Friday, September 15, 2017

Should You Buy a Nintendo Switch Hybrid Portable Home Console - 6-Months Later - A RoXolid Review

In this video we look at how the Nintendo Switch has fared 6-months after it launched.

The Nintendo Switch really has helped redefine Nintendo as a hardware manufacturer. Games, games have always been their strong suit but hardware, well they've had some recent misses. The Wii U, while a system I own and loved, never found the success of its predecessor. But Nintendo has found lightning in a bottle with systems such as the Wii, 3DS and other systems as well. The Nintendo Switch really is something different, but as the Wii U and Virtual Boy both proved, different doesn't always mean better.
The Nintendo Switch can be best defined as a hybrid console, able to connect to your home TV via a dock and be played like a traditional home console but also undocked and played on the go like the 3DS. The hardware was developed between both Nintendo and nVidia, makers of the powerful nVidia Shield tablet and Shield TV. The system is capable of displaying visuals in 720P in handheld mode and 1080P when docked. For media the Switch uses both digitally downloaded content and physical cartridges, similar to the 3DS here too. The controllers, or Joy Cons as they are called, connect to the side of the main Switch Console itself or can be detached and used as separate controllers or slid into the Joy Con Grip to use as a more traditional controller.
The Nintendo Switch didn't come out of the gate with a ton of games back in March but what it did launch with was Zelda - Breath of the Wild. Many have called this a masterpiece while, personally, I think it is highly over-rated. As time went on there was a bit of a drought for quality games. We got a re-release of Super Mario Kart 8 with all the DLC already available, a version of Tetris and a sequel to a great new IP from the Wii U in Splatoon 2. The lineup is getting stronger, 3rd party developers are jumping on board and independent developers have truly found a home on the Switch. While an ok lineup I have to say 6-months in there's still not a ton there that is compelling. That should change soon with the release of Super Mario Odyssey.
A big strike against the Switch currently is the complete lack of any sort of Virtual Console what-so-ever. I mean even the Wii had downloadable NES games shortly after launch and the Switch still doesn't? That's grade-A ball-droppage right there. The expense of accessories is another major bummer as extra Joy Cons, the Pro Controller and extra docks are all stupid expensive. Think about this, at $90 Nintendo is saying nearly 1/3rd of the cost of the Switch is tied to the dock! That's craziness!
The Swich is full of potential right now, but isn't that what we've been saying about many Nintendo hardware releases for years? I like the ability to have console-quality gaming on the go but generally when I am on the go I'm the one driving. I rarely play in handheld mode but when I do it's a good experience. The controls work well, they're comfortable and intuitive. There are pieces missing from the Switch that I hope Nintendo fixes soon but until then there's the SNES Classic that I'll be enjoying soon too.
Why it RoX:
- It's a portable system you can play on your TV
- Nintendo first-party titles are always top notch
- Ports of Wii U games for better exposure/controls to a new audience
- Amiibo support
- Pro controller is great

What could be improved:
- A cool system needs cool games and the library is very limited currently
- No 4K option at this time
- Accessories are way over-priced
- No Virtual Console
- Online chat...via phone app? Seems like an afterthought
- While critically heralded I was not a fan of Zelda: BotW
- Small on-board storage

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Unboxing the Xiaomi Mi Box Android TV 4K HDR Streaming Box

In this video we unbox the Xiaomi Mi Box Android TV 4K HDR Streaming Box.

More and more content is delivered via the internet, whether we're talking about video, pay tv, Netflix, Hulu, music or even games. Xiaomi is well known as a discount manufacturer of devices, from smartphones and tablets to laptops. They have expanded their reach into the world of set-top boxes with their Android TV-powered Mi Box 4K HDR Streaming Box.

Coming in at a low, low $69.99 price tag the Mi Box definitely undercuts the competition in-terms of cost, but thinking of the Mi Box as "cheap" versus inexpensive may or may not be accurate.

