnership with MLG, but we are starting to see Turtle Beach headsets creep up just about anywhere you find eSports.  If you are into customizing your gear for your favorite game, you will not find a larger collection of gear than you have at Turtle Beach!

E3 2013: Polk Audio Makes It's E3 Debut

Polk Audio @ E3 2013

Polk Audio was a surprise to us as they are obviously known for the superior home theater line of products.  Polk was at E3 for the first time showing the world their tie-ins to the gaming world.  First up were the UltraFocus 6000 and UltraFocus 8000 Active Noise Canceling Headphones. With an MSRP of $149, the in-ear UltraFocus 6000 uses an AAA battery to power the Active Noise Canceling technology giving you your own personal soundstage. Both the 6000 and 8000 are built on Polk’s Optimized Active Tuning that improves overall sound quality no matter what you are doing – listening to Jazz and R&B or fragging your best friend two cities over.

The UltraFocus 8000 carries an MSRP of $299 but features a carbon-fiber look and style like nothing we have ever seen.  Wearing the headphones is very interesting as you shut out most of the world and can only hear the featured sound. Even though two AAA batteries power this headphone, they still are very comfortable and I can see wearing them for a long period of time.  Batteries should last on these headphones for about 50-60 hours.

 

Polk Audio @ E3 2013
Polk Audio @ E3 2013

We also got to experience the $299 Polk N1 Surroundbar designed specifically for Microsoft Xbox One gamers and their consoles. Polk will be releasing this bar in conjunction with the Xbox One launch sometime near the end of year.

Polk Audio @ E3 2013

Lastly, we got to see the Polk Gaming Headsets. The 4 Shot is specifically designed to be used with the Xbox 360 while the Polk l33t is designed for the Xbox One. Both headphones will be released sometimes this Fall to correspond with the Xbox One release.  The 4 Shot will carry an MSRP of $159, while the l33t will be $199.

Polk Audio @ E3 2013

 

E3 2013: Oblanc's Gamestergear Headset and Other Extras!

Gamestergear Cruiser P3210

We have to mention these E3 Expo newcomers from Oblanc who demonstrated their new Gamestergear Cruiser P3210 Gaming Headset.  These headsets look absolutely massive to the eye, but the truth is they are very light and come loaded with tech for a very low price. 

Gamestergear Cruiser P3210
Even though the Gamestergear Cruiser P3210’s have an over the ear design, they are outfitted with 4 drivers that produce true surround sound. If you don’t like the way some DSPs ‘simulate’ surround sound, then you need to put 2 separate drivers on each ear to hear what it can do. We literally shook when playing Call of Duty: B.O. and felt as if we were totally immersed in a movie while video was playing.

Gamestergear Cruiser P3210

As good as these headsets are, Oblanc has a headset with 4 drivers per ear - UFO510 Oblanc 5.1 Gaming headset.  We should be doing a full review on these headsets in the next couple of week so keep an eye out for these new comers.  If the shipping version of the headsets comes close to the version we heard at E3, then the “big boys’ will definitely have to look over their shoulder!

 


Stinky Gaming Footboard

 

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We stopped by a very interesting booth that had a very unique controller.  The Stinky Footboard is a handy accessory designed to benefit a gamer that wants 3-4 more hotkeys to use simultaneously with your keyboard or console controller.  The obvious benefit of having a foot board controller is that a gamer would normally need to set 3 to 4 hotkeys using the ctrl, alt, and shift keys to keep everything within reach of a single hand, but with a foot controller, the solution like the stinky footboard you can execute these commands by rolling your foot right or left and ricking your foot back or forward.

The Stinky Footboard gives gamers 4 keys to program and use. A gamer can assign the forward key to be the games sprint binding creating a natural feel.  Naturally you would think this board would take some major damage from a gamer getting into the game, but the stinky footboard is made to take that kind of punishment. It’s designed with a foot-long piece of brushed aluminum sitting atop the footboard surrounded by heavy duty black plastic.

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The inside of the board is housed in a steel frame making it so durable that we were showed the Stinky Footboard being ran over five times by a car coming out with no damages. On the bottom of the board there are adjustable tension boxes, with an Allen wrench the springs can be tightened or loosened to affect the responsiveness of the board. The board comes with 2 extra of each of the 3 different types of springs which are soft, medium, and stiff which will give the footboard an even wider range of response. The Stinky Footboard uses a USB input with a 6 foot micro USB cord and requires a Window XP or higher PC. Gamers will also need to download a simple key binding program from the website.

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The Stinky Footboard is priced at $119.99 and will be available for July 2013.

 


Snoop in the Hizzow!

While in L.A. we also ran into Snoop!  Actually he ran into us in conjunction with the upcoming DreamWorks film Turbo, Snoop Lion (Formerly Snoop Dogg) and his friends held a not-so-impromptu concert just outside the halls of the Los Angeles Convention Center at  Nokia Theater L.A. Live where the 2013 E3 Expo was being held. Snoop dressed in his typical West Coast fashion performed “Let the Bass Go” the lead single for the soundtrack of the film. Snoop’s voice will also appear in the film as “Smoove Move” one of the main characters. Snoop also performed his hits “Drop it Like It’s Hot” and “The Next Episode”.

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The DreamWorks-sponsored concert event had others from the "Turbo" cast who showed up like Michelle Rodriguez and Michael Pena. Ryan Reynolds stars as the lead character, Turbo, who is a snail trying to live life in the fast lane.  Snoop definitely brought energy to the stage and it was nice to see him up close and personal. There were Turbo inspired Tacos for the crowd as well as a gaming booth sponsored by Verizon. Turbo, the film is due in theaters on July 17.

 

 

Well, that’s all the time we have for this year’s E3 expo.  On the surface, this year’s convention looked to be all about the Xbox One and PlayStation. We were able to dig a little deeper and find some nice products that are going to be hitting the market later on this year.  Just like the mission of the E3 expo, we wanted to find out what’s next. Certainly, the trend is for more headphones that are customizable via software and via decals and color themes.

If you need more E3 information, be sure to check out our Day 0 article as well as our Booth Babe article.

 

Until next year!