Anlan Neck Massager Review

The Anlan Neck Massager is a massager by the company, Anlan. This was another one of the Christmas presents I got last year, which I was hoping to review quicker than now, but for various reasons between work and other coverage I’ve wanted to get out elsewhere, I haven’t been able to get it out until now, so apologies for the lateness of this review.

The Anlan neck massager comes with 5 massaging modes, 16 levels of intensity, 2 heating modes, and a 15 minute timer mode.

The massager is made out of ABS, it is about 154 x 149 x 37mm, and the weight is approximately 146g. It has the Rated Power of 1.85 Watts, and the battery power is 700 Milliamps.

And for those who care about economics with geography, it is made in China.

But when it comes to what I think of it (I tried using it at some point in February when I was hoping to get this out), I have to admit that I wasn’t overly impressed.

For those who don’t know, I’ve had a very bad pain in one side of my neck for years, which everyone has put down to being caused by how much I use my head as a hand. For a couple of years now, I’ve taken advantage of the Physio vest I was given to help get my secretions up – even though it has actually made my muscles feel better as well. Compared to that, this massager doesn’t feel like it helps my muscles as much, which will make more sense to everyone once you see the vlog version of this blog.

So overall, I would give the Anlan Neck Massager three stars, based on how it doesn’t give as strong of a massage in comparison to my physio vest. The heat level is also relaxing, for anyone who loves heat, and it’s also small enough that you should be able to take it everywhere. However, there isn’t anything else that would mean I could bring it up to five stars, especially giving how good the Libra Physio Vest is.

Do you like listening, watching or reading interviews? Are you interested in following video or audio tutorials, including on how to edit in Final Cut Pro using your mouth, how to edit in Logic Pro / Garage Band with your mouth and more? If you are, you can now subscribe for all of this Exclusive Content for a low monthly price of £15, for access to all this exclusive content, as well as the content you get to access for free! You know you want to!

Apple’s iPhone 13 Review: How Accessible is the Newest iPhone?

What’s up TR Fans and welcome back for another review here on Technology Reviews!

Apple released the iPhone 13 in 2021, with its advanced features being the one thing that was promoted. Coming with their most advanced camera system ever, durability that is front and centre, the a 15 chip with lightning fast functions that leaves competition behind, and a much larger battery, it has been described by Apple as being their most powerful yet.

But how accessible is the iPhone 13 for disabled users? In this blog, I’m going to go through all of its features, as well as the box it comes in, and make time to share my thoughts on its accessibility features as well.

So as mentioned, the iPhone 13 line up comes with an upgraded True Depth camera system, and a much bigger battery size, by an hour or more. For those who don’t like the notch, you’ll be glad to hear it has been reduced in size, and the rear camera module now sits at a diagonal. Adding the A15 chip, it helps bring more speed and efficiency to every task, a plus for anyone who wants to use their phone as a computer.

As well as adding speed, the A15 Bionic chip also improves photo processing. Although the camera uses the same f/1.6 aperture and 12MP sensor that it always has, the new wide lens has sensor-shift optical image stabilisation, which — according to Apple — captures 47% more light than before.

Another camera update that has been added, however, is the ultra-wide angle camera, with much improved low-light performance. It also shoots highly impressive night mode photos, as these photos shot on my iPhone 13 show.

The i13 also let’s its users take advantage of Apple’s advanced photography pipeline, by letting you create preset rules for the camera to capture a style of photo while shooting.

Other camera features that our new with the iPhone 13 is the new ‘Cinematic Mode’, which filmmakers will no doubt find interesting. It allows you to track a subject who is important in your film, as well as tracking when they turn away, and can even be adjusted after recording.

I don’t have experience using ‘Cinematic Mode’ at the minute, but I’m writing a short film for which I might use it later this year. If you would be interested in seeing that in a future review, please tell me in the comments, and I’ll see what I can do.

Other capabilities which the iPhone 13 comes with is that it’s MagSafe compatible — which I don’t have time to go into today but I will write about in future — as well as being capable of reaching 5G. I haven’t been able to use 5G when out yet, so I’ll give my thoughts on this at some point, but this is all there is to say about this section for now.

The sound system — when you have your headphones off — is also brilliant.

