HyperX CLOUD REVOLVER Review

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Kingston is getting serious about their gamer audience. Before I knew any better, I scoffed at the possibility of high-quality headphones coming from a company traditionally known for computer memory, but here I am, proven to have been completely wrong by two excellent models: the recently reviewed HyperX CloudX Pro and the HyperX CLOUD REVOLVER. Like the wonderful HyperX CloudX Pro, the CLOUD REVOLVER doesn’t come with any bells and whistles, instead it delivers crisp and raw audio performance for competitive gamers. It’s not going to please audiophiles or gamers who want full control over their sound performance, but if you’re looking for a hassle-free, rock-solid stereo performance, the REVOLVER is an excellent choice for gamers on a budget. 

The HyperX CLOUD REVOLVER and the CloudX Pro are very similar in what they offer feature-wise, but their audio performance delivers different advantages depending on user needs. The CloudX Pro has a definite bass advantage. There is more depth to explosions and sound effects in action-packed titles. The REVOLVER, on the other hand, excels at delivering richer treble. It makes it easier to make out minute sounds when enveloped by varying frequency shifts in multiplayer matches. Personally, I can’t pick a favorite. I switch between the two models regularly, and your purchasing decision should be based on whether you prefer more depth or more clarity in headsets.


Headphone  
Driver: Dynamic, 50mm with neodymium magnets  
Type: Circumaural, closed back  
Frequency response: 12Hz–28,000 Hz  
Impedance: 30 Ω  
Sound pressure level: 104.5dBSPL/mW at 1kHz  THD: < 2% 
Input power: Rated 30mW, maximum 500mW  
Weight: 360g  Weight w/ mic: 376g  
Cable length and type: Headset (1m) + audio control Box (2m)  
Connection: Headset - 3.5mm plug (4 pole) + Audio Control Box - 3.5mm stereo and mic plugs 

Microphone 
Element: Electret condenser microphone  
Polar pattern: Uni-directional, Noise-cancelling  
Frequency response: 50Hz-18,000 Hz  
Sensitivity: -40dBV (0dB=1V/Pa,1kHz)

The REVOLVER boasts an impressive design and surprisingly sturdy build quality. The red logo and pattern highlights on the ear cups are an attractive aesthetic touch. Pictures don’t really do the REVOLVER justice, because the headset has a very premium feel in person. There’s a sense of solidity in its structure that’s normally seen in much pricier models. The industrial feel is nicely contrasted by the soft earcup cushions that provide endless comfort. This is the kind of headset that you can use for hours and forget it’s even there. One of the REVOLVER’s biggest advantages over the CloudX Pro is the volume dial. This may seem like a small thing, but the counter intuitive control unit on the CloudX Pro was its biggest downfall.


I’ve spent most of my time testing the headset with games like Overwatch, the Battlefield 1 Beta, PES 2017 and the Bioshock Collection. Each title has a distinct tone with notably different audio performances. Battlefield is all about realism, Bioshock emphasizes mood and atmosphere, PES 2017 is more akin to Live TV and Overwatch, well Overwatch is just a treasure trove of audio goodies. With each game, the REVOLVER delivers flawless performance. I love its crisp and clean sound delivery. You really get to appreciate the fine details the sound designers have put into their work. The REVOLVER’s bass is equally impressive. It’s punchy when the action gets heavy, but it never becomes overbearing. The overall sound delivery is perfectly balanced. 

Conclusion: The HyperX CLOUD REVOLVER is another excellent headset from Kingston that deserves your attention. For gamers who want simple, but powerful tech at a very competitive price, you can’t go wrong with Kingston’s excellent REVOLVER!

A

IdeaCentre Y900 1080 Edition Review

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Back in January, we covered Lenovo's IdeaCentre Y900, an excellent gaming desktop from a company who's never marketed much towards gamers. Things are continuing to look bright for Lenovo, as their latest Y900 delivers a serious punch. The new IdeaCentre Y900 model boasts an impressive GTX GeForce 1080, an Intel i7-6700K (4 Ghz), 16 GB of memory and an attractive price of $2099.99. As far as pre-built gaming PCs go, this is a solid deal. 

