We checked out new Marauder 7.1 Virtual Surround Sound Headset from Venom. This is released on July 18th 2017 and is priced at £49.99
*PS3 AND PS4 SLIM OWNERS PLEASE READ : As there are no optical ports on these consoles, you will need to plug the optical cable in to your TV. Please check your TV before purchasing.
UPDATE : Venom have just released a guide to getting good chat quality and come be found in PDF form here https://venomuk.com/get/marauder-7.1-virtual-surround-gaming-headset/
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Giveaway ends 23.59 01.07.2017
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I’ve still got my 2 original wireless pads for the Playstation 3, possibly through more luck than anything they still work to an acceptable standard even though my raging years of Fifa & Call of Duty have left them war scarred. Although they are pretty much used as a wired setup now, due to the battery life and secondly due to being one of the only devices that uses the outdated Mini USB and I’d likely lose the cable if I split them apart. In contrast in 3 years of owning a PS4, 3 pads have already bitten the dust in one way or another and the rest the thumb sticks look like they have been chewed on by a rat.
I’ve been given the opportunity to test out a new wired Officially licensed Ps3 pad from Venom, they’ve had my custom previously with a vibration headset that I’ve had a few years now which has served me well. First point to note is the controller is endowed with 3 metres of cable, so gone are the sessions of sitting uncomfortably close to HD visuals, I can sit back on the sofa as relaxed as I can be and not have to worry about any health and safety trip hazards or developing wall eyed vision.
The size shape and weight of the controller is beefed up from the official PS3 pad, If anything it looks very much in the style of an Xbox One controller which if you are a fan of this will gain your appreciation, the thumb sticks are slightly larger than on the Bone and the D pad is placed the same but has 4 separate buttons as opposed to the single cross.
The weight of the pad makes it comfortable and all the buttons are responsive and easily reached even with my child sized hands, there is a subtle contour line that fits the palm nicely and allows you to maintain a solid grip which is welcome on those heavy gaming sessions.
The pad has the vibration which is noticeable but no too overbearing and on the bottom of the controller there is a sensitivity button which can be increased or decreased on the fly, which I thought was an unusual yet original feature, but not something I would get much use out of.
Testing the controller through my favourite games including Battlefield 4, Need For Speed and Payday 2 the controller felt receptive and accurate, unfortunately it didn’t help me fair any better than usual so it’s unlikely to see me falsify my way onto the Pro Gaming scene any time soon.
It’s obviously too early to tell if it has the lifespan of my ageing PS3 pads, the unit feels robust so barring any freak accidents I’m confident I’ll be using it for the remainder of my PS3’s lifetime as my main controller. This Venom controller will set you back £14.99 which I feel is reasonable for a licensed product and personally I would avoid trying to save a small amount of coins by buying some other unheard of brand that’s unlikely to last a round of Conquest.
All in all if you are after a second pad, maybe convinced your partner to get involved in some Co-Op gaming or be fortunate enough to be introducing a youngster into your favourite pastime then I can completely recommend this Venom pad, ultimately so that you can use it and hand down your old pad with all it’s gaming history as part of their inheritance.
The Venom Vibration Stereo Headset is an officially licensed product that can be used with the PS3 and PS4. This is the successor to the Venom XT+ that we reviewed in 2014. The RRP for this headset is £49.99, but you can pick it up for just £30.99 from Zavvi.
This is a wired headset that boasts a fully adjustable headband and microphone that is constructed from plastic which has a soft touch ruberized finish. The sound is pumped in to your ears courtesy of two 40mm Neodymium drivers and the vibration, which is designed to mimic the rumble feature you’d find in the Dualshock 4 controller is provided by two additional 30mm drivers. The ear cups are made from a faux leather material and just about cover the ears. There is also an in-line remote that independently controls the game and chat volume, as well as the vibration intensity. It also incorporates a mute button that can be used to hide your displeasure after getting tea-bagged by annoying teenagers on Call of Duty.
As soon as I removed this set from it’s packaging it instantly felt cheaper than the previous model that we reviewed. The design may have been aimed at making the headset lighter, but it just seems less sturdy and not as well made as the Venom XT+. This was very disappointing as I really liked the previous model and would have expected a better build quality considering this is an officially licensed Playstation Product.
Set up is relatively straight forward, you just need to insert the USB in to the console, plug the 3.5mm audio connection in to the headphone jack on your TV and then change one setting in the consoles audio options. There is also a phono adapter included if wish to connect to an external audio amplifier. It literally takes only a few minutes to get started!
This is a very light and comfortable headset, the ear cups cover your ears and provide a decent seal to cut out exterior noise
Now, my previous whining could be overlooked if the sound quality was decent. Unfortunately it wasn’t impressive enough to make me forget the other shortcomings, so I’m really hoping the Vibration feature saves the day. The sound quality was perfectly adequate whilst playing shooty shoot bang bang games, but when it comes to games where you really like to hear the full range of audio like voice and music, it falls flat and at times leaves you struggling to clearly hear the game dialog. I was however impressed by the quality of the microphone during chat, this is especially important if you are going to be using the headset to live stream.