But even then, there are a few bad things. One of these is that the Micro Photography feature is limited to the iPhone 13 Pro, so if you want to get into that style of photography, you’ll have to get the dearest model. Something else that is disappointing is that the accessibility features included in iOS Monterey has taken away the ability to enter your passcode if Face ID doesn’t work, and instead requires you to double click the side button, and your only other option is to change it to Assistive Touch, which I haven’t been able to change or to use.

It would be nice if the Micro Photography style wasn’t limited to the most expensive model, and equally it would be nice to have the option for Face ID from previous software upgrades — which didn’t have any problems — to come back.

So what do I think about the iPhone 13 overall? While the phone itself is brilliantly high tech and the top phone for anyone in the creative industry, the features included in the present iOS Software lets it down. Sometimes you don’t want to let other people know that you’re buying something, which — if you have a disability — is no different. If the option for the old Face ID option in previous updates was included in the more recent update, it would make the newest iPhone highly accessible. This problem also showed up on my iPhone X — so it isn’t just limited to just the 13 — but until Monterey is sorted out — it can’t be counted as completely accessible.

Samsung 7 Series 43” Smart 4K Ultra HD HDR LED TV Review

The Samsung Series 7 4K Ultra HD tv, with HDR and LED technology is a smart tv sold by Samsung, and which is available in 43”, 50”, 55”, 65”, and 75”. It can be bought through Samsung’s website, on Amazon, or through Curry’s, and the one I have is 43”, which I bought around April. But how accessible is the tv overall, and is it the right tv for disabled people who want more control?

The box that the tv comes in has the word ’Samsung’ at the top of it, alongside some bits of smaller writing, outlining some things about the 4K, including on other features the tv comes with. Further down the box, we also see the words ’Cristal UHD’ in larger letters, beside some information on how much energy the television uses, in the space beside it. The only thing I think could be improved with the box is that some features could be written in larger letters, so people who struggle with reading could find it easier to see what the box says, but you can get all of the information online as well.

Inside the box you get the tv, the remote, and the stands for the tv to sit on, although it’s up to you whether you want to use the stands or not. I have mine up on the wall, and your wires and cables.

Getting all the nerd stuff out of the way, this tv comes with a crystal display for long-lasting colour and sharp contrast, 4K Crystal Processors for the best picture and sound, picture quality of 2000 PQI, HDR, along with offering catch up tv and 4K streaming.

With the SmartThings app, you can connect your tv to your phone, allowing people with physical disabilities to set up the tv themselves, completely from the app.

To set up your tv from your phone, you will need to start by creating a Samsung account, and allow the Samsung and SmartThings account access to your network. After that, you’ll have to log in giving access to your date of birth, your name etc, and you can also save your password so there’s no need to try and remember it each time. After that, an email will be sent to you to finish off the process, and you also have the option to set up two-step verification, which will let you get login reminders to your phone. Once you’ve created your account, you’re ready to set up your tv. The way you do this is by going to the my home page, and clicking on the option that currently reads ’Living Room’. That will take you to a page that gives you various options, and the one you’re wanting to hit is ’Device’. From here, you’re wanting to hit TV, and then you’ll hit the brand. This will bring you to a page where you’ll want to hit ’Supported Devices’ , and you’ll have to change your location settings to always on, but you can change this later. From there, you can get started actually setting up your tv, from assigning a specific room to it, to setting a wallpaper, etc etc. For using it with a smart speaker or with voice control, you should allow SmartThings to have access to your microphone, but this will take a bit of time to complete. Once you are able to select your tv, you’ll be asked to go to your wifi settings on your phone, and to enter the password you’re given. After you enter your password, your phone will connect to your tv, and you’ll be asked to enter a pin that will show up on your tv. The last thing you’ll have to do is connect your tv to the internet, but after it connects, you’ll just have to agree to stuff, and it will be all sorted.

Controlling the Samsung Series 7 Smart TV with SmartThings on Apple’s iPhone X © Technology Reviews / Phoebs Does Technology Reviews.

After everything is connected, getting around it should look like this. SmartThings will give you other optional apps you can download, but honestly, most of the other apps they give I’ve never heard of.

This remote feature works with iOS and Android Devices.

As well as the better colour quality — which is amazingly better compared to my old tv — this tv gives you access to all the top streaming apps, including Apple TV, Netflix and Disney+. As well as these ones, you also get Amazon Prime, YouTube, and TickTock, so there’s something for everyone, and you can even connect it to your Apple Music and Spotify!