Visually, the new IdeaCentre Y900 looks identical to its predecessor. Lenovo has kept the sleek red/black color combo, which I personally feel works wonderfully with the brand. The design is simple and confident, but it doesn't shy away from expressing personality with subtle hints of color from the logo glow and a pair of OLED strips on the lower half of the case. I've always been a fan of simplistic design, and the IdeaCentre Y900 fits wonderfully next to my entertainment setup. 

The entire case is matte, with only a few parts exhibiting hints of shiny material, so you don't have to worry about fingerprints and dust collecting on the surface. The case construction and quality may not be as exceptional as the custom casing from Origin PC or Falcon Northwest, but the overall aesthetic isn't too shabby considering Lenovo had to cut corners to keep pricing low.


"Things are continuing to look bright for Lenovo, as their latest Y900 delivers a serious punch."

Another area where Lenovo took a few shortcuts is the included mouse/keyboard combo. It's a much cheaper version of both peripherals, but I think this was a wise strategy for maintaining even lower costs. This isn't really a criticism since keyboards and mice are easily upgradable, but some shoppers expecting a complete combo package may be let down in that department. 

The IdeaCentre Y900 excels where it matters most: performance. I’m not going to delve into benchmark specifics since there are countless tech articles analyzing both the 1080 and the i7 under a microscope. I’m here to evaluate how Lenovo has put it all together, and whether the package as a whole is worthy of the asking price. 

The answer largely depends on what kind of customer you are. If you’re a seasoned PC gamer, you’re better off building your own rig or getting one through one of the many, prestigious boutique builders like Origin PC, Falcon Northwest, Xidax or Velocity Micro. There are more than a handful, and better, options. Having said that, Lenovo offers an excellent package for someone new to the PC gaming scene. They offer a hassle-free package that delivers high-end gaming at a relatively balanced price to performance ratio.


"Bloatware aside, the IdeaCentre Y900 1080 is a worthy upgrade to its predecessor, and its attractive price point makes it an excellent option for gamers new to the PC platform."

The IdeaCentre Y900 performs as well as you’d expect from a system carrying such superb hardware. The 1080 is a true powerhouse, and combined with the i7-6700K and the ability to overclock both, and you got yourself a system that can max out pretty much anything at 1440p, and does an amazing job at even 4K resolutions. The Y900 is assembled well, with all parts neatly installed for easy access. Cables are a little tough to reach, so it's definitely not designed to be fiddled with unless you know what you're doing. The system isn’t exactly designed for upgrading, and not everything is as easy to remove. But, like I mentioned earlier, this model is mainly for PC gaming newcomers, so the interior assembly isn’t going to affect the purchasing decision much. 

The biggest problem with the IdeaCentre Y900, which is a common problem with all Lenovo systems, is the inclusion of intrusive bloatware. There is so much bloatware, it impacts both the boot times and overall performance . It’s all useless junk too. I can’t believe McAfee is still being installed on systems in 2016. There’s an endless list of other other Lenovo-specific bloatware that serves no real purpose but to eat system resources. It’s shocking that Lenovo would even include all this disruptive junk, yet market to an audience that typically goes out of their way to avoid these type of forced software installations.


Bloatware aside, the IdeaCentre Y900 1080 is a worthy  upgrade to its predecessor, and its attractive price point makes it an excellent option for gamers new to the PC platform. It’s definitely not the go-to system for veteran PC users due to a severe lack of customization options. The best way to describe the IdeaCentre Y900 is predictable. You know exactly what you’re getting, which is, again, a big benefit for the less experienced users. 

