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    Hobby RC Testing: ARRMA Nero 6S Monster Truck

    I've been excited to get my hands on the ARRMA Nero 6S monster truck ($700) ever since it was released a few months ago. First of all, being a 1/8-scale vehicle, the Nero is bigger than any of my previous RC ground-pounders. With a large brushless motor and 6-cell LiPo battery, the Nero also promised to be much more powerful than anything I'd ever driven.

    Size and power are certainly alluring, but the real reason I was intrigued by the Nero had to do with a feature called Diff Brain (a version of the Nero without Diff Brain is also available). This package provides the ability to lock and unlock the Nero's differentials on the fly. I've never seen such a feature on any RC vehicle before. I had no idea if this was a useful capability or just marketing hype. I couldn't wait to test it myself.

    Nero 6S Overview

    The Nero is pre-built and comes equipped with everything except batteries. You'll need two 3-cell LiPo batteries of about 5000mAh capacity. I used a pair of Duratrax Onyx 3S-5400mAh packs. You'll also want to make sure that your batteries have a high discharge capability, since the Nero will pull a lot of amps under hard acceleration. The 50C discharge rating for these Onyx units seems to be more than adequate.

    The difference between a common RC truck in 1/10-scale and one in 1/8-scale doesn't seem like it would be that significant. After all, the physical dimensions aren't that far apart. I soon found that assumption to be false. The Nero has more than double the mass and power of most of my 1/10-scale rides. Moving up to a 1/8-scale vehicle brings a whole new level of performance and significantly beefier components. You'll also need to be prepared for increased maintenance overhead.

    The ARRMA Nero 6S is a completely prebuilt model that includes a 3-channel radio system.

    Two red-anodized aluminum plates comprise the backbone of the Nero's chassis. All of the other chassis components are made of black nylon. The suspension is damped by four large, oil-filled shocks. The shocks are in a horizontal orientation with bellcranks and pushrods connecting them to the suspension arms.

    Tested: Lenovo Yoga Book Review

    We review Lenovo's Yoga Book, a 2-in-1 that's one of the smallest hybrid computers we've used. Patrick and Norm evaluate its capacitive glass keyboard, which also doubles as a wacom drawing tablet.

    Hands-On with Superhot VR

    Norm and Jeremy play Superhot VR, a virtual reality shooter that turns the concept of bullet time into almost a puzzle game. We show how the innovative mechanic seens suited for VR, discuss our different play styles, and then chat with the game's developer about the scope of Superhot VR.

    Tested: Hover Camera Passport Drone Review

    We review the Hover Camera Passport, a lightweight foldable quadcopter that uses computer vision technology to track your face and body as it flies around you. We love its compact design and ease of use, and take the drone out for test flights around the city. Here's what we think of the resulting footage.

    Hands-On: Lone Echo for Oculus Touch

    At this year's Oculus Connect, we played a new VR game that may be our favorite virtual reality experience yet. Lone Echo is the first game we've played that lets us travel in real-time around its world without getting us sick. Its movement mechanic is ingenious!

    Hands-On with Epic Games Robo Recall for Oculus Touch

    Epic Games--the makers of Unreal--have just announced their first full VR game: Robo Recall. We playtest a demo of this virtual reality shooter at Oculus Connect, using the new Touch motion controllers. After chatting with Epic Games about the gameplay design ideas in Robo Recall, Jeremy and Norm share their impressions.

    Tested: PlayStation VR Review

    It's finally here! We review Sony's virtual reality headset, PlayStation VR, which has potential to bring VR to mainstream gamers. Jeremy and Norm discuss PS VR's display quality, ergonomic design, motion controllers, tracking performance, and launch games. Here's how PS VR's hardware and gaming experience compare to the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive.

    Show and Tell: Game Frame 2.0 Pixel Art Display

    Game Frame is a pixel art display our very own Jeremy Williams made to show off 8-bit art and animations--a passion project that helped him learn arduino programming, product design, and manufacturing. We check out some of the newest Game Frame's features, including an optional Wi-Fi add-on to make it a connected device. (Find out more about the Game Frame here and use the code "8bit" for $20 off!)

    Hands-On with Looking Glass Volume, a True Volumetric 3D Display!

    We get up close with Volume, a true volumetric display that can be used for creating 3D content, viewing depth-enhanced videos, and playing holographic games. Its inventors stop by our office to explain how the display works and how they hope volumetric imaging can change how we interact with computer graphics and imagery.

    Hands-On with DJI Mavic Foldable Quadcopter Drone!

    We go hands-on with the DJI Mavic, a foldable drone that's half the size and weight of the Phantom 4 quadcopter. We take it for a test flight, check out its 4K video quality, and chat with DJI about its unique features, including a new computer vision tracking system and wi-fi transmitter control. Here's our hopes and fears for this new category of compact quads.

    Tested: Yuneec Breeze 4K Quadcopter

    I've left my fingerprints on a lot of different multi-rotors. So it's rare for me to come across a product so unique that it nudges me out of my comfort zone. The new Breeze 4K ($500) from Yuneec is one of those products. It is unlike any quad I've flown before. In some respects, it forced me to rethink my preconceived notions about what an aerial photography platform could be. At the same time, it challenged me with issues that I couldn't overlook.

    The Yuneec Breeze 4K is a compact multi-rotor that is intended to create high-end selfies.

    Who is the Breeze 4K For?