This tv also makes it easy for you to enjoy your favourite game consoles, with picture and sounds that adapts as fast as your game. Although I still have my Xbox One S, the 4K picture quality is still extremely good, and it’s much easier to play games with dark scenes than it was when I played them on my old tv.

As mentioned before, the remote the Premium One Remote also connects to your phone — so it’s easy to use if you can’t physically use a remote but you want to control your tv — and you can also connect SmartThings to your Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant.

Lastly, you can also screen mirror your iPad or phone screen to the tv, which I find really useful when attending online history conferences. Last year, I had to screen mirror them to my Apple TV 4K, which — while it was good, didn’t have the best internet connection. But each time I’ve mirrored my iPad screen to the Samsung TV, it’s offered a much more enjoyable experience, which — for anyone who’s interested in using it the way I do — is a big plus.

But what do I think about the Samsung Series 7 Smart TV overall? The 4K is brilliant, and you can definitely see a big difference between this tv and other older tvs. As someone who upgraded purely on the fact that I would be able to control my tv easier than my older smart tv, I love how easy it is to set up the tv on my phone, and how easy it is to control my tv using my phone and iPad, as well as how many apps you have access to on the tv and how easy they are to install.

But even then, there are a few problems. Although you can set up your tv using your phone, and use it as a remote thereafter, there are times when you have to either ask someone to turn the tv on with your physical remote, or you’d have to delete the app and re-download it, until the tv is readable. As well as this, there have been times when the internet has completely disconnected itself off the tv for a period of time, which is when I usually swap over to my Apple TV until it sorts itself, but this is only every now and again.

But overall, I’m really happy with what the tv allows me to do, and 90% of the time I’d say it works.

The Samsung Series 7 Smart tv costs £369.00 as an overall payment, but you can also buy it with a monthly payment. It is a really good buy, and it’s probably the best out there if you want to have everything it allows you access to.

Skullcandy Venue Active Noise Cancelling Headphones: Are These the Best Wireless Headphones Ever?

The Skullcandy Venue Active Noise Cancelling Headphones are Bluetooth Wireless Headphones developed and sold by Skullcandy Inc, and which did cost £100 on Amazon a couple of months ago, but now cost £79.99 on Amazon. I bought them with one of my pay checks while completing a couple of work experiences this year when they were selling at the more expensive price point, but were they worth the money?

The bag that the headphones came in said “Let today be the start of something new” and when I got the box out of the bag, you could really see how glossy the box was.

On top of the box you get the usual Skullcandy logo, along with the words: ‘All Music. No Noise.’ followed by the word ‘Venue’. Below that, you have some more information on what all the Skullcandy Venues offer, including on how much charge the headphones give you depending on how long they charge for, and to give you just an idea of how good these are, just 5 minutes of charging will give you five hours of usage.

The case that the headphones are very Beats-like, but probably bigger and in my opinion, better looking.

The case is easy to open, and inside it, you get the headphones, the charger, some more information about the headphones and how to set them up, and a couple of wires.

There is some more information about the headphones around the back, but there’s nothing more to say about them other than that.

It’s easy to connect your headphones to whatever phone you have, and as soon as I put them on, I couldn’t hear anything, not even anyone talking to me. The Active Noise Cancelation is extremely good, and I haven’t even found myself listening to stuff as high as I normally would with my Skullcandy Uproar Wireless, with which I had to put my volume up fully. The charge is amazing – especially given that my older headphones (which I had used every day) had started losing charge, but it works well at the minute when I use them side by side.

I haven’t been able to test the Tile feature yet, which lets you track where your headphones were are, but you also get a monitor mode, as well as the Activate Assistant mode. But as someone who has wanted these headphones for years and has just been able to buy them recently, I’m very happy with what I got.

Apple’s October Event: Are These MacBooks Accessible Enough for an Upgrade?

Apple’s October event took place near to a month ago, and to sum up what the event was about, it overwhelmingly concentrated on Macs. Yes; different colours of HomePod Minis were announced, as well as the Apple Music Voice Plan — which I’ll publish my views on in a few weeks — and as well as that, we also found out about the third generation AirPods. But as the title says, this blog is only concentrating on the new MacBook Pros — which come in 14inch and 16inch — and if they’re worth the upgrade from the tech and accessibility standpoint.