Lenovo isn’t messing around when it comes to their expansion towards gaming. The IdeaCentre Y900 is a truly powerful system, and I’d personally recommend it in a heartbeat to anyone shopping around for gaming PCs for the first time. If Lenovo could just strip all the useless software, or at least let users decide what to keep and what to discard prior to purchasing, they’d have a real winner across the board. As it stands, the Y900 is perfect for newcomers, but too restrictive for those seeking more customization options. 

B+

Evolutions, Prevolutions and Eeveelutions – How Your Gen I Pokémon Will Change When Pokémon Go Releases Gen II

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There are a few things players of Pokémon Go are very vocally calling on Niantic to add to the game as soon as possible: the ability to trade Pokémon, PVP battles, and perhaps most importantly, new Pokémon. There has never been any doubt that the Pokémon from later generations would be making their way into the game over time, however now that most serious players are well over half way to completing their Pokedex and several players already have, it seems that now would be a good time to bring in that extra variety. Most fans would rather they put the effort into this than into shutting down third party helper sites and tools like Pokevision – especially considering how avidly people have been looking for new ways to track Pokémon on game cheat sites like iwantcheats.net.

Anticipating Gen II 
With the initial hype having dwindled and usage in decline, it is very likely that Niantic will be looking to implement new features, mechanics and of course Pokémon as soon as they realistically can to keep the remaining player base engaged and try and win back some of the people who got bored of the pidgeys and zubats and quit it. No release date has been set as of yet, but this doesn't seem to be a developer who gives players huge amounts of notice about exciting updates so it really could happen at any time.


One of the best things about the second generation of Pokémon, or 'gen II' as it is usually known within the fandom, is that as well as entirely new Pokémon it also introduces new ways to evolve Pokémon you already own from gen I. Here are some of the gen II Pokémon that fall into lineages from gen I:

New Evolutions for Existing Pokémon
Some of the coolest Pokémon currently in the game don't evolve into anything in gen I, but when gen II comes in we will be able to evolve onix into steelix, scyther into scizor, chansey into blissey, and porygon into porygon 2.0. As well as these single stage Pokémon finally getting an evolution, some lines get a third evolution – horsea and seadra gain a third evolution in kingdra, and zubat and golbat gain crobat as a third form. Stock up on candies for all of these wherever you can!

Alternate Evolutions and Eevees
In gen I, the only Pokémon with alternate evolutions is eevee. In gen II, there are not only two additional 'eeveelutions' in the form of umbreon and espeon, but there will also be an alternate evolution for gloom called bellossom (which is much prettier than vileplume), and for poliwhirl in the form of politoed.

Prevolutions
Another feature of the second generation is 'baby' Pokémon, that is, stages of evolution that actually come before the Pokémon in gen I, like pichu, which evolves into pikachu and igglybuff which is the 'baby' form of jigglypuff.

These changes are sure to make the Pokémon you already have more interesting prospects moving forward with the game.

HyperX CloudX Pro Review

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Most people think of computer memory when they hear the name Kingston, so it’s rather unusual to see the company expand to what is an otherwise over-saturated market: gaming headphones. Fortunately, Kingston’s approach to headset design is on par with some of the best in the industry. The HyperX CloudX Pro Gaming Headset looks, feels and performs like a premium headset. 

Kingston has done exactly what most audio enthusiasts always ask for: nix the useless features and focus exclusively on audio performance and build quality. If the superb sound isn’t enough, Kingston has also managed to keep the pricing low at only $109 (at the time of this review), which makes the CloudX Pro an attractive option for gamers on a budget.

The HyperX CloudX Pro Gaming Headset falls somewhere in the mid to high-end category, despite its budget price. It can’t compete with SteelSeries’ Siberia 840 (few headsets do), but it comes relatively close in terms of raw performance. The CloudX Pro is advertised as an officially licensed Xbox One headset, but thanks to its 3.5mm connection, it can be used with anything that supports the input.


"Fortunately, Kingston’s approach to headset design is on par with some of the best in the industry. The HyperX CloudX Pro Gaming Headset looks, feels and performs like a premium headset."

