CES 2014: Mad Catz Impressions

by: John -

Mad Catz was at Showstoppers and showed off a few of their new products. While a few things were on the table, I’m going to highlight three items that really impressed me.

First up is the just announced R.A.T. TE professional grade gaming mouse. The TE stands for tournament edition. Mad Catz has stripped out metal and features such as the weight system to make the mouse light. An 8200-DPI Phillips Doppler-laser sensor sits on the bottom for high speed tracking. The liftoff height can also be adjusted for the mouse. The USB corded mouse should be available in the early part of 2014.

The X-55 Rhino H.O.T.A.S. system is a nice stick and throttle setup for the PC. The flightstick can interchange springs to change up the amount of force needed to move the stick around. If you want it to move the stick easier, put in one of the springs with less tension. You can even omit the spring entirely if you so desire. The stick has plenty of hats and buttons to give you complete control all at your fingertips.

The throttle is a split design that can lock into a single throttle. If you’re flying a twin engine jet, split the throttle for more control. There are five buttons, 2 eight-way Hats, a single 2-way K switch, a single dual position slider, a mouse nipple, scroll wheel, and seven 3-way toggles on the throttle itself. Needless to say, you have plenty of controls here.

The X-55 Rhino isn’t made to compete with the likes of the Warthog from Thrustmaster as the materials aren’t as high quality, but it should be a lot more accessible to gamers with a price point of $199.99. You can pre-order it now and have it in April when it begins shipping.

Finally, the F.R.E.Q.9 headset just blew me away at the show. If you want tech, you’ll get tech as this headset seems to have it all.

The red headset can work with all systems. APT-X compatible Bluetooth is used here for audio. If you don’t want to go wireless, the F.R.E.Q.9 also comes with a USB cable and a 3.5mm cable so you can plug it into a PC or mobile device.

Now what if you do want wireless audio from a device that doesn’t do wireless. The F.R.E.Q.9 comes with a transmitter box with plenty of inputs. Audio is then transmitted wirelessly to the headset for tether free listening.

AM3D is a technology that fighter pilot use to determine where missiles are coming from. The headset uses this technology to take a stereo source and produce simulated 3D sound.

An integrated mic sits on the right earcup. Since it’s internal, there’s nothing to push out of the way or unplug should you not want to talk on it. We’ll have to see if the quality is good without a boom, but if it works well, then not having an external mic will be a nice feature as it keeps the headset clean.

You want noise cancellation? You got it with the F.R.E.Q.9. There are mics around the headset to monitor the external noise. Something really cool is that you can use an app to adjust the noise cancellation to allow those that you look at to talk to you and have the voice pass through to you. So in essence, you should be able to hear someone without having to take your headset off and have a conversation with them.

The F.R.E.Q.9 is scheduled for sometime in April for around $300 and I cannot wait to check these babies out.

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