Coming with Apple’s M1 Pro or M1 Max chip, these new macs come with improved performance and better battery life. As well as the Liquid Retina XDR display, we also get the same camera and audio performance as we saw in the new iMacs earlier this year, which let you shoot in 1080p, and as well as that, we have ports.

So getting all of the nerd stuff out of the way, these MacBooks come with 3.7 times faster CPU performance, with up to 13 times faster graphics performance. As well as that, you also get up to 11 times faster machine learning, and up to 21 hours of battery life.

The chips these MacBooks come with make them extremely faster than anything else currently on the market, with the 14-inch coming with up to 10-core CPU, the same as the 16-inch. Moving on to graphics, the 14-inch comes with 16-core in GPU, while the 16-inch gives up to 32-core GPU. Lastly, the 13 inch comes with up to 32GB of unified memory, with the 16 inch coming with up to 64GB of unified memory, and the 14 inch getting up to 200GBs of memory bandwidth, with the 16 inch having up to 400GBs memory bandwidth.

This makes it possible for you to do things with Mac that it could never handle before.

To emphasise how much faster these MacBooks are, they offer a faster project build if you’re working with Xcode for us Logic Pro users, with up to 3.7 times better speed in the M1 Max in the 14-inch model, with the 16-inch model coming with 2.1 times better speed. For those of us who are interested in graphics, they offer faster 4K render speed when working with Final Cut Pro or Maxon Cinema 4D, with up to 13.4 times faster speed in the M1 Max chip in the 13-inch model, and up to 9.2 times faster with the M1 Pro Chip. We also get faster 8K render speed in the 16-inch model, with the M1 Max chip coming with 2.9 times better performance, while the M1 Pro chip will give less ay 1.7 times faster.

Some other features coming to this mac include ProMotion, making everything such as scrolling through a webpage or gaming super-fluid and responsive, while reducing power. With refresh rates up to 120 herts, the technology automatically adjusts to match the movement of the content. Apple also claims that ProMotion video editors can also choose a fixed refresh rate. The camera on the macs also uses a wider aperture that lets in more light, and mixed with the larger image sensor, it offers two time better low-light performance.

The new three studio-quality mics means your mac can capture even the subtlest of sound, and add in the three-mic array, and you get directional beamforming, meaning your voice always comes through nice and clear.

Add in the six-speaker sound system, and you’ll get sounds much deeper and filling the room with up to 80% more bass, along with much clearer, fuller vocals. This is also what’s making the Mac support spatial audio when playing music or videos with Dolby Atmos, creating a three-dimensional soundstage. But the only thing I don’t think I like about the way Apple is doing this, is that the connecting experience only works with Apple-based products, while other headphones like Skullcandy — which as you know, I’m a fan of — do connect, but you’ll have to connect them in a different way other than just putting them in front of your phone, iPad or Mac.

The ports you get with these macs is a 3.5mm headphone jack that automatically adjusts for high-independence headphones. You also get 3 Thunderbolt 4 ports, and as well as this, you’ll get a quick-releasing MagSafe 3 port. The other two ports you’ll get is one for a SDXC card, and one for an HDMI.

These Macs also let you connect up to three Pro XDR Displays, and a 4K Apple TV with M1 Max. Or you could connect any of your displays with an M1 Pro, if you have one.

The new keyboard brings a full-height functioning key row, with the same feel of mechanical keys we’ve fallen in love with over the last few years. It’s been updated with new keyboard shortcuts for Spotlight, Dictation and Do Not Disturb, with the Touch ID feature having a ring around it to guide your finger.

So is it worth updating to one of these new MacBooks, even if you currently have an older model? Well I would argue it is and it isn’t. Speaking as someone who still has a 2015 MacBook Pro, I saw myself getting one of the new iMacs earlier this year, as my 2015 MacBook just can’t put up with large film and audio files anymore, though it is ok for everything I do with writing. Although Apple has introduced Touch ID to their Mac Lineup, I can’t use it because I can’t use anything other than my head, and so I will be waiting until they introduce Face ID into Macs, to even consider upgrading my laptop.

24-inch iMac Review: How Accessible is it for Disabled Users?

The 24-inch iMac Pro is one of Apple’s new Mac lineups, coming in a range of seven different colours. I got one of these during the Summer as my 2015 MacBook Pro has started running out of storage for so many things. Throughout the last few years, I’ve been using it for videos, for audio, and of course the book I’m writing. But what all do these new iMacs come with, and are they accessible for everyone?