Kingston has gone a step further. The HyperX CloudX Pro comes in sleekly designed packaging that contains a luxurious, hard shell carrying case for traveling. Within the case, there is a spot for keeping the mic safe when not in use, as well as two Xbox-branded, interchangeable ear cups. There is also an additional 2M PC extension cable for those who those who need the extra length. 

The HyperX CloudX Pro Gaming Headset doesn’t come with the usual EQ settings, audio modes or any of the countless features seen in typical gaming headsets. Instead, it comes with two things that matters most: amazing audio performance and unparalleled comfort. This is a high-quality sound device that performs just as well for music and movies as it does for video games. In fact, I still can’t decide whether I enjoy its music or in-game performance better. 

I’ve been using the headset nonstop for the past two weeks, and I never experienced a hint of discomfort. The memory foam cushions feel sublime. The steel frame gives the HyperX CloudX Pro a sturdy, industrial feel, while the soft headband cushion contrasts the firm frame with comfort where it counts.

"Overall, the HyperX CloudX Pro Gaming Headset is an excellent choice if you’re looking for a high-quality stereo without any bells and whistles. Kingston is becoming a serious contender in the gaming headset market."

I tested music, movies and games on the CloudX Pro, and the sound quality impressed regardless of the media. The CloudX Pro handles extreme frequency shifts beautifully. The new Battlefield 1 Open Beta, for example, is perfect for testing the headset’s ability to sustain balanced sound frequencies while explosions go off around the environment.

If there’s one complaint, it’d have to be the counterintuitive volume dial. It feels cheap, the volume knob doesn’t rotate smoothly, and there’s no indicator for high and low volume. This makes it easy to blow your eardrums if you accidentally turn the knob in the wrong direction before plugging it in. You have to be especially careful if hooking up the headset to an amp. It’s an unusual choice considering the headset’s otherwise premium quality.  

Overall, the HyperX CloudX Pro Gaming Headset is an excellent choice if you’re looking for a high-quality stereo without any bells and whistles. Kingston is becoming a serious contender in the gaming headset market, and I’m curious to see how far they’ll continue to push their audio engineering to compete with veterans like SteelSeries, Turtle Beach, and especially Creative Labs. 

A

SteelSeries Rival 700 Review

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Very few companies are as committed to Esports as SteelSeries. Their gaming peripherals have little competition, and the newly released Rival 700 gaming mouse serves as yet another example of how much effort SteelSeries’ engineers put into each new product. I test gaming mice on a regular basis, and while there are more than a handful of superb models I can think of, the Rival 700 is unquestionably the best gaming mouse I’ve ever used. SteelSeries has struck a perfect balance between weight, comfort and durability. The Rival 700 is a dream for competitive gamers, and I’m struggling to find any major criticism after two weeks of thorough testing.

SteelSeries doesn’t fool around when it comes to presentation, and the packaging reflects the Rival’s premium look and feel. It’s been a long time since a gaming mouse got me this excited. The Rival makes an immediate impression with its sleek lines, stylish buttons and elegantly textured body. It’s weightier than your average mouse, and it provides much better resistance when zigzagging across the mouse matte.


"I test gaming mice on a regular basis, and while there are more than a handful of superb models I can think of, the Rival 700 is unquestionably the best gaming mouse I’ve ever used."

The Rival 700 comes with several standout features, like a customizable OLED screen, and tactile alerts for specific titles. As someone who games mostly on consoles, haptic feedback is is an imperative element in genres like racing and FPS. Introducing something as simple as a rumble effect to a gaming mouse has a remarkable effect on immersion. 

Unfortunately, the haptic feedback  currently only works on select games: Counter Strike - Global Offensive, Dota 2 and a modded version of Minecraft. I’m not sure whether support for other titles will expand over time, but this excellent feature is somewhat useless unless you’re religiously committed to the above titles. Having said that, the haptic feedback delivers a cathartic experience. I would be shocked if this feature doesn’t become the new standard for future gaming mice. The added rumble gives matches more tangibility. Gaming feels better, and the Rival 700 unquestionably improves performance.