So the main selling point of this headset is the vibration feature and it’s one area that there’s been a noticeable improvement. The vibration was in fact so strong that I had to turn it down a little, otherwise I’m pretty sure I’d have lost a filling. Although it may seem like a gimmick, the vibration feature is a nice addition to a headset, especially when the shit hits the fan in shooting games and there’s explosions going off all over the place. It helps to immerse yourself in to the action.
So in summary, if you are after a headset especially for the vibration feature, then this is for you. Otherwise there are a few other headsets in this price range that don’t have vibration, but offer superior sound and build quality.
The headset comes in 2 colours:
White £30.99 @Zavvi
Black £30.99 @Zavvi
If you’re anything like me, the first thing you do after buying a new console is rush out to buy an extra controller and something to charge the damn things on. This is usually followed by a bout of anger triggered by how much these bloody charging systems actually cost. When I got my PS4 I picked up the official Sony charging station for £27.99 as it was the only decent option at the time. Even now, thinking about how much I paid for it boils my piss!
There are some really cheap and nasty alternatives that I have tried since, most of which had USB charging cables all over the show and nothing came close to the Sony Docking Station. One of the reasons I buy these charging docks is that I hate seeing USB cables, I like everything to be neat and tidy and all the fuss kept to a minimum.
Venom has now brought out their own PS4 Twin Docking Station, which incorporates charging dongles instead of USB cables linking to the controller, allowing drop and charge functionality. It’s not quiet as fuss free as Sony’s version, but definitely the next best option, especially if you take in to consideration the price difference.
The Venom charging system looks pretty nice, but feels a bit cheaper than the official Sony alternative. It is constructed of a matt black plastic, with two illuminated charging icons on the front that will glow blue or red depending on whether or not your controller is fully charged. You can connect this to your PS4 console via a single USB cable so that your controllers can charge whilst the PS4 is in standby mode.
Like I mentioned earlier, this system includes 2 charging dongles that plug in to the charging port on the Dual Shock 4 controller. I am not entirely sure whether or not these were designed to stay on the controller whilst you play games, but I found them a little annoying due the fact they rattle slightly when you move the game-pad. Due to this, I just keep them on the charging station and clip them on when I need to charge, it’s really just a case of whatever tickles your pickle!
At the end of the day, this is the type of product where functionality is the most important aspect and in this regard it works exactly the same as the official Sony charging system. The Venom system can be picked up for £15.99 here which is over £10 cheaper than the Sony option.
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The Lucky winner was
For a chance to win a Venom PS4 Twin Docking Station Follow @FrugalGaming & @VenomGamingUK & Retweet. T&Cs here http://wp.me/p1SoXe-aMV
[box type=”info” style=”rounded” border=”full”] You may enter this giveaway no more than twice per day on Twitter. The lucky winner will be picked on 25.02.15 and announced shortly after. The winner will be picked at random using Random.org. The winner will receive the review product. The competition is open WORLDWIDE and entrants must be 18 or over. The winner must allow up to 21 days to receive their prize. You must be following the accounts listed above at the time the winner is picked for your entries to be valid. Frugal Gaming reserves the right to end or amend this give away at any time without notice[/box]
After my recent review of the Venom PS4 controller kit, I thought I’d check out the alternative products offered by SquidGrip. Unlike Venom, SquidGrip solely focus on making controller grips for console controllers and have used social networks to spread the word about their products. But it takes a bit more than a few daft hashtags like #stopnakedcontrollerabuse to win me over, so I picked up some SquidGrips for my PS4 and Xbox One game pads to see what all the fuss was about.
SquidGrip provides a low-profile, firm and padded surface for your hands – without disrupting the natural feel of your controller. Developed using moisture-wicking technology, no other product alleviates sweaty hands and improves overall grip and comfort like SquidGrip™
I’d mentioned in my previous review that I was initially dubious about controller grips in general, they just seemed like an answer to a problem that I never had. That opinion soon changed once I tried the Venom grips and now using a controller without them feels plain wrong. I picked up a couple of sets up for my PS4 and Xbox one controller, you can get them for £12.99 in-store at Game.
I first tried the PS4 version and have to say they were much easier to fit than the Venom alternatives, thanks to cleverly placed guide holes that need to be matched up to the seams of the controller. Once you have fitted the actual grips, you can also pimp things up a touch with the SquidGrip logo stickers that come included. These actually finish things of nicely and the whole set makes the controller look pretty snazzy and above all makes it feel nice to hold especially on long gaming sessions.
I initially played for 3-4 hours solid with these and all was good, until I woke up the next day. For some reason overnight, the PS4 grips had started to come unstuck and were flapping about like a porn stars vagina. I took to Twitter to see if anyone else had these problems and a few followers had the same issues with the PS4 versions, but none for the Xbox One grips. After a few minutes @SquidGrip replied to my Tweet and advised me that all their products were guaranteed against defects for 30 days after purchase. So I got in touch with their support and within a few days I received some replacements, more impressively they actually sent two sets, but less impressively they had sent me the grips for the wrong controller.