From the box the Mi Box includes the Mi Box itself, an HDMI cable, power cord, 2-AAA batteries and a bluetooth-equipped remote control. In our box we also got coupons for free Sling TV service, discounts on other services along with the manuals and quickstart guides.

Make sure to subscribe to our channel here as we have our initial setup video filmed and will be posting soon. We're also conducting our tests and will also be posting our full-blown review soon, along with a "Which is Better" video between the Xiaomi Mi Box and the nVidia Shield TV 16GB 2017 edition.


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Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Unboxing the Xiaomi Mi Box Android TV 4K HDR Streaming Box



In this video we unbox the Xiaomi Mi Box Android TV 4K HDR Streaming Box.

More and more content is delivered via the internet, whether we're talking about video, pay tv, Netflix, Hulu, music or even games. Xiaomi is well known as a discount manufacturer of devices, from smartphones and tablets to laptops. They have expanded their reach into the world of set-top boxes with their Android TV-powered Mi Box 4K HDR Streaming Box. 

Coming in at a low, low $69.99 price tag the Mi Box definitely undercuts the competition in-terms of cost, but thinking of the Mi Box as "cheap" versus inexpensive may or may not be accurate. 

From the box the Mi Box includes the Mi Box itself, an HDMI cable, power cord, 2-AAA batteries and a bluetooth-equipped remote control. In our box we also got coupons for free Sling TV service, discounts on other services along with the manuals and quickstart guides. 

Make sure to subscribe to our channel here as we have our initial setup video filmed and will be posting soon. We're also conducting our tests and will also be posting our full-blown review soon, along with a "Which is Better" video between the Xiaomi Mi Box and the nVidia Shield TV 16GB 2017 edition. 


Support RoXolid Productions for as low as a dollar a month through our Patreon page, https://www.patreon.com/RoXolid.

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Should You Buy a Nyko Charge Dock Pro for the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller? A RoXolid Review

In this video we unbox and review the Nyko Charge Dock Pro designed for the NIntendo Switch Pro Controller.

Keeping your gaming accessories charged and organized can be a significant challenge, especially with first and third party add-ons. Nyko has a history of making outstanding optional accessories for Microsoft XBox, Sony Playstation and Nintendo consoles. Their latest accessory is designed to make it easier to charge up the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller thanks to their Charge Dock Pro.

At $20 this ambiguous hunk of plastic includes the dock itself, a four foot long micro USB-equipped cord for power, a 1A/5v power brick and a small clip-on dongle that attaches to the Pro Controller itself and connects it to the dock. It is simple but effective in its design.

From the box setup took seconds. It would have taken less time if I wouldn't have had the USB plug upside down when trying to plug into my Switch dock but that's all on me. Once connected the dongle has a small LED which lights up to indicate power is being provided. And when I say SMALL LED I mean VERY SMALL. Like almost impossible to see in any real light. But once connected the Charge Dock Pro does a nice job of charging the Switch Pro Controller, even if it does charge a little slower than if connected via USB-C, but that's the nature of the beast.

For 20-bucks the Nyko Charge Dock Pro does a nice job and is totally worth it if you want to clean up your game shelf. I'm glad I spent the money and I think you will be too.

Why it RoX!
- Inexpensive way to organize your Switch Gear
- Does a good job of charging the Pro Controller
- The Dongle doesn't affect usage at all and can always be left on
- Can be powered via the Switch dock itself
- You can link multiple Charge Dock Pros together if needed
- Did I mention it is ONLY 20-Bucks?

What could be improved?
- Micro USB is cheap to produce but slower to charge than USB-C
- The LED is too small and too dim to see in most lighting conditions
- Only charges one Nintendo Pro Controller at a time

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Monday, September 11, 2017

Should You Cut the Cord with Hulu with Live TV? A RoXolid Review



In this video we show you the ins and outs of Hulu with Live Tv.

One thing I love is saving money, but saving money isn't worth it if something is cheap but not a good value. In the world of cord cutting, IPTV and streaming TV services Hulu was one of the first quality on-demand content providers. Hulu gives you the option to watch both first run and classic television shows on your schedule, however it always feels like it was lacking a certain something. On demand is good but there's still a need for live content. Hulu with Live TV looks to fill that gap for cord cutters and cord shavers alike.