"You don’t need to be a competitive gamer to notice the difference. Honestly, even if you’re a designer seeking a high-quality working mouse, the Rival 700 excels regardless of what it’s used for."

The OLED screen with customizable Gifs may seem like a gimmick at first, but it’s a surprisingly useful feature in MOBAs, in this case Dota 2 specifically. The OLED works in combination with SteelSeries’ GameSense, part of their Engine 3 Software. You can display different types of stats, which makes it especially handy in games with clustered UIs. It’s similarly useful when displaying health or ammo limits in shooters. Beyond its practical applications, the OLED can also be used to display hilarious custom gifs, like Nicolas Cage’s spinning head. Beyond that, the Rival comes with all the expected tweaking options SteelSeries is known for. Competitive gamers can fine-tune settings for their desired performance within seconds thanks to Engine 3’s easy-to-use UI. 

All the nifty features are a welcome extra, but where the Rival 700 truly shines is in its raw performance. The Rival 700 simply feels and performs better than any other mouse model I’ve tested thus far. You don’t need to be a competitive gamer to notice the difference. Honestly, even if you’re a designer seeking a high-quality working mouse, the Rival 700 excels regardless of what it’s used for. SteelSeries has done it again. Their Esports products just keep getting better and better, and the Rival 700 is one of their finest releases this year!

A

Eizo Foris FS2735 Review

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In Short: The Eizo Foris FS2735 boasts a remarkable picture quality that rivals professional graphics monitors while maintaining low input-lag for responsive and smooth gaming. On the downside, the extremely high cost puts it in a rather niche corner. People looking for a display that serves both their professional and hobbyist needs will love the FS2735, but those only looking for a high-quality gaming monitor are likely to steer towards more affordable offerings. 

Review: Eizo may be an unfamiliar name amongst most gamers, but they’ve been a trusted brand for professional designers and photographers for decades. They’re known for manufacturing anything from high-end arcade machine monitors, medical display systems, air traffic control monitors, and of course, the acclaimed ColorEdge series of graphics monitors. In a nutshell, Eizo has a long history of delivering excellence across various industry needs. The Foris line is Eizo’s attempt at reaching out to a new audience: gamers. 

Pros:
Stunning PQ and excellent color accuracy
+ Responsive and smooth gaming
+ Beautiful design
+ Flawless screen uniformity
+ 5 year warranty
+ Superb customer support
+ G-Ignition makes tweaking easy

Cons:
- Price
- Freesync means Nvidia users are left out

The Eizo Foris FS2735 is designed with a modern and minimalist aesthetic in mind. Regardless of your gaming setup, the FS2735 looks stunning as the entertainment center piece. The body is fully matte (thank you Eizo!), so things like fingerprints and dust never become a noticeable nuisance. The beautiful and matte IPS screen repels reflections even when working underneath a skylight in my office, and it unquestionably relieves eye strain when typing/gaming for long hours.


"The Eizo Foris FS2735 may be the first flawless display I’ve ever tested. Black, white and grey uniformity tests all yield perfect results, and there isn’t a single hint of clouding, banding or ghosting when images are in motion. DSE is entirely non-existent!"

Display technology has come a long way, and Eizo has always been at the forefront as the leader in color accuracy and overall picture quality. Purchasing an Eizo product is equivalent to acquiring a luxury vehicle. Every part of their product line receives the elite treatment, and when it comes to quality assurance, very few manufacturers can match Eizo’s track record. 

One of my very first tests when analyzing new displays is the examination of potential manufacturer defects. Uniformity issues, dead pixels, and DSEs (dirty screen effects) are all possible flaws in modern displays - whether they’re televisions or monitors. Some are normal and expected, while others severely impact image quality. 