As previously mentioned, I also picked up some SquidGrips for my Xbox One controller and I have to say these felt amazing and more importantly are still holding strong several weeks and many hours of gaming later. These are great if you suffer from clammy hands as the do genuinely seem to reduce sweaty hand issues on those epic gaming marathons we all have from time to time.
So overall I was very impressed with the Xbox One versions, but rather disappointed with the grips for the PS4 due to the fact they didn’t feel as nice as the Venom grips and started coming unstuck within 24 hours. I would definitely buy these for every Xbox One controller I own and think they should start selling discounted double packs for those with more than one controller as paying £12.99 for each set is rather expensive.
When I first heard about the Venom Controller kits I thought they were a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist. I’d never really had a problem with the comfort of my PS4 controller, so couldn’t really see the point of them. But being the eternal optimist that I am I thought I’d give them a bash.
The kit consist of two adhesive comfort grips, four thumb grips and various decals to pimp out the controller, all of which sport the Venom logo. I started by fitting the comfort grips, a task that almost led me to stamp on my controller. I’ve never been very good at applying stickers and the instructions on how to fit them aren’t exactly idiot proof. After 10 minutes of scratching my head, my 10 year old daughter decided to take over and she fitted them in a matter of seconds, so I think the problem is more to do with my tiny chimp brain than the instructions. The thumb grips snap on easily and the decals are also a nice touch, especially the one that fits on the light bar.
I was surprised on how different the controller felt when the kit was fitted, it does actually improve the comfort and this becomes even more noticeable on longer gaming sessions. Many gamers have been cursed with sweaty palms (Latin: Sweaticus Clawicus) and I think these will go a long way in helping the problem as the grips provide and much softer finish to the controller.
The thing I was most impressed with was the thumb grips. I had tried a few of these in the past from other companies, but never really got on with them. The Venom thumb grips are fitted in seconds and help with more precise movement of the thumb sticks, especially on games like Call of Duty. I’m pretty shit at COD and these have helped a little. Not enough to beat the little turds that spend every waking hour on this game, but every little helps!
The only negative thing I have to say about the kit is the way that the adhesive grips fit on the controller. As you can see by the above images, the grips do not join up and this leaves a lot of exposed edges, which slightly spoils the overall comfort of the kit.
Overall I would definitely recommend the Venom Controller Kits and would be happy to drop a tenner on more for my other controllers. These can be picked up from various retailers from around £10. They are currently in stock here for £11.99 delivered
These kits are also available for the Xbox One controller
I remember when multiplayer gaming was a console, BYOC (bring your own controller), a cartridge and split screening with friends (Goldeneye, anyone?). Nowadays it’s all online and this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as your friends can no longer screen watch to figure out where you are.
I remember back when I got my first gaming headset, it was my first EUROGAMER EXPO and I was overwhelmed with everything on offer to see, play and buy. That’s when I clocked my first gaming headset on the Turtle Beach stand. I couldn’t afford to splash out on an expensive headset at this point so I bought a pair of the X12’s -which to be fair were quite expensive back then for me. Knowing very little at this point about gaming peripherals, I wasn’t aware of how much difference they could make to how immersive the game felt and give you an edge in multiplayer games such as Call Of Duty.
It’s safe to say as soon as I got the headset home and started playing with them it felt like playing the game without them was pointless, it was as if the TV may as well have been muted. The spectrum of sounds I was able to pick up on with my new investment was amazing to me. I found myself only using the headset, it was a necessity not only for multiplayer, but for any game I played. The difference truly was phenomenal. If I was playing without a headset it felt like I was trying to eat soup without a spoon. I still play with a headset to this very day, on any game.
Although now, I have upgraded my headset (albeit I should really upgrade them again) to the XP500 MW3 Edition, these beast’s had it all, the Bluetooth chat adapter (which is pretty standard nowadays) customizable chat and game volume controls and customizable pre-sets for your favourite games! It was, and still is an amazing headset. With these I find it easy to get lost in any game for hours, everything is crystal clear and sounds boom beautifully that you wouldn’t be able to hear from standard TV sound.
Where Gaming Headset’s really shine though, is Multiplayer. You will find there is so much more depth to the games audio then you ever could possibly comprehend when you start using a headset. Sound cues that you would miss- such as a claymore going off, a silenced gun being shot in the distance, an enemy scattering just around the corner from your position, someone casting a plasmid trap in the next room in Bioshock 2 multiplayer…… All become accentuated and pinpointed, which massively gives you the upper hand over non headset users and allows for you to react accordingly.
In conclusion I swear by gaming headsets for all aspects of gaming, I will honestly say you haven’t truly experienced Skyrim until you have had the epic battle music drummed into you skull in 5.1 surround whilst battling a dragon to the death using magic – it makes you feel like a God.