So the new 24-inch iMac was announced on the 30th of April 2021, with the first customers getting theirs on the 21st of May. After watching loads of reviews, I decided it would be worth the upgrade, and got mine at the end of July. I got the blue version.

iMac Box Photo © Phoebs Lyle

The box that the iMac comes in has a picture of your colour of iMac on the front, with the word ’iMac’ round the side, and more pictures of the device, itself, at every single side, and covered with the usual special plastic that Apple fans love, it allows for quite the unboxing experience.

As soon as you open the box, the first thing you’ll see will be a protection shield with the word: ’Hello’ on it, and covering the actual iMac beneath it. Under the iMac, you have your keyboard, your Magic Mouse, the charger for your iMac and the one for your keyboard, and all of your quick start information, and this would also be where your Magic Trackpad would be if you ordered one, but the Apple Store in Belfast didn’t have any in stock at the time, so I ended up ordering a silver one on Amazon. Although I’m happy with the trackpad I got, it would still be nice to be able to buy a blue one to match at some point, so if Apple ever let you customise colours of their Magic Trackpads at some point in the future, that would be great.

Everything was very nice to unwrap and set up though, as these couple of videos will show.

The keyboard is also extremely easy to type on, although in future, I wouldn’t bother with getting the one that comes with Touch ID, as it just isn’t accessible enough for people who can’t do everything with their hands or their feet.

Getting back to the geek stuff, the new 24-inch iMacs are 11.5mm in thinness, with a screen you can move to adjust the angle, and less than 40 kilos.

Powered by the M1 chip, the chip is what gives the iMac its extraordinary design, and helps integrate the processor, graphics and more. I like how the screen sits on a poised stand, sort of like it’s iPad-ish, if you compare it to the 2020 Magic Keyboard Case for the iPad, and at the back you have your power button, with incredibly fast ports beside it.

The charger you get attaches via magnets, and all the accessories you get come in exactly the same colour as your mac.

As someone who is still using the 2015 MacBook Pro but has moved to the 24-inch iMac for film and audio reasons, you can really see the difference in the 4.5K Retina display. The P3 wide colour gamut brings what you’re watching to life, and images shine with a brilliant 500 nits of brightness. The True Tone technology adjusts the colour temperature to the ambient light of your environment, for natural viewing experience. I can’t wait until I try making a couple of short films next year so I can see how the display plays them back.

Even the cameras have got a massive update in this iMac, with a 1080p FaceTime HD Camera. Double the resolution of higher quality video calls, we get a larger sensor that captures more light, and the Advanced Image Signal Processor, thanks to the M1 chip, greatly improves image quality.

The new iMacs come with studio-quality mics, which make sure that whether you’re recording a podcast, a video chat or on a video chat, you’ll always come across crisp and clear. The three-mic array is designed to reduce feedback, so conversations flow more naturally, with the including beamforming technology helping to ignore background noise, meaning everyone hears you and not what’s around you.

The new sound system on the iMac brings room-filling audio to any space. The two pairs of force-cancelling woofers create rich, deep base without any unwanted vibrations, and with high performance tweeters – the volume on this new iMac is absolutely brilliant.

This iMac also supports Spacial Audio when playing music or video with Dolby Atmos, but the fact that a lot of this is still limited to Apple headphones makes it a bit annoying. Although you can still connect non Apple headphones to Apple products, I would love if my Apple products would show my Skullcandies on the screen the same as how the AirPods show up if you’re truing to connect them, but hopefully if both companies are seeing this, there’s a way they can make this happen.

Lastly, this iMac is able to run the newest iOS software, which at the time this blog has been written is iOS Monterey, and if you any iPad later than the iPad 6th gen, iPad Mini 5th gen, or the iPad Air 3rd gen, or any iPad Pro, you will be able to use SideCar. SideCar isn’t fully accessible as of yet, however, because to use it you have to have an Apple Pencil, and other styluses which are easier for people with mobility issues to use won’t work, but hopefully this changes one day. Away from Sidecar, you will also be able to download iPhone and iPad apps onto your mac, although this does depend on the developer.