The Eizo Foris FS2735 may be the first flawless display I’ve ever tested. Black, white and grey uniformity tests all yield perfect results, and there isn’t a single hint of clouding, banding or ghosting when images are in motion. DSE is entirely non-existent which results in an incredibly smooth image during panning shots in movies and games. The Foris FS2735 is a testament of Eizo’s incomparable quality assurance. Considering how many issues I face with different types of displays on a regular basis, one could easily argue that much of the extra cost goes into thorough testing to ensure customers never receive duds. And did I mention that the FS2735 comes with a five-year warranty? As far as customer service goes, it doesn’t get better than that.


"The out-of-the-box calibration is near perfect. Foris monitors use Eizo’s G-Ignition software for tweaking settings, and it takes mere second to get desired results."

The FS2735 is a 1440p, 144Hz, AMD FreeSync display with an incredibly low response time of only 4ms. It comes with two USB 3.0 ports, one DisplayPort, two HDMI ports, a DVI-D port and a nifty little cable holder that attaches to the base for keeping the desk surface clutter free. The display is tiltable in all directions (35° up and 5° down), which is practical for photo-editors and designers. The 1000:1 contrast ratio and 16.77 million display colors provide a rich and vibrant image, and it impresses whether you’re a gamer or professional artist.

I use this monitor for two things: gaming and professional design/illustration work. Having said that, color accuracy and proper black/white levels are incredibly important to me. This is why I personally tend to avoid brands like BenQ—their models have great response times, but horrid picture quality. The FS2735 is a godsend for people looking for a pro-gamer/pro-art hybrid. The out-of-the-box calibration is near perfect. Foris monitors use Eizo’s G-Ignition software for tweaking settings, and it takes mere second to get desired results. My review unit only required small gamma adjustments (the 2.2 reading was off and the 2.4 yielded more accurate results) as everything else was practically flawless. 

You can even sync up your smartphone with the Foris to monitor incoming notifications via the mobile G-Ignition app. This is particularly useful if you’re gaming with headphones and don’t want to miss important calls. By choosing from a variety of fun, little pop-up designs (like Pac-Man) you can customize the look of your incoming messages that appear on the bottom of the screen. When your phone rings, the little icon will pop-up in the screen corner ( while your game is running ) to let you know there’s a call.


"Overall, the Eizo Foris FS2735 is a phenomenal monitor for both gamers and professional graphic artists. The picture quality delivers a transformative experience."

As with most gaming monitors, there are added features that enhance visibility during motion and light/dark scenes. Eizo’s patented Smart Insight Demolition technology does a great job of revealing minute details in overly bright and dark games and movies. The technology’s effectiveness is especially impressive in games like Outlast or Alien Isolation where the majority of the environments are enveloped in darkness.

Gaming on the FS2735 is pure bliss. Everything looks crisp and vibrant, while motion remains buttery smooth thanks to Eizo’s impressive anti-blur technology. Colorful games like Overwatch are an exemplary showcase of the company’s brilliant IPS display. Thanks to the excellent color accuracy, older games feel like HD remasters. For the past two weeks, I’ve combed through countless genres in my library, in search for any faults, but the FS2735 impressed continuously. 
Since I also work as a graphic designer, I’ve used the FS2735 for a variety of different projects like website designs, magazine layouts and even editorial illustration work. The Foris has been an invaluable asset to my creative work, and I can’t imagine working with anything else.  

Conclusion: Overall, the Eizo Foris FS2735 is a phenomenal monitor for both gamers and professional graphic artists. The picture quality delivers a transformative experience. UI in apps and games, text, colors—everything is richer, crisper and cleaner when switching from a mid-range display to Eizo’s Foris. Its biggest downside is the $1300 price tag. It’s simply too high when considering that high-quality 4k monitors are available for the exact same price. Nevertheless, when it comes to Eizo, you’re also paying for reliability and what I personally consider a flawless product. 

Review by: Tin Salamunic    

A-

Edifier e255 Review

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If you walk into a room brimming with top audio manufacturers and their devices, there’s no doubt your attention would quickly turn to Edifier and their unique approach to product design. One can argue that Edifier’s craftsmanship serves as the industry standard for aesthetic innovation among audio hardware engineers today. One can also argue that Edifier’s latest e255 active speaker system, a surround sound version of the superb Luna Eclipse HD speakers, is the company's finest accomplishment to date.

