New Video: HP Victus 15 – Budget Gaming Laptop

Last night I posted a review of HP’s budget gaming laptop, the Victus 15. As I always like to say with PCs if you want a laptop that’s lightweight, powerful and has great battery life you pay a premium.

If you want one of those things, you can get it at a reasonable price. And that’s what the Victus 15 is all about.

The review loaner we received has a 12th generation Intel i5 processor along with a GTX1650 GPU from Nvidia. It performs at the top end of the 1650’s performance curve per our benchmarks and comparison with other laptops – including some that cost a heck of a lot more. They also managed to get a 144hz 1080p IPS display on it too.

So what about the compromises? So given performance is the key factor here all the other stuff is where you’ll find compromises. Battery life is pretty bad on it even for light work (maybe about 6 hours). The display isn’t very bright, the webcam is lousy, the fan is super noisy, it’s mostly made out of plastic, it has no biometrics and it’s pretty heavy.

But if you’re just looking for performance and nothing else this will get you there for well under $1000.

My Apple //c Circa 1987ish

I was playing the “Halley Project” – a game that taught the basics of space navigation. It involved using an included paper star map to find planets that you needed to navigate to. I was very proud of myself for reaching whatever planet I landed on and took a picture (with film!) to mark the achievement.

The Halley Project also had about 20-30 seconds of full speech when the game first booted up! A rarity for sure on the Apple II.

You can play the game here on the Internet Archive, the audio sequence starts right when it boots up.

8bitdo Ultimate Wired Controller for Xbox Review

8bitdo released a new game controller for the Xbox (affiliate link) called the Ultimate Wired Controller for Xbox. You can see my full review here.

Unlike their last Xbox branded controller that didn’t actually work with the Xbox, this one will work on any Xbox One or Series console along with Windows PCs. I also found it to work with Raspberry Pi’s and the MiSTer project. It does not, however, work on mobile phones or Android TV boxes.

As its name implies this is a wired only controller but its cable is a little short at 3 meters (about 9.8 feet). This might have been ample length back in the 80’s and 90’s but it only got about 3/4s of the way to my couch from my Series X console. While it has a bluetooth radio on board that is only used for its configuration app. It will not function wirelessly.

In my game controller latency test (done by shooting a screen and the controller at 240 frames per second) I found this to be one of the least laggy I have ever reviewed. It was even a little quicker than the first party Xbox One controller connected via a USB cable.

The control sticks have a little more travel vs. the first party Xbox controller so you may notice a larger dead zone in some games. Most Xbox game developers are targeting the Xbox controller for their controller dead zones so you might find yourself having to push the stick a little further to get the same movement vs. the stock controller.

The directional pad looks a lot like the SNES inspired one of the 8bitdo Pro 2 controller. But it doesn’t feel as a precise – I encountered a few errant diagonals when moving my character back and forth in the legend of Zelda. But the d-pad here is definitely better than the stock Xbox controller.

The rest of the controller feels pretty nice. It’s a little smaller than the stock xbox controller but I like the way it felt in my medium-sized hands. Buttons are solid and it even has two buttons on the lower portion of the controller that can be configured.

The configuration software is really the killer app here. It’s possible to configure the controller with your phone and remap its controls while it’s active in a game on the Xbox or PC! You can find that demonstrated in the video – it’s something I’ve never seen on a controller.

It’s possible to configure the controller with a phone while it’s plugged into an Xbox or PC!

While it doesn’t allow for macro functionality you can remap any button on the controller, adjust the sensitivity and deadzones of the control sticks and analog triggers, and invert the stick controls. It stores those settings in one of three profiles that are stored on the controller.

For the price point I think this is a solid offering for more casual gamers who are not looking to spend $100+ on a controller.

Free Top Gun DLC for Microsoft Flight Simulator

Microsoft Flight Simulator added an F/A-18 Super Hornet back in November and a new free Top Gun themed update released this week adds some scenarios and challenges for that virtual aircraft.

The update includes three training missions, five challenges, a carrier deck landing scenario, and a new “hypersonic aircraft that can attain speeds of Mach 10 and altitudes greater than 150,000 feet above sea level.” It all works in VR too.

I took the Super Hornet out for a spin this afternoon. It’s tons of fun especially when you fly over familiar terrain. It’s crazy how different of an experience it is flying that plane vs. a Cessna!

Flight Simulator is included with Game Pass and this update will work with the Game Pass edition on the PC and Xbox.

One of these days I’ll start taking flying lessons.