Herald Sun - Switched On - - Gadgets -

Plantronics, $149

★★★★ On the box of the X95 head­set there was only the men­tion of ‘‘stereo’’ head­phones. De­spite the arms race around Dolby Dig­i­tal sur­round sound, it does not fea­ture in this head­set. How­ever, sound is crys­tal­clear when us­ing the head­set. The noise-can­celling fea­ture, on the other hand, is poor for gamers hop­ing to avoid an­noy­ing the rest of the house­hold. But the X95 head­phones are pure lux­ury. They’re com­fort­able, and be­hind each ear­piece is a dial and a switch — the left side con­trols in-game chat (vol­ume and mute) and right side con­trols in-game sound (vol­ume and power). This elim­i­nates con­trols usu­ally found dan­gling in front of play­ers (and knot­ted with other wires). Good value. Linksys, $299

★★★ As you would ex­pect from Cisco, this is a se­ri­ously fast wire­less router. This model was de­signed in Europe and the E4200 will sit next to tele­vi­sions and stereos with­out look­ing gar­ish. This is also one of the pieces of kit where the num­bers do count. It is a proper dual-band router with both the usual 2.4GHz and the more pow­er­ful 5GHz chan­nels on board. On the 5GHz chan­nel, the router can run at up to 450Mbps (the Na­tional Broad­band Net­work prom­ises speeds of 100Mbps by com­par­i­son), so even hard­core gamers could hap­pily stream from this box. It also fea­tures four gi­ga­bit eth­er­net ports. The big­gest draw­back is that $299 is a fair chunk of cash for a wire­less router, es­pe­cially con­sid­er­ing it is not a mo­dem/router combo.

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