The Edifier e255 surround sound system is an artistic marvel. It’s a piece of tech that doesn’t shy away from breaking norms. Who needs old-fashioned, boxy speakers when Edifier’s futuristic “eggs” provide so much more flexibility for differently sized entertainment setups. Whether you live in a 5000 sq ft villa or a 400 sq ft apartment, the audio performance is phenomenal across both wide and narrow spaces. 

One thing to note is that the Edifier e255 system isn’t advised for audiophiles due to a lack of HDMI support, which is necessary for lossless surround PCM audio. Its optical connections are limited to compressed Digital Dolby and DTS, as well Dolby Pro Logic II for converting stereo to 5.1 surround. You can only get lossless stereo PCM via optical, but that’s rather pointless considering that this is a multi-speaker setup.


"One can also argue that Edifier’s latest e255 active speaker system, a surround sound version of the superb Luna Eclipse HD speakers, is the company's finest accomplishment to date."

Having said that, the audio performance is far beyond what’s normally expected from a compressed signal—not to mention wireless Bluetooth connectivity. I’ve been testing audio hardware for a few years now, and to put things in perspective, the e255 has the most impressive Bluetooth audio delivery to date. I have about half a dozen active Bluetooth devices laying around the same area as the e255, yet the audio signal has never been affected by distortions. So far, I’ve clocked at least 75-80 hours with the e255, and I never experienced a single audio hiccup—not a single time.

The 255’s powerful drivers deliver crystal clear detail and depth, and manual decibel adjustments for each speaker allow for more balanced volumetric shifts between quiet whispers and loud explosions. The audio is top-notch without the need for advanced calibrating. This makes the system perfect for users who seek high-end audio performance, but don’t have the technical know-how when it comes to advanced audio tuning.


"The 255’s powerful drivers deliver crystal clear detail and depth, and manual decibel adjustments for each speaker allow for more balanced volumetric shifts between quiet whispers and loud explosions."

Unboxing the Edifier e255 system is just as exciting as hearing its sound for the first time. Each speaker is wrapped in a protective cloth, and there’s a sense of grandeur and luxury when revealing the spherical design for the first time. Typical speakers are much larger and made out of wood to improve acoustics, but Edifiers engineers have found a way to preserve the audio fidelity while completely redefining long-standing speaker design standards. 

During my testing, I’ve set up the system in three different environments: a large, open space equivalent to a medium-sized conference room, a larger gaming room/office where the speakers are placed close the listening area, as well as a typical living-room environment with speakers placed around 6 feet away from the center listening area. With some careful speaker positioning, it’s possible to achieve balanced audio performance regardless of room size and speaker placement. As expected, the larger space provides a little more room for the audio to spread, but the sound clarity at lower volumes and within tighter spaces is what truly sets the e255 from other surround systems. 

The center speaker is the heart of the system. Front left and right speakers are connected directly to the center speaker, while everything else links up wirelessly once the Bluetooth signal goes live. This makes the setup process more liberating. As long as there are enough power outlets for each speaker, you can really play around with creative positioning without worrying about running out of wires. There are three optical inputs and a 3.5 mm audio input in the back of the center speaker. For testing purposes, I decided to stick with optical only as it delivers superior audio quality and will most likely be the go-to connection for the average user.


"Even without uncompressed PCM, the Edifier e255 delivers DTS with impressive precision and clarity."

Since all of my media apps are on PS4, I decided to use Sony’s console for most of my testing. Video games are great for pushing a system’s surround capabilities, especially competitive titles where audio locationing is imperative for success. Like everyone else lately, I’ve been obsessively playing Overwatch and figured it’d be the best way to get a taste of what the e255 offers. Five minutes into the game, and my way of playing the game changed entirely. Overwatch in surround sound is an otherworldly experience. 