But overall, although there are some small things that could be improved, the vast majority of stuff on this new iMac I am able to access. It was easy to set up, and once my Trackpad arrived, it was easy to set up all the accessibility features I needed to use the Mac, such as tapping the right side of the trackpad instead of using two fingers to right click, and setting up Sticky Keys so there’s no reason for me to hold down two buttons at the one time. The only things I think have to improve is for the side bars for scrolling down the side of applications to be constantly on, and with customisable largeness, for Face ID to be added so those who can’t use Touch ID have a smart way of paying, and for SideCar to work on iPad with styluses that are more accessible than the Apple Pencil. But other than that, I’ve loved using the new iMac ever since I got it, and overall, it is accessible.

You can get the new 24-inch iMac in Blue, Green, Pink and Silver, with Orange, Yellow and Purple also being a choice with the Magic Keyboard with Touch ID options. They cost between £1,249-£1,649.

Experiments With Adaptive Gaming: Does This Budget Manfrotto Arm Work the Same as the Manfrotto Variable Friction Arm?

What’s up TR Fans and welcome back for another blog here on Technology Reviews! In this blog I’m going to be looking at whether this budget Manfrotto arm I got works just as well as the Manfrotto Variable Friction Mounting Arm which I reviewed last year, and which is better for the price.

But first, thanks for 30 subscribers to the YouTube Channel, ‘Phoebs Does Technology Reviews’, and if you like what you’re seeing and would like to see more, then head on over and hit subscribe, and if you help me get up to my first milestone of 50 subscribers, I will let you have the choice of whether I do a gaming video of your choice, or if I do a ‘What I Have On My iPhone or iPad’ video.

So what you’ll have to get if you’d like to use a budget Manfrotto arm for gaming is:

  • The Manfrotto 196AB-2 Single Arm 2 Section – £39.95
  • A Manfrotto Super Clamp – between £26 – £34.95
  • Manfrotto Mounting Studs (the ones I got were £6 although prices vary) and;
  • A small or large rectangular mounting plate – £20 through Inclusive Technology

The studs I ordered however, took a bit of time arriving, and after they arrived, I had to get help putting it together, but all was good after.

When the arm is put together, you’ll want to have the clamp at the bottom of the arm, with the rectangular plate on the other end. To move the position of the plate, you’ll be using the clamp as well as the circular star-like control on the arm, but a warning that this has only worked with switches for me, and I haven’t tried it with a controller.

But what are my thoughts on this budget Manfrotto arm overall? Well, the good news is, it does definitely do the same job. After trying it with a couple of games, I found that the budget Manfrotto arm slipped a bit more compared to the Variable Friction Mounting Arm, but it wasn’t too noticeable, and it could have easily just been my position changing, as I do slide quite a lot. So yes, it might slide a lot, but for some people, would you notice?

But in relation to the question, how does this arm compare to the Manfrotto Variable Friction Mounting Arm, I think it depends on what all you are looking for. If you can afford something way over £100 and you want that actual sturdiness, then by all means, go for the Variable Friction Mounting Arm. But if you’re a disabled gamer who is on a budget, or you live with someone who is on a budget, this is still a good arm. You can even buy each of the pieces over a couple of months like I did, depending on when you have more money, and you definitely won’t be losing out.

Blue Snowball ICE Microphone Review

What’s up TR Fans and welcome back for another review! Thanks to everyone who has continued to support this blog during the last 6-7 weeks while I’ve been on work experience! I’ve had a brilliant few weeks! But although this is my first blog back, I’m still only going to update a couple of times a month, especially with how busy I’m getting behind the scenes, but hopefully I’ll be able to say more about that soon.

I’ve meant to do this blog for a while now, but for various reasons it’s been pushed back to now. But here’s my review of the Blue Snowball ICE Microphone, which is the microphone I use for voiceovers and my podcasts.

So the Blue Snowball ICE Microphone – as the name will suggest – is sold by the company Blue Microphones – and is a good budget microphone costing around £55, making it a good alternative mic for anyone who wants to start recording but has a budget, or who can’t afford their more expensive microphone, the Blue Yeti. Coming with Blue’s custom condenser capsule, it is capable of delivering crystal clear audio quality, miles ahead of the built in microphone quality on your computer. It can also be used for recording, podcasting, voice overs, twitch gaming, YouTube videos, and is compatible on PC and Mac.