Hulu with Live TV is currently priced at $39.99/mo, the only plan they offer. That fee gives you access to over $50 channels, a cloud-based DVR and full access to Hulu's extensive on-demand library. While not the least expensive out there this price point presentation puts them square in the middle, where the majority of the price wars are happening.

Hulu's on-demand DNA is easy to see, but it also is apparent as weakness. There's no program guide to speak of, device compatibility is limited to phones, tablets and the 4th Generation Apple TV, and the live TV experience definitely felt lacking. That being said it is sure to come as no surprise that the strength of the service is the on-demand access which is exceptional.

Picture quality was very good and there tended to be little of any buffering, except on initial launch for some reason. The audio was crisp and changing channels was simple and easy.

The overall value of Hulu with Live TV can be measured 2 ways. First of all if you already subscribe to Hulu or Hulu with limited commercials then you are looking at a upgrade fee essentially to get Hulu with live TV. If this is the case you're going to have an increase of $28-$32, depending on which tier of service you already have. If you do not have Hulu at all then the $39.99 monthly cost is on par with what you would get from the other major service providers. DirecTV now, Sling TV and PlayStation Vue are all right around the same cost for a similar level of service.

Hulu with live TV works and works well, but it definitely has some growing to do. The lack of device compatibility, no program guide to speak of at all and some buffering issues that we ran into on the live side definitely hurt our experience. the on-demand access is exceptional, the use on mobile devices is great and that 40 bucks a month it's a pretty good value.

Why it RoX
The best on-demand experience out there
Only $39.99/mo
Very good assortment of channels

What Could Be Improved:
The streaming device compatibility is anemic
I'm paying the premium price, give me commercial free access for on demand
Excessive buffering on initial launch
Local channels are not available in my area

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Thursday, September 7, 2017

8-Bit HD NES Clone Battle - Gamerz Tek 8-Bit HD Versus Retro-Bit RES+


In this video we see who the king of the 8-bit HDMI HD NES Clone systems is between the Retro-Bit RES+ and the Reigning Champion the Gamerz Tek 8-Bit HD.

In the black corner we have the challenger, the Retro-Bit RES+ 8-bit HDMI-equipped NES clone. The RES+ is a derivative of Retro-Bit's existing RES Retro Entertainment System but does update the platform with a new 720P HDMI Output, making it ideal for use on flat screen TVs. Out of the box it includes 2 controllers, Micro HDMI power cord and wall wart and an HDMI cable. See more about the RES+ in our review, found here - https://youtu.be/fUP4j54nSbg

In the red corner is the reigning and defending 8-Bit HD champion,  Gamerz Tek 8-Bit HD Entertainment System. This spunky challenger leads the pack in-terms of pricing but also comes with AV outputs, great games compatibility, 2 exceptional controllers and a whole lot more. Learn more about the Gamerz Tek 8-Bit HD by watching our review, found here - https://youtu.be/n3pOjStI9bI

To determine our overall winner we rated the following factors:
Design
Included Accessories
Controllers
Game Play
Audio Quality
Value

Design:
Both systems are very unique in their look, tending to go down their own path instead of trying to emulate the original NES or the top loading NES-101. Each are offered in just one color, black for the Retro-Bit RES+, grey for the 8-Bit HD. Both feature two controller ports and an HDMI out as would be expected but from here they are a bit different. The Retro-Bit RES+ uses Stereo AV output and a Micro USB connector for power where the Gamerz Tek 8-Bit HD uses a barrel-style connector and mono AV outputs. While minor we do have to award a point for the design to the RES+ from Retro-Bit

Included Accessories:
Both systems include an HDMI cable, power brick and cable and 2 very good controllers. The Retro-Bit RES+, however, omits an AV cable where the Gamerz Tek 8-Bit HD included a set of AV cables. Due to this factor we the 8-Bit HD takes this round.