    While it definitely has many hobby-quality attributes, the Breeze is not intended for model aviation enthusiasts. In fact, it seems that Yuneec has tried very hard to remove much of the burden of becoming a skilled pilot. Most of the built-in flight modes involve some degree of automated control over the quad. Just keep in mind that there is still a minimum level of proficiency required. It is necessary to understand and become competent with the software that augments any lack of flying skill. In other words, read the manual and watch the tutorials before you hit the skies.

    It appears that this quad is primarily for people looking to elevate their selfie game. The flight modes are tailored to put the user, more than anything else, in the camera lens. Think of the Breeze as a long selfie stick…a really long selfie stick!

    The marketing material for the Breeze notes that it is capable of outdoor or indoor flight. It has special sensors on the bottom side to improve its indoor capability in the absence of GPS signals. One photo even suggests that it is okay to fly within the limited confines of a high-rise apartment. Personally, I would be very uncomfortable flying a multi-rotor of this size and power inside my house.

    Tested: Xiro Handheld Gimbal Mount

    Earlier this year, I reviewed the Xiro Xplorer V aerial photography quad. Changes come quickly in the ever-evolving multi-rotor market. In the time since I wrote the review, Xiro has dropped the price on the entire Xplorer series and introduced a new ground-based accessory. That new accessory, a handheld gimbal mount, is the focus of this review.

    A neat feature of the Xplorer is that the 3-axis camera gimbal is a detachable, modular unit. The gimbal on the Xplorer G is made to hold a GoPro camera, while the V-model gimbal has an integrated 1080P camera. In either case, Xiro's new handheld mount ($160) will allow you to utilize your gimbal for ground-based filming.

    The concept behind this mount is simple. It has a pistol grip layout with a rechargeable battery hidden in the handle. The gimbal clips into a socket that also mates all of the electrical connections. A spring-loaded clamp on top of the unit provides a nesting place for your smart phone.

    A thumbwheel is used to control the pitch angle of the camera.

    Once the device is powered on, a thumb wheel at the top of the grip allows you to control the pitch angle of the camera. A real-time video feed from the camera will be visible on your phone via a Wi-Fi connection and the Xiro app. The whole set-up effectively emulates the way the gimbal works while it's on the Xplorer.

    Tested: Nvidia GTX 1060 Rains on the RX480

    AMD dreamt of mid-range glory when they shipped the Radeon RX480. The RX480 offered a great little package, including performance which matched high-end cards from past generations, lower power utilization, and a compact package suitable for most cards.

    True to form, Nvidia came along and crushed AMD's dreams.

    AMD announced its intent to pursue the ordinary gamer's heart months ago. Perhaps AMD's true high-end, code-named Vega, wouldn't be ready. Maybe AMD realized Nvidia would try to capture the high-end first. Either way, AMD laid their strategy bare for the world to see – including a certain Santa Clara-based GPU company.

    So it should surprise no one that Nvidia launched the GTX 1060 scant three weeks after the RX480 hit the street. At first, it seemed Nvidia's new mainstream card might not really be mainstream. Initial pricing suggested pricing closer to $300, based on Nvidia's own "Founder's Edition" card, which the company offers direct to users. Several weeks after the launch, pricing parity has hit, however. Prices for GTX 1060s running at stock clock speeds range from $249 to $329 depending on clock frequencies and cooler configurations. Radeon RX480 8GB cards run from $239- $279 while 4GB cards run right around $200. Availability for either the GTX 1060 or the RX480 remain spotty, suggesting demand still runs pretty high weeks after launch.

    So which should you buy? As always, let's look at the numbers.

    Hands-On with Rick and Morty VR

    We play the first demo of Rick and Morty VR, a roomscale virtual reality game made by Owlchemy Labs and Adult Swim. Here are our impressions, along with a chat with Owlchemy's Alex Schwartz about narrative VR game design, comedy script writing, and VR puzzles.

    Testing the Mantis Drone Claw Accessory

    We introduce Simone to a Tested tradition--opening mystery mailbags from viewers! This week's package contains an accessory for our quadcopter: a beautiful drone claw manufactured via a Kickstarter campaign. We have fun testing it in the the office though a series of challenges--what could go wrong?

    Test Riding the Segway MiniPro Personal Transporter

    Norm and Simone test the new Segway MiniPro electric personal transporter. Here's how it works, our first impressions from riding, and our confusion of what to do with our hands while standing on it. We're not calling it a hoverboard, so it's up to you to come up with a better name for this kind of device!

    Hands-On with Raw Data's New Multiplayer VR Demo

    We visit the offices of Survios, a VR game company making a sci-fi multiplayer shooter for the HTC Vive and Oculus Touch. The new demo of Raw Data includes teleportation for moving around the map, hero classes, and special powers. We chat with Survios' Chief Creative Officer about some of their VR design ideas.

    Show and Tell: SixKeyBoard Custom Keyboard

    For this week's Show and Tell, Patrick stops by (our old office!) to share this custom keyboard set by TechKeys. The SixKeyBoard is a programmable keyboard with yep, just six keys. But instead of requiring desktop software, macros and shortcuts can be saved right to the keyboard to work on any system.

    Tested: ODROID C2 $42 Computer

    More tiny computers! This week, Patrick Norton stops by the Tested office to review the Odroid C2, a tiny ARM-based computer that can run Linux and has several advantages over the Raspberry Pi 3. We talk about the importance of USB and Ethernet throughput for these computers, and what projects you can use them for.

    Tested: Mechanical Gaming Keyboards

    What makes a good mechanical keyboard? And why are peripheral companies releasing new gaming keyboards so frequently? Patrick and Norm discuss the state of this essential accessory, and how the switches in new keyboards from Corsair, Razer, and Logitech compare. Which type of switch do you prefer?