Coming in a white and blue box, the front of it includes a photo of the microphone head, with the word “ICE” in blue behind it, and the word “snowball” in the E. You also have a bit of information at the bottom, as well as a miniature photo of the microphone set up, and as we look round the side, we’ll find information on the audio specs.

Inside the box, you have the microphone stand, the USB cable, the microphone head, and some paperwork. The microphone head comes in a separate box inside the package, and it is easy to unwrap.

The only bit of setting up the microphone you might need help with is when putting all the pieces together. You have to twist a couple of times to get the microphone attached to the stand, and even then, you might have to change the capsule options at the back depending on how you want to set it up. After the microphone is set up, you would just put the USB cable into the back, and that’s you ready to use it. I don’t personally have experience of trying to turn each capsule with my chopstick, so I don’t know how easy or hard it is to do, and I also can’t use anything other than my head, but if you fancy trying it out and telling me how hard or easy it is, then I’d be interested in learning your view.

If you would prefer using it on your iPad or phone, or any other tablet, you would have to buy a USB to USB-C cable or any other adapters, but you can buy them for cheap on Amazon if you want to get one.

But what do I think of the Blue Snowball ICE Microphone overall? It’s got good audio quality overall, and although I have to put it as close to my mouth as it can go to get good enough quality, it doesn’t catch the sound of my ventilator as much as other microphones I’ve tried have. For disabled people who want to have the independence of setting it up, it might not be the best option, but overall, it’s a good microphone if you want a good budget microphone.

XBox Pulse Red Controller on an Xbox One S Review

©️ Phoebs Lyle

The next generation consoles for Xbox and PlayStation have been out since November, but while many people have either one of the two consoles, it’s still a distant dream. Like me, some of my readers might still be using one of the last generation Xbox Ones, so in this blog, we’re going to be looking at how accessible the next generation controllers are, and how they stand up for people who are waiting a wee bit longer before upgrading to the current generation.

So starting with the box, you see the Xbox logo on the front, above a picture of the controller itself, which stands beside the words Pulse Red.

Front of Xbox Pulse Red Controller box © Phoebs Lyle

As you start looking at the sides, you’ll see some information telling you what you get inside, and at the back, some more about what you get with this controller.

Most of the features this controller gives you have been around for a couple of generations now, such as the textured grip and the hybrid D-pad, which was included with the Xbox Elite Controllers – although you do have a choice not to use it on that controller. But the one new thing that you do get on this controller is the new share button, so if you want to share a moment of your gameplay with your friends, you can.

The box is easy to open – much easier than the keyboard case I looked at last week – and you’ll see the controller as soon as you open it. But the only other thing you get in the package is two batteries, which now seem a bit pointless because you should instead get some rechargeable batteries.

Once I got using the controller, I found the buttons much easier to use than the buttons on my Elite Series 2 controller, but it might just be with it being a newer controller that I haven’t been using for the last year.

Some other information about this controller is – depending on what controller you’ve had before – it may be smaller, but for me, as someone who has been playing on the Xbox Elite Series 2 controller in Co-Pilot with the Xbox Adaptive Controller, I think the Series X/S controller is actually bigger. As the controller is built with Backwards Compatibility, you can use it on the Xbox Series X and S, as well as the One X and S, Windows 10 and on Android, with iOS support coming in the future once XCloud gets run out to the web extension for Apple fans who want to use XCloud.

But how accessible is the controller overall? Well, starting from the what I like about it side, I think the buttons are easier to press than on the Elite Controller, I love how I can now share clips of my gameplay – which is something I’ll start using more as I bring out more gaming videos, and if you prefer using your controller with the Swap Sticks option on, your settings will automatically be saved from what you had it set to on your last controller, plus it still works very well in Co-Pilot. I also like how you can still plug it in and play, if you have rechargeable batteries.

But even then, there are some things I don’t like about it. One of these things is that it doesn’t let me use the right stick for navigation until I’m signed in to my account, which makes it difficult for me to sign in because I’m right-mouthed instead of right handed, and sometimes when I’m trying to hold down the home button and trying to turn it off, it takes a long time. I’m not sure if this is something that only occurs when you use it on the Xbox One, but could someone please tell me if it is? Other than that, I don’t have any complaints about it, and even the white back doesn’t annoy me as much as I know it has some other people, because I use mine on a clamp and I play with my mouth.

So overall, I would say this controller is accessible, but some small features still need to be sorted.