Controllers:
As mentioned in the video both systems include 2 controllers, a great feature out of the box. The Retro-Bit controller mimics the overall shape and feel of the original NES controller with a few minor tweaks. The Start and Select buttons have been moved higher on the controller and the A button is now angled higher than the B button. It is a very serviceable controller and works well, however I don't care for the placement of the start/select buttons at all. The buttons and D-pad also felt like they were stiff and not as complaint as the original NES pad.

The  Gamerz Tek controllers have a different look and feel to the outside casing but it's a good change. The rounded corners are comfortable and don't dig into your hands like the originals can. The Start/Select buttons, while being rubber membranes and overall smaller, are in the right location and work great. The A/B buttons are also in-line and the D-Pad feels great.

Both controllers are good but I, personally, prefer the Gamerz Tek controller. The buttons feel better, the start/select location really bugged me and the rounded corners of the Gamerz Tek just feels better.

Gameplay:
Both systems played everything I threw at them, no compatibility issues at all. Neither have an NTSC/PAL switch so if that's important to you these aren't the systems you want. The color pallets look solid although I do like the Gamerz Tek look just a touch more. But this is so close I'm calling it a tie.

Audio:
UGH! I really hate the fact that the audio is off on both systems. Take a listen, especially to the Super Mario Bros audio, you can't miss the audio being off. Neither system wins here.

Value:
While in the video I mention that I've seen the Gamerz Tek 8-Bit HD for $30 and the Retro-Bit RES+ for $35 I see Amazon has them at $35/$40 respectively. Sill a $5 difference but both slightly higher than mentioned. That being said the both include the exact things, EXCEPT AV cables. That, plus the lower overall price tag, makes the 8-Bit HD the better value.

Winner:
This was tough, both are amazing but the Champ pulled this one out as I have to give the nod to the Gamerz Tek 8-Bit HD again, but the Retro-Bit is a great system definitely worth consideration.

Points Breakdown
RES+
Design

8-Bit HD
Included Accessories
Controllers
Value

Ties:
Audio
Gameplay





Gamerz Tek 8-Bit HD on Amazon
https://www.amazon.com/8-Bit-HD-Entertainment-System/dp/B01MYXNB7G/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1504794235&sr=8-3&keywords=8-bit+hd

Retro-Bit RES+ HD on Amazon
https://www.amazon.com/Retro-Bit-RB-NES-7390-Gaming-Console-Nintendo-Entertainment/dp/B073DV931V/ref=sr_1_1?s=videogames&ie=UTF8&qid=1504794311&sr=1-1&keywords=retrobit+res+%2B

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Monday, September 4, 2017

Should You Buy a Retro-Bit RES Plus NES Clone System? A RoXolid Review



In this video we review the new Retro-Bit RES+ NES Clone console that features A/V outputs along with upscaling to 720P via HDMI output. 

Retro-Bit has made quite the name for themselves in recent years with their line of quality clone systems. Whether you're looking for a system that will play NES, SNES or Genesis games you'll likely find a solution from Retro-Bit.

The RES+ is a derivative of Retro-Bit's existing RES Retro Entertainment System but does update the platform with a new 720P HDMI Output, making it ideal for use on flat screen TVs. Out of the box it includes 2 controllers, Micro HDMI power cord and wall wart and an HDMI cable. 

The 720P Clone NES market is getting more and more crowded each and every day and there is a lot of competition out there. As such the Retro-Bit provides a good value for the money, but leaves a few opportunities on the table. 

Why it RoX
2 included controllers
$35 price tag makes it easy to justify
Very good games compatibility
Solid color pallette choice

What could be improved:
The audio, I'd give my copy of Zelda for an NES Clone that doesn't drop the ball on audio!
I'm not a huge fan of the controller, I don't like the convex buttons or the placement of the start/select buttons. 
No A/V cables included 

Would We Recommend You Buying It?
Sure, it is definitely not a bad system at all. The colors look good, gameplay compatibility is solid and at $35 it is a solid in vestment. 

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