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Published on March 18th, 2012 | by Greg


MadCatz: Gamer Gear For PC And 360

We’ve been do­ing a fair bit of gam­ing late­ly, with Mass Ef­fect 3 on the 360 and Star Wars: The Old Re­pub­lic on PC. And we’ve been test­ing out new gear for each sys­tem from Mad­Catz, a man­u­fac­tur­er that in the past few years has grown in­to one of the biggest and best in the ac­ces­so­ry mar­ket. At CES, we got a look at their up­com­ing line­up, and in the past month or so have been try­ing out two of their lat­est pe­riph­er­als.

The Mad­Catz Trit­ton Primer Wire­less Xbox 360 Head­set is not the cheap­est mod­el, nor is the best- but it does sit in a nice sweet spot of price and per­for­mance. There’s very lit­tle to dis­like about the pack­age, con­sid­er­ing the price, and we liked the fact that ev­ery­thing was in­clud­ed, even in­de­pen­dent game and voice vol­ume con­trols. The look and feel of these is some­what sim­i­lar to oth­er Trit­ton mod­els that we’ve tried out in the past- not quite as pow­er­ful sound as the 5.1 Call of Du­ty mod­el we saw, and not quite as rugged or com­fort­able as the Gears of War 3 ver­sion we re­viewed last year. But the cost is about half that of the sib­lings, and over­all, these were cozy enough for a mul­ti-hour gam­ing ses­sion with Com­man­der Shep­ard. The earcups aren’t su­per-large, though, so while one tester loved the fit, an­oth­er found them a bit small.

The mi­cro­phone folds down for chat or up to get out of the way. Folks on the oth­er end re­port­ed sol­id au­dio in-game, and while we didn’t feel quite the di­rec­tion­al pres­ence that helps nar­row down po­si­tion­ing, the bass was great and bal­anced, with voic­es and mu­sic com­ing through loud and clear. Their sys­tem us­es 5.8GHz wire­less tech­nol­o­gy, which of­fers some ad­van­tages over the 2.4GHz that is com­mon but does suf­fer from in­ter­fer­ence from cord­less phones and oth­er sources. The base sta­tion is sleek and good look­ing, even if it is an­oth­er box to find room for. Over­all, the Primer is a sol­id head­set, of­fi­cial­ly li­censed, with on­board con­trols for easy mut­ing and avail­able now for un­der $100.

But if it’s PC gam­ing you’re en­gaged in, and specif­i­cal­ly any mas­sive­ly mul­ti­play­er on­line game, we def­i­nite­ly sug­gest pick­ing up the Cy­borg M.M.O.7 Mouse. It’s a piece of hard­ware that could very well change your life. We’ve tried out the R.A.T.7 last year, a sim­i­lar mouse that re­al­ly al­tered our def­i­ni­tion of the hum­ble pe­riph­er­al. It took one of the best fea­tures of game pads- of­fer­ing more but­tons than you might need- but did so with­out mak­ing any­thing con­fus­ing, un­com­fort­able, or over­ly com­pli­cat­ed. The M.M.O.7 ups the ante, of­fer­ing three in­ter­change­able palm rests and pinkie rests, 6400 dpi pre­ci­sion, and five weight op­tions much like the pre­de­ces­sor but up­ping the num­ber of pro­grammable but­tons from five to thir­teen!

Of course, the soft­ware to con­trol it all is much the same- of­fer­ing a pret­ty good in­ter­face for you to set­up your macros and com­mands. There’s even an add-on es­pe­cial­ly for World of War­craft play­ers that en­ables you to drag and drop spells, in­ven­to­ry items and more with a sin­gle click. And the Ac­tion­Lock mode al­lows you to take your fin­ger off the trig­ger- or but­ton- mean­ing you can give your hands a rest while still stay­ing in the game- though it on­ly works for ei­ther of the main two mouse but­tons. As with most mice, this is a USB af­fair, and com­pat­i­ble with re­cent ver­sions of Win­dows (XP and new­er, 32-bit and 64-bit) as well as Mac OSX. Of course, not ev­ery­one will find the style to their lik­ing- it’s dis­tinc­tive, and very fu­tur­is­tic. And it isn’t wire­less, though in our tests, this means more re­spon­sive feed­back and bet­ter con­trol, plus the ca­ble is sol­id and plen­ty lengthy. It ran well, holds up to se­ri­ous ses­sions, and is quite cus­tomiz­able- worth it pri­mar­i­ly for the tar­get au­di­ence of MMO gamers, it’s funky de­sign and se­ri­ous fea­ture set means that oth­ers might very well en­joy it too. $130 on­line and in stores.

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About the Author

Greg dreamed up the idea for the Truly Network while living in Hawaii, which began with a single site called TrulyObscure. In 2010, when advertisers and readers were requesting coverage beyond the scope of that site, TrulyNet was launched, reaching a broader audience over a variety of niche sites. Formerly the head technology correspondent for the Des Moines Register at age 16, he has since lived and worked in five states and two countries, helping a list of organizations and companies that includes the United States Census Bureau, TripAdvisor, Events Photo Group, Berlitz, and Computer Geeks. He also served as the Content Strategy Manager for HearPlanet, a multi-platform app that has reached over a million users and has been featured in the New York Times, Hemispheres Magazine, National Geographic Adventure, Fox Business News, PC Magazine, and even Apple’s own iPhone ads. Greg has written as a restaurant critic and feature journalist for a number of national and international publications, including City Weekend Magazine, Red Egg Magazine, the Newton Daily News, Capital Change Magazine, and an arm of China Daily, Beijing Weekend. In addition, he has served as a consulting editor for the Foreign Language Press of Beijing, as well as a writer and editor for the George Washington University Hatchet, the school newspaper of his alma mater. Originally from Iowa, Greg is currently living in the West Village of Manhattan.

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