Even without uncompressed PCM, the Edifier e255 delivers DTS with impressive precision and clarity. I personally prefer DTS due to lower compression and better surround balancing, but whether you choose DTS or Dolby Digital, you’re in for a real treat. The Overwatch audio engineers have implemented carefully tuned audio cues that only become apparent once a proper sound system is in place. Enemy footsteps, for example, are heavier and louder than your team’s, and being able to differentiate the running weight between characters during a heated fight is inexplicably helpful in a game like this.


"Shows like The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones sound marvelous in surround. The e255 system makes Ramin Djawadi’s iconic soundtrack even more impactful and mesmerizing."

Little details like this stand out regardless of what game I throw at the e255. The Witcher 3 is another great example of a transformative experience. When you’re out in the wild, you can hear the grass crunching underneath your boot, you can hear the wind cutting through trees, and most importantly, you can hear wild beasts rummaging in the distance, giving you a better window of opportunity to prepare your potions and gear.

When it comes to movies and TV shows, things get a little trickier when testing because the surround-sound quality isn’t solely depended on hardware, but rather how much effort the creators’ put into balancing the different channels. Shows like The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones sound marvelous in surround. The e255 system makes Ramin Djawadi’s iconic soundtrack even more impactful and mesmerizing. 

When watching Raising Hope on Netflix, on the other hand, the center speaker carries most of the weight. The audio, particularly the dialogue, is too centered and makes the show sound more hollow compared to audio mixed to 2.1 channels. This isn’t a speaker criticism, but a surround-sound criticism in general. It’s an issue a lot of audio connoisseurs face, and it’s a problem that’s been plaguing the industry for decades. I decided to have a little fun with the settings, and found that the e255’s Dolby Pro Logic II feature can be used to mitigate the problem. Since Pro Logic II creates 5.1 channels from a 2.1 channel signal, I changed the console audio source to 2.1 PCM, and then enabled the Pro Logic II to split the audio across all the speakers. In a way, this partially fixes the problem with center-heavy audio in certain media. While the surround accuracy doesn’t translate as well, it still sounds better when watching media where the surround sound implementation is handled sloppily.


"Since Pro Logic II creates 5.1 channels from a 2.1 channel signal, I changed the console audio source to 2.1 PCM, and then enabled the Pro Logic II to split the audio across all the speakers. In a way, this partially fixes the problem with center-heavy audio in certain media."

While the Edifier e255 doesn’t boast advance equalizer settings, it’s packed with a handful of neat surround modes when Digital Dolby Pro Logic II is engaged. You can choose between music, movie, emul, matrix, virt and game modes. Each setting is designed to convert stereo to surround differently based on the media. For the most part, the labels are self explanatory. Music mode, for example, makes you feel like you’re surrounded by the performers. Movie mode increases the dynamic range, which makes explosions and action scenes particularly loud.


"If you’re someone who’s seeking practicality without any sacrifice in sound performance, the Edifier e255 is the most luxurious-yet-affordable option for surround sound in 2016."

The quirky Matrix setting, on the other hand, splits all audio evenly across every speaker, making it seem like you’re entirely enveloped by whatever you’re watching. While this setting doesn’t work well in movies and TV shows, it’s a fantastic feature for nature documentaries.  Game mode is equivalent to Scout Mode found in most surround sound headsets, but I’m still not sure I can see a benefit ( or much difference for that matter) between the emulation and virtual modes. But aside from these two settings, I found the other presets to be surprisingly useful when switching between different content on TV. 

It’s been about two weeks since I installed the Edifier e255 in our office, and I can’t  imagine using any other audio device for our gaming and movie testing going forward. The lack of 5.1 PCM support is definitely a big letdown for audiophiles, but if you’re someone who’s seeking practicality without any sacrifice in sound performance, the Edifier e255 is the most luxurious-yet-affordable option for surround sound in 2016.




Review by: Tin Salamunic 

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